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How To Deal With “The Comments”

Whether you are a virtual assistant, a writer or any other type of wahm (or wah dad), you have heard the occasional “comment”. You know the ones. We’ve all heard them.

“Can you do fill-in-the-blank for me because you’re at home and I have to work?”

“It must be nice to be home all day with your kids.”

“How is that little internet thing going.”

“You just play around online all day.”

Sometimes, it goes in one ear and out the other. Sometimes, it gets under our skin. The problem is that people like that are just never going to get it. With friends and family, you can just politely change the subject instead of trying to explain what it is that you do all day for the millionth time. With strangers, you can think up some witty reply.

Maybe “I can’t do fill-in-the-blank because it will interfere with my nap” or, how about the popular, “I invented the internet. It’s going pretty good.”

Sarcasm aside. The problem can be either avoided completely or nipped in the bud before you go postal in your own living room. But, what do you do if a client has that perspective?

Unfortunately, I had this happen to me recently. A friend, former co-worker and potential new freelance client said, “I thought you would be so much less expensive per hour because you work at your own convenience. I mean, you don’t have to come in to an office so it should be cheap”. Hmmm.  Really? This is what you think? Now, I should tell you that I worked for him 10 years ago and he still tells his current office staff on a weekly basis, “Lisa would have done it this way” (which they must hate). He thinks that I am “the BEST web/internet/all around amazing person in the world” – and that’s a quote. Yet, he somehow thinks that I would work for HALF of what I did a decade ago – just because I am at home! I am no mathematician but that just doesn’t add up.

I think I typed out seventeen email responses (some very … er, impolite) before I decided on what to say. Here was my response:

“I work away from home until 2pm most days and then from 9pm until the wee hours of the morning. I don’t know if I would call that convenience – LOL! I sure prefer sleep. I work just as hard virtually as I would in the office. Probably harder because there aren’t any interruptions. No emergency phone calls, no one stopping by with coffee to chat…”

Obviously, that’s not the most professional response, due to the fact that we are personal friends as well, but the point is, stand up for yourself.  Do not let anyone, friend or foe, talk down to you or assume you work for cheap. Jot down a few responses to the “comments” and keep them in a word doc so that you can quickly refer to them during a Skype call. Knowing your answers in advance can help you respond with confidence and without skipping a beat.

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