Work from home as virtual assistant

I woke up one day and realised that my son was nearly 16 and I almost didn’t know how he got to that age. Hold on a minute – I thought – it was only yesterday that my Thomas was going to nursery, and then was in primary school. That time, that much more time that I could have spent with him, I realised I had spent working incessantly for corporate firms or for public bodies. I have been a working mother for the whole of my son’s life – but that does not mean that I have not missed spending more and better time with my son.Time for changes

That day, I realised things had to change before it was too late. And that is how – and I have said this many times, I know – I started thinking of exploring ways to make a realistic income from home.

So, if you are having a wake up call like mine, but don’t know where to start from, maybe you should look at your skill set and work from there. You have always worked in admin environments, have excellent organisational skills – those transferable skills which make you so desirable by so many different businesses. But you no longer want a 9-5 office based job. Well, have you ever considered working as virtual assistant?

Working from home as virtual assistant


In order to get this type of business going, you must have a sound background within the personal assistant or secretarial role working for corporate firms. This is because in order to get started working from home as virtual assistant, you will have to market your skill by sending out curricula vitae (or CV) showing evidence of your past experience.Having a stint at working from home as VA

In order to get your home based business going as a virtual assistant, initially you may want to use the help of specialised employment agencies (normally online based too) to circulate your CV to as many of their client as the agency feels you may match the requirements.

Once a potential employer has expressed interest, you may be invited to sit a phone interview – the potential employer must be given the opportunity to assess the validity of your claims to be professional, organised, excelling in multi-tasking and conversant with an array of word document softwares.

However, once the employer decides to hire your services, the contract of employment is between yourself and the employer directly, where the employer pays you directly.

All you need to do this type of work is a good computer or laptop and an excellent wi-fi signal. Otherwise, and like with many other home based jobs, your home with all its comforts become your castle, but it also becomes your ‘office’.

Who is suited to work as virtual assistant


I believe the biggest requirement to be a successful virtual assistant is the fact that you may have build experience in a previous corporate environment.

For this reason this job, I feel, is perfectly suited for newly parents, who have been successful personal assistants before having children, but now struggle to go back to work due to lack of child care or simply as they actually enjoy being at home with their babies. My biggest regret in life is not to have been brave enough to choose this career path with my son was little!Having a stint at working from home as VA

The one I outline just now is the perfect avenue to pursue this alternative career working from home. However, you may need to work from home as you may have to care for somebody, or purely as you want a change of scenery from the old office based employment. Whichever your motivation may be is irrelevant. What is paramount, however, is for you to have built some experience of personal assistant skills on the field, so to speak – working from home you are very much left to your own devices, and if you have not yet learnt how to cope with organisational skills or with self-discipline or even with the more technical Microsoft Office packages, there will be nobody else teaching you, as in fact you would have in an office. Working from home, and particularly in this role, you must have feet firmly on the ground!

Pros and cons of working as virtual assistant


Pros:

The pros are all around the same as working from home in any capacity. Organisational freedom is the main one that I can see.

But be careful on this point. You will still have a contract of employment with somebody – which means you will still have a boss of sort. The contract of employment may be short term, or renewable every so many months, but you will still have to receive instructions from the boss or manager that employs you.

The difference between working for a boss in an office environment and working from home as virtual assistant is however more detailed than this, if you look at it with business oriented eyes.

The arrangement between yourself and a boss has to be profitable for both. The boss may save in office expenses or in additional employment related expenses. For you the difference stands in the fact that you can work for more than one person at the same time. And because you charge your employer per hour, you can charge far more than the equivalent of a permanent salary. I believe the ongoing rate for professional VAs is in the region of the £40-50 per hour. That is far more than you would ever get paid by any firm for a permanent contract.Pros and cons of working as VA

At the same time, you benefit from the flexibility of going through your email inbox at 6am in the morning (which sometimes is required when dealing with other continents, where the time difference may affect the speed of a virtual conversation) and to organised the rest of your working day as you please.

Cons:

The only disadvantage of working as a virtual assistant, as mentioned above, may be in the fact that you work on short term contracts, and as such you miss out on the perks you may benefit from when working for a firm on a permanent basis.

Firms often do not pay you as well when employing permanent staff – and that is certainly the case of personal assistants, where the rate of pay is never even close to the £50 per hour! But they tend to compensate by giving you perk – these may include discounted membership at the local gym, or free entry to heritage sites, or meal vouchers at chains of restaurants. You get the gist.

The choice ultimately is yours. Personally, as I don’t go to the gym, nor do I like to dine out, I’d sooner get paid better and do without perks which I would use or enjoy.

Likewise, many employers offer competitive pension schemes. However, once you are paid a competitive rate as a virtual assistant, you can equally find competitive private pension deals, which will pay off substantial salaries later in life.

Virtual assistant, but not only


Working as a virtual assistant is one of the many forms of freelancing. As such, its applications are endless. Imagine how many different roles fall under the enormous umbrella of admin duties. From data entry clerk to customer adviser, to travel agent – the list is endless.

If you think carefully of how much can be done from home via internet, there is virtually hardly any job that could not be done from home.

Reduced costs of a VA

And if you look around enough, you will be able to find many virtual vacancies, from the most skilled project managerial or executive roles to the most straightforward clerical data entry.

There are many websites advertising virtual admin positions. As with all online based ventures, you must be careful and wise enough not to fall trap of scams. But there are also a lot of genuine opportunities which it’s a shame to miss out on, when they could change your quality of life.

My verdict


Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to test this method of home based opportunity yet. I am myself still working on a part-time basis as customer adviser and, although I have worked as personal assistant for many years in the past, customer advisory is where I would like to remain. But, whilst working part-time in an office, and the remaining of my time dedicating to my affiliate marketing business, I haven’t managed to actively seek virtual opportunities yet.

The question is: would I want to try it one day? And, do I think it is good business and good money?Working as VA is a Yes from me

YES, definitely YES to both questions!

And yes, I have mentioned the word ‘marketing’. Because of course, and like with all job opportunities, you need to sell your skills and your experience. Ideally you would want to put together a really strong CV, and initially you need to persevere in advertising your abilities on multiple online platforms. But once you start building your reputation through positive employer’s feedback, there is no limit to virtual job offers you will receive. The ball will be in your court as to how many hours you want to work on such avenue per week. And that’s where we can see the true benefit of working from home: you become your own boss.


If you have already had experience of working from home as virtual assistant, and can suggest a trustworthy online employment platform where to find good deals, please leave your comment below. Share with me and with my readers what your thoughts are below.


Do you want to work as a virtual assistant but do not know how to market your services?  A website is what you need

Learn how to build your own website and create a thriving virtual business with WEALTHY AFFILIATE.  Join for FREE today!

 

Jaaxy – the best SEO research tool

 

When writing online blogs, the strength of your written piece is given by its content as well as by powerful keywords – if you have missed it, have a look at my page on How To Write With Keywords to find out more.  In my quest to learn how to write blogs that would reach to the top of the main SEO rankings , when I started my online business some 15 months ago, finding out a strong keyword was my worst nightmare.  I have since then used several systems and research platforms.  Amongst others, I came across Jaaxy, and wanted to find out more about it.  Several reviews have questioned: is Jaaxy a scam?  Today, I would like to unveil the truth about what Jaaxy is all about.

Name:       Jaaxy

Website:   www.jaaxy.com

Price:       Trial version FREE, Pro $19 per month, Enterprise $49 per month

Owners:  Kyle & Carson (same owners of Wealthy Affiliate)

Rank:       95 out of 100

 

Jaaxy, the best SEO research tool


What prompted Kyle and Carson, the founders and co-owners of Jaaxy, to choose such funny word to name a keyword research tool, for the life of me I do not know.  But after testing Jaaxy on the ’30 Free’ trial, what I know for sure is that Jaaxy is the best SEO research tool available on the market.

If you have ever tried other platforms, the most painful thing about ‘playing about’ with keywords is the fact that you have  to manually find a strong one, or a set of keywords in a sentence, also called ‘long tail’, whilst at the same time interpret the statistical data that those systems are dishing out to you.

You ought to be a pro to be able to interpret all those data!!!  Quite off putting if you ask me.  If I am trying to set up an online business whilst learning how to do so along the way, but then find a platform that only speak professional jargon, how on earth am I ever going to learn?!?!?!  Those platforms are not designed to be user friendly, but, if you ask me, rather elitist.

Jaaxy is not like that.

The greatness of Jaaxy stands in the fact that it presents to you monthly searches and traffic against potential competition in an extremely user friendly way.  Let me show you in the below picture:

Jaaxy platform

What can you do with Jaaxy


Here’s what Jaaxy offers us:

  • Keyword search
  • Alphabet soup
  • Saved list facility
  • History search
  • Analytical search
  • Brainstorming
  • Site ranking

Yes, as well as searching for keywords, Jaaxy enables us to save our most successful keywords in brainstorming lists which we can then get back to for our future blogs.  You can also search keywords by your individual search history or by SEO or competition analysis.

But let me tell you a little bit more about a couple of functions that make Jaaxy unique: the alphabet soup and the site ranking.

Alphabet soup:

With this feature Jaaxy asks you to type in the search bar a word, or a group or 2 or 3 words at most, and comes up with a suggestion of sentences you can use your chosen 2 or 3 words in.  You can then check out through the Search function, how strong the sentences proposed are going to be, based on monthly traffic and search figures versus competition.

Normally, you would do the ‘alphabet soup’ search manually by going on Google and trying out all the different sentence options by inserting each letter of the alphabet to see which sentence Google proposes to you.  Jaaxy does all this for you.

Site ranking:

This facility is something that truly is unique for a keyword search tool.  Again, there are specialised online platforms which, for a fee, will tell you how your site is ranking.  But these sites are not keyword search tools.  They merely give you a ranking classification.  Jaaxy offers this as part of an overall package encompassing all the different functions.

Jaaxy Site Ranking

In the picture above, you can see that my article on Spike’s Disease in Border Terriers from my other website Living With A Border Terrier is currently ranking 4th on the first page of Google.  Just a little achievement which I go quite proud of 🙂

Three different memberships


OK, let’s cut to the chase.  Jaaxy offers a FREE trial which enables you to test drive the platform by allowing you 30 searches at no cost.  On the 30 Free version, you can make up to 30 searches of any nature for free; these can be keyword searches, alphabet soup searches or even site rank searches, but each of them count for one of the 30.

But Jaaxy, like all good websites, does build maintenance costs in the background, by those guys who compile the list of unlimited keywords used in the most prominent SEO search bars, such as the likes of Google, Bing and Yahoo.  So, in order to keep Jaaxy alive, Kyle and Carson have put together another two levels of memberships, which for a monthly fee offer their members additional benefits.  So, here’s the breakdown of what you can get from Jaaxy:

Jaaxy Membership Table

I am currently on the Pro membership, where all the options that I could use for free have now become unlimited or enhanced:

Jaaxy Pro Upgrade

As you can see, the Pro option comes at $19 per month.  But if you want to take advantage of the yearly subscription for a total of $199, you can save a further $29 per year.

Jaaxy, learning and training tools


The beauty of Jaaxy is that, unlike with other platforms, it does teach you and explains to you how to get by on the platform.

Jaaxy has an extensive library of useful videos which walk you through the various tabs and functions.  I believe this to be the best way to teach newbies, or near newbies like me, how to get yourself acquainted with a new system at a time when you really do not know what you are doing – or not much.  At the same time as explaining, Kyle, the PR guru of the co-owners, does also talk you through more in details on what keywords or alphabet soup are, and how best they should be used to the advantage of your website.

In addition, both Kyle and Carson and their team of keywords experts keep posting regular blogs on the website which keep us up to date with the latest trends in the world of keyword search and use, as well as on how to best benefit from the many different uses we can make of Jaaxy.

It really feels to me that Jaaxy wants us to take the best advantage of the tool, given the fact that we are paying customers after all.

Jaaxy affiliate program – spread the word


If you have learned anything about me by now, you will have noticed my soft spot for affiliate programs.  That is my line of work as an online entrepreneur.  Therefore I could not overlook the brilliant, and generous, affiliate program offered by Jaaxy.

Very similar to the Wealthy Affiliate program (not a coincidence, given that the founders are the same winning couple Kyle and Carson), the Jaaxy one offers the following commissions:

Jaaxy Affiliate Program

But with Jaaxy you do not have to be a Pro or Enterprise member.  You can advertise Jaaxy whilst being on your 30 Free trial yourself, and for any 30 Free referral you get, you will be rewarded with an additional 10 free searches.

And you can advertise Jaaxy literally everywhere.  Not only on your niche related website, but also on your Twitter or Facebook accounts.  Or you can create a blog talking about the true beauty of Jaaxy on any niche related forum and then link your blog on other major social media account, such as G+ or Pinterest.

As I often mention, affiliate marketing is the winning card when it comes to online business.  And Jaaxy is a winning card when it comes to commissions and rewards.

Is Jaaxy a scam? – My verdict


As its Premium member, I have free access to Wealthy Affiliate keyword tool.  I use it every day, as it is most comprehensive and accurate in its search for successful and competitive keywords and alphabet soup sentences.

So, why did I also subscribe to Jaaxy?

For a start, Jaaxy offers a more broken down analysis of your search result – all again user friendly presented.  But the reason why I am with Jaaxy is because, whether you are a 30 Free member or a Pro member, Jaaxy offers a more comprehensive package – one that with other platforms you are not offered all at once under the same umbrella, and certainly not for as little as $19 a month!!!

All very good, but, like with all other keyword search tools, how do we know that Jaaxy does not make up the outcome of those searches.  In other words, is Jaaxy a scam?

Absolutely NOT!!

The genuine value of Jaaxy can be compared to a good restaurant.  A successful restaurant is the one where its returning customers recommend it to friends and family for the good food it serves and its varied but always high standard menu.

I can safely say that Jaaxy is 100% tried and tested, ranking regularly on page one of the likes of Google when searching for keyword search tools online for a number of years since it was founded in 2012.  And I would say, this is the proof of the pudding.  It is the level of customers recurrently using Jaaxy that makes this platform so successful, hence helps it rank top.  If Jaaxy customers are happy to keep paying to use its facilities, surely that speaks for itself in confirming Jaaxy reputable success as THE BEST SEO SEARCH TOOL.

 

Name:       Jaaxy

Website:   www.jaaxy.com

Price:       Trial version FREE, Pro $19 per month, Enterprise $49 per month

Owners:  Kyle & Carson (same owners of Wealthy Affiliate)

Rank:       95 out of 100

 


 

Do you want to build a reputable and successful online business, but do not know where to start from?  Learn with Wealthy Affiliate University.  Find out how to join here:

 

Telecommuting could be the answer

 

On a site that is dedicated to finding different ways to earn working from home, I could not omit touching on the concept of telecommuting as potentially one of the best ways to make an income from home.  Let me take you through the actual definition of telecommuting, what telecommuting home jobs are, and why there is still much skepticism around the validity of telecommuting roles.

 

What is telecommuting


When you telecommute, you are employed by a company or organisation that enables you to work from home, or the local library or coffee shop, at least once a week.  So, instead of commuting from your home to an office based position, you actually ‘commute’ with other colleagues and with your team using telecommunication tools, such as phone, emails and internet based platforms.

This new solution has been adopted by more and more employers in the last few decades as a new way of offering additional flexibility to employees, in an effort help them strike a better balance between work and private or family life.

Telecommuting is more widely spread within certain types of business, such as sales environment, online software management companies and internet industries, customer services where firms are prepared to outsource, in creative roles, such as writing environments and designing, and any other business that can avail of the benefits offered by the internet where management systems are web based.

 

Benefits of telecommuting


The benefits of telecommuting are immeasurable for those people who struggle to keep up with the obligations of a family whilst having to sustain daily bills with a regular income.  If you wish, telecommuting is in fact the ideal situation for an employee, as unlike self employment, you have a regular salary and a contract of employment, but you can benefit from being home based.

I often mention the freedom that working from home gives you.  Unfairly and incorrectly working from home is often seen by many as a way to ‘skive off’, a way to pretend to work whilst you spend the day watching day telly or running around doing your errands.  This could not be further from the truth.  As a part time home worker myself – although I do not telecommute, as I work independently – I see the benefits of telecommuting in the fact that you could wake up at crack o’ down and start tackling your work load whilst the kids are still in bed; this would enable you fit in both your work related activities with the school run.

In fact, if you think about it, the day of a home worker are much longer and jam-packed than the ones of people working from an office, as home workers tend to family and home duties every day as well as working for their employer.

 

The drawbacks of telecommuting


These are similar to the disadvantages posed by working from home more generally.  You are part of a team, but will work mostly on your own.  If you like the comradery of working closely with colleagues, then telecommuting is definitely not for you, as you may end up feeling isolated and detached from the rest of the team.

You also must be very well organised and self disciplined in order not to fall pray of the temptations offered by day tv programs, or by catching up with your house chores, or by whichever other excuse you may

Generally speaking, as you are still employed by and work for a company, you need to remain accountable to your boss.  You will be asked to attend meetings in the office – although nowadays more and more organisations do take advantage of phone conferencing through Skype or FaceTime technologies.  Which means, some industries require your presence in their offices, periodically or more regularly and frequently – and this, in turn, may unsettle your daily routine when it comes to having to arrange additional child care, or nursing care.

And ultimately, when you telecommute, you are still part of an organisation, which means you have a boss and are not your own boss.  When working on a self employed basis, you may have to put pressure on yourself in meeting earning targets, but you have only yourself to respond to.  Equally, you may take a number of different approaches to your work ethics – so long as they are legal, of course.  As an employee, you need to adhere to targets set up for you by your boss, and you still represent your company, hence must adhere to your company policies.  In other words, although your role and service delivery is made more flexible, you never have the freedom to operate as when working for yourself.

Then again, as mentioned, it is expected that you will have a secure salary.

 

Who is telecommuting for


Ideally, this type of arrangement is offered more willingly to newly mothers struggling with child care arrangements, or to parents more generally.

But companies are not strangers to consider this additional type of flexibility for those employees who can present a valid argument in favour of working from home.  I could ask my employer to work from home as I have caring obligations towards an older parent, or I could have started retraining with a college or university course, and may need the additional flexibility to fit in lectures.

The possibilities are infinite as to why your boss, and the company you work for, may surprise you by accepting your proposal to work from home.  Because the advantages to employees working from home extend to your employers too!

 

All around winning combination


For an organisation, and more so for a smaller company, there are too benefits to having your workforce practicing from home.

When an employee works from home, you save in office space and in running costs.  The office becomes more paper free, as communication is primarily via internet.  Less desks and working station are required, as it is often the case that when workers come into the office alternatively, they will do desk share.

But the greatest advantage to a company allowing telecommuting will be in increased productivity.

It has been proven that, as workers strike a happier balance between working and personal life, they will be happier in their working role, and will approach their work more proactively – to the point that sickness rates amongst home based workers are noticeably reduced.  And again, as workers are given the choice of when to work within the 24 hour day cycle, they may take advantage of their more productive hours in the day to make the most of their energy levels to give more in brain storming and in creativity.

 

Skepticism surrounding telecommuting


Given all these positive premises, it is still quite evident that some work environment are still looking at telecommuting with doubting eyes.  The figures for telecommuting are far higher in the States, for instance, than in UK.  And they go further down in Southern Europe.  But why?  Is the reluctance to offer telecommuting as a regular opportunity for workers dictated by cultural limitation?  Or are the higher figures of specific countries determined to by geographic requirements?

When relating to geographical factors, it is easily understandable why telecommuting (or remote working, as some address it) may be more widely employed by companies due to wider distances.  It would make it impractical and expensive, and sometimes physically impossible, for workers to commute as fast as in smaller countries, or within smaller district towns, where distances are noticeably reduced.

UK is renowned for its commuting culture, especially with workers living in suburbs of bigger cities.  And commuting is not only ingrained amongst the higher ranks of salaried positions.  Those on lower wages do not mind commuting either, in spite of the high train fares in this country.

The most recent figures I found for home working in UK relate to a survey taken by the Office for National Statistics and covering the period January-March 2015, where it appears that only 13.7% of workforce resulted as working from home.  But the figures do not clarify whether that percentage related to all home workers or solely telecommuting.  See the below picture:

Older, but more precise, figures are reported by BBC News in an article from 2011, where it was reported that in 2008 teleworking rose to 46% of employed workforce (BBC News 2011: ‘Home Working: Why can’t everyone telework?’).

But the same article outlines also why in certain specific sectors employers may see telecommuting with reticence.  Whilst for instance not all businesses can be adapted to telecommuting, my direct experience is that not all employers feel safe in entrusting the running of a business, and the working ethics of an organisation, to an employee working from home without supervision.

Some companies feel they would need to invest heavily in stronger firewall protecting softwares and in more powerful IT systems to enable safe exchange of data between home based internet connections and big head office servers.  But other employers still feel there must be a ‘hands on’ approach when supervising the productivity of their teams.  In other words, the mistrust that ‘when the mice are away, the cats will play’ is still at the core of the problem why telecommuting is not offered to employees to make their life, in one word, better.

Personally, if offered a telecommuting opportunity, I would grab it with both hands.  Provided I monitored myself and set standards and feasible targets as if I were at work, I am more than certain, Mr Boss, I would be well far off from skiving off!  But, the question is: would anyone else?  And, would you?

Leave your comment below, to share your telecommuting experience or how you feel about the possibility of working from home for your boss.

 

Keep your eggs in many baskets

No, I am not referring to ways to store your weekly supply of eggs in your kitchen. What I am referring to is to make a success of working from home.  Excuse my wacky attitude, but allow me today to suggest a flexible approach to help becoming an entrepreneur right and proper.

 

Keep your eggs in many baskets


A couple of years ago in my line of work (my ‘day’ job, that is) I came across a young lady who told me she was an actress.  I asked what she was working on at the moment, and she answered me she was freelancing.  This meant her keeping her eggs in many baskets, so to speak.  She was registered with different acting agencies, she was doing some teaching, she was doing some online work, and of course she worked with her agent for potential auditions and gigs.

My concern was: how could she make a living based on such uncertain terms?  The way she put it to me though was equally eye opening.

She explained, if my employer went burst, or less dramatically decided to reduced its workforce and I was given redundancy, I would be left with no income at all, given that my sole source of income was my day job.  Equally, if I were to fall sick of some form of ailment that prevented me to carry on working (such as particular cancers, which could potentially affect my current day job), my employer would pay me reduced sickness salary for up to six months, but after that and if still not fit for work, I would be asked to leave.  And some employers do not even have such more generous sickness packages, but pay the bare statutory basic sickness.  In other words, working for an employer is only marginally more secure than working on a self-employed freelance basis – that is what the freelance actress was trying to point out to me.

When you juggle many balls at the same time, she explained there is always something going which will generate an income.  She was primarily referring to various and different ways for her to advertise her acting skills and to reach out to potential gigs and opportunities.

But her take on ‘keeping your eggs in many baskets’ got me thinking.

 

Diversity is key to run a successful home business


And there is nothing more true than this approach when working from home.  Especially at the beginning, when you are barely monetising from your ventures, and you are far from matching a full time average salary if not more, it is advisable not to focus on one business only.  If one venture earns you a quarter of your monetary target, four entrepreneurial activities will make up the full salary that you are aiming to and that you need to sustain household and living bills – exactly as if you were working for an employer.

 

Diversifying versus specialisation


But how does diversifying translate in practice?  At the end of the day we cannot all be good at every type of home based business, surely!

If for instance my speciality were teaching maths, and I were to plan to do freelance teaching, how can I branch out into other areas of expertise?

Well, that is where you need to appeal to your most entrepreneurial vein.  When working from home, you need to become most creative.  And specialisms can walk hand in hand with diversification.

So, if teaching, you may want to advertise your freelance lessons actively, both on local papers, on shop windows of local newsagents, in the local community notice board.  But you may want to also approach local school, to see if they may be happy to refer students to you that may need additional tuition.  Or you may want to enrol with specialised recruitment agencies.

And you may also start learning how to leverage social media to advertise your enterprise.  Or you could learn how to build a website and attract further teaching business leveraging on your website outreach.


When sitting down and start brain storming, possibilities are endless.

 

Retain your identity


As mentioned above, diversification doesn’t have to stretch as far as doing a variety of different things to earn a bit of extra cash.  You can retain your identity as specialised entrepreneur in a specific business enterprise.

If for argument sake you were setting up an online selling point on eBay, and your speciality were to buy and sell antique items, nothing stops you from keeping a small ongoing stock of electronic gadgets, as you see fit pending the demand on the market for the latest trend.

Likewise, as I am specialising in blog writing, I could consider stretching my efforts into writing an e-book, and market it on Amazon Kindle with the aim to make a bit of cash and to create an ideal form of passive recurring income.

In other words, and like with the example of the maths teacher, you can still retain your identity as a teacher, trader or writer, but employ your skills and expertise in a more proactive and interactive way.

The main thing, I believe, is that, whichever business activity you embrace, you never loose focus in believing in what you are doing, and in wanting to share your findings with others and for the benefit of others.  If the sole motivation for what you are doing is making money, believe you me, it will not work.  Potential customers and clients will smell your thirst for money, and that will work as a deterrent instead as an incentive for people to trust you and your business.

 

Think outside the box with online business


Online business possibly lends itself better than other ventures to diversification, possibly due to its nature where you can find wide ranging and endless opportunities.

Let me introduce you to a short tutorial put in place by one of my dear friends at Wealthy Affiliate, Robert aka boomergp08, on diversification as a writer.  The tutorial, How to Earn Money Writing Online, goes through the various revenue possibilities as an online writer.  Click the blue link to find out Robert’s take – I can assure you, it is inspirational!

With an online business, and with a website, you can easily monetise on your blog, but it will take time for you to become visible to online browsers in order to attract clicks that will convert in purchases.  As mentioned in my page on creating good website content, the revenue generating process does take its time.  But whilst we produce content for our website, we all become better and better at it.  So, why not put our newly found expertise to use to others and produce writing for others?

And again, whilst putting together a website for ourselves, why not getting paid by acquaintances and friends for designing their website, based on their requirements and needs?

As Robert mentions in his tutorial, think outside the box, and use your skills to the benefit of others.

 

 Diversify your skills with telecommuting


Naturally, diversification is not solely limited to home based business enterprises.  You may well be working for an employer, part time or full time, and have additional ways of making extra money on the side.  The general approach, as far as employers are concerned, is that so long as the employee’s additional income attempts do not interfere or clash with the employer’s line of business – in other words, so long as there are no conflicts of interest – employers welcome the proactive attitude of employees, so long as your additional revenue activity is not run whilst you are working for your employer.

In the home based business opportunities examined so far, I can easily work on my 9-5 job, whilst trying to sell some items on eBay, and whilst doing some online marketing job, and whilst chancing my luck at binary option trading.  Or you could make a monetary investment for additional source of revenue in the shape of passive income.

But diversification is not solely about making money, or making additional money.  It is very much about expanding your areas of expertise.  So, whilst working for an employer, you might want to approach your HR or line manager with a view to be put forward for courses or workshops to gain additional skills.

Because it is through the initiative, a proactive and creative attitude and a variety of acquired skills that we can broaden our horizon and become a 360 degree entrepreneur.  We are all born naturally gifted with the mind set of an entrepreneur – I most certainly am not!  But we can all reach success if we work hard at it.

 


Please share your story about how you established your entrepreneurial business venture successfully.  Or tell how you diversify your business.  Leave your comment below. 

Home worker or remote worker?

There are immense benefits to working from home on a self-employed basis. But is working from home possible for everyone?  Some people may find the safety net offered by corporate working more suitable to their personality or to their financial circumstances.  So, let’s find out which one suits you best.

 


The mechanics of working from home

Personally, I think there are endless advantages being your own boss.  But it is also true that to have a successful home-based business – of whichever legit nature – you must fulfil pre-requirements without which you will fail in making a feasible and sustainable earning.  Here are a few ones, which I found out from my direct experience.

#1.  Keep your eggs in many baskets

You must be prepared to be a champion of multi-tasking, and to explore different avenues.  When working from home on a self-employed basis, you do not have a regular salary, like in the corporate world, where your monthly salary is guaranteed, regardless of whether this week you have an important project to deliver by a tight deadline or whether the workload has suddenly gone quiet.

When working from home, you earn for what you deliver.  And in order to deliver regularly, you must ensure that the demands is kept alive constantly.  So, if your field of expertise is in selling merchandise, you may want to branch out to various selling markets, so as to satisfy the demands of different client platforms.  And whilst your speciality may be in selling antique items, you may be prepared to try out other products like electronic gadgets, or you may want approach different buyers, from a booth sale fair to antique shops to online buyers.

#2.  Promote yourself

It’s all very easy to choose to work from home, if to the core you are a very introvert person, who achieves more when not having to interact constantly with work colleagues or customers.  The reality of it is that, in the same way as you must try to experiment in different direction, you must also try to promote your business as much and as persuasively as you possibly can – naturally within the boundaries of your professional ethics, and not by making up lies and false statements!!!

In a practical example, in my online affiliate marketing business, I would want to have a number of websites, all tackling different niches, so all aiming to a different market.  But once I have built many websites, where I review the products I believe in, I must also ensure that I make people out there aware that I have just posted a review – and in doing so, I would want to use social media for promotional purposes.  In other words, I must market my business proactively, and never wait for customers to come to me.  Because if potential customers do not know about my business, they are never going to be given the opportunity to become my customers!

#3.  Keep learning

When working within a corporate environment, you will be proposed courses and training which will keep you up to date with the latest developments in the business industry you are working in.  Sometimes, as it’s often the case in the public sector, your boss will just tell you you have to attend that training – and whether you believe it is relevant to your role or not, well, tough.

As a home worker, you must source that learning independently.  You must ensure you are kept up to date with the latest selling techniques, or with the latest software packages if you work online, or with the most up to date teaching material, if your job is freelance mentoring – just to mention but a few examples.

And of course you might have to invest in courses and in training tools.  In doing so, you need to ensure your investment is one that will pay off eventually, by making you more competitive in whichever your field of expertise is going to be.

#4.  Self discipline

The majority of us that love to work from home, do so because we love the flexibility, independence and freedom we gain from not having any boss but ourselves to be accountable to.  The ideal picture for potential home workers is the one of us working whilst slouched on the sofa and wearing our favourite slippers.  Without discipline, however, you may slip down the dangerous road of lack of productivity.

You will still have deadlines you need to maintain as requested by customer or to retain a healthy and successful business.

Not only that.  But sticking to a flexible routine helps you with a positive attitude toward your working day, which in turn will turn you more creative and proactive toward your job.

 


Benefits of being a remote worker

Remote workers are those people who are employed as part of a corporate business, but are given the opportunity to work from home.  And again, there are benefits and downturns to this type of working environment, and it will be your job to find out whether this is for you.

  • Benefits

Working for a corporate company or in the public sector, no matter whether you have a busy workload or a period of quiet, you will always have the guarantee of a salary.

Not only that, but depending on your contract of employment, you may have sick periods paid for, as well as a paid for period of annual leave.  And a lot of companies offer pension schemes!

  • Disadvantages

I have worked in both corporate and public sector for many decades, and I can quite honestly say that the benefits of working for an employer do not come ‘cheap’.

As an employee you will always have to negotiate your personal needs against the needs of the company you work for.  I cannot remember the number of school events I have had to miss, when my son was taking part in a show or in a sports day.  And I have lost count of the times I had to beg for time off when my son came down with flu and I had nobody else that could look after him, when he was a kid.

To this day, if I need to see a doctor or the dentist, I have to ensure my appointment is either at the beginning or at the end of the day.  If I can only get an appointment in the middle of the day, I am frowned upon, and sometimes I’m told I cannot take time off.  And do not start me on the subject of booking holiday, which I can only do provided the service is covered and my needs do not clash with the ones of other colleagues!

I could not make it plainer in words.  You work for others, you are bound to their terms and conditions of employment.  Which in many case are a lot!

  • Requirements for remote working

The main requirement is for you to find an employer that will allow you to work remotely from home.  This is not easy task, as many employers are still reluctant to let go of having staff sitting at a desk, to ensure they are productive at all times.  Other employers shield behind the idea that the nature of their business requires that you are available on site rather than managing the job virtually.

Naturally sometimes this is true.  But, even when your role demands that you are front desk, such as in my current job as a customer adviser, compromises can be reached, where you can be working from home when you are to serve customers online or over the phone, whilst going to work on those days that you are scheduled to meet customers face to face.

However another requirement, provided you are allowed to work remotely, is that your home equipment be adequate enough to sustain the data exchange between your home internet connection and the more powerful servers a business may be provided with.

Finally, there is always the risk that you are missed out by colleagues in being kept up to date with the latest information (or why not, gossip!) as you are based remotely.  It will be your job therefore to ensure that people at work do not forget about you – create a communication system that will ensure so.

 


Ideally, a balance of the two

After working full time at a corporate and public sector level, I am now trying to build that fine balance between retaining my customer services role with my employer on a part time base, and using the remaining of my working week to make my online business successful from home.

Why not go ‘solo’ straight away?  Because it takes time to make a self-employed business successful and to monetise from it in such a way that it may replace my current salary and gives me sustainable financial security.

I am still working mostly for my employer.  The plan is to see my home-based business grow a little bit more to propose to my employer to reduce my hours further.

At the moment, although I have proposed remote working, my employer feels the scheme cannot be applied to my role.  Who knows, maybe one day things will change.  But until then, and until I can afford more financial freedom, I shall keep enjoying the perks of a secure salary, whilst nurturing my online business – just like a mother would want to see her baby grow into a healthy boy and man.

 


Do you think you would ever be suited to take the risks of home-based working?  Or are you more of a corporate person, with all its benefits and restrictions?  Share your opinion, leave a comment below to let me know how you feel about both options. 

5 tips to make a success of working from home

Ok, admittedly working from home is not always plain sail.  In the course of last year I have on many occasions come across obstacles to working from home which have prevented me from being as productive as I would have liked.  This has led me to reflect on what are the best conditions and requirements to make a success of working from home and I would like to share them you.

 

The struggles of working from home

This last few months have seen a slow down in my posting activity on both this site and my other website Living With A Border Terrier.  The slow down was one of the many periods in the course of the last year, where I struggled to remain productive with my online business.  This last period, where I stalled for more or less a month, has given me the opportunity to work out what best practices I should apply to overcome obstacles in trying to make a success of working from home.
But what were the causes?

 

I learnt from my own mistakes

What caused my slow down was a combination of external circumstances which caused me to ‘freeze’ and to struggle with my daily functions, including following and contributing to my online business – some call this a form of depression.

This was not the first time, as in the course of the year just gone more concerns had pressed me relating primarily to poor health of my closest family members, like my mum and my husband.  Consuming worries to tear your hair out, right?

Yet I am full aware that so many of us have had to cope with similar worries, if not bigger issues.  The problem is: if every time that something bad or unexpected prevents me from working from home, I shall never be able to work, as things happen to all of us all the times!!!

The question is then: how to learn to cope and to manage the stress and the anxiety of unexpected events in your life, in such a way that they do hinder on your success when working from home?

 

Be in control

When working in my working place for my employer, the struggle is less noticeable.  You get out of the house, and your brain is naturally challenged and engaged by external elements – it could be colleagues telling what happened to them over the weekend, or in my line of work for my employer, it is customers asking for advice over financial or housing matters.

The main drawback I see in working on your own from home is isolation, as you expose yourself to over rampaging over personal matters, which could eventually take over your mental and physical capabilities to function on any of the most basic daily tasks.  It is down to you, however, to learn to manage your isolation.

In first instance, you want to use the time you spend on your own to concentrate actively on your work.  At the end of the day, if you were at work in a non-home based environment, you would not spend all of your time chatting about what you did at the weekend, but you would be required to concentrate on the task in hand to make your hours at work productive.

 

Be quiet, I’m working

And how about if you have the kids playing in the same room where you are trying to work?  Or if ‘hubbie’ has just come back from work and wants to pour out with you all his frustration of the traffic he got caught during his commuting?

The most likely option – and the most advisable – is that you would still have a full time or part time main job, especially at the beginning of your home endeavours.  This is recommended particularly as any new business will not secure immediate earnings, and you don’t want to risk reducing you and your family to leave out of nothing whilst there are still bills to pay.

However, this means that you will work additional hours at home to the ones already worked at your main job.  That is me all over, by the way!!!

So, how to ensure that, when at home after a long day at work, you still remain productive in an effective way without letting your home life take over the few hours of the day you have left to dedicate to the job you are trying to set up so passionately?

 

5 tips to make a success of working from home

I have come up with 5 tips to make a success of working from home.  Follow my tips and you will see the difference between life being in control of your success and you becoming master of your work-from-home life!

 

#1.  Create your own working space

Whether it’s the comfort of your sofa or bedroom, ensure that at least when you work, if not the whole time, you have a space of your own for you to work undisturbed.

You may be a champion of multi-tasking.  Nevertheless without a dedicated corner for you to keep your notes and your equipment, you will not be able to run your home business successfully.

Naturally, you will need to ensure you have storage space if the business you intend to run involves keeping stock of goods.  If you are working freelance as a tutor, you may need a small study space to teach your pupils, for instance.

If, like me, you run an online business, all you need is really not much in terms of space: just about a notebook to jot down a few ideas, and room for a laptop.  And that will be all!

 

#2.  No interruptions, it’s your time

Naturally if you are working whilst the household is asleep, or whilst the kids are at school and your partner is at work, you will have the privilege of being able to work uninterrupted.

If however you have no option but to work whilst the rest of the family are also indoors, set a specific time where you kindly ask that for no reason whatsoever (over than life and death!) you are to be disturbed.  You may want to arrange for babysitting by your partner if the kids are too small.  Likewise you may want to ensure that the set time is not too long, in order not to make your ‘absence’ too onerous on the rest of the family.  Nevertheless ensure that however long or short, that time span is respected.

At the end of the day, you are using that time to work and make a living, which ultimately will benefit yourself and, indirectly, your family members too.

 

#3.  Self discipline and commitment

It may sound regimental, when in fact it is not as bad as it sounds.

At the end of the day, you are trying to establish your business, your livelihood.  This may be your sole source of income or an added earning opportunity.  Either way, you want to establish your home run business as you want to make a success of it.

Your home run business will require total commitment.  I for one should know better, having given away easily to ‘alternative commitments’ which at times have taken priority over my work unjustifiedly.  And this has happened primarily when things have got tougher.

As mentioned above, sometimes you need to be tougher with the ‘alternative commitments’.  There have been two occasions this year, for instance, where my mum has come to stay with us for a few weeks. Well, those weeks  barely managed to switch on my laptop, let alone working on my websites.  I am not trying to justify myself of my absence from the online scene.  This is no justification, as ultimately my business is the one that suffered from me not working on it.

What I should have done is ensuring that at certain times of the day and of the week, guests and family alike understood I was not available.  Or I should have altered my working times to try and fit in everybody else’s requirements.

Not an easy task, I’ll admit that.  But especially when your business is fully establish, you will find that you no longer need to work as long as initially, as the business will generate passive income once your brand is fully established on the market.  This in turn will grant you more free time and more flexibility.

 

The most famous shed in the world: Roald Dahl's!!
The most famous shed in the world: Roald Dahl’s!!

#4.  Ensure your family supports you

None of the above can be achieved without the support of your family of course.

Ahead of embarking in a home based business, you may want to speak to your family and share with them your vision.  Yes, admittedly initially your project may be welcomed with a pinch of skeptisism.  But  you need to explain why you want to do what you are embarking in.  You need to put across to them that ultimately you would like to try out whether you could be successful as your own boss.

I’m sure all your family wants is for you to be happy.  You will need to help them understand what your motivations are going to be, which will make you happy, such as the fact that you will have more flexibility of working hours, so that you can also meet more easily the demands of the household.  The ultimate goal could possibly even be for you to make a wealth out of it, which in turn would benefit the whole family.

 

#5.  Don’t overdo it

It’s easy when working from home, to let the business take over your entire life.

Yes, there may be days when you are going to work 20 hours out of the 24.  This may happen particularly if you are trying to seal a deal, or if you have to meet a specific deadline.

However, this should not be the rule!!

Especially if, like me, you like to work early in the morning before everybody else is awake, or in the evening, you must not allow yourself to also work for the rest of of the day.  This is most important especially if you are also working for an employer full or part time.

Likewise, you may set up some days of the week when you work flat out, but other days in the week which you will dedicate to a trip out with the family or to practice a hobby or to watch soaps for the whole dat (that will be me, cuddled with my dog under a big duvet!!)  – anything other than work.

Sometimes overdosing it is as damaging to your business as doing too little.

 

In conclusion

I hope you will find the above tips useful.  Naturally they are not fully exhaustive, but they want to be be general self-help ideas to aid in making your life easier whilst working at home.

If you have more ideas to propose, by all means leave your comment below.  Likewise, if you believe the above is not going to work, do share your concerns with me, so we can start a healthy discussion.

Whatever your approach, it must be one that you are going to be comfortable with.

I won’t pretend home based business is easy matter.  But the rewards are worth the long hours, the commitment and the determination!

 

So, what keeps you self-disciplined?
So, what keeps you self-disciplined?