How to Convince Others That Your Online Business Is a Real Job
Are you ashamed of wanting to work from home? Or get strange looks when you tell people that you have an online business?
Well, you’re not alone. Here are some tips to help you get past this shame and give you the confidence you need to keep moving toward your dream (whether others believe in it or not).
Maybe you have a degree or a position at work that you tried really hard to get, and you finally got it. Everyone around you was supporting you during that pursuit and giving you encouragement.
But once you got there, something inside you wasn’t sitting right. You yearned to be your own boss and be able to be home with your kids. How can you even bring it up that you want to quit and work from home?
“Hey honey, remember how you put up my crazy long hours working for 6 years in grad school? Well, I’m going to work from home now doing something completely unrelated to my degree. 🙂 ”
That was me. I have my Ph.D., and it was NOT an easy road to get it. All the while, people around me hearing me say that I just don’t truly enjoy what I’m doing. I finally figured out that the thing that was missing, the thing that I was longing to do, was own my own business. Be the one calling the shots. Having the success of the business ride on my ability to make it work.
So, I decided to start my own online reselling business and work from home.
You can imagine how people respond when I tell them that I have a Ph.D. and I sell gently used items on ebay and Poshmark (initiate confused looks).
“Wait…you have a Ph.D., and you’re going to do what??”
“Why would you just throw away all you’ve worked for?”
“Is everything ok? If you need someone to talk to, I’m here.”
At first, I felt kind of embarrassed or ashamed to tell people why I was quitting my job, but more embarrassed to tell them what it was I planned on doing for a business.
But then I realized that there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
People in society today hold a very high value on formal education and less value on entrepreneurship (especially the kind selling items on the internet). But they have NO IDEA what amazing opportunities are online and the job security (yes I said security) you have in working for yourself.
So here are 5 things you can use to help you craft the perfect response when someone asks you “So what are you doing now?” that will make you feel proud of what you’re pursuing.
1. Think of creative ways to explain your new business.
What you call your new business idea can really make a difference.
If I say “I’m going to sell on ebay”, then I get a completely different response from when I say “I’m starting an online reselling business” or “I am starting an e-commerce store.” There is just something different about the way those sound.
To help with this, think of positive words that describe what you’re doing.
Are you a blogger? Then you might say that you are developing an online business to new moms.
If you sell things, think of words like: online business, boutique, store, e-commerce, etc.
Once you have this list of words, figure out the best way to describe what you’re doing that is both accurate and positive.
2. Come up with ways that your online business is actually using your training.
On the surface, it looks like I am shifting gears completely and forgetting about all of my training, but if I dig a little deeper, my training is going to make a HUGE impact on my ability to run a successful online business.
I need to be organized, be detail-oriented, be able to solve problems and think of innovating solutions, study and research new products, evaluate market trends, and the list goes on. All of these things sound like something you would hear from a legit business. Because you DO have a legit business!
I encourage you to do a little self-reflection. Look at the skills you have from your schooling, hobbies and current job and write them down. Now, write down how each of these skills will help you successfully work from home (think organization, time management etc), find items to sell on eBay or other platforms (think research skills), have great customer service, etc.
3. Throw in your “why” for doing this kind of business
I don’t know about you, but there are a ton of reasons for wanting to have my own online business. I’m sure you’re the same way. You aren’t just doing this on a whim. There is something driving this pursuit of yours.
For me, it’s my son. I never thought I would want to do anything other than work in the academic world. Then I had my son. Suddenly, priorities changes and what I wanted looked a lot different. Being able to spend more time with him is a HUGE reason for me pursuing my own business from home.
Another big one is simply that I want to see what I can accomplish. Working a salary job and climbing the ladder requires very long hours and trading time for money. That means that to make more money, you need to work more hours. You can see where that is going.
So what is your why? If you need help figuring that out, I wrote an article on that which you can read here.
Once you have your big why, then hold onto that. It will shed a whole new light on this new business of yours and really give it value.
4. Provide some evidence for “proof of concept” that it will work when you can pursue it full time
Like any career move, you should have a good reason for making that shift. Normally, this would be something like the new job is a promotion, has less hours but you get the same pay, or you are getting a pay raise for doing the same job you’re doing now.
Notice how essentially everything is wrapped around how much money you make.
While some may say (including myself), that “the money doesn’t matter” or “I’m not in it for the money”, the money does matter at some level. You have bills to pay and a life you are dreaming of having for your family. Wanting more money to pursue a life you’ll love ISN’T a bad thing.
The same thing applies to your new business venture.
Hopefully, you have been trying it out as a side hustle for awhile so that you have figured out how successful you will be at it.
For me, I have been selling on ebay super part-time (like 0-10 hours a week) for 2.5 years. During that time, I have figured out that I can consistently sell ~$1000 a month on ebay and bring home a profit of ~$500 a month.
When I tell people that, they are always really surprised.
This for me is the data/proof that I need to feel confident in my transition to full time.
In your own business, look at the numbers. What have you been able to accomplish working on it part time? This will be amplified when you can do it full time.
The goal here is to make it look less like you’ve made an irrational decision and more of a calculated one.
5. Say your answer with confidence.
With all of these things, I hope that you can see that your business pursuit is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s pretty amazing. There are so many people that would love to be able to do what you’re doing. They just don’t have the courage to do it.
So say your answer with confidence.
After all, people won’t respect it if you don’t even respect it yourself.
I have started doing that and when I do, people’s tone instantly changes. They actually become interested in what I’m doing an even ask how they could potentially try it themselves.
Now, these 5 things will definitely help you in traversing conversations with strangers and colleagues (even family) about your new online business pursuits, but don’t get me wrong. You don’t HAVE to explain yourself to anyone.
It’s your life and what you do with it is completely up to you. But I know it can be discouraging to try to tell people that you are pursuing this dream only to have their response be less than enthusiastic. This can put doubt in your mind and that can lead you to second guess why you are doing this in the first place.
Dont’ let that happen!
Take these 5 tips and craft your amazing response so that you can continue to be motivated and proud of what you are doing.
You are making HUGE strides toward living the life you want. Don’t let anything get in the way of that.