There’s an article making the rounds on the Internet with the come-hither title 9 Businesses You Can Start in Your Pajamas. Apparently, a lot of folks think Nirvana means never having to wear real clothes.
For several years, I’ve been trying to stop the madness that involves coming up with new words for entrepreneurial activity. In my tracking of all the cutsey names businessowners give themselves, one of my least favorite has to be pjpreneur. I have tried to imagine why that would be appealing to potential clients. Why, I wonder, would I be drawn to hiring someone or buying their product when their major marketing focus is they haven’t bothered to get dressed? Haven’t figured it out.
While corporate refugees willingly dispose of their pantyhose and neckties, starting a business from home should not be an invitation to slovenliness. It matters more than you may think.
The other night I happened to see two episodes of What Not To Wear which both featured women who were musicians and music teachers. One was a cellist in New York, the other a jazz singer in Boston. Neither was enthusiastic about fashion, but both were confident in their musical ability. After a fair amount of reluctance and resistance, they were transformed. To their amazement, they both reported performing better than they had in the past.
Several years I wrote a piece called Staying Motivated When You Work Alone. Here’s point number two:
Dress to accomplish things. Don’t give in to the temptation to schlepp around in your old bathrobe. Costume yourself for the work to be done. If I’m being a serious writer, I put on jeans and a sweater; if my duties are mostly secretarial, I wear a skirt and blouse; if there are client calls to make, I dress like a tycoon.
And, of course, if you provide a service, you may very well create a costume that is appropriate and memorable. There’s only one kind of business I can think of where pajamas might meet that criteria.
The psychological lift you get from dressing appropriately may be subtle, but it’s important. You just can’t feel like a mogul in your sweats. Keynote speaker Karyn Ruth White concurs. “It’s easier to ask for a big fee when you’re sitting in your home office looking like a pro. It’s much harder if you haven’t gotten out of your pajamas.”
Of course, dressing for success is different when you’re joyfully jobless, but it still starts with getting dressed.