Please welcome my hilarious friend John from Frugal Rules, who is here today to give some insight on the easiest job in the world – working for yourself of course. 😉
What if I told you that I had found the perfect job? In this job, your workday never starts before Noon and your duties consist of watching television, snacking on Cheetos and Ding-Dongs, and playing video games. You have endless hours of personal leave and your dress code is pajama casual.
What is this awesome job you ask? Well, it’s the luxurious and never ending party of working for yourself. Truth be told, I AM sitting here in my pj’s as I write this and I do enjoy the long and arduous 8 second commute from my bedroom to my home office, but the misconceptions of working at home begin and end there. If they didn’t, I’d quickly be broke and out of the streets looking for an employer to hire my sorry butt.
Many of these misconceptions smacked me in the face recently as we had family come visit and stay with us for ten long days. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family – I really do, but this was the first time they stayed with us since I took the plunge about 18 months ago in to helping my wife run our business and they got to see, albeit on a limited scale, what goes on for a web entrepreneur most days. Some things were said that just made me want to scream, some made me want to laugh and most of them simply showed that it was something new for them and would take them time to grasp what working from home really entails.
In light of that, I thought I’d share some of the silly things they said, along with others I’ve heard over the past year or so. If you run your own business you’ve likely heard these as well. Seeing as Cat recently took the leap into working for herself full time I thought what better audience to share some of these funny and sometimes ignorant statements with than those who’ve come to know and love her writing. I’ve added some suggestions as well if you’re looking for an alternative to ignorant comments. J Here goes:
Don’t say: How long are you going to play on your computer?
Really? That’s right, my wife and I manage to put a roof over our heads and the heads of our kiddos by playing on the computer all day. I mean, after all, it’s so cool I get to play Angry Birds whenever I want AND get paid to do it. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?
Do Say: What kind of work are you doing?
For many entrepreneurs they’re likely wearing many hats and thus doing something different all the time. Take some interest as opposed to lobbing something that could be taken as a slam.
Don’t Say: Is that all the work you’re doing today?
Besides sometimes coming across as somewhat judgmental it can communicate that you think they’re not working at all.
Do Say: Boy, you have an uneven schedule!
Why, yes we do. That’s half the fun of it. We’ll likely will never mirror a traditional 9-5 corporate job schedule but we think owning and being completely responsible for what we do and create is a pretty good tradeoff.
Don’t Say: Well, you ARE home all day. Surely you have all sorts of free time.
How about I show up at your office for a playdate with three kids and think you can take a three hour lunch? While we’re at it, fancy to take in a movie as well?
Do Say: What does your schedule look like tomorrow?
Thanks for asking about my schedule. I actually have several client calls tomorrow, how does Thursday work for you?
Don’t Say: All you do is sit there all day. Do you need me to buy you some groceries?
What do you do at work all day? How much of your day do you spend sitting in front of your computer at your desk or sitting around a table in a meeting? Don’t assume I’m not working because my work is online.
Do Say: Wow. You spend a lot of time in front of that computer. What kinds of things are you working on?
Yes, I do spend a lot of time on my keester in front of this blasted computer but come sit with me for an hour and you’ll see how much I get done, even with my two finger typing prowess.
Don’t Say: You’re at home anyway, so you should be able to get this done right away.
I didn’t know you were psychic! How did you know that my schedule was completely free?
Do Say: When do you expect to get this done?
My schedule is a little free this afternoon so I should be able to get it knocked out by the end of the day or tomorrow at the latest.
Don’t Say: You work from home anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem for you to get the job done this weekend.
See response to last statement. If that’s not enough then you can always say, gee I know it’s a bit much to ask for some down time this weekend.
Do Say: This is a rush job, is there any way you can work on it this weekend?
Sure, I’d be happy to help out with that. I’ll do what I can to get it to you by Monday morning.
Don’t Say: Yes, I have four lovely kids. One is a doctor, one is a lawyer, one is an engineer. Oh…our other child works from home.
Nothing really needs to be said in response to this one, other than to say to be proud of your kids no matter what they do…assuming it’s legal of course. 🙂
Do Say: Yes, I have four lovely kids and they’re in jobs they happy with. This is what they do…
That’s awesome! It’s so cool to see such diversity in your family.
Don’t Say: Couldn’t hack it in the “real” world could ya?
If that was the real world, then I’m glad I couldn’t “hack” it.
Do Say: I’m so glad to see that you’ve been able to find something you enjoy.
Thanks, I am too.
Don’t Say: It must be so easy to work for yourself!
How’d you guess? I can’t believe more people aren’t doing it because it’s easy as pie!
Do Say: What kind of challenges do you face in running your own business?
Thanks so much for asking, there are some unique challenges, but it helps me grow.
Don’t Say: Are you scamming people or something? You’d have to in order to be making any money.
That Nigerian prince…you guessed it…I am him. Would you send the blasted money already!
Do Say: How do you get business on a regular basis?
Thanks for asking! It does take hard work, but by networking, getting your name out there, and commitment you can make a go of it.
There you have it. The crazy thing is that this is only a smattering of the things my wife and I have heard the past several years of running our own business from home. Working from home can be fun and laid back (as evidenced by my current attire of pajamas), but it does present some unique challenges. That said, I wouldn’t give it up for anything as I feel for the first time in a long, long time that I’m doing what I should be doing – which is a pretty awesome feeling.
Do you work from home? If so, what do you enjoy most about it? If not, is it something you aspire to do?
John Schmoll is the founder of Frugal Rules, a blog created to help people experience financial freedom through frugality. John is passionate about budgeting, saving and investing and enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with others so they can avoid making some of the mistakes that he made. A veteran of the financial services industry, John has an MBA in Finance and experience as a licensed stockbroker. You can find John online at frugalrules.com and follow him at @frugalrules.
Editor’s note: If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably enjoy my sassy take on things you should and shouldn’t say to a mom of twins. Just sayin’ 😉