I find it interesting the number of people who seem to think that just because I’ve had a baby (three in fact) I don’t have a brain anymore, that I obviously left it in the delivery room. I don’t understand why anyone would think that entrepreneurs who happen to work from home work any less harder then those working in a cubicle.
Kathie Thomas has written an excellent book called “Worth more than Rubies” which I feel more then sums up why I choose to own my own home based business.
She recently asked me my opinion and experiences of working when pregnant. My response to her was:
I started my Virtual Assistant (VA) business 34 weeks pregnant with my third child. Yes some people would see this as crazy and illogical but for me it was the best decision for me and my family.
Having been in the position of starting a new job and then finding out I was pregnant with my second child, I found it very difficult to hide my pregnancy due to severe morning sickness. Ultimately after 4 short months I was ‘let go’ and even though I felt it was due to my pregnancy I could never prove it. The changes your body go through are something to be celebrated, we are creating life and yet some women still feel the need to hide their pregnancies from their employer. All just to save their jobs. Working from home ensured that I wouldn’t have to disclose my pregnancy to anyone unless I wanted to.
With my third pregnancy I was diagnosed with Polyhydraminos which basically means there was too much amniotic fluid around my daughter Matilda. So instead of having the usual litre of fluid, I had THREE. I was so large and the stress on my body was unbearable with the stress beginning at 24 weeks. I looked full term at 24 weeks and I was unable to drive my Magna (with the seat all the way back). I had to beg my darling mother in law to come and help me just get through the day and to help me get my boys to school each morning. The one place I didn’t experience difficulties was my home office. Why? Because I set it up ergonomically correct and with my pregnancy in mind when we built the house a few months beforehand.
Being a home based business meant that on my ‘off’ days I controlled when I worked and for how long. I can also tell you it came as a surprise to my clients when I announced my maternity leave. “What!! You’re pregnant??? How did this happen??” Erm, in the usual way the last time I checked, thanks!
Being able to select who I announced my pregnancy to was a definite bonus as not all clients appreciated that I could still complete the work to the same high level of quality. I didn’t leave my brain in the labour ward with my first baby and so I choose to work and own my VA business. Being invisible meant I could share my pregnancy with those who mattered – my family, friends and valued clients.
So share with me how you deal with people judging you for having a home based business. Have you found it more difficult to obtain funding for your business or perhaps suppliers were less eager to come on board? How do you choose to deal with this type of situation? Do you proudly wear your work at home status or do you hide it?