When meeting new people, my answer to the “What do you do?” question generates a bunch of further questions, which are tinged with fascination and suspicion.
The words, “I work from home with flexible hours and I love what I do,” are met with slide-whistle sounds of interest, combined with shifty looks – as though I’m from a cult they are dubious about but also interested in.
Then come the questions.
Don’t you get lonely?
This one always comes first and often with an air of sympathy and the assumption that I must be so relieved right now to be out of the house interacting with real people!
Truth is, I am enjoying interacting, but not because I’m lonely the rest of the time. I realise feeling isolated is a very real risk for soloists, and so I ward it off by catching up regularly with friends, going to community events, working from cafes and staying connected online. And I’d argue there are plenty of people who feel isolated in a traditional work environment.
I don’t miss those pointless water-cooler conversations and forced lunch dates with colleagues I have nothing in common with. I much prefer my own space.
Don’t you get distracted?
“If I was to work from home I’d be tempted to watch TV all day,” they say. Well, no, you wouldn’t – and not only because daytime TV sucks. When you run your own business, making money is kind of important, so there’s that. Then there’s the motivator of actually doing something you love, which usually wins your attention over the remote control.
Are you surviving?
Let’s see… yep, the pulse is still there. Oh, you’re talking about money? This is a valid concern for people who can’t imagine being without their comfy pay packets, and one would-be soloists should (but often don’t) consider before taking the leap. Survival is the easy part, made easier by not having to commute, having more time to do the things you enjoy, and (again) – loving your work. Thriving financially takes some more serious business acumen, but with a killer business idea and a solid plan of action, there’s no reason you can’t make as much, if not more money than you do in a ‘real job’.
After giving my answers, the scepticism in my quizmaster’s eyes now appears more like a distracted glint, as if they’re dreaming up a plan.
I recognise that look.
Do other people find your work fascinating? What are some common questions you get, and are you responsible for ‘converting’ anyone to soloism?