When I found out I
was pregnant last year, I knew that there was no way I could spend
10-12 hours away from my baby every day in traffic and at work.
Yet, I needed to work for financial reasons, and I also happen to
still love what I do after all these years.
One year later, I do my daily shows on 95.9 The Fish and 99.5 KKLA
from my home studio, along with VO. And maybe you could, too! I've
heard from a lot of moms that are interested in trying this, so I
wanted to break down how I approached my boss with this idea, what
equipment I’m using, and how it works out on a daily basis. I’ve
also met some fantastic women who also make it work from home, so
I’ll share some of their insights, too.
1. The Ask
If you work in Christian radio, chances are you are already with a
company that is family-oriented. If the reason that you would like
to try transitioning to a home studio is to spend more time with
your kids, I encourage you to share your heart with your boss.
Radio is still a business, however, so you must also show that what
happens on the air and your commitment to doing an excellent job
will not suffer. Start laying the groundwork today by being the
best employee at the station! I am fortunate that I had almost 4
solid years in the office at Salem, so they knew that I was always
on time and getting everything done without having to be “nudged.”
You might also put together a proposal that details what you would
like to do, and address questions like these: Will you be live or
tracked? If you track, who will load everything in at the station
if you mp3 your breaks? Will you work from home every day, or a few
days a week? Will you do your show at the station, but then take
client calls and do production at home? If you are tracking, what
time will you get the log? In my case, I’m at home every day, and
then I come in and do my show from the station when we have
fundraisers (about once a month). I also do 1-2 station events a
month, such as concerts.
Something else to consider is taking a cut in pay. Most companies
just assume that they will pay you less if you are not in the office
every day. If you are able to do that, that is a HUGE motivator in
a company saying yes to something new. Plus, you will save money on
gas, car maintenance, and work clothes, since you can now “commute”
in your pajamas. I love what Ruthie J from Reach FM said: Basically
it came down to the fact that I can give more to the station if I
can include hours out of the office and manage them at my own pace.
Remote log-in has been necessary as well as having audio editing and
recording capabilities at home. The big issue, though, was coming
to the understanding that 1) I am able to give more to the station
if I'm allowed to from home and 2) the station benefits from my
extra hours. It's been a win-win for all of us and a true blessing
for me! And that brings up something else that makes it easier for
your boss to decide this is an awesome idea: You buy the equipment,
or as much of it as you can. That way, too, if it doesn’t work out,
you still have your studio and can take on other jobs. And please,
please, please….get it all in writing, so there aren’t any surprises
for you or your company. And after all of this, if the answer from
your employer is still no, you can always pursue tracking
opportunities with companies that are already using independent
contractors. I can even recommend some of those to you.
2. The Equipment
Most folks that I know who work from home do so in their walk-in
closet. If you have carpet, it is nearly perfect as is. My friend
Frankie Di Vita uses her closet as her VO booth, and then edits
everything at her desk in the adjoining bedroom. We have zero
closet space, so we looked into buying a booth. Besides the fact
that they are tres expensive, I was also told that I would run out
of air in about 10-15 minutes, which wouldn’t work for a show, so
that was the end of the booth. Here’s a great idea for you, if you
don’t have closets, either, and a booth won’t work: Beth Warden
purchased an older, Narnia-style wardrobe, lined it with foam, and
then built a work station inside.
My hubby came up with the idea of turning the bathroom off of our
son’s room into a studio, since he won’t be needing it for a little
while. The hubbs ripped out the vanity and toilet, and we hung some
thick curtains from Bed, Bath, and Beyond over the window and
shower. My desk is where the sink was, and the walls are covered in
bright orange foam. I use a Behringer Board, Electro-Voice RE-27
mic, and Mackie speakers. My computer is on loan from Salem, and I
log in to the station from here to run NexGen. I use Vegas for
editing VO. I also drink tons of caffeine, which seems to make
everything run smoother.
3. The Daily Routine
How will you focus on work if you have kids? When I was pregnant, I
assumed that that Baby Dallas would be peacefully napping or playing
quietly by himself while I was working. Oh, how innocent I was! I
realized that that was not going to happen about 30 minutes after he
was born, and started texting everyone I knew for babysitter
references. Since I don’t need someone for 8 hours a day, I have 3
different ladies who wanted part-time that come in during the week
to watch my little munchkin while mommy is upstairs doing her
shift. The Fish and our listeners deserve respect and my full
attention while I’m working.
So what will you do? If your kids are in school, you are all set.
If you’re tracking, you might be able to get it all done while the
little ones are napping or after they go to sleep. Or, like me, you
might need someone to care for them, or they could go to daycare.
After my sitter arrives, I prep and go through email. I may have
already updated Facebook and Twitter at this point, and I blog at
least once a week. My shift is 10-3, and when I finish that I talk
to clients, go through email again, and prepare everything for the
next day. One other thing that I do is check the studio right
after I wake up. If there are any computer or internet problems, I
know that I”ll be heading in that day to work from the station.
You might consider tracking some emergency breaks for those days
(and they will happen!) when everything crashes.
One last thing I”ve discovered is that working from home can be,
well…a little lonely. Invite some of your girls over, get baby out
for a music class, or at least keep in touch with friends online.
I”d love to connect with you and answer any questions you might
have! You can reach out to me, and also see the kinds of things the
listeners and I talk about online, by going to
www.fish959.com/lara. My email, blog, FB and Twitter are all
linked from there. If working from home is your goal, I hope you go
for it and share your success story with me!
Lara Scott is the midday personality on KFSH/Los Angeles (95.9
The Fish). Scott’s voice has been heard on programs for Bravo, VH-1,
and WE, the Olympic Encore on Universal Sports, commercials for the
WOW Worship series and Beth Moore, promos for the Way-FM Radio
Network, plus 12-Inch Saturday Night 80’s Dance Party and in-flight
programming for Delta Radio and Air Force 1. Scott has been
featured on the popular radio industry websites HisAir.net,
LARadio.com, Christianitytoday.com, AllAccess.com, and R&R.