Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Working from home is harder than it looks!

It is a common dream, is working from home. Hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of office and factory workers the world over sit at their desks at work, thinking how lucky we at home are for being able to work from home.


This morning my husband woke up and sighed. I asked what was up and he said he couldn’t be bothered today. Ditto, I replied, and was met with the usual withering look I am met with whenever my hardworking hubby hears me decry my work at home situation.

Ok. I'll be honest. I would not change it for the world. In an earlier post, I mentioned how my life was actually very hard work and it is. But like I said, I feel lucky to have it at the same time. It's not harder than going out to an office job per se, but there are issues that do sometimes make it more difficult than you would think.

So if you are thinking of jacking in the day job and setting up office on your kitchen table, watching the pounds roll in as you slurp coffee in your PJs, here is a lovely reality check on the myths for you.

1. You can sit in your pyjamas all day whilst earning
You can indeed, if that's what you want. The question is why is that a good thing?  What if someone knocks on the door?  The postman with a parcel? How embarrassing to still be in PJs after lunch.   Whatever your embarrassment level, you will soon realise that sitting in your pyjamas every day starts to affect your work, your lifestyle and your psyche. You start to feel smelly, lazy and embarrassed when your other half comes in from work, sees no housework done (because you've been working, right?) and you still in the fleecy get-up you've been wearing non-stop for two days. You don't go out that much anymore because it becomes a huge effort to get ready and look presentable like normal people.  It's a slow, downward cycle and one day, you'll wake up and realise that all aspects of your life and work are suffering because you never change out of your pyjamas.

2. It's easier to work from home
It isn't easier to work from home in itself. It is if you get an easier job than you did when you went to work. Say you used to be an astrophysicist and now you work from home as someone who fills in surveys.  Working from home is like working anywhere else. And because you often work for yourself, running your own business, you may find the work is harder than you did before. I do.

3. You get lots of free time to chill out
Yeah, right. Any free time you get is spent on housework, or if you’re a parent, dealing with little children. I can count on one hand the number of times I've done something frivolous whilst working from home for the past 18 months.  Chill out means no money. At least at work you are paid for every hour you're there!

So in a nutshell, work is work, wherever you do it. Working from home can be very fulfilling and can also be flexible, depending upon the type of work you do. But for some it can be a lonely and hard existence that sends then running back to office gossip at the first opportunity.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Freelance Opportunities RIGHT NOW

Freelance Writers Wanted
One of the companies I currently write for when I have the time is currently recruiting for a number of freelance workers.  The jobs available are mainly for writers but they do have other types of work available for people who can proof-read or conduct web based research. For the majority of the work you get paid weekly although there are some jobs where the client has to give the go-ahead so it takes about two weeks to become eligible. If you think you have what it takes then sign up here to take the aptitude tests.

Monday, 17 September 2012

How to juggle a baby and a business for stay at home mums who want to earn

Juggling a baby and a business? Yep. And the rest.
I am currently writing some product labels for a well-known website. I’m also about to start cleaning our shower, thinking about baby snack time and chasing an eleven month old round the half-renovated living room.  I’m thinking about making dinner too  (have just extracted frozen minced beef from freezer) and also that I need to pay our outstanding gas bill before we change suppliers. I’ve just made a makeshift draught excluder from a bed I just took delivery of, because we have a wide open chimney and the temperature has plummeted and me and said baby both have frozen feet. 
I am also updating this blog.
I’m not.  This is my highly (mostly) organised life. This is what I aspired to and this is what I have become. And you know what? Forget moaning about it. The only thing I moan about is how I need more time because there are not enough hours in my day. But I would not change it for the world.
I have a little baby, a business and my husband has an exhausting and demanding job. He is also renovating this house in his spare time. Wow!  So I take care of the vast majority of household tasks whilst trying to grow my business so I can continue to have a viable career and so we have a little more cash coming in.
So how do I juggle a baby, a business and everything else?
1.       Make lists
I plan my day by making a big list over my morning coffee.  I put far more on this list than I can ever achieve in a day, but it drives and keeps me going. The feeling of ticking just one more job of that huge list is amazing. That list gets carried over to the next day, with new important tasks added on.  Nothing leaves the list until it is done and that can sometimes be three weeks later.  I know this against conventional wisdom but you did ask how I do it all. This is how I do it. This way nothing gets missed, nothing falls off into obscurity if I don’t manage to complete it on the allotted day. And I keep going and keep organised.
2.       Priorities
Each week I make sure I set aside one whole day for me and my boy to go out and have fun. He goes to a relative one day per week to be spoiled there, so that day is totally devoted to work. Sunday is always family day and Mondays I tend to give the house a deep clean.  The rest of my hours are organised on an as-need basis.  This means that no one area gets neglected and I can manage the other hours and days to focus on any area that needs more attention than others.  My husband and I also try to go out at least once per month but evening babysitting is a bit of a nightmare so this is quite rare, sadly.
3.       Forget pressure
When my son was born, I was adamant I could do it all. I got into a real state and almost had a breakdown when he was around four months old and had to temporarily shut down all areas of my business and take a break. Seven months later and that is a distant memory. I had put so much pressure on myself and had a little demanding new born to content with too. It was so unhealthy so even if your children are older, never put too much pressure on yourself.  You can only do so much and the key is not to work faster or harder or to do more in less time. It’s to work as smart as you can and be as organised as you can so that tasks in themselves actually take less time. Flylady has been a revelation to me and means I spend only 6 hours per week on one day per week deep cleaning my entire house. A few minutes per day keeps most things in check.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Looking for hard work and low pay? Be a freelance writer.

I am appalled.  I just spoke with a potential client who had invited me to get in touch. He had heard great things about me and my work and had lots of work he was desperate to push my way.  I wrote to him as soon as I could and told him a bit about me, what I do and how we could develop a working relationship. All very professional.

Before contacting him, I looked at his site and current marketing materials both to get a feel for his business and make sure that I was able to work with it. Great! This was a successful entrepreneur with a successful business in a niche I have a great interest and lots of experience in.

His overriding concern was 'how much'?

I told him, offering a variety of options with differing price structures.

It transpires he has been using the services of writers on a well known site where they charge around £5 less commission (so £4) per task, and this was his benchmark. I think we can all work out what I'm talking about here but I refuse to promote them in my blog. "But they're just rubbish. I can't use them".

Sadly, we've gone our separate ways.  There was no way I was going to write website content for him for five pound a pop and there was no way he was going to buy web content from me at £35 per pop. There was just no room for middle ground. No opportunity to educate or manage expectations.  Some people want cheap then complain when they get it.

Whilst this is an extreme example of how these sites have managed to change how people perceive value in the online writing world, it is actually very common for potential clients to, and I love this American freelance phrase, 'nickel and dime' you.  I hate being nickel and dimed and now that I'm more established, refuse to fall victim to it.  Know your worth without being arrogant and those serious about quality work will pay your prices without question.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Make money writing articles with HubPages - Part 1

I'm always looking for ways to generate an online passive income. It's not that I don't like hard work. I do, and I do it often. It's more that I would like to generate income even when I'm not working, to make every hour really work for itself when it comes to my time.  Anyway, from what I can gather from my research so far, generating an online passive income is HARD work, and often not successful.

So I've heard that HubPages is a good place to generate income if you're a good writer. Well, I'm a web writer so it sounds good to me. My core business model is making money writing articles so why not make money writing articles for myself (aside from this which is my hobby blog, that is!).

I joined up with HubPages last week and have spent ten minutes here and there having a look at what's hot and what's not. I have gathered that there are people making money writing articles on HubPages but there ar emore who aren't.

I've decided to create a challenge. A year long challenge. How much money can I make writing articles on HubPages in a year, if I write 3 per week?  I know for many writers it takes a year to see any results, so we need to get learning and try and fast track our way to some earnings.

This is episode one of the challenge, where I tell you about the challenge. We'll say this is Week 1 of the HubPages Earnings Challenge, so the challenge will be complete one year Last Friday gone.  Keep checking back because I am going to link my articles and their earnings. Here is the link to my little world on HubPages in case you want to read or join. 

I would love it if anyone would like to join me. If you want to try the challenge too and race me to bigger earings, sign up for a HubPages account here and link back to this blog. 

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