How Do You Explain What You Do When You Work at Home?

No matter what kind of work you do from home, sometimes you’re going to have to figure out how to explain it to someone who just doesn’t get it.

This can be challenging even if you have a work at home job rather than a business. I had quite a time explaining that yes, my work as a medical transcriptionist was real work to my mother-in-law back when I did that. The idea that one could get paid for working at home in something other than daycare or direct sales was hard for her to accept somehow.

She gets it now though, even though I’m in a business that she doesn’t really understand. But I earn decent money, and that goes a long way toward reassuring questioning family members.

Home businesses can be pretty difficult to explain, even when they’re fairly traditional sorts. Go into blogging or affiliate marketing, however, and explanations get more difficult to give. Not because the work itself is so odd, but because many people just can’t wrap their minds around the concept of earning money online. The things they see online just exist, or they assume it takes a bigger business to run them.

One way to explain is to compare what you do to more common jobs. Blogging is, after all, a sort of writing. Affiliate sales can be compared to earning commissions as a salesperson, except you aren’t an employee.

Then there’s the issue of getting people to respect what you do. Some see your flexible schedule as meaning you can do as you please anytime. The fact that you need to get your work done and have a schedule on which you prefer to do it goes right over many people’s heads.

Of course, when you feel like building a little envy, you just have to mention some of the perks. Little things like saving gas mean a lot these days. Flexible hours can bring about the envy of any working parent and many people who don’t have kids. Add in your delight in whatever you do, and you may drive some questioners complete nuts.

Explain how low home business costs can be and you’ll probably have people asking how they can do the same. They’ll probably never do anything with whatever you tell them, but many will ask.

Don’t expect that no one will understand what you do. Some will, and they won’t all be in their own businesses. Having your own home business makes it easier to understand how others could earn a living from home, but it’s not an absolute requirement.

Talking to people about what you do can be a great way of bringing new people to your site. Many people are all too happy to say they know the person who runs a particular business, especially if it’s in an area they’re interested in themselves. Finding the right way to address the topic of what you do can help you to build your business.

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4 Responses

  1. I think that as our society gradually moves away from traditional 9-5 jobs, this will become less of a problem.

  2. Nicole says:

    So true! I work-at-home as a software developer and now I’m an entrepreneur with my new online business. So, now I have 2 things to explain. 🙂 It drives me crazy when people think I can just do whatever, whenever I want because I work-at-home. No, I can’t just sleep in. No, I can’t just take 5 hours off every day. Who will pay me for not doing anything? Helloooo!

  3. I definitely have a hard time sometimes explaining what I do. Any many people don’t take it seriously, but really I’m going to not worry – at least I know what I do and I’m loving my life!

  1. September 8, 2008

    […] how many times have we been asked what we do. How do you explain what you do when you work at home provides some insight into that […]

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