My husband and I run our own business from home. He is a photographer, specialising in landscapes and architecture, and together we work on ideas for ways of making a living - organising exhibitions, running workshops, and selling prints and greetings cards. This is his website.
We like the life we have and wouldn't swap it, even though it can sometimes be a struggle.
So, what are its advantages? Well, personally, I don't miss the stresses and strains of office politics or aggressive, power-hungry bosses, even if I do get misty-eyed when I remember the monthly payslip...
And I don't envy our neighbours when I see them drive off to work at 8 am. Given the cost of fuel at present, I do wonder how many hours a week they have to work just to be able to afford to get there in the first place.
And there are the little things. We can beat the crowds, by going out to places during the week, when there are fewer people around. We get to decide our own hours and can, if we wish, saunter into town for a coffee occasionally, when we feel like it. That's the theory.
But this lifestyle is also fraught with hazards, some of them almost serious.
Cash-flow for one. The work may be flowing in, but that doesn't mean the money necessarily follows in a hurry. This can put serious pressure on the bank account: will we be able to pay the mortgage on time? Happily, the answer is usually 'yes', but there have been times...
And there are more creeping dangers. We gave up the idea of weekends long ago, because we could opt for days off during the week instead. But it can be very easy to let work seep into that designated time off when you are responsible for generating every penny of your own income yourself.
But there is a lighter side to the perils of this kind of self-employment.
Some of our neighbours*, on the somewhat flimsy evidence that we might eat breakfast at 8.30 on a week day, seem convinced we're living in a state of semi-retirement! This has occasionally led to perfectly innocent comments, such as 'But of course, you have much more free time than we do.' Well, actually, no. No.
The high point, in a comic sense, of our work-related encounters with our neighbours came when my husband's first book was launched by our wonderful local independent bookshop, Cogito Books.
A lovely man from along the street came over and asked me: 'So, do you do any work?' (Italics his, not mine). I explained politely my own role in the photography business, but resisted the urge to tell him that we were both working ten hours a day, seven days a week.
I thought it was very funny. I did, honestly, or I wouldn't be telling you the story. The fact is that this man is a retired farmer - most probably used to getting up in the dark and doing very physical work for long hours - and therefore probably wasn't persuaded that what I do for a living is actually honest work. Perhaps it isn't.
We enjoy the life we have. True, it has its drawbacks, but we don't complain. This is the life we have chosen and we wouldn't change it for the world. True, it will never make us rich. In fact, another photographer friend once joked that the surest way of making a small fortune from this sort of thing... is to start off with a large one!
Boom-Boom, as Basil Brush would say.
* I would stress that we get on really well with all our neighbours. The whole street has a lovely feeling of community about it, and everyone knows everyone else's name. We're very lucky to have that.