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10 Reasons Why I Love Working from Home in Cumbria

10 Reasons Why I Love Working from Home in Cumbria Lisa Jackson, Acorn Marketing

"I was often seen as a bit of an unusual quantity working from home, but over the past few months since COVID19 has hit this has become the norm for many.

I set up my business, Acorn Marketing (Cumbria) Ltd in 2011 and it was the natural choice to run the business from my home, but this is often not the first option for individuals setting up a business, or for those part of a wider organisation. People used to find it strange how I could motivate myself to do work, not get distracted by the TV or eat endless snacks during the day (though this has become harder in lockdown!).

However, I have always loved working from home. I often toyed with opening an office, but the pros of working from home far outweighed the cons. When you’re passionate about your work, or have the weight of running a business on your shoulders and bringing in your own income is good enough motivation to find a routine and make it work. I often say I run a lifestyle business. I don’t let the business and work run my life, but use my business to facilitate the lifestyle I want.

I am originally from Cumbria, but like many 18 year olds was eager to experience ‘life’ and I moved away to the big city to study and work. I always wanted to move back, so after facing redundancy in 2010 I decided to take it as an opportunity to move home. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d run my own business, but this is the path I’ve taken and I am so pleased that I relocated back here to do so. I’ve been able to start a family (as well as my business) be near my relatives again and be part of the amazing community that is Cumbria – the people and the businesses I get to meet and work with.

I hand on heart truly believe that Cumbria is one of the greatest places to live and work in the UK and here are a few reasons why I love working from home…and in Cumbria...

1. Flexibility
One of the things I love most about working for myself and working from home is that I have the flexibility to do what I want and when I want it. I don’t have to ask someone to take holidays, or days off I can just please myself as long as I know I am doing the work I need to. I am also free to pop a load of washing on during the day while I work, or prepare tea so that can leave my evenings and weekends free to do as I please.

Sometimes if I am busy however, again I have the flexibility to choose the hours I work, so if I need to sit at my desk of an evening or the weekend I can do…I don’t have to stick to the 9-5. I am also at home to sign for deliveries or be on hand to sort household problems out.

2. Family
Working from home not only helps me, but my family too. I can be around to do the school run, attend sports day or Christmas plays. My children know that Mammy will always be there and not rushing off to the office. This has been particularly useful during lockdown having to home-school my children and juggle running the business at the same time. I think I may have struggled to do this if I wasn’t already set up for working from home. With ageing parents as well it is good to know that if they need me I am here to take care of them, or just to be around for support.

3. Surroundings
Undoubtedly one of the hands down best things about working from home in Cumbria are the surroundings. I am lucky enough to have a dedicated office space at home, which is essential, but I get to do this in a great location. I live on a nice quiet street in a lovely village outside Penrith and recently I’ve loved being able to take a walk or run in my lunch hour or in the evenings. I walk out my door and I’m in the heart of the countryside. Or to just jump in the car and five minutes later be at Ullswater Lake, for some real headspace.

I also love just driving to meet clients along some of the most scenic routes, past lakes or meandering down country lanes…I always say to myself how lucky I am to be able to do that.

4. Community
I’ve lived in London, Manchester and Liverpool, but it’s not until I moved back to Cumbria that I appreciated what was missing. In the city you may be part of the ‘scene’, but nothing beats the sense of community that we have in Cumbria. During lockdown the community has come together with many of us volunteering to look out for each other, go shopping or collect prescriptions. Knowing that you have people you can turn to if you need them is really reassuring. The business community in Cumbria is also fantastic. It is a huge county, but I know people in all four corners of it.

There are some great organisation such as the LEP, Carlisle Ambassadors, the Business Energy Cluster Group, Kind Cumbria and The Cumbria Growth Hub who all give support and have a real passion for creating a strong business community here. There is often a sense that everybody knows everybody and we all go out of our way to help one another. I don’t see people in my industry as competitors; we often pass on contacts, help each other or share ideas in best practice.

5. Opportunities
What has struck me since setting up my business in Cumbria is the vast array of businesses here. I have worked on some amazing projects and with some outstanding businesses. It never ceases to amaze me the entrepreneurship and hidden talent we nurture in this county.

Being away from Cumbria I didn’t appreciate the high-calibre range of jobs on offer here for people and the amount of innovative UK/world-leading businesses that are based here.

No two days are the same in my business and I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work in such a wide variety of industries from pudding manufacturers, biomass companies, building societies, hypnotherapists, holiday parks, shopping centres, charities, schools and be part of such amazing cultural events as well.

6. Commute
When I used to live in cities I’d often spend an hour or so commuting to work on public transport every day. Now all I have to do is walk from my kitchen to my office and I’m there! I do not miss the daily grind and feel so much more productive not rushing around, being in cramped tubes or trains or having to walk in the rain.

Cumbria is such a big county and getting to meetings can often take up a chunk of time, however I love how clients have embraced software like Zoom or Teams and I think this is going to be a really beneficial resource for having meetings going forward.

I often need to travel out of the county as well, and Cumbria is really well connected – particularly Penrith where I am based, which is right on J40 of the M6 and it’s only a two hour train journey to most major cities, which is great.

7. Culture
One of the great things about Cumbria, which I don’t think a lot of people realise is the excellent cultural offer here. I love the fact that I can dine in an a la carte restaurant, watch a west end show at the theatre, drink cocktails in stylish bars, shop in exclusive independent boutiques and go to festivals and events.

I also love the fact that I could work with any of these types of organisations as well – it’s not all farmers and fells.

8. Lifestyle
When I moved back to Cumbria it took me a while to adjust to the more relaxed pace of life. Sometimes when friends visit me now, they say they feel like they’ve gone on a mini break – away from the rat race, smog and fast paced life of the city. Working at my own pace certainly helps.

Yes, I have times when I am busier and more stressed out, but generally this comes in waves and doesn’t take over my life. The joy of Cumbria is that you can find the hustle and bustle of the city, parties and nights out, but then you can be 5 minutes away from peace and tranquillity giving you the best of both worlds.

9. Costs
Working from home has one big benefit – saving money. I don’t have expensive overheads of running an office, I get tax relief on using my home as an office, I don’t put as much petrol in my car for long commutes and I can make my lunch at home (no pre-packed sandwiches at my desk for me!)

Cumbria in general is a great place to live with lower costs of living, cheaper house prices and good wages.

10. Self-care
One of the biggest advantages of both working from home and living in Cumbria is my own self-care and mental health. Living in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK really does soothe the soul. Being able to hike up a mountain, paddle in the lake or run down country roads is something I’m really thankful for; particularly while we’ve faced this pandemic. I count my blessings that I live in such a beautiful and rural area where I have access to all this.

I often see people getting stressed about their job or business and it makes me feel so sad that they are so out of balance. I truly believe you “work to live, not live to work” and by running my own business has given me the freedom to do just that. I can be a stay at home mum, but one who runs a successful business. I can be there for my family when they need me, work on amazing projects and earn money at the same time... what is not to love!"

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