“You’re always on your laptop or Tweeting!”

Do you find yourself having to justify to your family about the time you spend online?

Is your new job earning money online still in its infancy?

Are you working unsocial hours to make sure you don’t miss opportunities whilst you build up a client base?

Are your family demanding you spend more time with them and not valuing your occupation?

It’s really hard when you’re in the early days of this new life as a freelancer for your family and friends to recognise that it is a job, and that you are working.   They don’t see you heading off for work each day, and as far as they can see you get to spend a lot of time on the laptop, PC, Facebook and Twitter, which some of them do surreptitiously at work.  They use their computers for social networking and playing.  Are you sure that’s not what you’re doing?  They see you getting to hang out at home, or the local cafe, library, or park.  It looks like fun.  Meanwhile they’re continuing the daily drudge of a commute, having to please the boss and put up with some difficult colleagues, meet deadlines, fit some lunch into their busy day and then rush for the train/bus to get home in time to spend time with you and the family.  Only YOU are still on the computer!

You’ve stopped and prepared a meal for the family, and now you’re sitting together watching TV etc, and still you’re connected to Twitter/Facebook!  Surely you can put it away now, stop now.

Here are a few ideas that may help them understand:

1) In your work space/office, have a spreadsheet tacked to the wall showing your earnings each week.  Make sure it is colourful and big enough to stand out.

2) Tack a graphic illustration (such as a graph) showing your weekly earnings over the last 3 months (hopefully it will be positive reinforcement of your worth).

3) Show a list of your clients and the jobs in hand.  No need for real names if confidentiality is an issue, but Client 1, Client 2 etc.   A weekly job sheet for each client tacked to the wall, showing what you have to achieve each week for each client in order to be paid.

I went out yesterday and bought myself a couple of whiteboards, I thought it might be useful to write down my clients and what work I have to do for the week so when my family and friends (and my partner) come into the office they can see that I am working, even if that is tweeting… it’s all work!

That’s all I have for now, how about you?  What other ways are there to keep your family informed and onside?

If you’re looking for some tips on how to manage your time as a freelancer, take a look at my recent post ‘Freelancer? How Do You Manage Your Time?‘  or if you’d like to know how I manage my day, ‘A Day in the Life of a Virtual Assistant‘ might help.

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