Self-Employed, Virtual Workers Are Exceptional Employees

One of the sweet results of running in the StartupNation Leading Moms in Business Competition is that I’m hearing from both men and women who felt encouraged and dropped me an email.

I, in turn, am inspired by some of their stories. One jumped out to me today. A woman chose to leave an unhealthy work environment to work from home, although the pay is far less. She’s nervous about it, but saw my story and felt perhaps she, too, could do well for herself by being her own boss.  I emailed her back, rooting her on.

Self-Employment

I know and work with mostly self-employed people. The parents in the bunch are often the most expertly skilled and creative; like the one mom, who held conferences in her closet so clients couldn’t hear her small children. I find parents to be tightly focused on their work and they’re willing to work odd hours, which makes them a good choice for companies outside their time zone. Rush jobs are fine because to them, this is like overtime pay.

Not working for management that has completely forgotten about the lower class, sub-humans working in their departments is akin to going the health spa every day. Now granted, I had two Directors in my corporate days who LOVED me and my work. They were always fair. However, even they couldn’t convince the aliens from the Human Resources department to pay me an equal wage my male counterparts were receiving.

So what I tell folks is this. Hire self employed people who know their self-worth and will bill you for it. They will kick ass for you. They not only will kick ass, they were courageous and brilliant enough to leave companies that viewed them as slaves with health benefits. Being a self employed worker is the first step in being healthier. This is why health insurance companies charge us WAY more for self-employment health insurance in the USA.

Virtual Work

For those who hadn’t noticed, this is the Digital Age. In layperson’s terms, this means we’re all connected by invisible cords, tubes, pipes, wires and molecules of funny stuff floating in the air. There’s no need to leave your living room to earn money. All you need is a computer and the brain God gave you.

Virtual workers may be perfectionists. I know I can be. But only for myself. If I don’t do the very possible BEST job to meet my own set of expectations, I deny myself tortuous things like Oreo’s dipped in peanut butter. However, the benefit to companies who hire virtual workers like me are this:

1. We’re not flirting with the sexy hunk guy in the cube next door. (This, incidentally, is one of the reasons I’m now married.)

2. We’re not IM’ing at EVERY possible thing that’s happening in the office. We could be Twittering however, but we’re using that to market ourselves, or if you’re really cool and nice to us, you and YOUR company.

3. We have less overhead so we can charge less than the slave peon you spent 1000 hours interviewing and now despise.

4. We buy our own staplers and will never hog up your bathroom.

5. We are virtual by choice. Think about it. We’re so brilliantly skilled that we no longer need to work our buns off to make companies’ investors happy. We work our buns off to make ourselves happy and if we like you, this means we CHOSE to make your company look good. Think about this, dear reader. If we WANT to make your company a success, isn’t that worth hiring us for?

In any case, I’m rooting on those who, like me,  are willing to risk it all to make a better life for ourselves and our families.  We’re determined, disciplined and daring enough to deliver exceptional work done to standards that exceed your expectations. I did it my way. I did it from home. I don’t support Iraq with a daily commute. I wear jeans to work and in the summer, do research out by my pool. I’m a stressed out insomniac who is always behind on work and never has time for my friends.

But, I was a stressed out insomniac working outside the home too.

Only now, I laugh a lot more.

6 thoughts on “Self-Employed, Virtual Workers Are Exceptional Employees”

  1. Great post – and incredibly relevant to this economic climate. The low overhead is crucial.

    Where I was once cautious about a client finding out that I primarily work out of a home office and have no full-time employees, it’s now become a selling point and an explanation for my competitive pricing. And the work speaks for itself – freelancers are some of the best/smartest people available.

    And about unequal pay for female workers – I never truly understood how bad this is until I met my girlfriend. She is an INCREDIBLE designer for print and the web. She works harder than anyone in her department, consistently skipping lunch and staying late to get projects done. The clients consistently rave about her work. Yet she’s been passed over repeatedly for promotions and pay increases in favor of less-competent male coworkers. It’s truly an injustice.

  2. Hi Mike! Thanks and YES! When I talk to some people, I can see they forget the low overhead point. I know that some virtual workers charge extremely high fees to cover needing pay for health insurance and stashing away for the future, but it’s usually STILL a bargain to hire us because there is no investment in training us, we can get to work on snow days, dial-in if a child is home sick and we need to be home, and many of us are only a mobile phone call away, if even at after school sporting events. We multi-task. The list of pro’s, in my mind, far outweighs any cons. Some of the very best team projects I work on are all virtual and even globally virtual.

    I know what your GF feels like. I’ve been there too many times and still feel bitter about it. To get 100% perfect performance reviews and STILL not get the same percentage of raises as the males is another one. Really sickening.

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