Thursday, October 26, 2006

Time vs. Money

What's more valuable, your time or your money? This is a question every work from home body should be constantly asking him or her self, since the answer is an elusive, ever-shifting fog.

So, while I've been spending these days tweaking this and that on my newest site, I managed to step back for a second and look at the site's content for a minute, instead of just the layout and et cetera. It hasn't been updated in quite a few days now. This reminded me of something very important, and now I'm typing text instead of code. It's a welcome change.

As usual, it's a good idea at this point for me to explain. As a home worker, freelancer, entrepreneur or whatever it is you're working towards (note to self: figure out a way to shorten that phrase for the future), you need to find your rhythm. If you've been reading, studying and learning for months and you have yet to take your first step, stop yourself. The most common reason for failure to succeed is failure to act. I have stumbled around in this muddy area more times than I care to admit, to varying degrees.

If you seem to have a million ideas that might be good ones, and are on a pace to make a million and a half by month's end, I'm writing this for you. It's time to stop collecting ideas. It's time to organize them, and put them into order of either importance or greatness. Only then can you start converting your valuable time into money. This organization process can take a lot longer than it might seem like it should, so start as soon as you can. Are you busy right now?


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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fine Tuning

I see a few people are already checking out my new blog. This is great, as I have much knowledge to share.

Just wanted to let all you viewers know that I've been trying to spend time working on the look and feel of the site; This is why I haven't added any fresh tips in the last few days.

So go easy on me, there's some excellent material coming up over the next week or two!


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Monday, October 16, 2006

Skills That Pay the Bills

As a researcher of the work at home marketplace, you are hopefully paying close attention to the many differences between the brick and mortar job market and the WAH job market. There will be times when it seems like everything you've learned is as useless as a spoon at a slaughterhouse (and yes, I totally just made that up on the fly-- if you don't beleive me, go ahead and Google it while you still can, I'll be applying for trademark rights soon). This doesn't mean you should just flush all common sense down the toilet, which is what some people seem to do.

There are some things that will probably always be as applicable at your home office as they are out in the rest of the world. Here's the main one: Most of the work that can be done in this world can be categorized broadly into a very few categories. The first is referred to as unskilled labor, and yes it is a crude term. This type of work can be pretty much anything that doesn't require much education or experience. Unskilled labor is also categorized as usually paying a relatively low wage.

Then of course there's skilled labor. This usually pays incrementally more than the unskilled varieties, and having some kind of degree or related experience usually helps here.

Other than skilled and unskilled, you really only have a couple of big ones left. There's what I like to call pseudo-skilled labor. You may never have heard of this, but there are people out there who can bullshit their way through a resume and greatly increase their chances of finding some decent paying work without all the bother of getting a masters in middle-management or some similar nonsense.

That brings us to the point where all we really have left is working for oneself. This can mean a lot of things, of course. Be aware that it's always these entrepreneurial personalities that end up making the big bucks. That's right, always.

Okay, I really do owe my readers an explanation about the common sense remark. I'll explain: Working from home has evolved over the last few decades from a crazy notion, to a wonderful solution, to something else altogether. Kind of a potentially wonderful solution, with a lot of misinformation and crazy ideas going around.

In the beginning, technology started making it possible for certain office functions to be performed remotely. Employers large and small (mostly large, initially) started allowing people to spend some of their work days at home on an experimental basis. Then, all of a sudden, it became all the rage to judge which were the best corporations to work for based on things like the possibility to work at home, in-house daycare facilities and gyms.

Today, technology has reached the point where an employer doesn't have to be large by any means to take advantage of homeworkers. Anything that can be done with a computer or a phone, can and more and more often is being done entirely with a force of workers that work from the comfort of their own home. This is great when it works. Do be aware of the following conversation, however:

"How can I make money working from home?"

"Well, what's kind of experience/skills do you have?"

"I want to or need to work from home."

"What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?"

"So long as I can stay home, I'll do anything."

My point here is that if you don't have a skill or group of skills that you are able to demonstrate via experience, a degree or by being a good enough BS artist to get your foot in the door, you may well end up as unskilled work from home labor if you don't start either expanding your range of skills or get into entrepreneur mode.


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Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

So, you're serious about this working from home thing. You've made a good choice, and a difficult one. That's a huge step, and you'll soon see that it is the first of many, many difficult decisions that you'll need to make. This last statement especially applies to those who haven't made their first dollar from within their own four walls, but many who choose to quit the rat race find that diversification is an effective way to find what best fits their individual expectations and needs.

The next logical step is to decide how to go about it. Nobody may have told you yet that these decisions are going to get more difficult before they get easier, but that's how it's starting to look at this point.

There are a lot of folks who literally just want to work from home in the most basic sense of the phrase. Maybe start at 8 or 9 in the morning and put in eight hours, maybe take an hour for lunch. Just without the getting dressed and leaving the house part.

This has the potential to be a very nice arrangement for those lucky enough to find an employer offering it. Employers the world over have become aware of the money that can be saved by working with home-based help. If you're one of the many wondering how I can read your mind and blog at the same time, don't get too excited yet. As it turns out, being an at home job seeker may just be more competitive than any industry out there (without the benefits of actually being an industry, if you're the one doing the job hunting).

That said, it's not realistic for everybody. In order to be successful on this route, you'll have to treat it like any other job hunt. Identify your marketable skills, and decide on an industry or industries where you're likely to be able to make best use of them. Write a resume, and get it out there. If you don't have any marketable skills, you're going to have a tough time finding this type of work from home, right from the start.

Sound familiar? It should, it's not that much different than looking for work outside the home in these respects. Except that as a candidate for a telecommuting position, you could be competing against people from all over the country or world, rather than only those who are located within commuting distance. It is also a good idea to consider adding an additional section to your resume, one that briefly outlines your home office capabilities. This is where you'll call attention to your high-speed internet connection, dedicated phone or fax lines, and any special software you have installed.

Whether this is the best approach for you depends on your reasons for wanting to work from home in the first place. If you're trying to get away from working for "the man," need a very flexible schedule or do not have any special training or experience, you should probably be looking at alternatives to the often unrealistic 9-5 work at home job.

These will be covered next time, stay tuned.


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