Last Updated May 14th, 2018

10 Ways To Make Working at Home More Fun

10 Ways To Make Working at Home More Fun

What do you think about when you think about your work at home day? Is it all of the things you need to get done? Do you worry about finishing your to do list? Do you ever think about ways to make working at home more fun?

Most of the people who hear that you work at home won’t think you need to have more fun. After all, you just sit around and watch TV, and some piddly amount of money just appears with no effort on your part, right? Lots of people don’t take what you do seriously and assume you can’t make all that much money from home.

Don’t know about you, but none of that’s true for me. I work hard, watch very little TV (and I’m generally working at the same time), and the money’s pretty darn good most of the time, with some ups and downs. The downs are painful, but the ups are such a delight.

Some days it’s just so hard to get going. Your day just kind of drags, or maybe you’re frustrated that things seem to be staying in one place. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to spice things up a little to help motivate yourself when you work at home. You need to make working at home more fun so that you can be more consistent. Here are some ideas that may help.

Work Someplace Else

If you have a laptop, work in the backyard, take the kids to the playground, just start working someplace you don’t usually. If you don’t have a laptop computer, think of some of your other work that could possibly be done away from your desk. Even if it’s nothing but brainstorming ideas, getting out of your home office can be a lot of fun and actually help your productivity.

There are lots of places you can work when you work at home unless the job has specific restrictions. Customer service jobs, for example, require that there be no background noise. Other jobs may require that you adhere to strict privacy standards, which includes keeping your work in a closed office.

Play Some Music!

No, not the kids’ favorite CDs, something you want to hear. Although there may be something to be said for the right children’s music – I know people who don’t mind singing along to certain Disney movies, for example.

Some people find music with lyrics too distracting. I know my oldest gets quite distracted anytime something from Hamilton comes up on her playlist. If you find this to be a problem for you, go for instrumental music. Spotify has lots of playlists you can enjoy, for just about any musical taste.

play music while you work at home

Take Time For You

If you’re feeling burnt out, taking a break can actually help you to get more work done. Take a walk. Play a game online. Watch a favorite show – nothing too long, but enough to give yourself a break.

You can also work on a hobby. Painting, reading, making jewelry, building things, whatever suits you. Doing something just for yourself can make your work at home day better.

Learn Something New

Come on, what have you been considering learning but haven’t found the time for? Maybe it relates to your work at home job or business or maybe it’s about a hobby, but learning can give you a fresh perspective even if you aren’t learning something specific to your work.

There are all kinds of courses online, through sites such as Udemy and other places. You could also take courses in your local area. Local classes are especially good if you want a little social time or you’re making something with your hands.

Try Something New

What have you always wanted to do with your home business? Give it a try, even if it’s kind of scary. The change will make your day more interesting, even if it’s a complete failure.

If you can’t do something new, change up your routine. Don’t do the same thing day in and day out. If you run a blog, for example, write blog posts one day, work on social media the next, work on other promotion ideas for your site the next, and so on.

work at home fun with kids

Make Time For Your Kids To Make Working At Home More Fun

Young children do much better if you play with them more often. They’ll try harder for your attention if they feel that they haven’t had much lately. Have a little fun with them and they’ll be happier to play on their own later. Hopefully.

Kids require different things from you as they get older. At some ages, they’ll need more help with homework. At other ages, they’ll resist spending time with you except those unpredictable times when they open up. You have to find a balance between your work needs and what your kids need from you when you work at home. Fortunately, it generally makes for a much nicer day when you do so.

Involve Your Kids

They’ll have a lot of fun helping you and you’re making your work more real to them. It’s a great example for your children to learn that there are more possibilities out there than a traditional job.

At some ages, this is more pretend than anything. When my kids were little, I would give them a keyboard to pound on. They thought it was great. To a very young child, pounding on a keyboard looks very much like working on a computer.

As kids get older, they may be able to help you more. Talk out some of your ideas with them. They may give you new ideas in return. They’ll probably also give you some fun nonsense.

When your kids are old enough, you may even want to teach them how to work directly in your home business. They can help schedule social media postings, for example, or take pictures for blog posts.

Make Your Home Office More Comfortable

How comfortable is your home office or workspace? Do you like the decorations? Is your furniture comfortable?

Find things that will make your home office or workspace more comfortable. Have some fun with the decorations. Get some brainstorming tools, whether that’s a whiteboard on the wall or notebook on your desk.

Rearrange your office for comfort. Do you want to face the wall, or would you be happier facing the door or a window? It’s your space; make it work for you.

You may also want to consider a sit-stand desk. That’s what I have. It’s wonderful being able to change position during my workday. Possibly it’s healthier too, but there are all kinds of arguments about what’s best.

Enjoy Your Pets

You may sometimes need to distract your cats when you work at home. The same goes for dogs. But other times they’ll provide you with much needed distractions. So long as the cat stays off your keyboard and doesn’t mess with your cords, you may be able to put up with them in your home office. Some will even play fetch with a favorite toy.

Taking your dog for a walk is another way to make working at home more fun. You get outside, get some fresh air and exercise, maybe play with the dog a little, then get back to work. Can your day really be all that bad after having fun with a dog? Sometimes, yes, still that bad, but most times it will make your day at least a little better. Taking advantage of the ability to interact with your pets certainly makes working at home more fun.

Find A Water Cooler

Loneliness is one of the huge problems many people have working at home. It’s really hard to cope when you rarely interact with other adults.

Fortunately, there are tools such as Slack to help you find people to chat with. Seek out Slack communities to join, and you’ll have people to chat with. You can also consider Facebook groups and discussion boards. These can be great places to have those discussions with other people that you might have had at the water cooler in an office.

Don’t let these chats completely ruin your productivity, of course. Consider these sessions a break just as you would take at any other job. They shouldn’t occupy your entire day or keep you from getting your work done. They should give you that mental break of chatting with other adults, even if it’s about work.

Anyone who has worked at home for a significant time knows that working at home isn’t the cakewalk some think it is. You can revive yourself by changing your habits, even if it’s just for a day or two a month. You’re working at home – even in the most routine job, you should be able to find some way to make working at home more fun once in a while.

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.

Last Updated May 9th, 2018

Do You Need To Prepare Your Blog For The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

Do You Need To Prepare Your Blog For The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

There’s an important regulation coming into effect on May 25, 2018, for anyone collecting data from users in the European Union. It’s called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and you may need to be aware of it, even if you aren’t in Europe.  At the very least, you must be aware of its existence and decide you need to do.

First things first. I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. It’s an alert for you to find out what’s relevant to your situation. If you want legal advice on this, it would not be a bad idea at all to consult a lawyer. It may take time, however, for lawyers to know how GDPR will impact website owners in non-European countries.

What Is The GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation sets down rules on how companies are to handle people’s personal information. This includes information such as IP address, cookies, location data, name, and email address, but may include more information, depending on what you collect. Information collected must be voluntary – that is, visitors must be clearly informed of the data you collect and agree to it. The request must be in clear language.

You also have to allow users to request that their data be deleted.

It also includes some pretty stiff fines for companies that don’t comply up to 4% of their global annual turnover, or €20M, whichever is greater.

In other words, they mean for this regulation to have some teeth. These fines are meant to be painful even for huge companies that have billions of euros in income each year.

Compliance can mean more than just taking someone off your list when they unsubscribe from your email list. If they want all of their information deleted, you must delete all of it. If they want to know what information you have on them, you have to share that information with them.

You also have to let users know why you want the data and how to opt out of data collection. Collection of data on people under age 16 requires parental consent.

If you want more detailed information, there are a number of sites with good writeups about GDPR, beyond the GDPR website, which may give you more details than you can handle. Try WTF Is GDPRStop whining, GDPR is actually good for your business, and Hubspot’s The GDPR Last-Minute Kit.

What Data Do You Probably Have As A Blogger?

As a blogger, you may have more data on your visitors than you think. Much of it will be quite generic – your statistics program that comes with your website hosting may tell you what IP address your visitors come from, and what pages they visited.

But you probably have more than that. It may be shared with third parties as well.

Do you use Google Analytics? Who runs your mailing list? What affiliate networks or ad networks are you a part of? These need to be revealed and included as a part of the consent you request.

Think about the comment section on your website. It probably asks for a name and email address at the very least, with an option to include a website link. That’s personal information right there. Of course, if you use Disqus or Facebook comments, you’ll have whatever rules they expect you to follow.

Should You Do Anything To Comply With The GDPR?

Many people outside the European Union are unsure if they need to do anything to comply with the GDPR, especially if they don’t get a lot of traffic there. The whole thing looks difficult to handle at this point.

Regardless of your need to comply, you should consider how you’re treating visitors’ data. Are you keeping it safe and using it only in the ways they expect you to?

I’m taking guidance from the various services I use. If Google needs me to put up a notice to continue using their services such as Analytics on my site, obviously I’m going to do it. Same for whatever is expected by the various affiliate networks and my email list provider. They’re far more exposed to risk than I am, so I expect them to know what is necessary. I also don’t want to lose these services. If they want me to comply, I will. I expect most of them to have requirements.

AdSense, for example, has already put out a request for publishers to link to Google’s Privacy & Terms page.  It says, in part, “You are not required to seek consent for a user’s activity on Google’s sites (we obtain that ourselves when users visit our sites). We are asking only that you seek consent for your uses of our ads products on your properties.”

Google is also providing “a range of optional tools to help you with gathering user consent across your websites and apps.”

If you are targeting European users, you absolutely need to comply. If they’re an incidental part of your audience, you should have much less to worry about, although you may still need to keep an eye on how things go.

The challenge with compliance will be minimizing the number of popups about privacy. You know how much they annoy visitors. As things progress, I expect to see a lot of advice out there on how to get consent without annoying your visitors.

Can You Just Block European Users?

Some people have just considered blocking European users. It sounds easier for small businesses and blogs that very little traffic from Europe. Why go through all the trouble?

The big reason I can think of to take the GDPR into consideration and act on it is that other countries may follow. Think about how outraged people have been over the use of their data with the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. People will want to have more control over how their personal data is used.

This means more countries may pass laws similar to the GDPR. It’s better to deal with it now. This may simplify things later.

Also, the GDPR is supposed to protect European citizens no matter where they are. If they’re traveling in another country and go online, their data is to be as protected as if they were at home.

Much of this falls into good business practice anyhow. You have to get explicit permission to subscribe someone to your newsletter, for example. You should be doing that anyhow. It is a good idea to have your website served over https rather than http, which is a recommendation from Google in general now, regardless of anything else.

What Tools Can Help?

Many of the big companies you may work with are coming out with tools to help businesses deal with the GDPR. It impacts them too, after all, and they’re bigger targets than you are. They want it done right.

If you use Google products such as Analytics or AdSense, they’re working on tools for you. Some affiliate networks, such as Commission Junction, are working on tools as well.

There are WordPress plugins that can help you with GDPR compliance. Here are a few. No doubt more are coming, and it will take time to determine which are the best. Note that these may not guarantee that you are fully compliant with GDPR. They should help, however.

GDPR – Helps with consent management, privacy preferences, rights to erasure and deletion of website data, data processor settings, data breach notification logs with batch email notifications to data subjects, and more.

WP GDPR Compliance – This plugin helps make Contact Form 7 (>= 4.6), Gravity Forms (>= 1.9), WooCommerce (>= 2.5.0) and WordPress Comments GDPR compliant.

Shariff Wrapper – Many social sharing buttons transmit visitor data as soon as they visit your website. Shariff Wrapper doesn’t. I would hope that soon all share buttons stop doing this, as social media sites are decidedly impacted by GDPR, but if you’re concerned, this is an immediate solution.

GDPR Personal Data Reports – Gives visitors an automated process to request and retrieve their personal data from your site. It also allows them to request data removal and anonymizes and deletes data as appropriate.

Surbma – GDPR Proof Google Analytics –   every visitor to accept or decline Google Analytics tracking.

EU Cookie Law – This plugin is reviewing their GDPR compliance as of this writing, but I included it because it looks like a good start. It even gives an option to lock scripts before visitors accept your cookie policy, which is required by Italian law.

Delete Me – Allows users to delete their own accounts on your WordPress blog.

What Am I Doing?

I’m still figuring things out myself. My process has been delayed be a MAJOR family emergency that is taking tons of time. I plan to do something, but figuring out exactly what tools I will use will take some time. I’m watching for the tools developed by companies that I work with so that I keep up with their requirements. It may become good business practice in general anyhow.

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.

Last Updated May 2nd, 2018

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas For Work At Home Moms

Mother's Day Gift Ideas For Work At Home Moms

Mother’s Day is a big deal to most mothers. We all love to feel appreciated. It’s a great time to show a work at home mom how much you appreciate and support what she does. These Mother’s Day gift ideas for work at home moms may give you some ideas for what that important work at home mom in your life may appreciate.

Maid Service/A Clean House

Who cares how the house gets clean so long as it gets done? Your budget might care, meaning that cleaning it yourself rather than hiring a maid service may make the most sense. On the other hand, paying someone else to clean it, especially if it can happen regularly, would be much appreciated by most moms.

The key to this gift is getting the house clean without making a fuss for mom to hear. It isn’t nearly as nice a gift if there’s a lot of arguments over who does what.

Sleep

Moms are often tired creatures. This is especially true of working moms, who have to mix the duties of motherhood with their work. This can be extra challenging at home, where the separation between motherhood and work is much less.

This can be a difficult gift to get a work at home mom to accept. We’re as likely to get up early or stay up late when given the chance to get extra sleep. After all, there’s always more work to be done!

Amazon Echo Show

The Echo Show gives mom a screen along with the various wonderful Echo features. This is one more way to keep up on what’s happening during the workday. It can even connect with a Ring doorbell so that work at home moms can see who’s at the door when they’re working. It can connect with other smart devices around the home, making it easier to control things while you work. Dual Dolby speakers give it great sound if mom likes to listen to music while she works.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Do things get noisy in your house when mom is trying to work? I know mine does. Noise cancelling headphones could be a great gift that allows her to focus better on work.

Ring Doorbell

My sister has a Ring doorbell, and I’m so jealous. It’s great for knowing when someone comes to your front door, whether you’re home or not. It’s especially nice for seeing when a package has been dropped at the front door – too many delivery people skip the “ding dong” part of “ding dong ditch.” I hate not knowing when a package has been left outside.

Amazon Prime

phalaenopsis orchidsIf you don’t already have Amazon Prime and tend to order a lot from Amazon, Prime could be a great gift. It’s more than just free shipping, after all. You might get access to Prime Now if it’s available in your area, making grocery delivery a possibility. Prime Pantry can also help with groceries. Add in music and video streaming, and your entertainment options open up.

Office Plants

An office plant makes a home office look much nicer, and may be good for air quality. Find out what she likes, and make sure you take any pets into consideration. Some houseplants are toxic to cats or dogs. I like my phalaenopsis orchids, which are nontoxic to cats and dogs. Best of all, they can be watered with ice cubes, which minimizes the mess and chance of spillage.

Office Decor

Is mom’s work at home space kind of dull? Something to liven it up may be a good Mother’s Day gift. You might find some good wall art, give her a Himalayan salt lamp, or find something else that will give her home office more of a personal touch.

Neck And Shoulder Massager

Working at home all day can lead to neck and shoulder pain. A good neck and shoulder massager can be used to minimize this during the day and can come out of the home office in the evenings if anyone else needs a massage.

Instant Pot

Making dinner as a work at home mom can be a real pain. An Instant Pot can speed up your cook time for a variety of meals. If you promise that mom won’t be the only one to use the Instant Pot to make meals, so much the better.

Recipes The Kids Promise To Cook

What are your kids capable of making in the kitchen? Have each child give mom a recipe that they promise to make, ideally with little to no help from mom. The older the kids are, the more challenging the recipe should be, with kids who are old enough promising to make full meals for the family.

Yoga Set

Yoga can make a great break in the work at home day. It doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment, and there are lots of videos online that mom can use to get a little fitness break in her work at home day.

Equipment Upgrade

What does mom use to work at home? Is any of her equipment getting old? It may be time to upgrade some of it. Take a look around her workspace or ask her if there’s anything in there she needs replaced.

Anything She Needs For Her Home Business

Do you know of something mom wants for her home business but has been hesitating to get? You can give her a nice gift while showing your support for her business if you get something to help her build it.

This could be a training course for a skill she wants to develop or software she needs to make her work easier. There’s always something useful to learn out there.

This Is A Momarchy Shirt

I like this shirt. If your mom rules the house, she may like it too. Sometimes mom is in charge even when she doesn’t want to be at the moment. Is your home a momarchy?

Talk Nerdy To Me Shirt

Nerdy shirts have become a traditional gift for all kinds of holidays in my family. The important thing to know is what her fandoms are. Most of my family especially like the ones that have a subtle sense of humor or a really good crossover. This “Talk Nerdy To Me” shirt goes pretty well in that category.

Dragons

Ok, maybe this is a personal preference. I’m always happy to get a new dragon. Windstone dragons are my favorite, but I have some others I adore, especially my fireplace dragon. She’s beautiful. The hardest part is finding great looking dragons because a lot of companies don’t make them that well at all.

dragon

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.

Last Updated May 1st, 2018

20 Quick Ways to Promote Your Online Business

20 Quick Ways to Promote Your Online Business

Promotion is one of those things I’m not as good about as I should be. It’s too easy to think of it as something that takes a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to. Some promotional efforts take only a few minutes a day. It’s vital to promote your online business regularly.

1. Use Pinterest

Many bloggers and website owners have found that Pinterest can drive great traffic if used consistently. Take the time to make pinnable images for every post. Pinterest suggests images be 600×900 pixels, or a 2:3 size ratio, up to 600×1260 pixels or a 1:2.1 size ratio. They also say square images are acceptable, although everyone I’ve seen post about it finds that they don’t get great results from square images, and prefer longer ones.

Pinterest also encourages you to have multiple pinnable images for each post.This gives you several chances to attract people’s attention. Spread these images out – don’t pin them all to the same board at the same time. There are a lot of places to find great free images if you don’t want to make your own, as well as free image editing tools so that you can customize them.

Use Tailwind to schedule your pins across all of your appropriate boards. This will save you a ton of time.

2. Post on Your Facebook Page

Facebook is another easy choice. I suggest doing more than just adding the link to your post – have something to say, at least the title of the post. Some people find that the get better results without the preview of your post showing beneath it, while others say it’s better to post something and then put the link in the comment. The second one is harder on people using mobile platforms, who don’t see the link right away, however.

Facebook is always changing how much exposure your posts to your page will get, making them something of a pain to use.

3. Share on Twitter

A few words on what it’s about, a link, and you have a tweet ready to go. Make it interesting – you know how fast things move on Twitter. Remember to use appropriate hashtags. You can use Hootsuite to schedule your tweets to make this easier.

Twitter has recently become picky about sharing the same post over again on their platform, even across multiple accounts that you own. If you share your posts more than once, make sure that you change up what you say about it.

4. Have A Contest

People love contests. Figure out what you can offer as a prize, and you can have a contest on your site. Most websites do some sort of sweepstakes, where people subscribe to a newsletter or follow the site on social media to get entries.

Make sure you know the laws about contests in your area. This will vary from place to place. You don’t want to get into legal trouble when you’re just trying to promote your online business.

5. Promote Old Posts

Promote some of your older posts on your preferred social networks. You don’t have to stick to your most recent work, after all. Make sure you change what you say about it, try new images, and generally test things to see what gets you the best results. Once again, use Hootsuite so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time promoting old posts – you can automate a lot of it with tools like Hootsuite.

6. Comment on a Relevant Blog

Keep your comment relevant to the subject at hand and make it interesting. “Great post” isn’t going to drive many people to click on your site. It’s best to stick to your real name rather than keywords in the Name section of the comment form too – some blogs will delete your comment if you do the keyword thing. No extra links in your comment unless they’re really relevant and you know the blog owner won’t mind.

This can also help you develop a relationship with other bloggers in your niche. If you want to do guest posting, this is a huge help. It also improves the chances that other bloggers will choose to link to your blog as a resource in their own posts.

7. Put a Signature in Your Emails

Most email platforms will allow you to have a signature automatically added to all your emails. Take advantage of that. You can include your name, URL, and relevant social media profiles. Think about what you most want to get in front of the people you’re contacting.

8. Participate in a Relevant Forum

This can be tricky, as not all forums will allow you to have a signature line with a link. Watch those rules when you join forums, and be very careful about promoting your site outside your signature. Also make sure that you aren’t getting sucked into spending an excessive amount of time on the forum, especially if you end up reading more than participating. As with blog commenting, keep it relevant and not to promotional. Most people aren’t on the forum to read an ad from you, and excessive advertising is one of the quickest ways to get banned on a forum.

9. Respond to People

Whether you’re replying to emails, blog comments, tweets aimed at you, Facebook comments, etc., take a little time to respond to people who have contacted you. People remember things like that.

10. Write an Email Template

Got some questions you receive regularly by email? Make a template for your standard answer. This is a huge timesaver when going through your emails, plus you can really think out what your best answer is beforehand.

I have several templates I use. They have to be updated occasionally, but it’s so nice to have an easy way to answer common questions, rather than having to look up the link to information I’ve shared many times before.

11. Review Your Analytics

While this doesn’t directly impact your website promotion, it can give you ideas for posts that are getting traffic, and the sites that send it. Knowing which of your efforts have been most effective is vital.

12. Do Some Keyword Research

While it’s a good idea to do keyword research when writing blog posts, it’s helpful to do it in general too. I find some good ideas just by really digging into different keywords I’ve considered.

One of my current favorites is Answer the Public. When you put in a keyword, it will come up with all kinds of queries people have made on that subject. I like to download the CSV of the information and review it that way. Then I have it on hand the next time I want to use that keyword.

13. Look For Ways to Interlink Your Content

Linking within your site to your own content gives visitors the excuse to keep looking around your site. Make it easy for them by linking relevant posts and pages to each other.

The best way to do this is taking a little time to find relevant posts every time you write a new one. Sometimes you will also find that an older post should be linked to a new one. Think about your old posts as you write, and drop in the appropriate links.

14. Link to Other Relevant Websites

Want to be a great resource? Link to other great resources. Not only are you giving your visitors more of what you’re looking for, other site owners will see you linking to them and possibly driving traffic to them, and may return the favor.

15. Find Places to Guest Post

Writing a quality guest post should take more than a few minutes, but doing a search for places to consider can be done quickly. Search for sites in your niche that allow others to write for them. Read through the qualifications, subscribe to the RSS feed of the site or otherwise make sure you can keep up on what’s getting posted. I keep a list of sites to consider.

Do not guest post on low quality websites! This can damage your search engine rankings. Go for the best websites you can get to publish your posts. This will take patience, as some sites take several weeks or even a few months to tell you if they’ve accepted your posts.

16. Answer Questions on Q&A Sites

Sites such as Quora can be excellent for promoting your site – just don’t overdo it. Be relevant, especially when you include links to your own stuff in your answers, don’t be afraid to link to things you don’t own if they’re the right resource, and remember that you don’t have to include a link every time. You don’t get the best attention on Q&A sites by answering a lot of questions – you get it by providing the best answers.

17. Make Videos

YouTube and other video services are great for promoting your business. You probably don’t want to be purely promotional – people prefer to be entertained or informed. If what you’re saying can be boiled down to “my business is so great, my business is so great,” you won’t get many views of your videos.

It’s amazing how well some people do with videos. There are people making significant money unboxing products, playing video games, or playing with toys. I’m often amazed by what my kids like to watch on YouTube, and by how much some of these people earn with their videos.

18. Go Live

Many marketers are getting great results by using Facebook Live. People who are online right at that time can watch you and interact with you. You can answer questions directly in your video as they come up, or have someone type in answers for you.

Obviously, you must be well prepared to go live on video. I would suggest that you rehearse whenever possible. Going live is likely to be easier if you have recorded videos in the past. It’s much the same, except you can’t edit out your mistakes.

19. Make a Magnet For Your Car

A magnet with some information about your business attached to your car can help you promote your online business. Keep it quick and simple – no one has time to read a long ad while driving.

20. Celebrate an Unusual Holiday

There are “days” and “months for just about anything. April, for example, is National Humor Month, International Guitar Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, Mathematics Awareness Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Welding Month, Records and Information Management Month, Stress Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and many more. Today is Mother Goose Day, as well as May Day. Search for unusual holidays and see what comes up.

For that matter, you can make your own pretend holiday. It won’t be anything official to anyone else, but it could give you something fun to celebrate on your site each year. Make it fun enough, and people might start talking. But if you choose something like “My *$&#@$!#* Computer Crashed Day,” try not to repeat it next year.

How do you like to promote your online business? Are there any interesting promotion tactics you have tried that have worked?

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.

Last Updated April 30th, 2018

How Can You Work At Home As A Transcriptionist?

How Can You Work At Home As A Transcriptionist?

What do you think of when you consider working at home as a transcriptionist? When many people think about doing transcription at home, medical transcription is the first to come to mind. It’s a great job but requires serious training beforehand. However, there are other possibilities for people who want to work at home as a transcriptionist.

No matter the kind transcription, many jobs require some training. This will help you understand formatting and practice transcribing. This is far more challenging than just typing what you hear, even when you are typing verbatim.

The challenge with transcription jobs is that most companies will want experience. It’s a tough job and if you want to work at home, you aren’t directly supervised. It’s tough for a company to trust someone who hasn’t done the job before.

What Is It Like To Work At Home As A Transcriptionist?

Working as a transcriptionist has some advantages. Many jobs have flexible hours. In most cases you will be transcribing recorded dictation or conversations. The amount of background noise you tolerate is a personal preference. Most transcriptionists prefer to keep the noise to a minimum so that their work is heard more clearly.

All transcription jobs require tremendous accuracy. Expectations for accuracy are often around 98.5%. To be sufficiently accurate you need to develop an ear for transcription, which takes practice. It’s amazing how much better and faster you can work once you have done this.

A transcriptionist needs great typing skills. It is not uncommon to see jobs require a minimum typing speed of 80 wpm. Of course, this is a skill you can develop on your own and there are plenty of online tests you can take to show your skills.

Your English skills must be excellent to be any kind of transcriptionist. This includes grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary. Some kinds of transcription will require specialized vocabulary. You must also be comfortable with the required technology, such as word processing software.

Many community colleges have classes you can take to learn basic transcription, medical transcription, or legal transcription. You can also take online courses. The advantage to online courses is that they most resemble your hoped for working conditions. Not everyone can cope with the lack of face to face interaction in online courses. You’ll have the same issue when you work at home, however, so this is good practice.

What Equipment Do You Need To Work At Home As A Transcriptionist?

Your equipment needs are fairly minimal. You probably already have a computer. Most companies prefer high speed internet access. A part of the job will be downloading the sound files and uploading your finished product, making high speed internet vital.

You will want a foot pedal to control the dictation. Some companies will provide this while others will expect you to provide your own. Amazon has a great selection of transcription foot pedals. Choose wisely – it has to work with your software. Most are pretty flexible, but read the description and reviews to make sure you have the right one.

You will also probably enjoy noise canceling headphones… something to make the sounds around you a little less distracting. These are generally very easy to find. You don’t need top of the line headphones, but something to cut out at least some background noise can be helpful. Any headphones that will work with your computer will do the job if you don’t care about blocking background noise.

Medical Transcription

I got my start working at home as a medical transcriptionist. The industry has changed a lot since my time, but the medical transcription industry is still worth considering.

You absolutely must get training to be a medical transcriptionist. Career Step is the school I recommend for this. Their training is good enough that some employers will accept it in lieu of experience, which is a huge help in landing that first job.

As you gain experience as a medical transcriptionist, you can go into different specialties. It may be useful to get certification through AHDI as well, although many jobs do not require it. Some certifications require a certain amount of experience before you can test for them.

Electronic medical records have greatly changed this job. Many medical transcriptionists aren’t happy about that. Some companies still use traditional medical transcriptionists, but others use medical transcription editors, which means you are editing transcriptions done by voice recognition software. Be aware of these challenges before you take any training for this career.

Legal Transcription

Legal transcription is less known as a work at home job, but there are positions out there. You’re best off going for legal transcription if you have at least some legal background already. This will make you more comfortable with the terminology.

If you’re considering legal transcription as a career, try this free legal transcription mini course first. This will give you a taste of what to expect before you spend anything.

Legal transcription is similar to the job of a scopist, but it’s not quite the same thing. Some places may use the term interchangeably, which can make things confusing.

Some legal transcription positions will require certification from a state or national board, such as AAERT or NCRA.

General Transcription

General transcription is an excellent work at home job. Pay is generally based on production. This means you may be able to improve your pay by improving the speed of your work. The availability of work may limit your income, however. This can be enjoyable yet sometimes frustrating work.

While training in general transcription may not be specifically required, it is an excellent idea to get some. Transcribe Anywhere has a good course, including a free mini course to introduce you to what’s really involved in general transcription. Getting trained takes some money and time, but should get you off to a better start as a general transcriptionist.

General transcriptionists transcribe many kinds of things. Some transcribe television shows. Others transcribe interviews. Still others transcribe business meetings, and the list goes on.

With all these options, it may be difficult to decide which kind of transcription jobs most suit you. Consider what interests you as well as any work experience you have already. Pick the kind of transcription that best suits you, so that when you work at home as a transcriptionist, the job is interesting to you.

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.