How to Deal With a Lack of Respect When You Work from Home

How do you deal with a lack of respect from others when you work from home?

If you own a home business, you know how it goes… Someone you’ve just met asks you, “What do you do for a living?” You answer, “I run my own business from home”. The look on their face often says what they won’t say out loud: “In other words, you’re unemployed”. They simply cannot believe that you can really make a living working from your computer at home.

How do you deal with a lack of respect? Here are seven tips.

Be more precise

1. You might want to find a better way to explain what you do. You don’t need to be too in depth, but something that most people understand. “I write web content”, or “I have a fishing blog” or “I sell paintings on Etsy.” Those are all clearer than just the phrase, “I have an online business.” They’ll have more respect for you if you’re clear on what it is you actually do. If they are a decent person they should ask you for more details. But don’t baffle them too much – let them lead the discussion by their questions.

Old traditions

2. Most people tie their self-worth to a traditional job. It’s not their fault, it’s what most of us grew up being told, to encourage hard work at school. “Get a good job and you’ll have a good life.” People still believe this, even when they hate their job, and you’re not going to change their mind. Don’t expect them to understand, and you won’t be disappointed. Not that you should be disappointed – you are making a good living doing it your way, with the added knowledge that you are in control.

Seek out other home workers

3. Find other home workers to talk to and befriend. They’ll understand the struggles and the terminology of running your own home business. If you can, find a meet-up group in your home town, or even see if anyone is interested in joining you if you set one up. It’s nice to get out of the house occasionally, network and socialize. But if not, you can still meet and talk online – Skype can be great for this but even social media such as Twitter can help.

Don’t let others take advantage

4. Learn to set boundaries. The work you do is as important as anyone else’s day job, even if they do work for a large firm in the city. Don’t let people use you for free childcare or running errands because “well, you’re home all day, anyway, will it matter?” Explain that your time is for work, be firm and stick to your decision. if you don’t respect your time then no-one else is going to.



5. You may often find that others are jealous of you. Many people would love to work from home; they just don’t know how to. Of course, their perception of sitting around in their pyjamas all day watching television is a far cry from what you really do. But they don’t know that; they don’t know the hours you put in, the decisions you make, all on your own, to ensure your business is a success. Putting you down makes them feel better about getting up and going to their horrible job every day.

Excel in your work

6. You’ve worked hard to set up your business, so why not excel at what you do. Become the local expert in your field, the person that everybody recommends. Using testimonials on your website can help show that your clients are thrilled with your work or your product. It holds more value coming from someone else than when you say how great you are, so don’t be backward in asking your clients for testimonials.

Ignore what others think

7. Most importantly, don’t base your self-worth on other people’s lack of respect. You know that what you do for a living is of value, and that your clients are happy with your work. Don’t look to other people, who have no idea about your business, to determine your worth. Be proud of what you do and others will observe your confidence. If you’re unhappy with yourself, they’ll sense that, too, and no doubt will take the opportunity to put doubts in your mind that you are the success you are. Don’t let them!

To be able to work for yourself is a dream for many people. A dream that they may have, without realising what hard work it is, hard work that you have already overcome. Enjoy what you do and don’t worry about the prophets of doom who will never understand.

The next time someone asks what you do, just smile and say, “I’m trying to take over the world.”

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6 Responses to How to Deal With a Lack of Respect When You Work from Home

  1. You’re right, working from home is really good but many people don’t understand. Another issue that we need to overcome is isolation – it’s all to easy to get cut off.
    Thanks for these helpful tips!

    • thehomeofficecabin says:

      That is a big danger Clare, and one that Nicky struggles with at times. Thankfully she has to measure up for clients several times a week, so that helps. She’s such an outgoing and friendly person that her clients love her and often come back for more curtains and blinds.

      Just followed you on Twitter – love the work you are doing!

  2. Wonderful post that gets right to the point. I have experienced many of these things, people not taking you seriously, as in it’s not a proper job. Others think you are just playing as opposed to working. The isolation part is very true, you still need to make time to get out and socialize. We have been doing that by going swimming, just make sure it doesn’t leave you sick though!

    • thehomeofficecabin says:

      I guess it all depends on the work you do at home. If it’s something that people have heard about, then I guess that helps their own perceptions. In your case Sue, I can’t imagine many people who don’t know about Internet Marketing will have any idea, lol.

  3. Great post, I see this all the time, but a big problem is also that work at home business owners in a number of instances don’t do these things as they fail to consider themselves as ‘proper business owners’ and then fail to respect their time that they should be spending on the business, by dropping everything for a coffee with friends, of mowing the lawn or putting the washing out, this then reinforces the view of others.

    • thehomeofficecabin says:

      Great point Mike – we need to have self belief in ourselves and show that same commitment.

      I’ve never mowed the lawn in work time, That’s what Paul’s for, and if any friends come for coffee then they have to chat whilst I sew. The washing is my weakpoint, although it tends to be on the line at 9 when I start work, and if it rains it’s only 5 metres from my work cabin door, so I think that’s ok. Nicky

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