January 1st, 2018

YouTube Moderator Scam Email

YouTube Moderator Scam Email

I get to start this year off with a lovely new scam email I received. It’s pretty simple. It says I have been made a moderator of a YouTube channel. On mine, the channel is called “Have Win Apple iPhone X Get It From: – (link)” – isn’t that a lovely name??? I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find that it was a YouTube Moderator scam email.

Here’s a screenshot of the email:

YouTube Moderator Scam Email

Yes, it really does seem that it comes from YouTube. These guys are starting a fake YouTube channel just so they can make people moderators of their channel and try to scam them.

The link in the channel name is the key to this scam. It shows up as a link in the email. When I checked things out in the Google Product Forums, some people had followed it and had even filled out the requested information. Don’t do that, folks. You should know better. Never share your information on sites you don’t trust.

There does not seem to be a way to keep people from making you a moderator on YouTube as of this writing. With this scam going around, I expect that Google/YouTube will be looking at things to find a way to control this scam.

One simple thing they could do is disallow domain names as usernames or in channel names. I don’t know that they would want to do that, however, as I’m sure many legitimate websites name their channels for their domain.

Better might be to say that you can only be made a moderator of a channel you already follow. This seems like a very simple thing to require to show that a potential moderator has already interacted with the channel in some way.

What To Do About The YouTube Moderator Scam Email

First of all, make sure you know the email is a legit one from YouTube before clicking any links in the email. I looked at this one very, very carefully before I reported it as spam and checked to see if the channel was still open so that I could report it. You don’t want to be tricked into logging in at a fake site. You also don’t want your name as moderator on a scam channel, even when it’s likely one of many, and utterly meaningless.

If you get this email, don’t overreact. I saw some people on the Google Product Forums who shut down their YouTube channels over this. I think that’s a huge overreaction. There is no indication that your channel has been compromised just because you got this email.

This scam email is really not a big deal. Hit the “report as spam” link in the email if you like, and go on with your life. YouTube wants to know about these channels quickly so that they can shut them down. They don’t like scams either. You can also go to the channel and flag it as spam if it hasn’t already been deactivated. The YouTube channel in mine had been shut down for violating the TOS. Surprise, surprise.

It amazes me that scams like this can work, but as I saw on the Google Product Forums, they apparently do, even on people who know enough to go to the product forums. Some ways that amazes me, but that’s just reality.

Be careful any time you get an email. Don’t trust it just because it comes from a trusted source. This one really did come through YouTube’s system because they found a way to get their fraudulent link in there. But it could just as easily been a phishing email from start to finish. Pay close attention to where a link really goes before you click one in an email… or anywhere.

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 31st, 2017

Home With The Kids Top Posts For 2017

Home With The Kids Top Posts For 2017

2017. Not one of my best years, but that’s just how things go sometimes. I’m ready to move on from the problems of the year and keep things moving forward. There were some good times, after all, and I would like to focus on that by sharing some of the top posts I shared here on Home With The Kids in 2017.

Work At Home Jobs Top Posts 2017

Amazon announcing in April that they would be adding 5000 work at home jobs was big news this year. The jobs were part time positions in their Virtual Customer Service program. The jobs weren’t available in every state, but such a great opportunity to those who could get the jobs.

Medical coding is a fairly popular work at home job, so it’s not surprising that there has been interest in my post about getting into medical coding.  I’ve been keeping this one updated. You have to get training before you can apply for jobs in medical coding, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you spend money on it. I also added a post on whether medical transcription is still a viable career.

Posts about work at home jobs here are usually popular, so the post about 115 freelance writing jobs naturally got some attention. Freelance writing is one of those gigs many people feel they can do, but it’s really a lot of work to do it right.

Finding a solid work at home job is hard, so people liked hearing about ways to earn money at home when you can’t find a work at home job. There are a lot of ways to earn money while still looking for something more stable. Most don’t pay as well as a regular job, but others can be turned into something pretty good.

Your social media accounts can help you to find a work at home job, but if you aren’t careful, they can also be a liability. Check out my social media checklist for job seekers before you start looking for work.

Work At Home Advice Top Posts 2017

You know what’s really fun about working at home sometimes? You don’t have to be stuck in your home office all of the time with some jobs. There are jobs where you really need to stay in your home office, but others give you a lot of flexibility to work where you’re comfortable. That said, there are times when a home office is your best choice for working at home.

There is so much work at home advice I can give, and some of it can be given quickly, so I shared 100 simple work at home tips in a post this year. Sometimes a few sentences is enough to get the idea across for each tip.

One of the great things about freelancing is how flexible it is. You can start a freelance career even while working another job in many cases.  If you really work at it, it might just become the work at home job that you create for yourself.

Working at home isn’t as simple as finding a work at home job in some ways. You need to make sure you’re ready for how different it can be from working outside the home. These questions can help you get ready to work at home.

One of the huge problems I see a lot of people have with working at home is their dreams of how it will be. They think it will be easier to work at home than it actually is, or that it will be more flexible. The realities can be far different from what many people expect.  It’s better to get a dose of reality before you start working at home than to have your dreams shattered when the reality hits.

Then there’s one of my favorite posts from this year, about how to distract your cats while working at home. If you have cats, you know what I’m talking about. Some of them are worse distractions than kids or even husbands!

Online Business Top Posts 2017

One of those things you need to expect when you run an online business is that sometimes your computer will give you trouble. It’s just one of those things. If you can handle some basic troubleshooting on your own equipment, these problems will be much less of a setback than they would be otherwise.

I contacted some online business owners this year about their best social media advice. Five were kind enough to share with me. I think it’s pretty good advice.

When you have a home business, there are a lot of little things you need. If you aren’t sure what to ask for, check out my gift ideas for entrepreneurs list. There might be something you hadn’t considered.

Everyone makes mistakes when starting a home business online. These are some of the most common.

Parenting Top Posts 2017

Not everything is about working at home here. When you’re a parent, sometimes you need free or cheap ways to play with your kids. More time with the kids is one of the big reasons moms and dads like to work at home, after all.

Sending the kids off to school can mean preparing lunches for them to bring along. I shared a bunch of recipes from other bloggers to make preparing school lunches for the kids a little easier.

I love to give kids gifts that encourage them to be more creative. Kids sometimes don’t get enough time to express themselves creatively, but if you give them the tools, they’ll go at it.

Blogging Top Posts 2017

Blogging is one of the most popular ways to work at home, so I shared a lot of advice about it. The most popular post was about free image editing tools. Great images help great posts do well on social media.

It came as no surprise to me that when I posted about how to start a blog, the two most popular sections were about brainstorming ideas and making money off your blog. Those are two of the most important and sometimes most challenging parts.

One thing I’ve had to learn through the years is how to get a quick bit of work in even when I know I’m going to be distracted. That was the inspiration for my blog post, Quick Blog Tasks For When You Know You’re Going To Be Interrupted. Not everything you do for your blog has to take a lot of time.

Despite the problems I had in 2017, I will continue to work so that 2018 become a much better year. I’ve put a lot of thought into where things went wrong, so hopefully I can make things far, far better in the future.

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.

December 26th, 2017

What Are Your Goals For Your Home Business?

What Are Your Goals for Your Home Business?

With the new year approaching, many people like to review how things have been going and make resolutions or set goals for how their business will go in the new year. It’s as good a time as any to do this; in fact, reviewing your progress and setting new goals for your home business is best done a few times a year in my opinion. You need to be aware of how things are going to make sure you’re on the right path.

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately. This past year did not go as well as I wanted it to, but some things I’ve been working on are showing signs of life. My income dropped this year, and that simply will not do.

You have to adjust your goals when things like this happen. It may not be only your goals for your home business that change, however.

Take a look at other things happening in your life, especially if they make it harder for you to work on your home business. Find the parts of your life that are making it more difficult to reach your goals for your home business, and try to change them too. Ask for more help around the house. Tell your family you need more work hours and come up with ways to make that happen.

Balancing a home business with your family is a team effort even if you’re the only one who works on the business side of things. Get everyone on board to make things happen. And always remember that there are a lot of quick tasks you can do for your home business even when you don’t have a lot of time.

Keep Goals For Your Home Business Realistic

Your home business goals must be realistic. Goals that you’ll never reach are only so motivating. Lesser goals that take you in the direction of your greater goals are necessary so you know you’re making progress. You may have a goal of becoming a millionaire, for example, but what are the intermediate steps. If you don’t have realistic goals that take you in that direction, eventually you will get tired of that goal and give up.

Let’s start with something simple, say, earning $5000 a month from your home business. It’s not an excessive goal, but it’s one many of us would love to reach.

Depending on where you’re at, that may be too distant a goal or it may be a perfectly reasonable one. For this example, I’ll treat it as a distant goal, something for someone new to running a home business might be dealing with. Most of us aren’t going to hit that goal quickly – in fact, most home businesses earn much less. You need goals you can achieve so you can really feel your progress.

There are many goals you can set that will help you to know that you’re making progress toward that $5000 a month goal. They aren’t all financial, although having a goal of even $100 a month to start isn’t a bad beginning if you’re still at $0 a month. Here are some goals to consider:

Writing Goals

Most home businesses require a lot of writing. There’s a reason why blogging is such a huge part of many online home businesses. Creating new content is often one of the best things you can do for your online business.

Setting a writing goal is not as simple as deciding that you will write 2000 words a day or whatever. Sometimes you will need to do more research than writing. Sometimes a quick post will be more effective than something long-winded.

The most important thing to remember is that quality is more important than quantity. A reputation for incorrect information is hard to shake. Show your website visitors that you care about giving them the right information by doing your research when it’s needed. Cite your sources. This builds trust, even when you aren’t doing academic work.

Website Traffic Goals

How much traffic would you like to generate? Keep it simple at first, then increase. You may also want to measure this goal by increases, such as increasing your website traffic by 10%, 25%, etc.

There are a lot of ways to generate traffic to your website. Social media is extremely popular these days, as it gives you an audience that has chosen to follow you. Done right, it’s incredibly effective.

But social media is not your only option for building up traffic. You should also consider how to get links from reputable sources in your industry.

There are lots of ways to increase your website traffic. You’re usually best off focusing on no more than a few methods at a time. You can’t master them all, and you probably don’t have the time to work on all of them at once. You certainly don’t have the time to master several different traffic generation strategies at once. Taking the time to learn each one properly will make your efforts more effective.

Social Media Goals

Social media is one of the best ways to bring traffic to most websites. You have a lot of power over how people see your home business on social media, and you should try to make the most of that.

The first thing to remember is that your social media goals should be about more than numbers. Look at what you’re accomplishing with it.

Your social media goals for your home business will vary by the platform. You should look professional on LinkedIn. Twitter is often better for building relationships between a customer and a business. Instagram is about building an image, and it doesn’t let you add links to posts, making it more challenging for traffic generation.

Pinterest is highly visual, and many find it one of the best social media sites for generating traffic. People often use Pinterest for inspiration and to remember things they want to buy.

Any social media website will require time and effort to build a following. Getting to the point where things take off is difficult for most people. You can experiment with the different websites, but there are two basic things I recommend. One is that you find a good quality course to learn about the social media sites you want to try. Udemy has a good range.

The other is that you use the right tools to make scheduling your posts easier. Social media can eat up much of your day if you let it. While you should still visit the sites you use regularly so that you can interact with people and posts there, appropriate automation can take care of the basics for you. I like Hootsuite because it handles a good range of social media sites.

Networking

Social media is important for traffic generation and reputation management, but it can be so much more than that. It’s an opportunity to network with potential customers as well as other people in your industry.

Other people in your industry aren’t only your competition. Sometimes you can boost each other. Odds are that you are not offering the exact same thing to your visitors or customers. If you have networked with others in your industry through social media, you may know when to refer people to them, and they can refer people to you.

You can also network in person, of course. Go to local events, especially if they relate to your industry. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce. Talk to people about what you do.

Don’t be that obnoxious person who talks about nothing else, of course. Overdoing your in-person networking can drive friends and family away.

Education

What do you need to learn to run your business better? Set a goal to learn and apply that new skill. Learning a new skill is nothing if you never apply it. Don’t set a new goal in this area until you’re actually using the information or have consciously decided that the new information or skill is not something you want to apply to your home business.

Check out Udemy and other online education websites to see what you can learn. Pick courses carefully and commit to finishing them. Then apply what you have learned before you move on to learning something else.

As you can see, none of these on their own is about earning $5000. However, they should help you get on the right path toward that more difficult goal.

Analyze Your Efforts

Whether you reach your goals for your home business or not, you should be analyzing what went right and what went wrong. This will help you keep from making the same mistakes over and over again.

You may find, for example, that in doing your research you tend to skip the step of applying the new things you’ve learned. That’s a lot of time and very possibly money wasted. It’s a very common issue for people running any sort of online business.

You need to figure out why you aren’t applying things you’ve learned to your business. Are you too quickly attracted to bright and shiny product launches? Do you always think they’re too hard to do? Are you really trying to learn the right skill sets for what you’re willing to work on?

Once you know your mistakes you have a better chance of not making that same mistake in the future. That improves your chance of success.

Sometimes things will be beyond your immediate control. You may fail to generate the traffic you hoped to gain because your site fell in the search engine rankings for your best keyword. You can work on that problem once it’s noticed, but it may take time to fix. Knowing where the fall happened will help you figure out what to do about it.

Be sure to hold yourself accountable for your failures as well as your successes. It’s important to acknowledge both.

Even when you aren’t reaching your goals as quickly as you’d hoped, it’s vital that you set some sort of reachable goal. It’s one of the things that can motivate you to keep working on what is probably a very challenging business.

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 13th, 2017

Upgrade Your Skills To Improve Your Opportunities

Upgrade Your Skills To Improve Your Opportunities

When was the last time you took a class? Online, offline, an hour or many months, it doesn’t matter. I just want you to think about the last time you took a class, any class, to upgrade your skills and improve your opportunities.

For many people, it has been a while. For others, not long at all.

What I want you to think about now is how you benefited from that class. Did it help you in your professional life? Did it inspire you to try new things? Have you put what you learned into practice?

It’s often difficult to find the time to take a class, even a brief one. Most of us lead such busy lives that it’s hard to spare the time. I know I have that problem quite often.

Getting around the time issue is a matter of priorities. You have to give something else up for a time or reschedule things so that the class you want to take fits in. If you choose the right class, the time spent will be well worth it.

Self paced may sound like a good idea, but if you struggle with finding enough time for your classes, it may not be. Some people simply cannot cope with self paced classes – they let them slide too much. This is why many online courses are never completed by people who pay for them. I’m guilty of that one myself.

Can You Afford To Upgrade Your Skills?

Upgrading your skills usually takes money. It may not be easy to decide to spend that money, especially when things are tight. However, if you choose the right skill to improve, it will be money well spent.

Ideally, you want to improve a skill that will improve your income or your lifestyle. Nothing wrong with taking a class for your own personal pleasure, after all! My focus here will be on work at home and online business skills, but if you want to find a class that has to do with one of your hobbies, go for it and have fun! Downtime matters too.

Classes can cost anywhere from a few dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the kind of class you want to take. I have rather enjoyed some of the classes I’ve done through Udemy, even though I struggle with making time for them. They’re really affordable as a general rule, which I like.

Decide How You Want To Upgrade Your Skills

There are a lot of ways you can upgrade your skills. Online courses are very popular because they’re so flexible. In-person classes through local community colleges have the advantage of a set schedule, which can make it easier to finish the course.

If the class you want to take is self paced, set up a schedule you’re willing to commit to for yourself. It’s the best way to ensure that you actually go through with it. Pick an hour or two each day or week, and work on your class.

The more time you commit, the sooner you will finish your course. There’s no prize for finishing a course quickly – you want to learn your new skills thoroughly, and that can mean spending a lot of time on the parts that are more difficult for you.

I’m very fond of online courses. Community colleges and such can be great, but not all teachers will be up to date on things. You can find reviews on online courses and see how recently they’ve been updated to reflect changes in the industry. That can be a huge help.

You will also want to consider whether you prefer to learn through videos or text when you learn online. I’m not big on video, but many people adore it. I prefer text that I can go over at my own speed until I get it. Think about how you like to learn when considering a course.

You don’t have to spend money on improving your skills, of course. You can try figuring things out on your own. Trial and error doesn’t work for everything, but it can help with many things. The main disadvantage is the mistakes you will make along the way – you may lose out on income by doing it on your own. Learning from someone who has figured things out already should be faster.

Consider Upgrading These Skills

There are a lot of great skills you can upgrade that will improve your opportunities. Here are some suggestions to consider. It’s not a comprehensive list – if there’s something else you want to do, go for it. It’s all for you.

Work At Home Job Courses

These courses may help you to find more work at home jobs, whether as a freelancer or as a regular employee.

Medical Transcription Training through Career Step – I’ve recommended Career Step for years. They have a good program. You can read up on medical transcription as a career here and think about if it’s for you.

Medical Coding Training through Career Step – I’ve also heard that Career Step’s medical billing and coding course is good. I’ve written about medical coding as a career, and you may want to read it as you consider whether this is the right step for you.

Freelance Writing – Working as a freelance writer is a popular work at home job for very good reasons. It can be flexible, and if you know what you’re doing, the money can be pretty good. It can also be pretty awful if you don’t know how to value your work properly.

That’s where a course such as Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course can help. It will help you learn how to start your freelance writing business the right way and get clients.

Virtual Assistant – Freelance virtual assistants can also do very well. Virtual assistants can do a wide range of services for the companies they help, which gives you room to specialize. Gina Horkey also has a course for that, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. You could start helping clients with their social media, email marketing, customer service and more.

Online Business Courses

These courses are more about building your own business, although you could use them to improve your skills for a work at home job too.

I love the range of courses you can find on Udemy. You can find something good for just about any online skill you could use, as well as courses that are just for your personal benefit. It’s worth taking a good look around.

You could consider How to Start an Amazon FBA Store on a Tight Budget, for example. It can be tough to make a living selling physical products through Amazon, but it’s a great platform once you know what you’re doing.

There are also courses such as Etsy 101: Set Up a Shop and Promote It on Social Media for those who would rather make their own creations and sell them on Etsy.

For those who need to improve their social media marketing, there are all kinds of courses, from Social Media Marketing 2017 to courses specific to each platform you might use. If you just can’t quite get how to master a particular platform, you can get help there.

I could seek out good courses on Udemy all day and find plenty of great choices. It all depends on what you want to learn.

Commit To Using Your New Skills

Once you have a new skill, make sure you do everything in your power to use it. If it requires finding a new job, this may not be easy. If it’s something to help you improve your online business, on the other hand, you’d better get right on it.

Fit your new skill into your daily routine. If that means job hunting, work at it daily. If that means a change in how you handle your social media marketing, make that change right away.

You’ll never know what your new skill will do for you if you don’t use it. Learning something and not applying your knowledge means you wasted your time and your money. Do you have either to waste?

What Skills Do You Need To Upgrade?

Have you decided to upgrade your skills? What opportunities do you think this will open up for you? How will you fit the time it takes to learn something new into your current routine?

The best time to start improving your future is now. If you put it off, when will it happen? Whether you buy a new course, finish an old one or try to figure things out on your own, it’s time to get things moving.

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

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.