Working at home hasn’t had the best reputation over the years. From scams to people thinking you sit around and play on the computer all day; we work at homer’s have had it rough.
Online work isn’t traditional, you don’t need business attire or a long commute to feel professional. We are capable of working in our pajamas so that means we are lazier, obviously. Why would any legitimate, real company pay us to hang out at home?
These thoughts aren’t new, although it seems like the stigma has been getting better since more large corporations are seeing the benefits of getting rid of the expensive brick and mortar sites and hiring employees and IC’s (independent contractors) all over the country. From an employer standpoint virtual employees are a blessing, from a friend or relative standpoint work at home isn’t “real.” Here are some of the stigma’s I have heard over the years.
1. There is NO real work at home!
This statement is definitely the worst to me, especially because I know for a fact that there are a lot of companies hiring people to work at home. I find that a lot of people think back to the days of envelope stuffing and MLM scams and just assume that’s the only thing to do at home. It’s not true! You don’t need a 20 min commute and an off-site office to call people and connect to the internet. There’s software that allows you to hold meetings, ways to connect to a secure company network, phones, fax, email, etc., etc.
We live in a wonderful time where you don’t have to travel, you can have everything you need right at home. I am hoping that with the addition of big players like Apple, Microsoft, American Express, Xerox, and more large corporations, that people will start believing us when we say, “I work at home, what do you do for a living?”
2. You Can’t Earn A Real Living Working At Home!
This is the type of thing I hear when someone signed up for a few survey websites and didn’t earn that $10,000 a day they thought they would. It is true that chances are slim you will become a millionaire overnight using a foolproof system, however, you can make a livable wage and have a career working at home.
I enjoy mixing my work personally; I have a steady W2 employee job with guaranteed hours and income, and I also have a number of independent contractor jobs that I do so that I can make as much as I feel like making that month. It’s all about your preference and your skill-set. Obviously, if you are going on Odesk and bidding on penny jobs you aren’t going to make a whole lot of money, but if you make a great resume/portfolio (depending on the work) and really apply yourself you can make more than enough money to live comfortably.
It’s great getting that money in and being able to do what you want, not just what you have to, with it. I am a firm believer in multiple income streams, whether it’s a mix of employee/IC or one or the other, you can make a comfortable living with it. There are some people who managed to make millions and trust me, they worked hard for that! Which brings me to my next point,
3. You Are Just Too Lazy To Get A Real Job!
That hurts, that really hurts. Many people don’t understand that working at home is WORK! We may not have to leave our home, but we are still working very hard to earn that paycheck. In a lot of ways, working at home can be more difficult than working outside of the house; it’s definitely not for everybody.
You need the motivation to get yourself up and keep yourself going, nobody is breathing down your neck or putting you on probation if you don’t “go in” that day. You need to be organized, especially when working multiple jobs. Keeping a schedule is imperative to Wah and making sure that you keep everything straight can be difficult when you only have yourself to rely on. You need to be able to avoid distractions; it’s a lot easier to say:
“I’ll just watch an hour of TV before I start that project,” or
“I’ll do a few loads of laundry and vacuum before I start the day,”
“I have so many errands to run, I’ll get them out of the way first and meet up with friends for lunch,”
distractions don’t make you money!
You only earn what you work for and at the end of the month, it can be stressful realizing that you didn’t hit your goal because of a few distractions. Speaking of distractions, some of us wahm’s and wahd’s are watching kids while also working, if anyone calls you lazy ask them to take their kid to the office and see how well they handle it!
4. You’re At Home, That Means You Can Have Company All the Time!
This can get tricky; on the one hand yes, you are at home, however, on the other hand, you are working. It can be hard for some people to understand that we can’t just take off a few hours to hang out just because we are at home. I find that notes on the door that say, “Working, do not disturb” or “Please don’t knock, I won’t answer” are pretty important although they sometimes get ignored.
It’s not just friends and family either, recently my husband decided to sell a car on Craigslist, he works out of town so he would tell people to stop by anytime because his wife is always home. I wasn’t too happy about that, as much as I would love to pretend I know anything about cars, I have a job to do. If you stop by on my lunch break then great! But if you come by when I don’t have time and you pound on the door as I am taking phones calls or call my phone a hundred times I won’t be happy. My husband was in the dog house for that one. We had about a dozen people come look at the car in a few days and I tried to stay as friendly as possible, although it did cut into my work time pretty heavily and it didn’t make me very happy.
As nice as it is being at home, you must make it clear to people that unexpected drop in’s aren’t always the best idea. It would be like me walking into the middle of a friend’s board meeting just to hang out and talk. How about a playdate in the middle of office hours, that should be fun! I usually explain it like that to people; if you don’t want me coming down to visit you at the office, respect that my home is my office and call or text first to arrange a good time to hang out.
5. Since Your Home Can You…?
Going along with the friends who like to drop in and hang out while you are attempting to work, you will get those people who think that you can do stuff for them because you’re at home. I get so many babysitting requests and sometimes I will do it, if I don’t have a lot of work to do, but don’t assume that everyone who is at home isn’t busy.
I had a friend who would drop her daughter off without notice because she got called into work. Explaining that I work too doesn’t always get through because I’m at home, I even had my own child here, what’s one more? If you are anything like me you may have a hard time saying no, however, you should start practicing now because it is very easy to have your time taken advantage of.
It’s not just babysitting; it’s house sitting, dog sitting, elderly sitting, running errands, picking someone up/dropping them off, helping them move; the list goes on and on. It all goes along with the thought that you are at home, you aren’t really working, and you can take an hour or more off to help out a friend or relative. I’ve found it interesting how the location of where you work can either give you an excuse to not help or leave you wide open to help. Working at a brick and mortar office is a great excuse to get out of something, working at home is a great opportunity for a friend/relative to think you have plenty of time to do things for them.
I truly believe that someday working at home is going to be the new normal. The world is changing and becoming more technical and the ones who started working at home while it was still an unusual thing to do will hopefully have a leg up on the competition when the daily commute is a thing of the past. Don’t let anyone make you think that working at home isn’t a good idea, I have been doing it for years and I love it! I have also made some amazing connections! Remember, it’s all about what you put into it and your attitude just like those “real world” jobs, if you don’t put in the time and effort, you won’t make it! As much as it can seem impossible to find your way in the beginning, just remember that it can be done, and you will be successful if you have the right attitude!