Q: I struggle for professional credibility that seems elusive when clients find out I work from my home. I resent having my abilities undervalued just because I work and sleep under the same roof. I even had a former client who was fond of starting our phone conversations by asking if I was wearing my bunny slippers. What are some ways to place client focus where it belongs--on my expertise?
--Lisa Rennie, a Torrance, California, graphic designer who has worked from her home for the past six years
A: Having your own business and making it a success takes dedication, no matter where your office is. Working from home has allowed me to put in more hours and work around a hectic schedule with a newborn baby. Be proud of what you do. If you must, tell your clients you have a graphics studio in your home. If a client is satisfied with your work, you'll have repeat business. As for those bunny slippers, your former client was probably jealous. He probably arrived at his office by 9 a.m., just beginning his day. Think how much you've accomplished by then!
--Christiana Lapetina-Johnson, a homebased Woodland Hills, California, designer of handbags, clothing and home furnishings