Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Now I Need Purple Jammies!

I got a great new pair of purple slippers for Christmas, now all I need are the purple jammies to go with them! Who needs a fancy wardrobe when you work at home. Give me something comfortable to wear and a pot of coffee and I'm good to go!

I hope you have been reading some of the articles I've put here and followed up on the leads that I've given you. There are some really terrific companies out there who can surely use your talents.

As I sit here relaxing, I want to tell you about a great new website I found, which can save you money!  It is called Alice and they have all types of grocery items. I have spent at least the last hour just browsing around their website. What I did is took my grocery list and then compared it to what items they carry and the savings I could get from purchasing from them.  Not only can I save money, but all I need to do is buy 6 items and there is no shipping fee.  Can you imagine what a time saver this can be?  I have two daughters who have 3 children between them who are in diapers. The savings just on those alone is tremendous.

There are products listed that you would use in every room in your house as well as in your office or garage. Even pet foods are there for you cat or dog!

Do you hate the thought of clipping coupons?  Alice does it for you!

I know this post has nothing to do with helping you find a job to work at home, but I just had to share with you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Think Outside The Box

Amid the economy's many ailments,with numerous companies continuing to cut their workforces,or close their doors completely,there is still some good news that has remained mostly off the radar. The at-home work force is growing at a surprising rate and it is encompassing many new occupations.

The down side of this is that there is fierce competition and this means your odds of landing one of these jobs can vary depending on the skills required by the hiring companies. If you succeed and do get hired, you will probably take a pay cut.

But even with a pay cut, look at the bright side, you are saving gas not having to commute back and forth as well as time traveling on busy roads and away from your family activities.  By working at home you will be saving on costs of wardrobe upkeep, meals out, having to get up at the crack of dawn for a long drive!  You now can walk down the hall to your office, or across the bedroom! You can work in your jammies and no one will ever know the difference.

For companies, home-based employees, independent contractors,and freelancers are helping cut costs and improve their bottom line while at the same time are improving their customer service. Full-time, home-based freelancers, and independent contractors in the U.S. are expected to increase by 200,000 workers to 11 million by the end of 2009, says Ray Boggs, a vice president of IDC, Framingham, Mass., a market-research firm; he sees another 200,000-worker increase in 2010.

Workers are finding that if they are not able to find a job with a company, they are able to create their own by taking innovative action and thinking outside the box about how their skills could translate into working for themselves at home.

There are sites which link clients with skilled freelancers. These sites are also seeing a surge in demand for virtual workers with a widening range of professional and technical skills.

There is a company called Their monthly postings which  include graphic design, software, administrative and other projects, rose to 28,000 in the past 30 days! You might be amazed at what skills you have that a company can use.

Another company who has seen a healthy increase is Monthly hiring on is up more than 40% from a year ago. I am sure that other companies of this type have also seen an increase in workers registering to provide services to prospective clients.

Did you know that there are companies where your skills as a translator can land you a position if you are fluent in a foreign language? Lionbridge Technologies, Waltham, Mass., a provider of multilingual services including translation and product testing, is taking on new freelancers. Go browse their website and look at the different types of services that they offer their clients. Some positions are extremely technical and require high skill levels. But I happen to know that there are some very talented people who are now unemployed that are finding it very difficult to find a position in today's job market who are qualified to fill those positions!

I am going to start making you put your thinking caps on but I need your help. We are going to do some interactive brainstorming! If you have already gotten a copy of "What Color Is Your Parachute" you would know what I am referring to!..... Go Buy The Book!!!!!

I would like some of you who are looking for work, or who wish to make the transition to working at home, share with me some of your different skills. I am not just speaking of the ones you have used in a corporate level but also what I call your passion skills. If you could do any job that your heart desired what would it be? Perhaps you enjoy knitting, sewing, basket weaving or candle making. Maybe it is woodworking, tinkering with cars, sculpting, painting,tooling leather,or weaving on a loom. Think of all the hobbies that you have that you enjoy as well as your "work skills."

Do you want to work full time or part time? Do you like to get up early or prefer to sleep in? Do you like to work into the wee hours of the morning? Okay, so it is now 4:22AM and I am going strong.. I took a power nap earlier today but I am normally up till between 2AM and 3AM.

Let's have some fun while we seriously look at new opportunities to earn you some money!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dress For Success

When applying for a job, even if you are just dropping off your resume, be sure to always dress as if you were actually going in for an interview. Your first impression is so important, so be sure to dress accordingly.

I want to share with you a story of exactly how important this is. When my son was a senior in high school, he saw an ad in the paper for a position in the warehouse/delivery department of one of the major department stores in Austin, Texas. He had been working part-time for several years as well as helping in our family owned business from the time he was about 14-15 years of age. So I helped him put together a resume, documenting his experience.

That afternoon he was headed out the door, dressed in a pair of nice blue jeans and a buttondown shirt, to take in his resume and apply for the position. I told him he would make a better impression if he would dress in his suit and of course his response was, "Mom, this is for a job in the warehouse." I told him that was fine, if they asked him when he could start work, tell them you have workclothes all ready in the car, just give you time to change.Reluctantly, he went back and changed into his suit.

When he arrived at the store, he took a seat in a room filled with many other young men, all dressed in jeans and tee shirts. A young woman, came into the room and went over to him and said, "You must be here applying for the position in the men's department, follow me please." So rather than tell her he didn't even know there was an opening in that department, he went ahead and followed her into an interview room. It turned out that the position in the men's department had not even been advertised yet! But because of the way he was dressed, he impressed them. His resume, even though short of retail experience, except for working for a small mom and pop burger place and helping with our family business, where he would occassionally speak with our clients about the products we offered, and his good grades at school and participation in a service organization, was enough experience to get him hired.

Arriving home after his interview he told me he had gotten a different job than he had actually gone in to apply for. It started out at more money than the warehouse positon, he would also be able to earn commissions on his sales over and above his base salary. Besides that, he would be able to get discounts on any purchases he would make in the store.

It doesn't matter if you are male or female, it is always very appropriate to wear a suit to an interview. If you do not have a suit, wear a nice jacket of some kind. I have seen women wear a nice blazer combined with a skirt and blouse, or over a dress to make it look more professional. I have also seen men wear a nice sports jacket with a pair of Dockers or a nice pair of jeans with a dress shirt and a tie. Be sure that your shoes are polished and the heels not run down because you will be evaluated from the top of your head to your feet the minute the interviewer approaches you to shake your hand.

Speaking of handshakes, if necessary, practice shaking hands with someone. Be sure you have a nice firm handshke, not overpowerig to where you are going to crush the other persons hand and not wishy washy like a limp dead fish!

Be sure to make eye contact with the person you are meeting and if he has approached you but hasn't called you by name, introduce yourself, now is not the time to be shy, be confident as you approach them, put out your hand to shake their and say "Hi or hello, I'm John Doe or my name is Jane Doe."

If you find yourself out in the market place looking for a new job after having been employed for many years by your former employer, you are going to find that the interviewing process has changed alot in the last few years. It used to be you could go in, apply for a position and usually walk out employed after that one interview. Not any more! Many companies in larger cities now use a multi interview process, beginning with the Human Resource department interview. They then make their recommendations to the different department heads as to candidates warranting additional interviews in the hiring process. This could be anywhere from 3-4 additional interview steps to go through. You would meet with the department head, then be intereviewd by the person who would be your immediate supervisor. In some companies you will be interviewed by serveral people all at the same time. Those can be intimidating, since you are basically surrounded by chairs filled with people who will be your immediate supervisor,as well as several department supervisors. They want to see how well you fit into the structure of the company and can work with different departments that interact with one another.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Must Have Christmas Gift

We are now into the heaviest part of the holiday season, with Christmas just a few weeks away and then New Year's Eve,the last festive occasion of the year.  For many, this time of year can be depressing under the best of circumstances. Many people suffer from what is called seasonal depression because they are not getting enough sunlight. Combat this by taking Vitamin D or if you can stand the cold (for those of you getting lots of snow and chilly winds) go outside for about 15 minutes a day.

Others become depressed because this is a time of the year when a lot of money is spent entertaining and buying gifts for family and friends. Instead of staying within their budgets and paying cash they end up charging on their credit cards. Don't continue the downward spiral of getting yourself deeper and deeper in debt.

Some people are lonely and isolated from family which brings on depression and sadness. A good way to combat this is to get involved with your community charities and surround yourself with others.

With our present economy, many people are without employment. Hopefully people are being conservative this year.  Talk with family about cutting back on the gift buying, perhaps decide to draw names this year and only buy for one person instead of the many you have bought for in the past. Instead of a gift that you have to purchase, make a homemade handcrafted one instead. Even better, give a gift of service. Maybe make a coupon book with chores that you could do for that person, such as shovel snow, mow the lawn this summer, an afternoon of spring housecleaning, etc.

Over the holidays, many of you will not be actively out searching for employment, but this would be an excellent time to sharpen up that resume, get your list together of the places you wish to apply and organize your search with the anticipation of January 2, 2010 starting with vim, vigor and vitality to find that new job you desperately need.

For those of you who are looking for an actual position in what is now called "the brick and mortar" world, rather than working at home, here are a few tips for you.

* Please either go buy or get from your local library, a book called "What Color Is Your Parachute".  I can't recommend this book enough, it is one of my all time favorites  .....Maybe drop a hint that you would like this as a Christmas gift!  Read it from cover to cover and do all the interactive exercises that are in there. 

You will discover that all of the skills you have used in the past will be transferable to some positions that you may not have even considered up until you do these exercises. This book will open your eyes to many opportunities you may never have considered before.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Are You Suited To Work AT Home?

It seems that it is everyone's dream to be self employed, not to have a boss but to "be the boss." In reality, not all people are cut out to be the boss!

Being self employed, owning your own business, takes a lot of self discipline. When working from home, it is important that you set yourself a schedule for working, just as if you were working outside of your home.  There is that temptation to go start a load of laundry,run the dishwasher, or make that bed.

You need to remember to treat your home business just like you would a regular position where you have to leave home and clock in and out on a time clock!  Granted, you can set your own hours, but when you do, stick to them!

I have worked from home a little over three years now and here are some of the things that I have found to be difficult over the years.

Staying motivated : You have to create your own motivation, there is no one there to pat you on the back and give you an "atta boy" or a compliment now and then. To help with this, set goals for yourself,whether it is wanting to make one more sale today than yesterday, to increasing your paycheck by a certain number of dollars this pay period over last.

Some people enjoy making a goal board, where they take pictures of the goals that they want to obtain. It could be something as simple as wanting to earn enough to buy a new winter coat, something special for someone for Christmas, to a new car or perhaps a trip to Hawaii. Spice up your goal board with both big and small rewards that you want to obtain and as you obtain that goal, remove that picture and put it on a "obtained board" so you can mark your progress.

Working alone day after day is often difficult for someone when they are trying to transition from a position where they interacted with others on a regular basis. If this is something that you struggle with, set aside time during your day to visit with someone either in person or by phone. I find that running across the street to check on an elderly neighbor and chat for a few minutes or calling my daughters to check in on them and the grandchildren brightens my day.

I have a separate room in my home that is my office and I try to put myself into the mindset that once I cross through that door, I am in my work place and to shut out the rest of the world.  I close the door, often turn off the ringer on the house phone, knowing that the answering machine will pick up the call. I go in armed with a cup of coffee and a glass of water, knowing that I will need both since I will be on the phone speaking with people and my throat will get dry.

I do have the advantage of being able to set my own hours and personally, I prefer to work in shorter periods of time than maybe some other people do. I find that sitting for long periods of time bothers my back, so if I work for an hour and then take a break for 30 minutes and get up and stretch, I can maintain that pattern of work for a longer period of time than if I tried to sit for two to four hours straight taking calls.

I am also a person who prefers to work in the mid afternoon to late in the evening or the wee hours of the morning. If I get tired of taking calls, I can work transcriptions, which needs no interactions with the customers, just typing of information, which is great if I don't want to talk with people but still want to work.

Some companies, where you are an independent contractor, have either a message board or a forums section on their website where you can interact with other agents and have a sense of community. I will forewarn you though, just as in all work environments, there will always be those who disagree and are unable to discuss their viewpoints in a mature, adult fashion!  When I see this happening in a particular discussion, I find it best for me personally to just not even read that "thread." To me there is nothing worse than negativity to try to overcome when you are working alone and when you read it, or get into the mix yourself, it may cost you dearly.  It becomes difficult to shrug off and can affect your attitude when dealing with customers later on.

Setting your daily goals: If you are working as an independent contractor, most companies you work for will be paying you by the "talk time minutes" that you are on a phone call with a customer and perhaps extra for any additional merchandise or services that you might sell on that call.  Rather than setting a goal of working so many hours per day (because you might not have many calls during a given time period) I find it best to decide how many dollars I want to earn that day. I will stay on the phones or combine it with doing transcriptions until I have reached the dollar amount that I desire for that day.

There are times when I truly will work in my jammies! During the day hours I do dress for work, usually a comfortable pair of sweat pants and a sweat shirt during the days in the winter or a pair of shorts and a shirt in the summer but at night I will work in my jammies! Shoes? To me those are a foreign object! Either socks or slippers or barefoot, depending on the time of year!

As you can see by the time I am posting this blog entry, it is 3AM Central Time and the bewitching hour has struck!  I am off to bed folks....and will be at it tomorrow at 1PM!