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Who: G. Scott Shaw, founder of CreatiVerge
What: Branding, Marketing and Design for Venture-Backed Technology Companies
Where: His home office in Columbia, Maryland
When: Office hours can include late nights, the occasional all-nighter, and early mornings to make sure client projects get done.
How: Almost 10 years ago, as he was standing on the street holding a box of his office belongings the day he was laid off from a high-tech PR agency in Washington, Shaw made some phone calls and landed a $12,000 client willing to pay his ex-agency’s billing rate. During the next few months, he took a part-time job working as the legislative director for a state delegate in Maryland to get health insurance and build his client base. A year later, he went on his own full-time, and has been working at home ever since.
Why: Shaw always wanted to work for himself, but never thought he would do it in his twenties. He went to college, he said, to become a better communicator and got experience in graphic design and writing. He worked at his college newspaper and at Kinko’s to help pay for college and boost his experience.
“Despite my entrepreneurship professor's encouragements to start a business that would change the world, all I ever wanted to do was open a design studio, even back then,” Shaw said. “So now I've organized a successful team and am fortunate to do design, marketing and branding work for those technology companies that are changing the world.”
A Day in the Life:
The average day starts with Shaw having breakfast with the family, and sometimes driving with his wife to drop his 4-year-old son off at pre-school. He later spends the morning generating ideas, design concepts and marketing campaigns for any client projects going on that week. He eats lunch with his family or, if he has an out-of-office meeting, he tries to plan those mid-day to avoid Washington-area traffic. He also handles any phone calls mid-day or in the afternoon while his son is napping.
The afternoons are spent trying to wrap up any deadlines on writing and editing marketing collateral, storyboarding video shoots or product demos, or designing web sites or tradeshow booths. Afterward, if the deadline has been met, he eats dinner with the family and helps with his son's bedtime routine. Otherwise it's back to working again after dinner until the project's been finished. Mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad and MiFi are essential for Shaw getting work done at home or on the road.
Pros and Cons:
“Working for yourself from home has many blessings, including getting to spend more time with your family and not having to sit in traffic or deal with office politics. The challenges involve not getting to spend time with co-workers, not getting out to see people on a regular basis, and mostly managing your time wisely, so that you get your work done, get to see your family and don't have to work late nights and long hours. It was nice being able to leave my work ‘at the office,’ when it was a three-leg commute away and not downstairs or on my laptop.
“So working longer hours than you did when you worked in an office is often a common theme among work-from-home professionals like myself. But despite the challenges, I wouldn't give up the opportunity to work from home and have the flexibility to spend so much time with my family while my kid(s) are young. My dad worked out of town until I was eight years old, so I only got to see him on weekends or every other weekend growing up, so maybe I'm overcompensating by spending so much time at home with my son now, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.”