the thinker

I have a confession to make.

I run my business from a chair.  I’m not kidding.

Writing books. Preparing speeches. Blogging. Consulting with companies from all over the world. It all happens right here.

My chairIt wasn’t always this way.  I have loved having a private, beautiful, quiet office but when I moved a few years ago, I put off setting up the desk for a few weeks as our lives settled into a new home. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. I found that I didn’t need all that stuff. I discovered that my desk was simply a place to hold photos, books, and files and I can do all of that on an iPhone.

Consequently, my beautiful desk has remained under cloth sheets in the garage for four years. I have come to embrace the simple, mobile business life. The world headquarters for Schaefer Marketing Solutions is wherever I am sitting.

By contrast, I recently visited the glorious offices of a Fortune 500 Titan. Up on the 50th floor of a skyscraper, many of the private offices had a leather couch, beautiful art, and tasteful decor. Quite a shock to my senses. It occurred to me that they really don’t need any of that stuff. Just get a good chair and wi-fi would do it, right? They could profit from living in my world for a little while!

I’ve come to take pride in this simple business approach. I can beg and borrow a meeting room when I need it. I commandeered the family dining room when I had to spread out documents, outlines, and research while writing a book. I thrive with almost no overhead. I run a naked business.

Naked on the run

We have our house up for sale (time to down-size) and the unpredictable flow of potential buyers has disrupted my nakedness. The other day I had a solid morning of interviews to help promote my new book, Born to Blog. The hub-bub of the local coffee shop certainly would not do. I needed a very quiet space. So I moved my company headquarters to my father-in-law’s house.

“Do you have wi-fi?” I asked my elderly father-in-law.

“I believe so,” he said.

At that point, I should have known this was going to be trouble … but I went ahead and set up shop any way.

He did indeed have wi-fi and I began my first radio interview, which was to last 30 minutes. As soon as I got on the call his grandfather clock started gonging. And it was noon! 12 gongs! LOUD gongs!

I grabbed my laptop, and ran out the nearby door to his back deck to escape the clanging clock.

As I was concentrating on the interview questions, a neighbor with a snow-white handlebar mustache came wandering across the yard. “Is Orville home?” he yelled.  I frantically pointed to my headphones. He looked puzzled. I guess he thought I was hooked up to my computer as some sort of hearing aid because then he started to yell loudly at me, “Is Orville home?”

I ducked back into the house. The phone started ringing. Yes, he still has a home phone. And an answering machine. But not just any answering machine. This is an answering machine that yells “The phone is ringing!  The phone is ringing!” I cannot completely explain this. I think they must have bought this off a late night infomercial or something. “My phone is ringing and I can’t get up!” Or something like that.

I ducked back outside, still towing my laptop.  Another neighbor had just fired up his riding lawn mower. I ducked back inside the house desperate to find a corner of peace and quiet.

The phone was ringing again. A voice came on the answering machine. “Orville, I just wanted to let you know there is a strange man talking to himself on your back porch. Are you safe over there?”

I ran out the front door, as a huge garbage truck came barreling down the street. I ran back inside.

Seeing me run all over the house, my father-in-law concluded that my interview must be over. “Can I make you a salad?” he asked in his booming voice. I muted the call and explained to him that I was still working. As my mother-in-law started her vacuum cleaner.

I ran into the bathroom and closed the door.  Finally, I had a quiet space. Small. But quiet. The lights flickered. And when out. The power, and the wi-fi, was gone.

Naked revisited

OK. Maybe I do need that office.

I was traumatized by this experience, or maybe I am simply looking for an excuse to treat myself to a real office again. Perhaps I was a bit hasty about this naked business thing.

As we prepare to move again — hopefully for the last time in a LONG time — I’m re-considering the idea of a big ol’ manly office. A moffice. Or, I guess “mofo” for short? My mofo — a place to escape into business bliss!

I’ve proved that I can successfully create, consult, and coach on a global scale without the trappings of leather and fine art. However, as I enter the next phase of my career, it might just be enshrined in mahogany after all.  Moffice 2.0?

How do you work? Naked or covered up? Go.

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