I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve had a great week. I’ve spent most of it working out of Whakatane’s new Lightning Hub - thanks to the directors for the free hot desk offer - and the thriving atmosphere here has really fired up my creativity. It’s hardly surprising I struggled to get to sleep last night, my brain too busy thinking of topics for the blog I had to write today. I finally drifted off, only to wake up at 3am with bright ideas I just had to jot down.

And so my day began.

Like any other day, I dropped the kids off at school and squeezed in a gym workout – one of the perks of self-employment is the flexibility – before chaining myself to the desk. Today is a writing day: there is three blog posts to churn out, a social media strategy to finish and some general comms planning to do for a new client. Also on the agenda is a critique of a colleague’s work of fiction and some creative writing of my own.

Life is far from dull. It may seem that way after reading the above, but that’s far from a typical day. Because in the world of communications there is no typical day. It’s not unheard of for my work day to include hand-feeding lions, skydiving, co-ordinating crisis communications in a Civil Defence emergency and a spot of acting for a Brazilian TV show.   

That, in a nutshell, is the best thing about self-employment. I never know quite what the day will bring, and that’s exciting. The work is flexible and fun, and as for the crazy hours, well, sometimes you’ve just got to roll with it when the ideas are flowing.

Being self-employed is also hard work, though: if I’m not working I’m not earning, and that can be stressful. I work mostly from home and too much isolation can stifle creativity. Sometimes I need someone to bounce ideas off, lend fresh eyes to my work and distract me with inane comments about the weather when I need a break.

That’s why the Lightning Hub is such a cool place to be. There are plenty of people to chat to and lots of regular networking events, and we all know how important networking is when you’re trying to get a business up and running. Similar spaces are popping up all over New Zealand and I encourage anyone launching their own business to check one of them out. You won’t regret it.

Having come from a stimulating job in a big organisation, I wondered how I’d cope with working from home in comparative isolation. Thanks to the new trend for co-working spaces, I don’t have to.


Justine McLeary has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, as a journalist and communications consultant. Her experience includes issues management, writing and content development, crisis communications, newsletter design and editing and social media management. She launched a Whakatane-based writing, editing and communications agency earlier this year. McLeary Media offers a range of editorial services for clients in the public and private sectors. www.mclearymedia.co.nz 

Phone: 022 402 3526
Facebook: @McLearyMediaNZ
Twitter: @McLearyMedia

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