Lending Club Blog

The 7 Most Aggravating Assumptions about Freelancers and Working from Home

As a freelancer working from home, it’s shocking the level of ignorance most common-folk (W-2’ers) have into the lives of us freelancers. Here are the 7 most common aggravating assumptions I hear from people, and how to kindly dispel them:

1. Our Job Must Be Easy

To a worker who commutes 45 minutes in traffic each way, the fantasy of hopping out of bed and into the work area sounds fantastic. This fantasy also leads the W-2’er to most often incorrectly assume that because our fridge is nearby, that our job must be easy.

How to Dispel:

Share a story about the worst client you’ve ever had. The W-2’er will be able to relate to this. This will stem some of the jealously harbored at you.

“Yeah, I was building this website for this dead Saudi prince’s lawyer. He promised me like 15 million dollars, but I totally got stiffed on that job”

2. We Work In Pajamas

After sleeping in, this is probably the second most common assumption made about the freelance work day. This stems from every cubical dwellers fantasy about coming to work in Pajamas. Some offices even have pajama days (heavens knows why) to quench this strange W-2 fantasy.

In reality, working in Pajamas isn’t very functional or comfortable at all.

Have you tried working in Pajamas all day? One, you get really sticky sweaty. It’s quite uncomfortable after about an hour. Two, if you’re a small start-up working from home, three guys sitting around in pajamas programming all day is really awkward.

How to Dispel:

“Well, why don’t you come over some time and we’ll have a pajama party!” (Say this with a completely straight face)

3. Our Job Must Be Fun

Yeah, I just love bookkeeping, and payroll taxes and business licenses. My favorite is collecting overdue invoices! Yes, the freelancer life is all coffee shops and spending the day with my dog! (Two other myths that almost made this list)

How to Dispel:

While it’s true many freelancer enjoy their work. It’s still work. Again, a situation that the W-2 can relate to works well here.

“I had a client rip me a new one this morning. I really just wanted to cuss her out, but then I’d get fired”

4. We Don’t Start Work Until Noon

This is the most common one by far. Never mind the fact that many home start-ups have employees that come in each morning. Because we work from home, we must sleep til noon every day, right? I mean, there no way we have clients or anything on the east coast and actually have to get up for conference calls at 5am sometimes, right? Grr…

How to Dispel:

Give an example of when you did start work at noon, but also the explanation as to why. This avoids direct contradiction to the W-2’ers statement, but provides an insight into the freelance/entrepreneur life.

“Yeah, I didn’t start work ’til noon last Wednesday. But I also didn’t get to sleep until 8am the night before because our server crashed.”

5. We Must Be Filthy Rich

While this isn’t the worst of assumptions, it can still be irritating.

To many W-2 workers, running your own business surely means that you hang out with Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg. I mean, we run our own companies right…we must be wealthy!

Now, you might not always want to dispel this one, but it can come back to bit you if you don’t.

How To Dispel:

This one’s fun. If you are comfortable talking about the 2 months you lived on rice and beans to fund your business, by all means share that. Otherwise, give a few examples of the expenses most W-2’s don’t realize we have.

“I know you can’t ever remember my website, but I’d really appreciate if you’d try. I can even come over to your place and bookmark it for you. Just please stop clicking my Google Ads…”

6. We Can Always Be Available

We freelancers are always the first one asked to pick up friends from the airport during the day. Of course, I mean, we’re just sitting on the computer all day playing solitaire….we can totally come pick you up this afternoon! (Never mind the 10 sales calls we needed to make).

How to Dispel:

This one is a little difficult, because freelance work is often project based. When in conversation with a W-2 friend be sure to remind them of weekly conference calls or meeting that you have. You need to reinforce the fact that your schedule has structure to it.

“Every Friday at 2pm I have a call with Client X. Also, we made 5 new sales today, which means 5 training appointments next week!”

7. We’re Really Just Unemployed

This is probably the most rare assumption people make when you tell them you work from home (as a freelancer at least), but it stings the worst. People of course don’t come right out and say it, but you can see it in their faces.

You tell them you’re a freelance web designer and somehow they hear “unemployed and living with his mother”

How to Dispel:

Invite the doubter out to lunch. Have him or her meet you at your home office. Make sure you have at least two “employees” present working away at computers (buy some college kids lunch to be your “employees” for a few hours if needed). Wish the employees well and tell them to “make sure and have those TPS reports ready when I get back”. Have a nice long lunch…make sure to pick up the tab.

Spread the Word

Print this out and keep a copy in your wallet. Trust me, if you haven’t encountered one of these assumptions yet, you will, and you need to be prepared.

Better yet, forward this to all your W-2 friends. You might just be able to avoid these situations all together.

Now I’m off to take a shower, it’s 1pm and I’m still in my pajamas…

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Comments (10)

  1. Haha…nice list. I do some freelance work and have a full
    time job! Someone needs to make a list for us!

    April 29th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

  2. @ Tom – Full time and freelance? Yikes! You get the worst (and
    best) of both worlds!

    April 29th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

  3. Jeff:

    DebtKid, How ironic that you post this as I just announced my
    intentions to start working one less day in an office and do one
    day of ‘freelancing’ from home. My ‘Freelance Fridays’ will start
    next week and this will definitely be printed and placed in my
    wallet (next to my $100 bills) as I attempt to get on with my life!
    Thanks, Jeff

    April 29th, 2008 at 4:26 pm

  4. i actually do work in pajamas – and find it to be quite
    comfortable.

    April 30th, 2008 at 9:01 pm

  5. […] Spirit The 7 Most Aggravating Assumptions about Freelancers
    and Working from Home17 Obscure Creativity-Sparking […]

    May 3rd, 2008 at 6:03 am

  6. This is the stuff that’s on my mind, are you reading my mind? I’m
    applying this to my network marketing business, kind of the same
    thing huh? This is a really great post…

    May 4th, 2008 at 8:35 pm

  7. […] salaried and “secure” (read: bored) counterparts, so it might
    be worth brushing up on the most aggravating assumptions people
    make about freelancers working from home. If you know what to
    expect, you can prepare a witty riposte in advance. To sturdy up
    your defenses […]

    May 8th, 2008 at 11:25 pm

  8. rossc007:

    I do both and I can assure you I am far more productive in a
    working enviornment away from my TV, Xbox and extensive porn
    collection :)

    May 27th, 2008 at 8:33 am

  9. […] ideas and content I wish to add here, but it’s not an
    efficient use of my time. My really good post ideas usually go to
    Lending Club […]

    June 2nd, 2008 at 3:37 pm

  10. Mind reader! I’m with you on the pyjamas thing. In fact, being
    properly dressed makes me more productive. Just answering the phone
    in pyjamas is just plain wrong to me!

    June 4th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

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