Working from home

It has been about 10 days since I stopped working, and I am sad to say the honey moon period is over. The first couple of days were spent reading e-mails, responding to comments left on the blog, (thanks again to everyone who left one, or shared the post) and leisurely going over the site. A lie-in, and a lazy afternoon were a welcome change from waking up at 6:30 am, and sleepwalking my way through an hour-long commute. Needless to say the last couple of days were a good chance to recharge the batteries, and focus on the challenges ahead.

Now that I have become accustomed to it, I’ve come to a conclusion; working from home is not as easy, or as glamorous as its made out to be, and not everyone is built for it. Don’t get me wrong, I think anyone can do it, however some people are better suited to it than others. Working from home for a prolonged period of time requires concentration, dedication and large amount of self-discipline. When I had a job, I had a routine, if I broke the routine there where immediate consequences, it was simple. The transition between this, and my current modus operandi has been slighty uncomfortable, but very interesting.

I’ve always lived in a constant state of organised chaos; routine, unless mandatory is something I’ve always shied away from. The freedom to choose, when, or decide how, is something that has always appealed to me, and it’s definitely a driving force behind me deciding to start-up. For someone with the attention span of a three-year old, a disdain for structure, and an uncanny knack of putting anything off, having too much time on my hands seems like a recipe for disaster. When I had a 9 to 5, I valued my time outside of work far greater than I do now, if I was working then I was working, there were no distractions, no time-outs and definitely no twenty-minute tea breaks. I still spend most of the day working on the site, however now I notice I’m doing a bit too much ‘research’, and the Facebook tab never seems to be closed.

Whoever said that working from home consisted of 11 am starts, a builders breakfast and huge dose of Jeremy Kyle is a liar.


Re-inventing the wheel

I’m working nights again as usual, but tonight’s sessions has been somewhat relaxed. I’ve spent most of the evening reading blogs and catching up on the day’s news, and in-between that,¬† flicking over to the football. Earlier on today, I noticed something interesting in the new updates that were made to the site. While going through the changes, I realised that the site was functioning well, however aesthetically its suffering. I think subconsciously, I have been trading design against functionality. Thinking about it now this is not unusual.¬† For any startup that’s being bootstrapped, I’m assuming¬† the focus is generally on producing a working prototype or beta version, and then building on that. However I am wondering whether startups are missing a trick by neglecting the design of the site, and whether having a unique design and look is enough to attract users to a new a website.

As a startup entering a growing, but a relatively mature market, is it enough to just having a working prototype? I understand the need for it to have a unique value proposition, as well as an exceptionally good marketing plan, but what I would like to know is, how important is the design of the site during these early stages? Am I being naive by paying more attention to the functionality of the site, over its design or is this standard protocol among all bootstrapped startups? I have always been of the opinion that look and design of a site can be overhauled if needed, and it would be best to focus on how it will actually work and attract users. Over the years I have seen several ‘startups’ undergo a makeover of sorts, but as I am not re-inventing the wheel, and I do not have huge amounts of capital behind, would it be wiser to focus on its design as a method of attracting users, instead of simply focusing on its USPs. I would be very interested in finding out peoples thoughts on the topic, and I think it is definitely something that needs a lot more thought. If I could, I would definitely pay an agency to re-design the front end of the website, but at this moment in time, I don’t think it’s feasible.

The developer building the site is very good, however front end design isn’t his speciality. Combine this with the fact, that there isn’t much money, I think I have no choice but to continue sacrificing design for functionality, at least for the time being.