GET PEOPLE TO TAKE YOU (AND YOUR BUSINESS) SERIOUSLY
Do well-meaning friends and relatives ask you when you’re getting a “real” job? Do they try setting you up with interviews? Just pop by your house in the middle of the day because you’re “not doing anything?” Or – my favorite – do they ever comment on how easy your life must be now that you’re “not working?”
Being an entrepreneur – especially if your business is online – seems to give everyone license to question your work ethic. Unless you’re sitting in an office, slaving away on a computer all day, people don’t want to take you seriously.
So, what is it about home-based businesses that allows others to feel like you don’t work as much as they do (or that you don’t work at all)?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that they treat you that way because YOU LET THEM. If you’re like me, you get embarrassed when someone asks you if you’ve been looking for work. You feel sheepish when you admit that, no, you haven’t been setting up interviews. You allow them to make you feel inferior.
If you want others to take you seriously, you must take yourself seriously. So, here’s how to make it clear – to yourself and others – that your business is no joke:
Set Clear Boundaries
Creating a space (and the time) for your business can be hard when you work out of the home, but it is the number one thing you can do to ensure success. Make yourself a designated work zone, even if it’s just a little corner in your bedroom, and don’t allow anything (or anyone) else into that area. Set up a desk or table, ensure that you have all the proper supplies, and for the love of God, shut the door! Everyone needs to know that when you’re in that space, it’s your work time, and you can’t be disturbed. Hang up a sign if you need to!
Make a Schedule
It’s unrealistic to think other things will never pop up but making a schedule helps you stick to your goals and be more productive. For example, if you do your best work between 10 am – 2 pm, set that time aside for business: schedule doctor appointments, parent-teacher conferences, and phone calls around it. And if an unexpected visitor pops around during your busy time, (nicely) tell them to go away. You’re working; they can come back when you’re free.
Dress for Success
The COVID-19 pandemic and month of quarantine have led us all to adopt some questionable habits. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I stay in my sleep clothes all day long. I’ll also admit that not only is it a gross habit, but it’s not at all conducive to work. Staying in joggers all day makes me feel lazy and relaxed, and it also causes others not to take me seriously. Getting dressed not only helps you feel more productive, but it signals to others that you’re in work mode.
When someone asks you about your business – or when they suggest that you don’t have one – be sure of yourself. Even the best of us can become tongue-tied when we’re put on the spot, but knowing your value and how to express that to others is vital. Take the time to work on your elevator pitch and know what to say when talking about your business. Be proud when you tell people what you do!
Make Some Money!
Lastly – people will take you seriously when you’ve got something to show for all your hard work. Running a business isn’t easy. Finding new clients isn’t easy. And, sometimes, getting them to pay you isn’t easy. But nothing makes your hard work more evident than having a full roster and the money to show for it. You may not be there yet, but if you keep working hard and taking yourself seriously, you WILL be a success.