When you first tell friends and family that you’re going to pursue a work at home career, be prepared for some less than enthusiastic responses. This is normal and understandable so try not to get defensive about it.
The key is to learn how to best handle their reactions and assuage their fears. You’re going to have to plan your business out a little so that you can present them with the facts and let them see that you’re serious and you know what you’re doing.
Show Them You Mean Business
The first step is in showing your family that this is a viable business opportunity. They’re going to have heard about online money scams. Reassure them that you’re not talking about pyramid schemes or other types of scams.
By the time you’re finished with this guide, you should have a basic blueprint for your business. Before you even approach your spouse or parents (or kids) with this idea, try to map out what you plan to do in a semblance of steps.
Print out a copy for each family member to peruse.
Remember – they may be worried that you’re not going to make money, that you’re going to get scammed, or that you’re not going to be available for them anymore.
Make a FAQ page for them, and answer questions like these:
· What will my new schedule be like?
· Will I still be available for activities like taking you to ballet class?
· Am I going to shut myself off in a home office?
· Are we going to lose our house, get the phone cut off, etc.?
· How much money am I going to spend starting up this business?
Ask them for feedback. If they have any additional questions, write them down and answer them for them once you’ve had a little while to mull it over in your mind.
Never roll your eyes or belittle their concerns. You want their support during this journey, so it’s important that you make them feel like their input is valuable to you.
Answering The Common Question, “What Do You Do?”
This is a tough question and it begins once you’re no long getting up and dressed to fight traffic on the way to a J-O-B. People are going to look at you like you’re an alien – everyone from the postal delivery person to the cashier who sees you grocery shopping at 10 AM.
In-laws and your own parents and siblings might ask, “But I don’t understand – what is it you DO?”
There’s no way on earth that you can explain Internet Marketing in a quick 15-minute casual conversation.
They’re going to assume you’re a spammer because they’ve always received spam emails to their inbox advertising “work at home” money or some sort of pills that work wonders.
Reassure them that you’re not a spammer.
They may assume you’re in the adult industry – running one of “those kinds” of sites. Let them know it’s nothing of the sort.
Others may ask if you’re stuffing envelopes because they’ve seen magazine ads for that type of business in the backs of their favorite magazines.
Here’s something you can tell to the people who ask what you do as a “work at home” entrepreneur:
“I have several streams of income that I’m developing that all tie in together. One is the creation of informative eBooks, like the kind you see people reading on their Kindles. I teach people how to _______ (train their dogs, lose weight). I also operate a blog and review products for people to see if they’re worth investing money in. Sometimes I __________(service: ghostwrite, build websites) for other people. And my sites also bring in some money with ads that are on the side.”
Throwing in the Kindle brand name helps bring some “Ah yes, I’ve seen that” recognition and legitimacy.
Most people have heard of – and even admire – bloggers. This is a good way to explain your affiliate marketing and lets them view you as a helpful consumer advocate rather than a spammy marketer.
Balancing Work and Home Life
Just because work is in the home doesn’t mean that you dn’t need a slight separation of the two. To some people, trying to work amid the TV, kids screaming, and other distractions is a recipe for disaster.
Others can easily tune it out and get a lot of work down, while surrounded by their loving family members and they actually enjoy the continual interaction they have amid getting work done.
You want to make sure that you have a good balance between the two. Don’t work so much that you’re home, but never “there” for your family. It’s tempting to get on a run and work for 16 hours straight – it’s rewarding when it’s your own business that you’re pushing for.
It’s also easy to fall into the trap of lazing around the house when you work for yourself. After all, there’s no boss to answer to – no clients sitting across from you.
If your family sees you pulling this stunt, they’re going to lose faith in you quickly. You want them to see a productive worker – but that doesn’t necessarily mean a typical 8-5 schedule.
There’s nothing in the rulebook that says you have to wake up at 6 and start work at 8. You can set your own hours, as long as you have some hours to put in. You may be able to spend a lot more time with your family, putting their needs first for several hours, and sit down to focus on your work needs later in the day when everyone’s settled in.
This can be very rewarding to everyone involved. Just don’t let the scales tip so that one element of your life begins to overshadow the other. Keep track of your hours initially until you feel comfortable with your routine.
Don’t be afraid to change things up if you need to. For instance, if your usual schedule is to work from 10 AM to 3 PM, but your child is sick and you need to take him to the doctor, then rearrange your schedule to accommodate the care taking you need to work in for the day.
After all, what’s the use of working for yourself and not having to call in and ask for permission if you aren’t going to be flexible with yourself?
Setting Up a Work Space – Or Not
Creating workspace for your work at home career can vary from no space to offsite space – and everything in between, of course. It has to fit your personal working style and you may need to be immersed in working for yourself before you truly know what you’ll prefer.
Some people need nothing more than a laptop and connection to the Internet. They may sit in their favorite recliner or even wake up in bed and grab their laptop to work from.
Others rent out a space away from their home to work in. This requires a pretty substantial investment of money in the beginning, but if you have it and feel you need the separation from home, then it can help your productivity.
Many people assign a certain room of their homes to be office space. It doesn’t even have to be an entire room – it can be a corner of the room. You’ll need to determine what you need in the way of space.
Do you have an entire desk to work at? Or is a laptop holder plenty for you? Are you working with a normal sized desktop PC? You can get very small desks that don’t take up much room.
Some people like to have the following elements for their home office:
· A computer (some marketers wind up with multiple computers)
· A web cam
· Portable video device such as Flip or Kodak with tripod
· Back up storage hard drive (don’t lose your hard work!)
· Phone and fax (these are not necessary but some like to have it anyway)
Some things you want to do are make sure you’re not allowing distractions to keep you from being productive. Having the TV on might not affect you – or you could get so engrossed in the latest Headline News court trial that you’re glued to the TV more than your own business!
Making Sure You Don’t Neglect Your Duties
We all have responsibilities in life. We have a responsibility to keep our homes tidy, to take care of ourselves, to nurture our children, and to prosper financially so that we’re supporting our own families.
You have to make sure that you’re organized enough to recognize if anything’s not getting the love and attention it deserves – and that goes for your business just like your own offspring.
Make a list of personal and business tasks that you’d like to get done each day. Don’t beat yourself up if you were overzealous in brainstorming and didn’t get to cross off half of what you wrote down.
Just adjust for the next day so that you’ll know how much you can feasibly get done in a 24-hour timespan. You may find that you’ve even underestimated yourself.
WAH Doesn’t Mean Available 24/7
Here’s something very annoying that’s bound to happen to you:
You’re getting up and readying yourself for a productive work day and someone – a spouse, a neighbor, a good friend – calls and asks you to do an errand for them.
Many people assume that because you have no boss to answer to, that it’s okay to ask you to be at their beck and call.
You need to put a stop to this before it gets out of control. If you immediately respond with, “Oh, I’m so sorry – I’m working on a big project right now,” it will show them that they can’t assume you’ll be their errand boy (or girl).
If you start doing favors all around town for everyone, it will start a chain reaction that has everyone calling on you when they need you to pick up their kids or take their dry cleaning in for them or drop off their lunch that they forgot to bring to the office.
As an entrepreneur, the best thing you can do for your business is take it seriously. If you’re always doing things for others, then you won’t be building anything solid for yourself.