Do you always get the raised eyebrow whenever you say you work as a virtual assistant? This is not surprising as freelancers get a bad rap for being “unemployed” with just on-off jobs to get them by. This was during the time when much importance is given to having corporate careers, but thanks to the rise of digital technologies young millionaires often come from those who did not even finish college or best, from freelance groups leveraging on the power of the internet. Freelancers make up a wide sector of working individuals who prefer to control the way they work by not being tied down to an office set-up. Whether they do their freelancing light and easy or serious as a businessman can be, freelancing is changing the way many people choose to work.
If the people around you can’t seem comprehend the idea of you working in your pajamas or catching a TV program in between a 9 to 5 work schedule that they fail to take you seriously, maybe it’s time to professionalize your work from home job. Even though “taking things easy” is one privilege that made you decide to take this career route, professionalizing freelance work will break some bad pattern that could eventually hinder your personal growth.
Here are a few things you can do to make other people take your profession seriously.
Create your own office space at home. This will be beneficial to you and other people in the house; by letting them know you have a special place of work they will begin to respect your space. Even if working on your dinner table is just fine, your client who may later find out may not feel comfortable knowing you’re constantly exposed to distractions that can very much affect your quality of work. Likewise by having your private place in the house it forces you to “just work” whenever you’re inside it.
Lead by example. Even if you can, avoid using your supposed time for work in non-essential chores that you can otherwise do on weekends. Freelancing doesn’t necessarily mean “free” to not work but simply means having more time to do other things. Do not fall into the trap of not minding your income as a virtual assistant that you waste time doing non-income generating work. If you don’t keep this in mind you’ll be compelled to apply for regular office desk work again very soon.
Take pride in your small successes. Talk about your freelance accomplishments until you feel proud enough that others see your passion in this career already engrained in you. Not that you need to defend your career choice, but highlighting its benefits can actually enlighten them and at best, feel a little jealous. You need this psychological exercise too especially when you know that a good number of freelancers suffer from feeling of insecurity. Lift your spirit up from within.
Don’t be afraid to say no. Unfortunately, people around the house see you working in jammies as an excuse to ask you to run errands or do an unscheduled chore for them. Just say no and say you’re working. Explain that saying no doesn’t entirely mean no to the chore but “no, not today” and “yes, I’ll do that over the weekend”; this will make them understand that your seemingly casual work also needs some focus.
Respect starts from within; unless you feel that way with your freelance career then you can never expect others to give you the respect you deserve.