Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When Working From Home Is Forced Upon You

A couple of years ago I picked up a shoulder injury and needed some pretty serious surgery. This obviously meant I would be away from work,( I am a lorry driver specialising in moving dangerous chemicals) and consequently not earning. We were fairly confident that we could survive, but I was going to use that time to create an online business... I had done my research, and knew where I going to get my digital marketing education.
What we did not know was that my wife was going to be laid off the following month, no notice and no pay off, she was on a rolling annual contract and they just did not renew it.
We were stunned completely taken out I had just had the surgery and could not have gone back to work if I had wanted to... in the space of four weeks we had gone from double income and grown up kids, to no income, and panicking!
When Opportunity Knocks
Stunned by the shock of unemployment, and the total lack of money coming in. Judi did something that left me breathless. She took all our savings and bought three sewing machines, a work top cooker, an upgraded laptop, a virtual secretary and took three exams that allowed her to certify various health and safety qualifications.
She assumed that as I had been working my new digital marketing business and had successfully built my own website that I would drop everything and build her one too... After a bit of a discussion, not too high volume! We outsourced the build of her first site... I took the job of marketing.
Demarkation Is Vital When Working From Home Together
Let me clarify that, I was busy learning many new skills as an on-line marketer, those skills apply equally to off-line as well as on-line businesses. However it was essential that as we grew the businesses, that we respect each others skills, and each others time. From her degree days we knew that we had to schedule work time and home time, or certainly the edges would be blurred and family life would be lost. But this new challenge of two businesses in the same house was quite a strain. Add to that we were both massively out of our comfort zone. I had never really been technically minded, so venturing into this new way of life was hugely strange... add to that the pressures of little income, and we were heading for disaster.
The Solution To Potential Rifts
Obviously we needed clear channels of communication, and strong ground rules around who did what, but more importantly when things were done. We are both slightly workaholic and so we set our selves tough schedules. That we both made sure we stuck to. Even to the extent that if we managed a night out to the pub, phones had to be turned off, face down in the centre of the table... First to pick up, paid... silly but it helped us remember that we were still man and wife.
One Rule, Treat Each Business, As A Business
This was a tricky one. What it boiled down to was that my wife could not have favours from me, If she wanted to organise her social marketing or the SEO of her web site, she had to pay the going rate. I equally could not charge ridiculous rates. We actually put the jobs out to tender on Elance or Odesk, good respectable ways of accessing outsourcing. This did two things.
  1. It gave us an accurate price range for me (A Novice) to charge,
  2. It also gave us a realistic time scale of how long a job should take.
In many cases we actually paid the contractor, as it meant the job was done properly and quickly.
Outsourcing Saved our Marriage
This is a major lesson. I would be upset at first, that the money was going out of the family purse. However It did mean that the jobs we needed achieving, were done professionally. I learnt a lot by subsequently reverse engineering the delivered product, and most importantly, the two businesses flourished quickly.
The Virtual Assistant
Can I just emphasise the importance of this service.We have a virtual receptionist. She handles all incoming phone enquiries. We divert both phones. If they need urgent responses we get a text, if they need a brochure they get one. We receive a daily summary of calls at 4.30pm at which time we go through the names and numbers, call those that need it email those that it is appropriate to.
This single service keeps us so focused, we never get interrupted by the phone (we also have our email off so we do not get distracted) this means we both get the work we need to get done, done. More Importantly though in my opinion, it gives both businesses a very professional image. Can you imagine a head teacher phoning Datech Education, and getting a grumpy 15 year old watching Neighbours or playing on Xbox answering the phone... hardly the professional image we want to portray, and to be honest, not that fair to the kids,who actually have a right to be in their own home.
Did It Work Out?
Judi is now employing a team of trainers to deliver the training, so she is actually is a true Work at Home Mum, we converted a spare bedroom into her office ( our eldest two children have actually flown the nest ) My office is still a bit of a bone of contention... I use the family computer room, which is a shared room, although on busy days I sometimes over run making the children a bit grumpy... But we have a new office in the garden on order, so I will actually have to walk to work! But The Digital Marketing Business is Flourishing as well.
Could It work For You?
Would I recommend that you both work a different business from the same house? Yes absolutely, as long as you both respect what the other is doing... by that I mean demonstrate the respect... Judi used to text me saying put the kettle on, or what are you doing for tea... when I was halfway through a call... Or I would barge into her office talking without checking if she was on the phone... getting these little things right are no guarantee of success, but without them you will certainly struggle.

Home Based Business Jobs - Getting To Work At Your Home Based Business Job

Home Based Business Jobs - Getting Plugged In
Before you get started, you first have to analyze what is your giftedness. Simply, what do you bring to your desk at work that will allow you to plug-in. You have all the essentials: desk, computer, printer, phone etc. but do you know how to use them? Are you just a novice or do you have skills to create and publish capture pages.
There is no prerequisite here; be honest in your own evaluation. With no experience you choose one path; with experience you choose another. It's plain and simple. The end result is that you can work from home.
Whatever level you are at you must ask yourself this question: Am I willing to learn something new that will allow me to stay at home and work? If your answer is a lukewarm "Maybe or Depends." or an emphatically "No", then let me be brutally honest and save you some time and effort- Don't Work from Home!
Too often there is this gross misconception that working from home means get-rich-quick. That's not what I do and it is certainly not what I propose or teach. Working from home is that four-letter word: "Work!" So now, if you are with me, what is your answer: Do you have experience or not?
Home Based Business Jobs- No Experience Necessary
First, you do have to have some type of experience of using your basic equipment. That is, you must be functional on the phone, using the computer and printer. It's not any different from being fluent in English. You do have to know how to speak to communicate. Your phone, computer and printer are now your means of communication. And if you can't fluently speak "computer-eze" then pause reading here, take a course or two, come back and let's get started.
With no Internet experience, you will simply have to get some. There are four skills that you will have to acquire for online success. Ready?
1. Searches- the use of search engines and search engine tools to help you find key words is paramount. Key words are the terms or phrases people use to find something on the Internet. Key words are the basis for your on-line marketing program.
2. Writing- the ability to write 400-500 page articles (just like this one) is also important. And you will need to create/write phone scripts and closing scripts.
3. Develop- Create capture pages and auto-responders. Easy to learn; easy to do.
4. Close- Learn how to close.
Albert Einstein the genius of the ages said something like this: "... you don't have to know all the answers, just know where to go to find the answers."
I had to learn this all by trial and error. Now, there are services out there that do everything very inexpensively and very professionally to help you get plugged in very quickly! Even a novice with little or no experience can quickly become successful in a Home Based Business. Be Encouraged!

Six Ways To Make Extra Money Without Investing

Who couldn't use a little more cash these days? If you've been wondering how, here are six practical ideas that can get you started with no money down.
Renting A Room In Your Home
One of the most consistent ways to make extra money is by becoming a landlord. College students, travelers and other people may be interested in renting a room or converted garage from you for a pretty decent fee. If you've got the space, spiff it up and advertise it. Make sure you treat tenants fairly and screen them thoroughly before welcoming them into your home. The Internet is a great resource to use for background checks at no charge. If your home is particularly quaint, call yourself a Bed and Breakfast and make even more money.
Going To The Dogs
Walking dogs and pet sitting have become more and more popular of late, primarily because people have just become too busy to keep up with everything in life. If you've got the spare time yourself, put it to good use by making extra money looking after animals. Don't accept any out of control dogs, instead walk only those who comply with simple commands. Build yourself a reputation as a trusted source for dog lovers to depend on, and you should have a decent part-time income in no time at all.
Tapping Your Creative Side
Come holiday time, you could put together Christmas wreathes and sell them in your neighborhood. Paintings of all kinds sell, simply because they strike people in a certain way. If you have any artistic talent at all, put it to good use! Advertise locally for special occasions, or look for a long-term contract supplying a retailer with items you make. Use pictures to sell your creations and word-of-mouth to promote yourself as a pleasant and reliable merchandiser.
Selling Your "Stuff"
You don't have to make something in order to sell it, there only needs to be a market. If you haven't been to a second-hand store lately, check one out near you. They're usually very busy. Set up shop online and offer things you don't use at a deep discount. Chances are good that somebody over the ether will want it. Find a good connection for something (anything) wholesale, and let that be your main attraction. An online storefront usually costs you nothing, and there's no limit to what you can sell. Stop at every yard and estate sale. Look for close out sales and going out of business situations where you can really capitalize. Many people have found this one of the best ways to make extra money and they love doing it.
May I Borrow Your Car?
Ride rental businesses are popping up all over the country, and they do quite well. You don't have to worry about insurance or other costs, because the rental agency takes care of that for you. So long as you've got a late model vehicle in good shape that you don't use too often, it should be a great tool to make you some extra cash on the side without ever having to make an investment or really even do any work.
Cashing In On Your Expertise
Consulting is big business, and it doesn't matter what you know so long as you know it well. Consider renting yourself out for a nice fee and doing what you already know. If you've got a lot of experience as a carpenter, put a free ad up online and offer to do weekend jobs. Maybe you spent years at an interior decorating firm - why not advertise yourself as an experienced consultant now? Set your own price and hours, then enjoy the added income.
There are many ways to make extra money with little or no investment involved. Put your thinking cap on today, and you should have more money in your pocket by next week or even sooner!