Why is it some people JUST DON’T GET IT?
Your significant other, mum, dad, neighbour, aunty Mary (everyone has one of those). Love them madly, but they just can’t get their pretty heads round what it is that you do.
It sometimes feels like they just don’t believe that you actually work. There’s an idea that you’re always available for dog sitting, airport pick ups, coffee mornings or endless questions about nothing super important (my stock response is usually: Ask Aunty Google – she knows EVERYTHING).
Just because I’m not in an office
Internally you’re screaming (if it’s your family or an unsuspecting customer services rep, you may ACTUALLY be screaming) “I haven’t got time for this! Just because I’m not in an office, it doesn’t mean I’m not working!”
How is it they don’t understand that you’ll finish more quickly, and so be more available if they just leave you alone?
Why don’t they respect that this is still working, not just surfing the net or checking Facebook?
If you’ve ever tried to explain what you do to someone outside our self employed world, you’ll know it’s not always easy. And, it’s usually the people closest to you who have the hardest time understanding what you do.
Honey, I’ve been doing this for 6 years and they still don’t know what I do. Don’t sweat it.
But what about a proper job?
A client told me she had been visiting family and told her aunt about her new business. After a few minutes the aunt patted her on the hand and said sympathetically “Well, you can always get a job in a bar!”
So many times I hear from my one to one clients that they have had to rationalise their business to people who either didn’t understand or didn’t believe it could work.
Things like “when are you going to get a proper job?” even though my client was the main supporter of her family at times!!
It’s particularly hard for people from another generation or those lacking entrepreneurial spirit to understand because they are accustomed to and familiar with the traditional way of working.
You may not realise it but we are paving the way of modern working. You’re a pioneer who’s not ready to settle for a way of life that fits like a pair of too tight skinny jeans. You wanna take the risk because you don’t wanna look back one day and say: if only I’d…
But, to many this just looks like a big hairy risk because it’s not like a traditional, safe, office job with a regular pay cheque (like that exists anymore!).
So, getting pissed off with people for not understanding this is kinda pointless. They simply can’t understand. And, that’s ok. It’s just like most things in life like moving country, buying a house, having children, or getting a dog. Until you’ve done it, you haven’t got a frickin’ clue.
So, how to deal with the “Could you just…” brigade?
The easiest way round it is to take yourself out of the situation – go to a cafe, work in the library, find out about shared workspaces if you’re near a reasonable sized town or city.
Or get in first
If that’s not possible get in first and set some boundaries.
- If you have space, create a place that is just for your work. Shut the door and put a ‘DO NOT ENTER. Master at Work’ sign on ya door.
- Set working times – and let everyone know what they are. This helps you keep on schedule too so that your work day doesn’t creep into your down time.
- Be strict – it’s up to you to set your boundaries and stick to them. You might feel like you’re being a bitch at first but this will actually give you MORE time in the long run
It boils down to this one key thing: Respect your own time and others will too. This is crucially important but you’d be surprised how few people actually do it.
Once you’ve got everyone else in order it’s time to take a long, hard look at your own behaviour.
If you take the kids to school at 8.30, it’s unlikely you’ll start work at 9.00am and if you say you will and then consistently miss your “deadline” you’ll end up feeling stressed ALL DAY.
Write down all of your immovable commitments and then fit your working time around them.
It’s doing this that helps me keep to my 30 hour (MAX) week. This exercise helps you get super honest about where you’re spending your time and how long each task takes, and how you’re wasting it. The results may shock you into better time management so do it!
Give yourself a break
Yes you have things to do but don’t fall into the trap of working every.single.day or through the day without stopping to chill for a bit. I’ve been there and it’s not pretty or healthy and you don’t get a prize for it. Take control and make your business work for you, not the other way round.
Find your tribe
Other entrepreneurial spirits on the same crazy journey as you are everywhere!
Mixing with them will help you realise that you’re not totally nuts, you’ll get unwavering support and a whole lot of expertise from your new buddies.
Mostly, they’ll talk with you all day about ideas and plans and help you figure out the answers to those crazy ‘Do you think I should do *this* or should I try *this way*? (anything from auto-responders to client testimonials to the branding on your site) questions jamming in your head.
Go to in person networking groups or find them online at membership sites or on your favourite social network.
Over to you
What do you find works for you with putting up boundaries or working around other people? Comment below and share your experience, advice and tips.
Need more help?
If you’re struggling to clear Book yourself a Clear Strategy session with me and we can discover how you can make your business fit around your lifestyle, not the other way round. And possibly prevent you from shouting at those customer service reps 😉