5 simple exercises for home-based entrepreneurs

Running your business from home is a great way to save on expenses when you’re starting out. You avoid paying for office rent, eating out at lunch and money spent commuting. But, one area where you could end up paying is your health. If your home-office routine means you walk no more than a few meters from your bed to your desk each day, and then sit in front of a computer for 8 (or more) hours, you could be doing real damage to your health.
Fortunately, research suggests that you can get a lot of health benefits from doing as little as 15 minutes of exercise per day. So, let’s look at 5 simple exercises you can do in your own home which will get your heart racing, without interrupting the flow of your work too much.

Here are 5 simple exercises for home-based freelancers and entrepreneurs:

1. Burpees

Burpees offer a full-body workout which will burn calories fast and get you sweating. Aim for three sets of 10 burpees, with a 30 second break between each set.

  • Begin stood up straight before crouching down and placing your hands on the floor in front of your
  • ‘Hop’ your feet backwards so you’re in plank position
  • Then, jump your feet forward to crouch position again, before leaping into the air with arms extended
  • When you land, move immediately back to crouch and repeat

Burpee

2. Mountain climber

Another high-intensity quick home workout, mountain climbers are a powerful exercise for getting almost every muscle in your body firing.

  • Once again, begin in plank position
  • Next, rapidly bring one knee up to your chest before returning it to plank before switching to the other leg. Do this as fast as possible
  • Do three sets of mountain climbers lasting 45 seconds each, with a 30 second break between each set

Mountain climber exercise

3. Squats

Squats are a powerful exercise for your leg muscles. After a few rounds, you’ll really start to feel the burn.

  • Stand with your feet in line with your shoulders and your arms in front of you
  • • Gradually bend your knees while keeping your torso straight until it almost feels like you’re in sitting position

    • Then, drive up through your legs so you’re standing up straight

    • Do 3 sets of 10 squats with a 15 second break between sets

Squat exercise at home

4. Raised push-ups

By placing your feet at shoulder height – on your couch or a coffee table, for instance, you increase the benefits of standard push-ups.

  • Get into plank position, before placing your feet on a stable surface which is parallel in height to your shoulders
  • Then, with your hands placed in line with your shoulders, bend your elbows so your chin is almost touching the ground before pushing back up
  • Do 3 sets of 10 push-ups with a 30 second break between sets

Raised pushed up

5. Jumping jacks

A great way to get your heart rate up, jumping jacks also help tone your legs and arms in this quick home workout.

  • Stand up straight with your arms by your side
  • Next, jump up, and simultaneously swing your arms up into the air (watch out for lights!) and your legs out to the side into a star shape
  • When you land, return your arms to your sides before repeating in quick succession
  • Do three 30 second sets of jumping jacks with 15 second breaks

Jumping jack exercise at home

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Len is a tech and business writer who covers small business and startup advice and has appeared in many print and digital publications. He lives in London, UK, where he's also a sub editor on a national newspaper. He loves to travel and has lived in France, Spain, Senegal and Rwanda.

Mindfully Upset

No, the title of this article is not a mistake. It is possible to feel upset – or a range of other emotions – and yet remain mindful, just the same. The working world can sometimes leave us feeling unhappy, defensive, blue, or otherwise in low spirits. We don’t have to automatically discount those emotions, nor do we have to pretend that we don’t feel the way we do.


It is said that our true potential is best demonstrated by what we do when we are required to handle difficult situations or people. When feeling upset, we might do any number of perfectly understandable things. We may lash out…choose to give up…or react with anger.

There is an alternative. It’s possible to be mindful while dealing with unwanted emotions. Here are the steps involved:

1. We can start by acknowledging that we feel bad. We have a tendency not to want to feel unpleasant emotions. We are taught that “big boys and girls don’t cry”, or that we should just “suck it up, buttercup”. While we do have to sometimes carry on in the face of whatever is going on, there’s nothing wrong with recognizing that we are feeling something we don’t want to feel.

2. Next, name that feeling. Is it sadness, confusion, disappointment, frustration…? This might be harder to do than it seems. After years of pushing our emotions aside, as we are taught to do, we may have become somewhat disengaged with them. Take a minute or two to wait this out. Sit with the slight discomfort of actually FEELING something, in order to name it.

3. Once we name it, we can be mindful about our emotion. We can silently repeat a mantra of “I am feeling (blank).” This mantra isn’t a judgment. It’s just a statement of fact. It’s a deliberate way to accept the emotion, without reacting in a rash way, or compounding negative feelings with self-blame.

4. After naming the emotion, we can check in with the body, to see where we can physically sense it, and exactly what it feels like. Does this feeling create a heaviness, a burning sensation, a tension, or something else? We can listen to the interior monologue of what the emotion is telling us.

5. As time permits, we can spend a little while sitting in silence, and waiting to hear what the emotion has to say. This can often yield a surprising bit of information. A quietly mindful approach to emotions and feelings can provide us with a successful tool to receive whatever message needs to be transmitted.
It may also be that, given a few moments for mindful reflection, we can recognize the baseline reasons why we have this feeling. It may be other than what we have initially thought was the cause.

6. Once we’ve finished being mindful of the emotion, we can take several deep breaths. When possible, we can journal anything that arises from this mindfulness exercise.
These steps don’t need to take too long to fit into your workday, and can be immensely helpful in terms of self- awareness, regulating your reactions, and staying present. All of these skills can make us better co-workers, managers, or leaders.

Don’t Be A Freelancer

Here’s my list of the top three most disposable things in an office.

1) Last week’s leftovers in the fridge
2) Loose staples
3) Freelancers


It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, designer, or programmer. You’re there because you’re cheaper than a full time employee. You’re also easily replaceable by some other freelancer.

The upshot of it is, because you are completely dispensable, it’s easy to get bullied into accepting less than you think you’re worth.

Now, let’s flip it around, because here is my list of three most indispensable things in a business.

1) Today’s lunch
2) Great team
3) Trusted partners/vendors

That’s right. When businesses find the right partners and vendors, it allows them to focus on growing their business, while the vendors and partners play a critical supporting role.

So here comes the million dollar question. What’s the difference between a freelancer and a trusted partner?

What Are You?

A few weeks ago I ran a completely unscientific survey asking people in my Freelance Writers Facebook group if they considered themselves freelancers or B2B service providers. For those who responded, there were follow-up questions about rates and income.

By and large, this is a group that creates marketing content for business clients. They aren’t writing magazine articles for Atlantic Monthly, or proofreading academic papers for individuals.

I expected that people who viewed themselves as B2B service providers would have higher hourly rates and incomes than freelancers. What I didn’t expect was the of the 23 people who responded, only 2 (plus me) viewed themselves as service providers. 92% of my respondents viewed themselves as freelancers.

Clearly, there wasn’t enough data to compare income levels between the two groups, but it was telling that so many freelancers never really stopped to consider the job they do within the business ecosystem.

Simply put, they are a business, even if they are a one-man show. Their clients are businesses. They provide a writing service. By definition, they are business-to-business service providers. But they’ve told themselves they are freelancers.

Becoming a B2B Service Provider

So how do you break out of the freelancer mold, and become the valued service provider your clients can’t live without? Here are a few steps to get you started.

Change Your Mindset – The biggest thing holding you back is probably the idea that you are a freelancer. Until you understand and internalize that you are providing valuable services to your customers, your customers won’t understand it either.

Change Your View of the Project – Stop looking at freelance projects as standalone pieces. Find out where the project stands in your client’s scope of work, and see how you can expand into larger areas of the project. This might mean contributing something outside the scope of your engagement, but if you do it, you’ll find your client starts to look at you differently. And you could find yourself brought into other areas of the project.

Market Yourself Like a Company – This doesn’t mean go beyond your budget, but it does mean stop using generic URLs like www.wordpress.com/I-write-for-you, and start promoting yourself as a business. Invest in a URL, website, and logo. Write quality blogs, and create infographics or brochures (or go to Fiver and hire someone to do it for you) for your marketing efforts.