February 12th, 2018

Great Alternatives to Data Entry Work at Home Jobs

Great Alternatives to Data Entry Work at Home Jobs

One thing I’ve noticed in running this site is that many people who want to work at home start their search with something like data entry. It’s easy to understand why. Data entry work at home jobs sound easy, can be done on the computer by just about anyone, at any time of day, and with kids around. You don’t have to worry about noise.

No doubt the high appeal of data entry work at home jobs is why there are so many scams in that area. It’s easy to fall for things that are too good to be true when you’re looking for the easy solution.

There’s a simple truth about legitimate work at home opportunities. They’re work. It may come easier for some than for others, but it’s still work.

Pick right and you’ll enjoy your work more, but an effort on your part is still required.

So what can you do aside from data entry if you don’t think you have any work at home skills, need a flexible schedule and can’t count on a quiet household? Are you just out of luck?

Fortunately, no.

You Can Do More Than You Think

Mostly that’s because most people don’t realize how many skills they do have. If you have office skills, for example, you may be able to find work as a virtual assistant. If you have transportation you might try mystery shopping, although it can be hard to earn a good living until you have a lot of experience in that field.

You might find a job where you can do research online, or where you can look up court documents in your area. There are writing jobs for those with excellent writing skills. There are lots of freelance writing jobs out there.

If typing is what you really want to do, go learn general transcription. It will take some time to find a general transcription job that pays well enough to be worthwhile, but it has fewer training requirements than medical or legal transcription.

Beware The Work At Home Scams

In all cases, you want to watch out for work at home scams. They’re out there in spades. This is especially true if you are looking for something as popular as data entry work at home jobs.

If any job sounds good to you, check out the company. Ask on forums about them. Search the company name on your favorite search engine with the word “scam” and see what comes up. Take some time to think about it. Really understand what it is you are getting paid for.

And learn what the common scams are in different work at home industries. There are common signs that will help you to keep on the right path.

For data entry work at home jobs, one common scam is to try to get you into affiliate marketing. But not the honest kind of affiliate marketing. The scammers want you to post ads about how you can make money posting ads on forums, blogs, and social media. Never mind that these are places that ads are rarely welcome and most of you posts will be deleted. Or that the ads will be selling the same information about ad posting that you got from the ad you followed.

There are ways to make money as an affiliate posting on certain kinds of sites. These ads usually give you the wrong way. The very wrong way.

In general, anything that promises easy money is lying to you. Most ways that you can easily make money don’t work for more than a few people. Even in the areas where some people legitimately do make big bucks online, such as blogging or making YouTube videos, most people won’t make much at all. The ones that make a lot have worked hard at it, even when it looks easy from the outside. Just something to be aware of, even if you don’t let it stop you.

Learn New Skills

Let’s say there’s a work at home job opportunity that has caught your eye, but you don’t have the skills for it. What do you do then?

My simple answer: Go get the skills!

There are lots of opportunities to learn new skills that will allow you to work at home successfully. Some options are free, while others cost quite a bit of money. Whether you can do it depends on what you want to do and how much you can afford to spend.

Take medical coding, for example. Solid training for that through Career Step will cost you a few thousand dollars. But, their training is highly reputable, and it’s a job that has fair demand.

If you want to become a virtual assistant, the Horkey Handbook is a good choice, and costs $247 as of this writing. The course provides a ton of information, including 58 lessons and more than two hours of video. It also offers a full refund for if you aren’t satisfied.

A virtual assistant will sometimes do some data entry work, but much of the work is much more interesting than that. And it’s usually flexible.

You Don’t Want To Limit Yourself To Just Work At Home Jobs.

That’s not quite true. You might want to limit yourself to work at home jobs. Many people simply cannot picture themselves running a home business. You’re limiting your options when you do that, but that’s a choice you make.

But thinking about a home business means opening your options up tremendously. It’s not all direct sales and daycare… although those aren’t bad options at all if they’re what you will enjoy doing!

Considering a home business means opening yourself up to risk. You might fail. You might lose money.

Then again, you might make more money than you would have with a job. You might end up doing something you really, really love.

In a home business, you have the control. You decide what you do and learn how to do it. You decide when you work on it.

If you don’t work hard at a business, of course, it probably won’t go anywhere and won’t be more than a hobby.

But consider! You can start a blog about your life. Start an affiliate site about your favorite hobby. Sell crafts you make. Work as a website designer or other professional.

None of these will guarantee you an income, big or small. But it’s a lot of fun to try. Love what you write about, and you’ll give yourself a better chance than blogging about something that bores you. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll have fun trying.

While you still have to learn about scams when you start a home business, especially if you join an opportunity, you have much more control over what happens.

Much of my own online success has come from continuing hard work. Shortcuts have nothing to do with it. Low standards have nothing to do with it. Demanding a lot from myself does. When I’ve let work slide, my business has slid. And it’s hard bringing it back up.

You can do likewise when you decide to work from home, especially if you don’t limit yourself by thinking you don’t have the skills to succeed. These can be learned, even if you don’t get them on the first try. Keep working at what you’ve chosen to have your best chance at success.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

February 5th, 2018

How Do You Get Time To Run Your Home Business?

How Do You Get Time To Run Your Home Business?

Running a home business can be one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do for yourself and your family. Being there for your family while dealing with the demands of a business is complicated. Getting time to run your home business can be difficult. There are a number of things you can do to get more time to really focus on your work.

Set Up A Daily Routine

Have a daily routine that gets you moving. Start your day taking care of all the personal care things that need to get done, as well as any childcare issues that must be handled, and any chores you prefer to get done first thing. This keeps you from thinking all day about the things you need to get done that aren’t your home business.

For example, if I need to go grocery shopping, I do that right after dropping the kids off at school. I’m already out and about anyhow. Taking care of it first thing means I don’t have to think about it the rest of the day.

Have a daily routine for your home business as well. Set times to check your social media and email, and don’t let them eat up an excessive amount of time each day. Give yourself time each day for your routine business tasks.

Many people find it helpful to outline their tasks for each day. This can be easiest to do at the end of your workday for the next day. You’ve been working on stuff all day, and you probably know exactly what you need to work on next. Write that task list while your needs are fresh in your mind so that you don’t delay later.

Squeeze In A Little Work Where You Can

Running a home business often isn’t a strict 8-5 kind of thing. Many successful home business owners break up their workday to suit the needs of their family.

Make a list of all the little jobs you can do for your home business that only take up a little of your day. When you find time to work on them, do so. These should be things that you won’t mind so much when someone interrupts you. It’s better to get a small amount of work done than to do none at all.

Have Your Spouse Help

If you’re married or living with someone, you can ask them to be in charge of the kids when you need to work. It can be hard to get the kids to quit asking you for things if they have a habit of asking you first, but it’s good to get them used to the idea that either parent can care for them.

Depending on what your spouse does, they may not always be able to care for the kids right when you need them. I don’t mean that you should let them give any old excuse to not help – being tired from their own day at work or wanting to do something else is not always enough reason to refuse to do their share of the parenting. Other times they will have a good reason why they can’t care for the kids right when you need them to.

If your spouse is sometimes reluctant to help out, talk about where the problem is. Both parents have to shoulder their part of the parenting burden to make these things work. If your spouse truly supports the work you’re doing on your home business, they’ll help you get time to run your home business, even if that means they have to do work around the house or be the main parent while you get some business work done.

Have Family Help

Other family members can be extremely helpful as well. When we lived close enough, my inlaws took my kids overnight most weekends. We no longer live close enough for that to be practical now, but it was quite nice back then.

If you have a sibling with children close enough in age to your own, trading childcare can be nice all around. You get time to run your home business while the kids get time with their cousins. Once the kids are out of diapers, extra kids may not be that much more work for the parent in charge of them at the time. Sometimes it’s even less work, as the kids entertain each other, rather than relying on adults to play with them.

Trade Childcare

You can also trade childcare with friends. This can be done informally by taking turns, or you can use a babysitting co-op app or website to keep track of who has done how much babysitting. There are quite a few available, some free, some paid, such as:

Sit4sit
BabysittingCoop 
SittingAround
BabysitterExchange
Care.com co-ops

You can also set up your own co-op with a group of friends. Agree on some rules and set up a place where you can ask for babysitting time or tell someone you’re available. A secret Facebook group is an easy way to do this without having all your information out where just anyone can see it.

Of course, you will want to make sure you know the other families well. It is best if you all take a look at each others’ homes, so you know how child safe the home is, if guns are kept, what pets are there, and so forth. Most co-ops, once established, require a member’s recommendation for new members to join, and then they must be approved by an additional member. Some have slight fees to pay for basic supplies.

You will want to have your rules spelled out to keep members from feeling as though they are being taken advantage of by others. Sometimes one member won’t be good at reciprocating, which annoys the other parents as they feel that they’re being taken advantage of. It can also damage friendships.

This is why a co-op needs written rules and a way to track hours. It’s too easy to take advantage if others can’t directly point out where the problem is. Having clear rules and tracking can make it a little less personal.

Pay For Childcare

There are times when you will have to pay for childcare. Sometimes the free and cheap options just don’t work out with the time you need to run your home business.

For example, you may need a regular daycare situation for your kids because you work a lot of hours on your home business and can’t be distracted by kids. In that case, a more traditional style of daycare can be more practical than relying on family or friends.

You can look for local daycares on your own or use a service such as Care.com or SitterCity.com. These may be able to help you find a babysitter or daycare whether you need one daily or just once in a while.

Work While Others Sleep

If you’re a night owl or an early bird, you may be able to work while other members of your family sleep.

This won’t work for everyone, of course. The kind of work you do may not be suited to working nontraditional hours. Such hours may also not work for you personally. If you’re too tired at those times to work, working late nights or early morning is probably not for you.

Ignore Household Chores During Work Hours

One of the big ways work at home parents lose time to run their home businesses is by doing too much around the house when they should be working.

It’s not all about the kids. It’s the laundry and the dishes. Cooking dinner. Cleaning up stuff that really doesn’t have to be cleaned right now, but you decide to do it anyhow.

Don’t let the household chores get in the way of running your home business. Save it for outside your work hours.

I like to be efficient when it comes to making dinner. It’s not always possible, but using my crock pot, Instant Pot and planning ahead makes my days go better.

Some people like to set a day aside to prep freezer meals, for example. I very rarely do that. Instead, I try to make two meals while prepping one. The extra goes into the freezer rather than be cooked. It’s almost as easy to make two meatloaves as it is to make one, for example. Doing it while cooking another meal means that I don’t lose a whole day to meal prep, yet I often have an easy dinner in the freezer.

Don’t Turn On The TV

It can be tempting to binge watch your favorite show while you work on your home business. Don’t. Just don’t.

Having the television on is a huge distraction, and it will cut down on your productivity. At some point, you are going to start watching rather than working, more likely than not.

Save the TV time for when you aren’t working. You’ll enjoy the shows you watch more because your work won’t distract you from them.

If you want background noise, play some music from your collection or use a service such as Spotify. Many people feel they are more productive with at least a little background noise rather than complete silence. Music is generally far less distracting than a television show.

Set Aside Time For Reading Online And Social Media

While you should read relevant blogs and participate professionally on social media, there’s only so much of that you should do during your regular working hours. You need to set aside an appropriate amount of time for these things that won’t eat into your day.

Separate out your personal use of social media from your professional side. Don’t get into chats with family or friends when you should be working. Do share your latest blog posts or work on some social media marketing in appropriate places. Don’t get sucked into the unproductive parts of your social media presence.

It’s Up To You To Make Time To Run Your Home Business

You have to do what it takes to make time to run your home business. Others may help by taking care of distracting children and household chores, but if you don’t take your work hours seriously, you’ll always feel as if you don’t have enough time for your business.

Whenever you feel as though you’re running low on work time, take a look at where the hours are going each day. The odds are good that you’ll find places where you can squeeze in a little more work. It’s amazing how productive you can be in a short time if you’re really determined.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

January 25th, 2018

Celebrate The Small Milestones In Your Home Business

Celebrate the Small Milestones in Your Home Business

How big are your dreams for your home business? You want to earn at least a few hundred or few thousand a month from it. You want it to last for years. But all you can seem to get is a few dollars here, a few visitors there. Nothing to celebrate. Or is it? Are you at all excited about the small milestones in your home business?

Even these small triumphs are worth celebrating. You don’t go from zero to hundreds of dollars all in one step. These things take time, and the fact that you’re earning anything or getting visitors means you’re doing something right.

Pick Your Small Milestones

A home business milestone is whatever you want it to be. Posting a certain number of times can be a milestone. So can earning a certain amount in a single day, week or month. Your first post to reach 100 pins on Pinterest can be a milestone.

These things do not need to be big, at least not yet. Save the big goals for later. They’ll take more time to reach, and frustrate you if they take too long to reach. Little goals are a better place to start.

Don’t make the milestones you celebrate too small. You don’t need to celebrate every post you make or every sale. But there is something to be said for being proud of your first blog post or your first online sale.

Break that big goal into smaller milestones. Want to earn $5000 a month from your home business? Celebrate your first $100 month or $500 month. Celebrate your first $2000 month. While you have small goals to reach at first, there’s always something bigger beyond it, so that you keep pushing yourself.

Keep your focus on your progress toward your goals, rather than on how far away they are. It’s more helpful to note how things are improving rather than focusing on how you haven’t reached your big goals yet.

Improve On Your Small Milestones

The other reason to celebrate your small milestones in your home business is so that you can improve upon them.

Pick something that is starting to go right, and be proud of that. But don’t settle for that. That milestone is something you can improve upon.

Take a look at what went right. How did you reach that milestone? What can you do to step things up to a more challenging milestone?

Money Is Not The Only Goal

While earning a good amount of money is vital to a successful home business, it should not be the only goal you pay attention to. There are a lot of factors that go into making your business successful.

Learn new skills that will help you improve your home business. You can take a course through Udemy to improve how you use social media, for example. Another choice would be to work on how you network in person.

If you have a service oriented business, you could learn new skills so that you can offer a greater range of services to your clients. The ability to do more for your clients or to do your work better and more quickly will help you earn more money.

You won’t always feel as though you’re getting anywhere, and that’s frustrating. But if you pay attention to the places where you are making progress, you can acknowledge the places where it’s getting better, as well as where you need to try harder.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

January 10th, 2018

Is Your Online Business Suffering From Too Much Information Or Too Little Action?

Is Your Online Business Suffering From Too Much Information Or Too Little Action?

How often do you get frustrated with how your online business is growing? Are you spending a lot of time learning how to run your business well? While you may feel as though your online business is suffering from too much information, you might be wrong. It’s probably suffering from too little action.

Learning how to run a successful business online is a good thing. There is a learning curve, and buying online courses to help can speed things up. But there can be too much of a good thing.

That point comes when you spend so much time learning what to do that you never do it! What is the point of learning something for your business if you don’t use it? Many online business owners waste a lot of time and money this way.

How Much Information Is Too Much Information?

You know you’re dealing with too much information when you can’t process it all or make use of it. When it eats up your work day and you don’t have anything to show for it. When you can’t decide which thing you’ve learned to try first… or ever.

Those are the times that you need to take a break from learning. It’s time to focus on the action side of things.

Take something you’ve learned and use it to take action. Apply your knowledge to your online business. See if it works. Make adjustments for your business model. Keep trying.

Here’s a simple example.

You’re starting a blog and you want a great WordPress theme. You spend hours, maybe even days looking through themes for just the right one.

This is time that could be better spent elsewhere. Any theme will allow you to start your WordPress blog. The search engines are more interested in the content of your blog than how it looks.

You’re far better off picking a theme quickly, and spending more time crafting your first posts. You can always change how your blog looks later. Getting your posts up now means they start getting indexed sooner, you start getting traffic sooner and you start earning an income sooner.

Find a better theme when you don’t have more important things to do.

How Can You Avoid Having Too Much Information?

Avoiding an excess of information is simple. Don’t go looking for more information on how to run your business.

If you see an information product that sounds promising, bookmark it. Don’t buy it until you’re ready to use it.

Spend less time on business forums and social media. While you can get some excellent information for free from these sources, much of the time spent there is wasted. Limit your time on business forums and social media to times when you have already finished your productive work for the day.

If you have no idea what kind of business you want to run and keep looking for more information to help you get started, stop. It’s probably not helping matters.

Take some time and figure out what kind of online business you want to run. Once you know that, you’re more likely to make good choices in the information you seek out to help you run it. All that other information will just slow you down. Stop taking courses and start working.

Spend More Time On Action Than On Information

Taking action is far more likely to help your business than spending a lot of time on learning. You should spend 80-90% of your work day taking action. Write blog posts. Promote your website. Email your list. Create a product. Do things that will help your business grow.

The rest of the time you can use to learn things. Evaluating your results. Spend a little time in your favorite business groups. Keep up on your industry. Look for that tool that will help your business grow.

Do not scatter your efforts throughout the day. Focus on one thing until it’s done. Multitasking doesn’t work for the vast majority of people. The more you scatter your efforts, the harder it is to tell what’s working.

Action is your first priority, always. Information is merely a way to take better action.

When Should You Buy An Information Product Or Course

There are times when you should buy an information product or take a course to improve your business, even if going through the product will take more time than you usually allow for learning in your work day.

That time is when you deliberately decide it’s in the best interest of your business to do so.

Not when it’s another product in a long line of them with no action taken. Not when you’ve just seen the sales letter and feel as though you need to buy the product now. No.

Only buy something when you know that you’re going to put it to use right away. That’s the right time.

Special pricing doesn’t matter. Who cares if you saved 90% off the regular price of something you never use?

Most people will spend far less on information products if they stick to buying things they’re ready to use, even if they end up paying full price because they missed the discount. That’s because they didn’t buy 20 other products at great discounts that they never got around to using.

This is not an easy thing. Successful marketers are very good at creating urgency. When you find something you think you could use, throw the link in your bookmarks. If it’s really going to be useful, you’ll find it there at a later date when you’re ready for it. If it wasn’t going to be useful, it will sit there in your bookmarks and not cost you anything.

What If My Online Business Isn’t Growing?

A lack of growth in your online business can be frustrating. You want things to get better, and get better fast. You need to do something!

That’s right, you need to do something. And most times it doesn’t mean you need to buy an information product.

Take a look at how you’re spending your work day. A real look. Be honest with yourself.

Are you working hard enough on things that will grow your online business that you already know? What about creating enough content? Are you promoting it through email and social media? Are you taking all the steps you already know how to do? Every day?

Most times, your online business isn’t growing because you aren’t taking action. You don’t need to know more, you need to do more.

Other times, yes, you need to know more. There’s something you haven’t figured out, and it’s important. It’s time to look for that information.

That’s when you spend the time and money to find a solution. You know there’s a gap in your knowledge and more or less what you need to learn. You can buy something specific to your problem.

Once you’ve made this commitment, be ready to make use of what you learn. Knowledge is nothing without action.

Evaluate Your Results

As important as taking action is, you need to spend sometime determining how effective it has been. What worked? What didn’t? Could you have done better?

Evaluating your results helps you learn where your weak points are. If you never look at your results, you don’t know if something worked.

Test things. If you run ads, test more than one version. Post on social media at different times and see what the results are. Post more or less often. Write different styles of posts. Try video or podcasting.

There are so many actions you can take to improve your online business. They are what will improve your business. Reading up on new information only helps you if you use it and evaluate your results. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

December 28th, 2017

5 Year End Tips For Online Businesses

5 Year End Tips For Online Businesses

The end of the year is the time to take a look at how your online business has done and decide how you’re handling things next year. Most of it is things you can do at any time of the year, but the end of the year is when most people have the motivation to get things done. Here are a few year end tips for online businesses that you should consider.

1. Think About Taxes

Making the most of tax deductions and reviewing your income is important to do at the end of the year. There are a number of steps here you should take. If you aren’t certain of anything, talk to your accountant to get the best advice for your situation. They will know far more than you or I about what the best steps to take in a particular year are.

First is to look at what you can do now to reduce your tax burden for the year. Have you contributed as much as possible to your retirement account? Does it make sense to fit in an extra mortgage payment on your home? Have you paid all your employees or contractors if you have them?

There may also be things you can buy for your online business that can be deducted on your taxes. Think about what your business needs. When possible, buy new equipment and supplies for your online business before the end of the year.

Don’t forget your quarterly tax payment is due January 15.

You also want to start getting your paperwork together for tax time. Make sure all your paperwork is in order so you can have your taxes prepared easily when the time comes. If you’re expecting a refund, filing early makes a lot of sense. If you’re expecting to pay in more, filing closer to the deadline makes sense. It’s hard to know which situation you’re in, however, if you don’t take a peek early on.

2. Review Your Year

In general, how has the past year gone for your online business? Has it been a good year or a bad one? Somewhere in between? What would you like to do differently in the coming year?

There are almost always changes you want to make in your online business. The sooner you make an improvement in how you do things, the sooner it will help you.

A good year can make you feel as though you don’t need to make any changes, but that doesn’t mean you can let things slide. Online business can change rapidly, and what works well now may not work as well later. Pay attention so that changes don’t catch you off guard.

3. Plan For Next Year

What are your big goals for the next year? What about your little goals?

The size of the goal doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have them and have plans to reach them. Figure out what actions you will need to take to reach your goals. A goal is nothing without action.

You may notice that some of your goals will be hard to reach because of your current limitations. Take action to handle those limitations. Sometimes this will be best handled by hiring a virtual assistant or contract employee to take care of things for you. Other times, you can learn a new skill on your own to grow beyond your current limitations.

4. Clean Out Your Computer

Odds are good that you have downloaded a lot of information you’re never going to act on during the past year. There’s always tons of free information out there. While you don’t see it sitting on your computer most of the time, it’s there, and when you notice it, it becomes a distraction.

All those things you thought you would read but really won’t – delete them. Don’t waste any more mental energy on thinking that you will get to them. Keep anything you are confident you will refer to later and ditch the junk.

5. Clear Out Your Mind

Don’t start the new year full of last year’s frustrations or ideas you aren’t going to implement. Work on having a clear plan on how to move forward.

Start thinking out more of what you can do with the time you have. Most people waste a lot of time thinking about what might be and not how they can get there. Having goals is important, but planning how to get there is more important and more productive than just saying “I have a GOAL!”

Don’t sink into negativity if you’ve been having a hard time lately. We all get frustrated by our businesses at times. Things never go entirely perfectly. But that’s not what you should focus on.

When you have a problem, focus on the solution rather than the problem. If you don’t have enough traffic to your website, you shouldn’t think about that as much as you should think about how to bring in more traffic.

The more you can focus on what you can get done and will get done, the more productive you have the chance to be. Give it a try and head on to a productive new year.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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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.