How to Talk to Your Family about Working from Home
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” –Epictetus
When you first realize the possibilities about working from home, it’s normal to get super excited and believe everyone else will be too. But often times the family isn’t as happy as you are, or as trusting. As a retiree, you likely have a spouse, grown children, and grandchildren. Everyone will want to get into the act, as Jimmy Durante would say.
What you should do to Help Your Family Understand Your Dream
Your family may think it’s just a pipe dream, or worse, a scam. They haven’t done the research you have, so they do not realize the true possibilities and potential surrounding the idea of working from home. It is a challenge to communicate your discovery to them.
- Provide Your Research to Them
Many times your family just cares about you so much that they simply want to protect you. But, if you show them the research that you’ve done, they may quickly realize that you’ve done your homework, and that you’re not going to fall for a fraudulent scheme.
- Give Examples of Others Doing It Successfully
More than likely, at this point you have a circle of influence that includes work-at-home success stories. Let your partner and family in on the fact by talking about how so-and-so is making x dollars and all from working from home. Explain what they do, and put the bug in their ear of the possibilities and potential.
- Write Out a Business Plan
Banks want business plans to ensure that you’ve looked at all aspects of the business you plan to run. They want to see the numbers, and how you plan to make more money in the short term and the long term. Your family will feel better seeing these numbers, too. Even if you don’t plan to get a loan for your business, showing them everything down on paper will impress them.
- Transition Slowly, Timing Is Everything
Don’t expect everyone to be on board from day one. The idea takes time to sink in for some people. They are motivated by concern for you. Spouses fear what they don’t understand and not everyone is entrepreneurial or likes taking what they see as risks.
Even though telecommuting has been around a while, it’s still rare enough that people are shocked to find out that their home shopping orders, or pizza orders are being taken by someone in their home office.
- Work after Hours to Show Them the Money
If you’re not getting any place with discussion, you might want to start working after hours to show them the money. Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character in the movie, Jerry Maguire, had it right. People think differently about many things when they see the cash. If you have a spouse or family like that, you can work around their schedules doing something to earn money and then show them by paying for something fun, like a family vacation.
- Grandchildren Need to Understand Your “Office Hours”
You’re going to have to talk to your grandchildren a lot about work time. Many homes with grandparents are taking care of their grandchildren during the day. This is especially true in the summer months during school vacation.
You might even have to have a talk to your spouse about the importance of quiet time. It’s a myth that you can work in chaos and constant interruption. You need a place you can work, and that people realize to leave you alone when you’re doing it. You can use a sign on the door, timers, and other incentives to get everyone on board.
- Make Your Family into Partners
As they start to get on board with the idea of your working from home, reward them by making them part of your business. You can hire family members and spouses on a contracting basis and pay them, and deduct if from your business taxes. Plus, they will start making money too and that will make them really get on board.
Children can file, spouses can sometimes do what you’re doing or offer technical help. They can ship products and help you with “Shoe Leather” marketing.
Click the video below for “Shoe Leather Marketing.”
- Keep the Lines of Communication Open
The most important aspect of talking to your family about working from home is to keep the lines of communication open at all times. You want to be honest with what is working and what is not working, and you’ll be surprised at how much your family is on your side with the goal of your working from home.
- Keep the Faith
It takes time to develop a business. Family can sometimes be a hard sell, but it’s not because they don’t love you. It’s because they do love you. Also, sometimes it’s just because they just don’t understand what working at home means. Lead by example and show them what you are doing and why it is important to you. You will find they will eventually share your faith in yourself to succeed.
Key Resource: “Home Business Tax Deductions: Keep What Your Earn,” by Stephen Fishman. A primer on legitimate tax deductions you can make in your home-based business. It includes how to hire your spouse and children on a contract basis. But you have to have the paperwork in place in order to qualify. As always, consult with your tax expert on how to do this. This book will give you an understanding of the issues involved and know the questions to ask. Click here for the book.