The other day I shared how I struggled with people thinking I had a bunch of free time on my hands because I was home. Whether I was working or not I was seen as available because I did not have to clock in or out at an established business front. Do you struggle with friends or family thinking your time is more flexible than it really is or that your time is open because you work from home?
How it makes the work at home person feel:
A person who works from home feels disrespected and like her time is not seen as important. It causes her to resent the person asking for the flexibility or the favor. It makes the work at home professional feel like their work is not valid.
What a home based professional can do:
If you find that others assume your time is open and ask you for continual favors you will need to find a way to put a stop to it. First, take responsibility for times you accepted to do favors during business hours. If you have made yourself seem open to using time for the needs of others then you caused this image. So how do you dig yourself out of the hole you dug or that was dug for you? Simple. Be honest. Just let others know that you have office hours and during those times you only take office calls and cannot do favors. Just tell them you are sorry but business is busy and you need the time to focus on it. Let them know that you are happy to help but can only during certain times or just to call and you will let them know.
Don’t worry about backlash. Most will be thrilled that your business is growing and you need to work on it. You see, for the most part people are not trying to abuse your time. They simply treat your business as you treat it. If you have established that your business is a sideline or that you have ample free time then they will naturally ask you for a favor. Be thankful that your friends see you as someone who they can trust with favors. Thank them for the opportunity to serve them as a friend. They will respect your business and your time if you establish the right image. As a homeschooling mom of four with a writing career and a business I never get asked to do favors. I now have to seek people out and let them know I am willing to help. I actually missed being someone who they called on for help. Once my friends saw how busy I was and how hard I worked they naturally stopped thinking of me as free and available. Bottom line, just be honest and let them know you are busy, respect your time and treat your business professionally, and still be a good friend and offer to help when you are available.