Freelancing, independent contracting, working from home are all terms that relate to some freedom of choice when it comes to employment. No more is there a time clock to punch; no more is there a boss breathing down your neck… Every freelancer, independent contractor and home worker has their own favorite reason for why they enjoy this type of employment and everyone would be able to tell of at least one downfall of working from home. For most of them that one downfall would pertain to family members, relatives or friends who do not respect their employment.
As a freelancer you are in a very special position. You need to know your craft. You need to be an efficient manager of your time; and, you need to be the ultimate diplomat.
You may not be viewed as a business professional by family members, friends and even the community at large. Too often well-meaning family members who are unemployed or retired will seek your companionship believing that you, like them, would be interested in having “something to do.”
So, how to you get these people to take your seriously? Let’s look at some ways that you can help people understand that you are working even though you do not leave your home and you do not punch a time clock.
1. Let people know that you have set regular hours. It’s easier for a friend to know the hours you typically work so they can feel free to call you for a chat during your ‘off hours.’ Then, since most phones have a caller ID feature, screen your calls and do not answer a call from someone who just wants to socialize.
Listen to their message and call them back during your designated “lunch break” or in the evening. If you do this often enough, they will come to understand that interrupting you during your work day at home, is just like interrupting someone at another job.
Also, if you change your schedule and want to have some social time during the week when you would usually be working, let your friend know ahead of time and that this is a one-time-deal not a regular occurrence.
2. Shower and dress every day. Nobody takes anybody seriously if they’re lounging in their pajamas all day every day.
3. Brand yourself and your product and services: Develop a web site, create and distribute business cards, promote your business on social networking and business networking sites. The more you consider yourself a “business person” the more others will, too.
4. Finally, keep your sense of humor. You went into this business because you want to enjoy yourself. So, sometimes just roll with the punches. If you can’t ever enjoy the career you’ve chosen, it’s not worth it.