Defining Your Priority

Defining Your Priority

Defining your priority is something that I realized I must do in order to maintain that fragile work/life balance that comes with working from home.

If you think that you are tipping the balance in favour of your personal life when you begin career at home, let me tell you straight out that it is not always so. When I was starting, I had a target compensation set before me that I ended up putting in more hours at work than I was taking care of my son. It was tiring and stressful and the problem was, I had no place to retreat because my office was my home!

That was when I realized how messed up my plans were. I wanted the work from home arrangement to succeed that I lost sight of my priorities. I forgot that the reason I was working from home was to be with my son and to take better care of my family.

Epic failure.

Don’t get me wrong. The problem was not the working arrangement. The problem was my attitude towards everything. I was focusing too much on the career I was building for myself that I lost sight of why I chose this path to begin with.

So I had to step back and reassess my goals. Not only that, I had to create a system wherein I was able to cover all the bases of both my personal and business life.

What were my reasons to stay at home? My family comes first, especially my son. I want to witness how my son was growing up and not get distorted versions of it from the one taking care of him. I want to have dinner ready when my husband comes home – not have him cook dinner himself because it’s taking me too long to get off from work. These are things that I found very hard to do with a corporate job.

For my business priorities, my goals were to fill in an 8 hour work day so I can help my husband support our family financially. I also wanted my own blog site where I can help others get into the same position as I am today (if they wanted to).

The key to maintaining balance is to find a way to fit in these priorities in my schedule and try not to overlap them. For instance, I begin my work way before my son wakes up so that I can take care of him when he does. That means, my work hours begin at 6-9 in the morning and continues around 1pm when he takes his afternoon nap. When he wakes up, I stop working so I can play with him and also to prepare dinner before my husband gets home. If there are things that I wasn’t able to finish, I work 1-2 hours at night while my family watches television.

I stick to my schedule so that I can attend to my personal and business goals. That way, I get to take care of my family and at the same time, experience fulfilment as my work from home career moves forward.

Defining Your Priority

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles

Here is an excerpt from an article that a friend of mine wrote. She has been vital to my work from home success – giving me tips here and there. She is a lot younger than me but I found her to be quite knowledgeable in a lot of things pertaining to an online career. Her name is Cairyn.

I’d like to share with you 5 of the things that helps Cairyn achieve a work/life balance.

***

Tip 1: Scheduling around priorities. Family comes first.

Business success is something all of us are striving for, myself included, but achieving this goal is impossible without a balance at home and work. Working at home is easier once I ironed out the snags that typically get in the way of productivity. By creating a simple system, the balance of time between my family, social life and business is a no brainer.

Tip 2: Order “Business to Do’s” based on client needs.

Messages on the office phone, cluttered e-mail accounts and the ever present need to always organize and re-organize the office can get in the way of business basics. I have several software productivity applicationsthat takes care of these things for me. I structure what I do around this and I owe the late Steve Jobs a lot for creating the whole Apple line of products. These gadgets may worth the investment but they simply make everything done faster and more efficient. Remember, the success of your business depends on the satisfaction of your clients. So if you’ll need to spend on something for your personal growth, knowledge and technology to help you get the job done and make your clients satisfies, I recommend you to get started with it right away.

Tip 3: Set Business and life Boundaries

To balance business and life, I had to set office work boundaries. Sometimes it can be frustrating and challenging but it’s definitely a must do. I personally prefer to complete the bulk of my work in the evening when there’s not much happening in and out of the house. Working during the graveyard hours, allowed my mind to stay on my most important and time sensitive tasks.

Tip 4: Work Space Restrictions

Placing restrictions on the distractions that came into my personal workspace was very important. Interruptions from others in my household and virtual ones like cell phone text messages, answering e-mails and social messaging needed to be put off until after work. Having a balanced business and life is all about getting organized. Hiring a virtual worker from a trustworthy online platform like oDesk proved to be the best way for me to do just that.

Tip 5: Make time for family time

It’s important for me to schedule some quality time with my family. Once a week, I plan few activities or events to spend with them and put it into my calendar to make sure that work related things will not get scheduled on these days. This give me a sense of relief because I know that family time is going to take place and I will not be interrupted by work. When I take time out to indulge myself with family time, I feel great and my focus at work improves. If you’re an employer, wouldn’t it be nice to have employees who are very productive with their work? An article from USA Today states that people who have more time with their families tend to be happier. In addition, happiness plays a great role in a person’s productivity and self-motivation. If they’re very happy with their lives, are highly motivated with their work and very productive with it, it wouldn’t be weird for them to work extra hours if you need them to.

Top Outsourcing Sites - How to Choose

Top Outsourcing Sites – How to Choose

I assume that you are researching on top outsourcing sites because you want to explore the possibility of earning from home. It really is something that you can venture into.

Well I have good news for you! There are several sites out there that can help you. Some of them cater to a particular profession, like writing or web development, while there are bigger sites that cater to any kind of career that can be remotely done.

When you begin working online, there is one thing that you should be most concerned about: security. It is not even the job opportunity.

Online, the demand for quality talent is endless – believe me. Even when my employer suddenly decides to end our contract, I realized that I can find a replacement immediately. Some of you may think that I have good luck on my side, but I say it is proof that there really is a need for good and talented people online.

So setting aside the demand problem, you are faced with security issues. This issue refers to the assurance that you will be paid for your work.

This is where top outsourcing sites come in.

There may be a lot of sites that will help you get a job but the problem is, are the employers honest enough to pay you once you turn over the finished output?

Choosing the Right Outsourcing SitesTop Outsourcing Sites - How to Choose

I have come across several forums and comments wherein contractors (and even employers) are complaining about not getting what is rightfully due to them. Even the top outsourcing sites have their own share of complaints.

As great as my experience is online, it would be dishonest of me to paint you a picture of green meadows here. There are scammers out there and outsourcing sites are not immune to them. There are contractors being scammed out of their hard work without getting paid. The same is true for employers paying contractors in advance without getting the quality output they are expecting.

The key is to search for the top outsourcing sites that will give you security and a great work platform online. I believe, the best candidate for that are the top 3 outsourcing sites namely: Elance, oDesk and Freelancer.

These three, based on reviews are considered to be the best platform for remote work to happen. This is where both contractors and employers can transact safely.

I will give you a detailed review of oDesk.com as I have been working with this outsourcing website for almost a year now. For the other two, I want to work with them first so I can give you a review of how they operate and how beneficial they are for contractors. At the very least, I will research on reviews about them and I will post it on this site. Nevertheless, I’ve done enough research to assure you that these two (together with oDesk) are really worth checking out.

Of course, you need to trust your judgement when you are transacting through these top outsourcing sites. Some scammers can still penetrate these sites, but they have the best verification systems in place that will assure you that you are protected. These verification systems will be discussed extensively with each outsourcing site review.

That gives me an idea actually. I should probably write about how I stayed away from scammers all this time.

Keep posted!

How to Create a Profile on Odesk

How to Create a Profile on Odesk

How to Create a Profile on Odesk

Photo Courtesy of stockimages

Creating a profile on Odesk is quite important because this is what will make future employers take notice of you. Since everything is done remotely, you cannot use your charm. You only have your profile to represent you and tell potential clients about your value as a hard working contractor.

Hard as it may be to convince them without your charm, it is doable. Everything about your profile on Odesk must answer the question: What would make employers want to hire me?

1. Create professional and direct statements. I know you want to use your charm but let’s be professional first. Save the personality for the interview. The first few lines must be clear and concise so the employer will take notice of you and know what you offer at first glance. When you have their attention, they will keep reading your profile. Give them something like “I am a web content writer who can deliver SEO quality articles in a short span of time. I write only unique articles and I am capable of doing my own research.”

2. Give a complete list of your skills. Your profile is no place for being coy. Be as proud and confident as you can when you list the skills that you have. Steer away from generic skills like “writing articles”. It would be better to place “Article Writer specializing in SEO content”. Remember to be honest about your skills and do not over promise what you cannot deliver. Also, arrange your skills to list the top skill to the least.

3. List the tools and applications you are familiar with. For instance, if you know how to publish an article in WordPress, that will be a plus. If you know how to utilize keyword research tools, indicate that too.

4. Build a strong portfolio. This is one way for potential employers to see what you can really do. If your past work is with another client, make sure you ask permission to use them. You do not have to place too many items on your portfolio. Usually, employers will only look at two or three. However, it helps to categorize them so employers will not have a hard time browsing through them. For instance, being a writer, I can create different compilations for my creative content, short stories, blog articles and news articles. That way, they will know where to look. Label the items in your portfolio properly. Odesk will allow you to create links and upload files in your portfolio.

5. Proofread your profile. This is very important. Read through your profile and try to edit out any spelling or grammatical errors. You can even get someone else to proofread it for you. Ask them about the impression that they got when they read your profile. Was it interesting? Will it make them want to hire you?

6. Take as much Odesk tests as you can. Some employers are very particular about tests. Allot some time to take a few tests that will prove just how skilled you are. If you get a low score on a test, hide it for the meantime until you can take it again. Odesk has a policy wherein you can retake a test only after a specific period.

7. Place a respectable photo and write your real name. If an employer is to take you seriously, you need to be bold enough to give them your real name. Also, a photo will help put a face to your name. Read the Odesk Identity Policy for more information.

Follow these steps to create a killer profile on Odesk. Hopefully, employers will be impressed enough to set an interview with you.

Remember to update your profile every now and then to add the experiences that you have gained since you created your profile. It will show just how productive you are.

Make Work from Home Work

Make Work from Home Work

If you think that it is easy to make work from home work, it’s not. At least it’s not a walk in the park.

Sure you are your own boss. You work only when you feel like it and you have all the time in your hands. You can surf the net, take long breaks and open your facebook account anytime and no one will reprimand you for doing it. You get to be with the kids, you can go out whenever you want and practically no one will get hurt when you make a mistake – except for yourself of course.

But that’s just it. When something goes wrong, you are to blame and you will suffer for it financially.

Don’t get me wrong. It is still the best arrangement and I will not trade my home career for anything. However, there is a downside when you are working at home and I feel that I should let you know. At least if you want to make work from home work for you.

Downside of Working from Home

As much as there is enough room for growth, there are some things that are lurking around the corner that will make you fail.

When I started working from home, I found that my greatest hurdle to being productive was myself. At first, I marvelled at the fact that I can open my social accounts anytime without having to look over my shoulder. I can browse the Internet as long as I want to.

But guess what, with every minute I spent reading the status updates of my friends and browsing through useless articles, I wasn’t earning anything!

That is the main downside of working from home. If you don’t work, you don’t get compensated for anything.

If I wanted to make work from home work for me, I had to really discipline myself! I was driven by the fact that each day I don’t work is a day of not earning anything. I don’t get holidays as well! My foreign employers care less about the Philippine holidays so I don’t get double pay.

While there are online careers like website management or selling digital products that are great passive income generators, writing was not really one of them. I get paid for every article that I submit.

Achieving Work from Home Success

Make Work from Home Work

Photo Courtesy of healingdream

So to make work from home work meant that I had to really step up and take charge of my life. The good thing about it was, every second I spent working means I get to earn more. It was a real eye opener for me. Earning from home took a lot of work – it really does!

Though I still get to work during the hours I wanted to, I had to maintain a certain number of hours working to achieve my target income. Does that make sense?

Anyway, based on what I experienced, here are a few things I suggest you do so you can succeed and make work from home work for you.

1. Block social networking sites. If you cannot discipline yourself, block it. I’m serious! These are really bad distractions! If you don’t want to block them, at least have them blocked while you work. There is a great tool for Mac called the Anti-Social that blocks social networking sites while it is turned on. I didn’t need to use these programs as I was able to discipline myself but you might find it useful. For Windows, I heard that PureSurf Desktop is a great application to use.

2. Create an Office Space at Home. Try not to work in your bedroom or your kitchen or your living room where the kids can sometimes get very rowdy. Create a corner where you can set up office so your mind gets psychologically geared up to work when you get there. Keep away from the most distracting parts of the house.

3. Maintain a Work Schedule. While flexibility is great, it helps to maintain a schedule so you do not cross the thin line between your work and personal life. Remember why you wanted to make work from home work in the first place – so you have time for your family without being distracted by work problems. Keep that line intact.

4. Set up a Plan. Even if you are working alone, writing down a concrete plan or timeline will really help you achieve milestones in your home career. It can be as simple as setting up a website by April, having a social network account for the site by May, write an eBook by the end of the year and so on. It keeps you focused on your goals.

To make work from home work is all about setting your goals and motivating yourself. At the beginning of this year, I wrote down the things that I wanted to accomplish this year and what I wanted to buy out of what I will earn. These help me stay up late and work hard even when my mind wanted me to relax and procrastinate.

What You Need to Know About Writing Jobs

What You Need to Know About Writing Jobs

The best thing about writing jobs on the Internet is that there will never be a shortage of opportunities for you. That is one thing that I learned.

While websites need the technical mind to function, they equally need content to be able to stay ahead in the search engine optimization game. Without great content, the chances of a website being popular and relevant are very slim.

Not only that, content knows no boundaries. All niches need content. Regardless of the format and target market, you need a written content to send out a message.

To top it all, people log on the Internet to get information. Whether that is to share or acquire information, I realized that information is central to why we all hang out on the Internet. We look for information about something that interests us, we read about what our peers are doing and we research about anything new. All of these information need a writer to put the message into readable articles.

Internet writing is quite different from what you used to do in school. For one, the people reading your entry have a very short attention span. You need to go straight to the point otherwise, they will turn their attention on another writer’s piece.

Best Writing Jobs Online

If I list down all the writing jobs that you can do online, it might take a few hours for you to finish reading this article. So let me just list the few jobs that I encountered online.

There are two paths that you can take: a writing job or a writing career. Allow me to define the difference.

I’d like to think of a writing job as an arrangement wherein you have an employer. Someone pays you for every written output that you submit. On the other hand, a writing career is when you benefit from the profits of written products.

What You Need to Know About Writing Jobs

Photo Courtesy of imagerymajestic

Getting Writing Jobs

Let us begin with writing jobs. Here is a list of jobs that you can get as an online writer.

1. Article/Content Writer. This job requires you to create informative articles that are subjective in nature. These are the keyword optimized written pieces that search engines tag. Actually, this is a very broad job. I started my online career by being an article writer for various niches.

2. Ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is someone who writes under someone else’s name. This type of writing job involves articles that are either subjective or objective – depending on the person you are ghostwriting for and the subject. This is actually a bit tricky. If your employer is a blog writer, you need to incorporate a bit of their personality – otherwise, it wouldn’t appear to their own work. You need to squeeze in a bit of anecdote or two about their lives to make the written entry more authentic.

3. Copywriter. A copywriter is someone who writes to represent something. It can be like giving a voice to a company so their identity is properly embodied in every caption and text.

Pursuing a Writing Career

For a writing career, it begins with marketing what you know and channelling them into words. Here are a few suggestions to what you can do to earn off a writing career.

1. Create a Blog Site. This can be like your personal journal. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated. However, it has to more than just a jumble of thoughts from your head. When you create a blog, think about what you will represent through that blog. For instance, my blog is concentrated on earning a living from home. I’m not implying that I am already an expert on this field as I have a long way to go. But I do have something substantial to write about because I’m living what I write. There is nothing more authentic than writing about your own experiences. To earn from it, you have to place a bit of advertisement here and there (relevant to your niche of course). That is easy with Google Adsense. As the traffic on your blog site increases, you get to enjoy the rewards of advertising commissions from Adsense.

2. Write an Ebook. Another thing you can do is to write an Ebook. Again, this has to be something that you know so you have something to preach. The good thing about this is it is a one-time effort and the rewards can last for as long as it can. You can post it on Kindle or Amazon to sell. This is a great passive income generator. The key to succeed is to promote the book and your credibility as its author.

There are more writing jobs that you can go into. Just remember to find that niche that you feel comfortable in. Try to get as much experience as you can, absorb knowledge from your employers and apply it to your life and future career. Though it’s true that everything can be researched, nothing beats writing from experience as it comes from what your heart dictates.