How to Say No To Favor Asking When You Work From Home


You are trying to start, run, and manage a successful business and just as you start diving into your work you hear the familiar tone of your mother’s ringtone. She wants to ask you a favor and once again you are left wondering how you say no to your mother because you have work to do.

It’s a common problem with so many people who run business out of there home. There is an awful misconception that working from home really means you’re sitting around doing absolutely nothing. It somehow means you are available at all times of the day to do favors for, run errands for, or help out with something.

The fact of the matter is you probably spend more time working on your business than most people who work full time jobs. The truth is it takes a lot more work to start and run your own business than most people could even comprehend. We do it for the freedom, we do it to be able to take a random day off if we need to, we do it for security. We do it because it’s our passion and it makes us happy.

So how do we stop the ones we love from asking us for favors during our working hours? I have a few tips that you can use.

Check out my post Time Management Tips For Work at Home Moms.

Explain it to them

There is this extremely odd belief that in order to be successful in life and have a good retirement you need to spend 40 years working like a dog. You don’t share this belief. You may even see how insane this structure is.

Times have changed, there are things that are more important to you. You want to build a life that you control. You don’t want the 9-5 to control you.

This is where the problem comes in. Most of the people you know have been conditioned to believe that the 9-5 works. They have settled on the belief that the 9-5 is all that is needed. So when someone comes along and challenges that, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

Try sitting down with them over coffee and explain your business. Show them your business plan. Tell them about all the market research you’ve done. Let them know your exact route to success.

You will want to include why this is important to you. Tell them your goals, how you plan to achieve them. Give them updates on your subscriber numbers, your sales, and show them how it’s working.

For some people just an explanation will be enough to make them understand the importance of your business to you. However, there are those stubborn friends or family members who no matter how much you explain, just can’t grasp it.

They forget that a typical business takes 5 years before it sees any type or profit. Your online business probably won’t take that long but friends and family for some reason assume anything that’s not a 9-5 is a scam. Don’t let it bother you, just keep your focus stay positive and if need be reduce interaction with those people.

Turn your phone off while working

This is my personal tried and true tip. My phone is on silent while I’m at my job. When I’m here at home and working my phone stays on silent. I treat my business with the same respect that I treat my job.

The most successful people in the world worked day and night on their businesses. They worked full time jobs and continued to work on their business. They throw all of themselves into their business. Your business should be no different.

There are so many benefits to keeping your phone on silent during working hours besides avoiding the favor asking. Your concentration is not being broken every 5 minutes from a new text or social media notification. Plus it helps to break your dependence on technology.

Since practicing this technique I often times go several hours without so much as looking at my phone. This has improved my productivity at home. It’s also helped to make the time I do spend talking to friends and family more enjoyable because it’s done during a designated break from my work. I’m in the conversation with them instead of mentally beating myself up for not getting work done.

It is understandable that for emergency reasons, you may not want to do this. I have a fail safe in that if they can’t reach me they can reach my fiance, who when I’m not at my job is at home with me.

Check out my post Lower Your Expectations and Get More Work Done.

Just say no

The final and probably best way to stop the favor asking is to just say no.

“Can you do me a favor?”

“No. I’m working.”

“Well, I just need…”

“I said no, I’m working. If you still need it done when I’m done working you can ask me again then. For now the answer is no.”

Done. What’s going to happen? They are going to get offended that you couldn’t do something for them right that minute? If this were a job they wouldn’t be offended, they’d be understanding. Your business is your job. It’s how you plan to support yourself, your family, and maybe even one day them. So tell them no.

Saying no doesn’t mean you don’t care. It doesn’t mean you’re selfish. Saying no means you have something else to do that has to take priority. If you can get to it at a later time you can do so later.

Try it out. The person you say it to may be taken back by your bluntness, but if you explain you can’t at this moment. They may just figure out how to do it for themselves or find someone else who can help them.

Be Kind

No matter how aggravated you get by the favor asking remember you will be faster to stop the favor asking if you are kind about it. Snapping, yelling, or other actions involving anger or frustration will leave the favor asker feeling unimportant in your life.

Speak to them as they matter in your life but politely decline doing the favor. If they escalate into anger or an argument you can explain to them calmly that there is no reason to escalate and remind them that if you didn’t work for yourself and you worked for someone else you wouldn’t be able to accommodate the request anyways.

Check out my post 3 Steps To Setting Goals You Can Reach.

The thing to remember with any of these suggestions is that you need to be consistent in your treatment of favor asking. If you decide to turn your phone on silent and not answer incoming texts or phone calls during working hours then don’t make exceptions. If you decided to say no, continue to say no. Whatever you are doing make sure you are consistent in it. The favor asker(s) will eventually get the hint with how firm you continue to be.

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