January 17th, 2017

How To Use Udemy To Improve Your Home Business Skills

One of the hard parts about running a home business is learning how to do all the things you need to know how to do. Some things are better outsourced, but other times it’s the most effective to learn to do it yourself. When you don’t need a formal degree or certification, it can make a lot of sense to pick up new home business skills through Udemy.

Many kinds of courses are offered through Udemy. There are courses that cover many aspects of running a business, such as marketing, social media, finance, office software and tools, branding, analytics and more.

These are not courses that will get you college credit or make you certified by an accredited agency for things. A well chosen course can help you learn to run your home business better. They’re good for when knowing how to do something is more important than where you learned it.

I’m taking some courses there myself. One is on social media marketing, and one on podcasting. They’re areas I would like to be better at or just plain get started.

My oldest daughter uses Udemy too. She’s trying an app development course because, like most kids her age, she dreams of making a really popular app. She’s also taking a course on 3D animation, because she wants to be an animator someday. I bought her an Intuos tablet to help her with that goal, and the course to give her some guidance once she learns the basics included with her tablet. Now she just has to get around to it, a challenge many people face.

Some courses do offer a certificate, but they only mean so much. It’s not like you’re attending an accredited school or anything. Still, there are times when showing that you’ve finished any course is enough, especially if potential clients can take a look and see what was involved in completing that course.

If you sign up for a course, make a plan so that you’ll actually finish it at some point. Commit to doing a certain amount of it each day, even if it’s just one item a day. One of the courses I’m taking has 82 items, so that’s about three months or more if I don’t do anything on weekends. It’s all too easy to sign up for a course and then do nothing with it, so have a plan for when you’ll actually do the work before you pay your money to sign up. Otherwise it’s money down the drain.

One of the great parts is that you can repeat each item or course as necessary. You get lifetime access. Keep an eye out for discounts on courses you really want to take. Udemy has some pretty good sales every here and there.

How Do You Pick The Right Course?

If you’re going to spend money on a course, or even take time on a free one, you want to know that it will be worth your while.

Take a good look at reviews for any courses you’re considering. Not all courses will be worth your while. Course levels range from beginner to expert in most areas, so you can find the courses that best suit your needs.

Courses offer a preview video so you can get an idea what is offered. There’s also a “What Will I Learn ?” section that gives an overview of the topics covered.

Also take a look at the requirements for the course. It will cover the equipment and prior knowledge that you will need to be successful with the course. There’s not much point in signing up for something you aren’t prepared to learn.

And of course there are student reviews. Don’t give too much weight to any reviews that are along the lines of “best course ever.” Pay more attention to reviews that really get into what was good or bad about the course. Negative reviews can be particularly informative. There also may be reviews of the course on other websites.

If the course doesn’t have a lot of reviews, see if the author has other courses which have been reviewed. This will give you an idea as to how good they are. You can also look them up online and see if they have a website where you can learn about them.

Udemy has a 30 day guarantee. If you’ve tried the course and it’s just not what you need or not good enough, ask for your refund. They might get difficult if you do this too much, especially if you always complete the course before requesting a refund.

Do not assume you will get a lot of interaction with the course creator or fellow students. Some will interact with you, but others pretty much leave you on your own. Considering that people can sign up at any time and be at any point in the course, I’m not surprised by this at all.

If you want to get the most from the courses you take, treat it as you would any other class and be ready to take notes. If the course is at all worth the time, there will be things you will want to write down to remember better and refer back to easily. Most of us don’t memorize things based on one hearing, after all.

Udemy even offers programs for businesses, so they can get their employees trained in different areas online. There’s exam prep for various certificates.

You don’t have to stick to learning about business. There are also music, fitness and personal development courses.

And don’t forget that you can also teach the skills you know on Udemy. You can use Udemy’s tools to create and sell an online course of your own. If you’re good at something you can teach online, Udemy could become another income stream for you. You retain all control and rights to your content.

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

January 9th, 2017

Work At Home For Hulu

Hulu has a position for a Viewer Experience Advocate to work at home. This is a customer support job that is a point of contact for customers. Responsibilities include helping viewers with account management, billing issues, content and basic site and application navigation. You will also help with troubleshooting of system configurations and network settings.

Full and part time positions may be available, and schedules are flexible. Support hours are 5am to 10 pm PST 365 days a year. Overtime may be available.

You must have a dedicated work space in your home away from noises and distractions. It must be within 25 feet of your modem, so that your computer can be connected to the modem by a provided Ethernet cord. Your internet speed must be at least 10 Mbps.

You must be comfortable with Windows operating systems and with navigating the internet. You need to be familiar with internet streaming devices. Previous customer service or technical support experience is preferred.

You can find this and other customer service work at home jobs on the Home With The Kids Online Job Board. Even after this job is filled, you may be able to find a position that is right for you.

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

January 5th, 2017

Practical Tips For Goal Setting

Having goals when you work at home or run a home business is important, but even more important is setting the right goals. The right goals will encourage you to keep aiming at them, while the wrong goals will frustrate more than they help. It’s not just what the goal is – it’s how you phrase it and how you break it down.

Look At Your Big Goals First

Go ahead, look at them. Your dream goals. The things you aren’t sure you can achieve. Get it over with so that you can get to the more practical goals next. Write them down.

Skip things you have little to no control over, such as “winning the lottery.” That’s more dream than goal. When the only control you have over a goal is the first step and the rest is sheer chance, it’s not a good goal. Make your goals something you can work toward and have some level of control over your success or failure.

Look At Your Midrange Goals

Your midrange goals are the goals you’re more confident that you can achieve in a reasonable period. They aren’t huge, but put them together and they might just lead to something bigger. They might not be easy, but you know more about how you’ll get there.

These might be income goals nearer to where you are now, learning a new skill, working more hours more often… you get the idea.

Break It Down

Even your big goals can be broken down into steps. You might dream of running a six figure business (or more), but setting that as a goal has nothing to do with how you get there. You need to break it down into goals that will take you in that direction.

You might have a goal to find 5 new customers in a month. Sounds like a good goal, but it doesn’t say anything about how you’re going to get there. What actions do you need to take to get there? How are you going to get more attention to your services to get those customers? Think this through to come up with the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

Smaller steps can make great goals. These are the things you can get done. Some may take a couple hours work while others will take weeks or months. Some may be a simple to commitment to work a certain number of hours a day on a project.

Consider The Obstacles

If it were easy to meet your goals, most people wouldn’t struggle with them so much. When you set a goal, think about what might get in your way.

When you work at home and have kids, they’re often one of the major obstacles you face. It doesn’t matter how much you love them and enjoy working at home so you can be with them, they also make it harder to reach your goals.

Staying up late to work or getting up early are popular ways to handle the challenges that kids add. That may not be enough. You may need to look at ways to add in a little child care so that you can work during the day as well. You may be able to get a family member or friend to take the kids some of the time, a lovely, potentially free way to handle things, but not something that works for everyone. Working during naps only works as long as the kids are young enough to nap, and may not be enough. Finding the right balance is one of the major challenges for many people who work at home.

Other things may challenge you as you work at home too. Pets, friends, neighbors, TV, chores, there are plenty of distractions that can make it harder to reach your goals. Find a way to deal with whichever are keeping you from reaching your other goals.

Take Action

All this planning won’t help you at all if you don’t take action. Don’t overthink your goals. Don’t overthink the steps you plan to take to reach them. Do something. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t.

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.

December 28th, 2016

Home With The Kids Top Posts For 2016

2016 was quite a year for many people. I know some who are ready to bid “good riddance” to 2016. I’d rather look back at the positives, as the year was far from all bad. Right now I’d like to take a look at the posts that did well here.

One of the most popular ways to market an online business these days is through social media. It’s not always easy to get started or keep going, so I wrote 16 Vital Tips to Get Your Social Media Marketing on Track. Hopefully people continue to find it useful.

Amazingly enough, work at home scams are no longer in the FTC’s top 10 complaints. I know I’ve received plenty of calls from people claiming to be from Windows support and even one claiming to be from the IRS. All scams, and important to be aware of, but when you want to work at home, you need to know the scams. I like to think that The Work at Home Job Seeker’s Guide to Scams is informative in that way.

One of the big things I got done this year was the setup of my home office. It took a lot of planning, but generated some good blog posts. I started out writing about how to set up a productive home office in late 2015, and when my office was finally complete in July this year, I wrote My New Home Office Is Up And Running! SmartDesk Review. In case you’re wondering, I still adore my sit-stand desk. It was well worth the price. I don’t stand as often as I should, but when I remember to do so, it’s there.

Later in the year, I had to deal with the other use of my home office space, that of a guest room. I wrote What To Do When Your Home Office Is The Guest Room about the options you have to keep working at home when your office space is not available to you for a period of time. So many home offices also function as guest rooms that it’s important to have a plan for those times that a guest needs the space.

It was a shock to many people when Amazon Banned Outside Incentivized Reviews. Most who use Amazon as regular shoppers were really happy that they would no longer see outside incentivized review there. On the other hand, websites that connected products to people willing to review them on Amazon had to rework their Terms of Service to comply. Some still send codes for free or discounted products to participants, but there is no longer an obligation to review them on Amazon.

I started the Home With The Kids Work At Home Job Board a while before I got around to posting How to Use the Home With the Kids Online Job Board. The job board is pretty easy to use and I intend to keep improving it as a resource for job seekers and employers.

I’ve seen a fair number of medical coding jobs at home, and so I created How to Get Into Medical Coding at Home. Spoiler: It’s not necessarily easy, you will need to pay for training, and you will probably need experience before you can work at home.

I wrote Your Work at Home Job Hunt – Are You Prepared? early in 2016, and no doubt it will continue to be useful for job seekers into the new year.

Some of the posts I put up featuring employers who were hiring at the time were quite popular as well, but I won’t link to them here, as I don’t know if any of them are still hiring. I’ll feature more currently hiring employers in the new year, to keep that going.

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.

November 28th, 2016

What To Do When Your Home Office Is The Guest Room

What To Do When Your Home Office Is The Guest Room

It’s wonderful when you can spare a room for your home office, but often enough it has a secondary function a few times a year. It’s a guest room as well. Your private work space becomes a place for your guests to sleep. You’re out of your perfectly set up work space. What can you do without your home office? You have a few options.

Take The Time Off

You have company, it may already be your plan to take the time off or at least work fewer hours. If your work is flexible enough and you can afford the financial hit or have paid vacation time, this may be your choice.

Taking time off won’t work for everyone. No one expects to always have the day off when company comes over when you work outside the home, so don’t assume you have to do so when you work at home. It’s nice to do when you can afford it and it fits into your work schedule, but it’s not always possible.

Explain To Guests That You Will Need The Room During Work Hours

While you obviously cannot do this while your guests are sleeping, if your work hours are during the day, you may be able to continue working as usual. Explain to your guests that they need to treat you as though you are away at work even though you’re just a room away. It’s what you’d have to do if you had a job outside the home, after all.

Show them the space that you will need to have left alone so that you can work. You don’t want their luggage on your desk or office chair, for example, when you want to start working. Point out things that should not be disturbed.

Set Up A Temporary Office Elsewhere

If your work setup is something you can move, you can work in a different space. This will probably be one of those less than ideal places such as your bedroom. This may be your only choice if you need to work night hours or otherwise cannot use your office space due to your guests.

Just as with your regular home office, do your best to make it a distraction-free environment. The kitchen table isn’t ideal for this reason. You don’t want to be in the middle of everything that’s happening in your home while you have company; you want to be a little away from it so you can be productive.

Whatever your solution may be, discuss it with your guests before they arrive so that they’re prepared to deal with the reality of you working at home. Many people have trouble understanding that working at home is just like working any other job, and that they need to let you work. If they need a lot of reminders, try to have another family member help keep them away as you work. You do not want to get in trouble with your job if you can’t keep a quiet work environment due to guests, so if that’s a need, be very clear about why you need quiet and why there are no exceptions, not even to tell you they’re headed out to do something for the day.

Of course, if you can be interrupted, tell them that too, and tell them how much or when. Let them know if too many interruptions will lengthen your work day or give you other problems.

Hopefully, you will have enough time off work that you can enjoy your guests. Make sure your needs and their expectations are discussed in advance so that you don’t have a lot of problems when your guests are in your home.

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.