The Importance of Being Honest

Ok so it probably doesn’t bode well, my first blog post and I’m making a pun out of the great book title by Oscar Wilde…I hope you’ll stick with me anyway. 

Last week I had an embarrassing situation crop up between me and one of my clients who hadn’t visited my work premises before, I won’t go into the whole story which involves me hiding under a desk, in jogging bottoms and my boyfriends jumper n.b. not my normal work attire, was feeling a bit poorly. The end result was me being embarrassed about working from home and embarrassed for my client learning the “truth”, that I didn’t have a huge shop front with space for three sofas and a coffee machine and tens of employees working on brand new shiny macs. The truth is, I used to have an office when my good friend and I worked together – they re-carpeted the building dark brown and made it look like a 60’s throwback office building, I didn’t like it all that much and now I work from home, a home that I have bought and work hard to keep.

All of the above made me a bit sad, I felt like moving out of the office had been a step back rather than forwards and that I’d lost respect with my clients, especially topped by two potential new clients ringing up and expressing their hatred for people who work from home.

Andy Clarke from Stuff and Nonsense decided to give me a bell out of the blue and teach me something very wise, that was that working from home is a filter for new clients and we shouldn’t be apologetic for working from home. If someone is not going to understand that you don’t sit at home watching LK Today ,playing Wii all day, and that you do actually work hard for a living, then they aren’t the type of clients you want to be attracting anyway, so let them pass by.

Today the phone rang, potential new client and then came the sentence I always dread “How about I come to your office and we can go through everything there”. Gulp. Do I suggest coffee out? Do I suggest going to him or shall I just be honest? I opted for the latter and said “Actually, I work from home – I find it to be more productive and a more easy going atmosphere for new clients to meet me, I hope that’s not a problem?”. The response back could have knocked me down, “I totally agree.” said the new client. It turned out he too was one of the ever growing army of people who work from home and actually had hoped I didn’t have an office with lots of people there as he found it too “daunting”.

This made me realise, there has been a flip side to working from home that I’ve never actually explored or thought about, all I had dwelled on was what “big” clients thought after the office move. In actual fact just being honest, doing great work and being myself was all it took to get this new guy on board. In light of this, I’ve decided to update the You Know Who website and make it much more personal, at the end of the day, it’s only me here now and I’m the one people have got to buy into not my premises.

  • Andy always surprises me with his never ending knowledge and wisdom. What he says is true, the people not minding you work from home are usually smaller companies, or companies that started small. They have the mentality of a client you’re looking for. But this doesn’t mean you can’t work for bigger companies, although I tend to work in their offices (*and* most of the time they require it). Problem? No, I just charge them more 🙂

  • Thought provoking stuff Sarah, thanks for sharing it. I’ve been thinking about changing the copy on my site since my f/t programmer left for greener pastures.

    I often work with contractors and freelancers but at the end of the day it is really only me, yet I cringe hard when I hear one of the guys I share my office with say ‘we’ when I know it is and always has been just ‘him’.

  • I know the feeling Sarah. We’re still working from home (only 2 of us at the minute), and for the most part, it’s fine. But I do sometimes cringe when new clients ask that dreaded question: “so, where’s the office”!! I’m something of an oxymoron tho: I don’t feel that clients should look down upon those of us who choose to work from home, but then my business address is actually a Registered Office Service…

  • Ahhhh… Sarah, don’t feel bad. I too work from home. My mom and I do freelance work, so I feel your pain.

    And damn, have you ever considered modeling? You’re gorgeous.

  • I’ve just moved into an office suite with my business partner in March, and while I really like the office; it is a shame that working from home does have a stigma with clients (we worked from home part-time for a few years first), although with our situation it wasnt at all possible to invite clients around.

    Being honest and open with clients upfront certainly makes a big difference, and I think making your site more personal should certainly help!

  • Hey Sarah!

    I totally agree – you should be proud of having enough focus to work from home and produce great quality work. Anyone who judges you for where you’re based rather than what you create, you’re better off without.

    Keep smiling, Mel 🙂

  • Sonya Smith

    Hi Sarah,

    Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to meet clients for the first time at a coffee shop or hired meeting room – do be careful who you let into your home!