Working from Home: Where to Start
Working from Home: Where to Start
By Jacqueline Bodnar
I’ve been working from home for a decade now. Being self employed has been a rewarding and challenging, as well as the absolute best job I’ve ever had. Hands down! I enjoy the flexibility, being my
own boss, determining the course of my career and what I do day-to-day. Plus, it’s provided me with a salary that I’m happy with.
On what is probably a weekly basis I get asked for advice on how to work from home. There are millions of people who are self employed and work from home and there are millions more who would like join them. Problem is, most people don’t have a clue as to where to start. So here are a few of my suggestions for getting started:
- Evaluate skills. I believe everyone has skills they can put to use earning money from home. Everyone! This is despite of, and including, your past work experience, education, personal interests, hobbies, etc. Take the time to write down a list of all your skills. What can you do to earn money from home? Can you type, make phone calls, watch children, make and sell something, or walk dogs? There is a home-based business you can start with every type of skill set out there.
- Determine income needed. Do you have a realistic idea of how much money you need or want to make? There are some people who just want to earn a little extra money on the side. They may want to look into something like becoming a Tupperware or Mary Kay representative. If you want to earn more you will want to choose a path that will allow you to do so (ideas to follow).
- Do broad research. Start out by doing research about all work at home careers. Check with the library and get at least three books on working from home. Read them through to get some ideas. There are many books out there and they are filled with work at home ideas. Flip through and make a short list of work at home paths you are interested in doing. Which one can you ideally see yourself doing?
- Narrow research. Once you have your broad search done it is time to do research into the area that interests you the most. Pick your top work at home idea and start researching it. Find books at the library that focus on just that one field. Read several of them so you get a good idea about what is involved in that job and how you would do it from home. Do some online searches for other people who have similar companies. Notice what you like and don’t like about what they are doing, including their Website, what they are charging, and even how they are marketing their product or service.
- Get started. Make a plan of what you are going to do. Start your business by keeping it legal. You will need to visit Sunbiz.org to get either a fictitious firm name or a business license. If you will just use your name you don’t need a fictitious firm name. Any variations of it or something completely different and you will need that. You want to keep everything legal by having a business license, keeping track of income and expenses, and filing your taxes. You also need to make sure you have certifications that may be necessary for the type of business you are opening (e.g., childcare services).
- Go for longevity. Most people who fail at starting and keeping their home businesses going do so because they give up too soon. To have a successful business, whether from home or out of the home, you must understand how to market it and you must be patient in waiting for it to grow. Without having those two things you will be hard pressed to be successful. Learn about how to effectively market your business and be patient as it grows, giving it enough time to do so.
It is important to be careful to avoid scams. There are many work-at-home scams out there. Exercise cautious of anything where you have to put money out in order to sign up or get started. Also, be cautious about anything promising you will make a lot of money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. By starting your own business you will know you are avoiding scams, have more control over your future, and will call the shots.
These steps will help you determine what you can do to earn money from home. Most people I come across want shortcuts. They don’t want to do this research to get started in an at-home career path. They want someone to hand them the answers, hand them a ready-made career, etc. Just do the work! If you take the time to do this research and self-evaluation you will find something that fits your skills, goals, and income desires. It will be a better fit for you and will help ensure long term success.
Read more on this topic here, here, and here.
Jacqueline Bodnar is a freelance writer that lives in Port Orange, Fla. and blogs at VolusiaCountyMoms.com. She is also he author of “Starting Your Career as a Professional Blogger,” and owner of Bodnar Ink.
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