“Get a Real Job!”
That one’s a doozie for sure.
And, it’s quite common for Independent Contractors, Freelancers, and Entrepreneurs from all walks of life who are just starting out in their business journey to hear this from the mouths of the most well-meaning friends and family members. And sometimes they just don’t fully understand that making an income without being an employee under the thumb of a traditional employer is, quite literally
a REAL job.
I was recently told this by someone who was not so well-meaning. It was a deliberate bomb thrown with the intent to hurt but ultimately fell flat. Did it strike at the heart of my biggest personal challenge, that good ol’ fashioned impostor syndrome that just about every freelancer encounters at some stage in their journey to personal and career freedom?
Sure it did. Albeit briefly.
Officer husband and I got a good chuckle out of it because we considered the source, as well as the irony that the person hurling the intended insult is currently unemployed.
I find this sentiment particularly true for those of us who work in the online space. I can easily see how someone would misconstrue the word VIRTUAL, in this case, to mean not real at all.
I'm sure to some, the phrase Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager conjures up images of us putting around in our PJs all day doing nothing meaningful and pretending to look busy. And I would be absolutely lying if I told you that I never wear my PJs or yoga pants & bare feet while I'm managing a client's inbox, chasing down customer payments, or scheduling social media posts. That's the super rad thing about being in business for myself. It's a tiny part of the motivation for why people working in the virtual space choose to do so. It's called absolute freedom. Our commutes may not be longer than a short walk up the stairs to the office every morning, but there is no lack of real work to be done.
I’m proud of my work and the services I provide for my clients. As a matter of fact, the work has kept me busy enough in the last several months that I’ve hardly had time to post on my social media or shoot out an email to my subscribers. I have work to do, and I don’t have time or energy to offer to any of my haters.
And you shouldn’t either. My advice to you if you find yourself on the receiving end of such negativity is threefold:
First, consider the source. In this case, my hater is currently unemployed, very bitter, and likely full of fear about their situation. Totally understandable, just not an excuse to be intentionally hurtful. I know that they almost never have anything nice to say to or about anyone any time I interact with them so it’s just par for the course.
Hurt people, hurt people. You've heard me say this before.
Once you’ve considered the source and pinpointed the reason they’re lashing out at you, let it go. Their opinions about you and your situation are none of your business. It’s not worth wasting an ounce of your energy on. After all, your very REAL job as a self-employed go-getter means you probably have a ton of work to do and don’t have a whole lot of free time to worry about what your haters think of your career choice. #makethatmoney
Second, understand that not everyone is going to “get” what it is that you do or why you do it. They may figure it out eventually and if they do, great! If they don’t, then they don’t. And that’s ok, too
Would it be awesome if our friends & family members were our biggest cheerleaders, telling everyone they know about the important services we offer, or the gorgeous jewelry, art, or other products we sell?
Of course, it would!
The reality is, that this isn’t the way the world works. So we have to just #suckitupbuttercup and keep on trucking.
What matters is this: your services and products are putting food on your table and money in your bank account. Who cares if everyone else is on board or not?
I certainly don’t. There once was a time when such a statement might have shut me down in an instant, but I’m too old and grown for that mess.
Third, use it as fuel. This is my favorite approach to the haters. Nothing is more satisfying than hearing your haters say “you can’t _____!”. Then, doing exactly what they say you can't while doing it well.
Use the negativity and adversity to drive you. It’s the best motivation ever. Trust me. When you're sitting on a beach somewhere in an exotic location reaping the rewards of all your hard work, you won't be saying to yourself "Damn. I wish I had a real job!".
Have you ever encountered this in your business journey? Need a little reminder of how to handle the haters? Download this free printable and post it near your desk or somewhere in your workspace where you can see it. Marinate on these principles the next time someone tries to drag you down. And remember, You got this!