Last Updated March 21st, 2018

10 Common Blog Title Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

10 Common Blog Title Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

How much time do you spend on writing your blog title for each post? One minute? Five? Do you write it before you write your post or after? Your blog title is the first thing most people will see when discovering your most recent blog posts, yet many bloggers spend very little time crafting them. Most bloggers make a lot of mistakes with their blog titles.

1. Your Blog Title Isn’t As Important As What You Write

There’s a certain degree of truth to the idea that your blog title isn’t as important as the rest of what you write. In terms of informing the reader once they’re on your site, that’s true enough. A perfectly crafted blog title won’t give the reader a fraction of the information the rest of your post will.

And yet, how will you get readers to your blog if the title doesn’t drag them in?

Your blog title is the first thing readers will see when they find your post in an online search. If they use a feed reader, it’s what they’ll see there too. It may even be what they see first in social media posts. If the title doesn’t catch their attention, they will scroll on by.

2. Your Blog Title Doesn’t Have To Be Accurate

How often have you clicked on a blog title, started reading, and been frustrated because the post has very little to do with the title? It’s super annoying and is a huge blog title mistake.

When writing your blog titles, make sure they remain true to the rest of your post. If your title promises a solution to a problem, your post better solve that problem. If your title promises cute cat pictures, those cats better be adorable.

3. Your Blog Title Has To Be Clickbait

How often have you heard people grumble about clickbait titles? They can be super annoying, but they can also work. That’s why many bloggers feel that their blog titles need to be some sort of clickbait. They want to go viral, and clickbait titles look like the way to go.

The problem with clickbait it that it often overpromises. It may get the clicks, but does it make your readers happy with your post after reading it?

There’s a fine line between clickbait and a title that brings readers in. Clickbait may bring people in, but quality is what keeps them coming back. It often pays to dial back the clickbait-ish titles in favor of an interesting but more accurate blog title. Building trust pays off in the long run.

4. Failing To Edit Your Blog Title

Some people argue about whether you should write your title before or after your post. This can be a major part of some bloggers’ creative process, and they feel strongly about it.

I usually start with a basic title, and improve it after writing the post. Some posts completely change direction during the writing process. Others become more focused.

Either way, reviewing and possibly modifying your blog title after writing the actual post is an important part of the process. Don’t be satisfied with the first title you come up with. Take some time and refine the title so that it draws people in and best reflects what readers can expect from your post.

5. Blog Title Idea Generators Are All You Need

I love using blog title generators to get ideas for posts. You take a keyword, drop it into the generator, and refresh it until you have an idea you want to work with. It makes coming up with blog post ideas a lot easier sometimes. Here are a few I like:

SEOPressor Blog Title Generator
HubSpot’s Blog Idea Generator
Blog Post Title Idea Generator from FatJoe
Portent’s Content Idea Generator

But they aren’t enough, not by a long shot.

If you don’t have the right keywords for your post, for example, the title generator won’t give you anything. You have to do that part of the work first.

There are several keyword research tools out there, both free and paid. Google’s Keyword Planner Tool is one of the classics, but you must have an AdWords account to use it.

You can also use Moz’s Keyword Explorer, Google Trends, and relevant forums to find keyword ideas. Each of these has a different function to help you get the widest range of possible keyword ideas for your blog posts.

Once you have your keywords, you may also like Answer The Public, along with your usual blog title generators. Answer The Public finds the questions people have asked on search engines. The ability to answer actual questions people have searched for on your keyword can be a huge help in ranking for that search.

6. Vague Titles

Can readers tell what your post is about just by reading your blog title? If they can’t, they probably won’t click.

Consider a post titled “Spring Break.” This may relate to what the post is about, but there’s not enough information for someone to decide to read your post. It doesn’t draw them in.

Change that to “10 Tips For A Spring Break To Remember” and you’ll get more readers. They’ll know what to expect.

7. Your Blog Titles Are Bland

Boring blog titles with little more than the keyword in them won’t bring a lot of readers to your blog. They don’t capture the eye.

Think about someone looking for a recipe. Will the be more attracted to a post that is simply “Recipe Name” or by “Kid Friendly Recipe Name?” What about adding other descriptive words to that title? The recipe hasn’t changed at all, but you can make it more interesting to readers with a well written blog title.

8. Writing Super Long, Excessively Wordy, Hard To Read Blog Titles That Try To Say Too Much

Yeah, that’s a bit long up there, isn’t it? Do you think it would appeal to anyone as a blog post title? Me neither.

While you want to write an interesting title, there is such a thing as too much. Search engines display maybe 70 characters of your title in their results. Make your title too long, and they’ll cut it off. That will ruin the effect you were going for.

9. Getting Technical In The Title

Are you trying to teach your readers something new in your blog post? Sometimes you have to use terminology that is specific to your industry to get your point across in your post.

The title of your post may not be the best place for that terminology unless you are explaining that term specifically. Stick to language your readers will understand in the title.

10. Failing To Give A Reason To Click

People need a reason to click on your blog title when they come across it. If they think it doesn’t apply to them or their interests, they will scroll on by.

If I write a post titled “I Love Cats,” I’ll get some clicks, but most people will pass on by. They may love cats too, but who really cares why I love them? Change that title to “Unexpected Ways Cats Can Make Your Life Better” and more people will read it, even if the post is otherwise identical. Just make sure that some of the things you list really are unusual, not just the usual reasons people have cats.

Every blogger will make blog title mistakes once in a while. No one gets it right all of the time. But if you pay attention and take some time with your blog titles, they will get better.

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 March 20th, 2018

What Does It Take To Work at Home In Customer Service?

What Does It Take To Work at Home In Customer Service?

Have you been considering working at home in customer service? It’s a very popular option for people who want a home based job. It’s perceived as an easy, almost anyone can do it job. Perception isn’t the same as reality, however, and many people find the requirements more difficult to meet than they expected. Do you have what it takes to work at home in customer service? Here are some of the things you need to know.

Are You Qualified To Work At Home In Customer Service?

It’s true that you may not need a lot of experience to work at home in customer service. There are a number of companies that hire agents for entry level jobs. A few are LiveOpsNexRepTalk2Rep, and [email protected]. You can learn more about these companies by checking out my entry level remote jobs post or by visiting the company job pages to see current listings.

Even entry level jobs have certain expectations, of course. They generally require at least a high school diploma. They may require a certain typing speed. You must also be computer literate. No employer will be willing to teach you the basics of using a computer that you should already know before applying for a job that mostly uses computers.

Other companies expect you to have customer service experience already. They don’t want people who are unfamiliar with the work. These jobs may pay a little better. It’s something to keep an eye out for as you build experience if your current job isn’t paying enough.

Some jobs will only be available to people who live in certain states. This can have to do with taxes or legal reasons. Other times they may expect you to come in for training at a certain location, and so need you to be local, even though your work after training will be done at home.

Have A Quiet Space To Work

Failing to have a quiet enough space to work is one of the big reasons customer service work at home jobs don’t work out. Employers check for background noise on your calls sometimes.

This means that if you have a baby or child who might start screaming for you while you work, you probably won’t last. Same for if the dog barks or the cat is noisy trying to get your attention. Noisy neighbors or someone coming to the door may be a problem as well.

Customer service is one of those work at home jobs you really cannot do at the kitchen table unless you’re home alone.

Some employers may expect you to have a door you can close to respect customer privacy. Most customer service agents handle at least a little private information, even if it’s just customer contact information.

Honestly, the requirement for a quiet workspace may be even more stringent than what is expected of people in some call centers. You’ve probably heard plenty of background noise when talking to people who work in call centers.

Of course, those are all sounds that go with a call center, not a person at home. Companies don’t want customers to know that their employees work at home, as some people regard that as less professional.

Have The Right Equipment

Good equipment is a must to work at home in customer service. Not only will it make your job easier, it may help keep the background noise out of your calls.

But before that comes the right internet and telephone connections. Most remote customer service jobs require a wired connection, both for your phone and for your internet connection. This improves the security of the connection, which protects customer privacy.

Your internet connection must be high speed, usually cable or FIOS. Wifi, satellite internet or cell phone data connections are not good enough. If you can’t connect to your router through a wired connection, you won’t qualify for most of these jobs.

Depending on the employer, you may use a VOIP connection through your computer or need a wired telephone connection. You may need to get a dedicated line through your telephone provider. This line cannot have call waiting or any other feature that might interfere with your ability to take calls for your employer.

To go with that, you will need a wired telephone headset. Some employers will prefer specific models, and it’s best to check with them before buying something. Most will insist on a noise cancelling model, so that very few background noises will make it through to your calls. It probably won’t fully cancel out a screaming child, but may help with other common background noises.

You can buy some models locally, but for a wider selection, Amazon.com is easier.

And of course, your computer must be current enough. Once in a while you will find a job that requires an older operating system, but most prefer a very current version of Windows. Some employers cannot accept applicants who use Mac OS.

Know How Flexible The Job Really Is

Many people want to work at home because they want flexible hours. It’s nice to be able to work when the baby goes down for a nap when you’re a new parent, or between other activities of your day. That’s not how it always works, however.

Most employers will expect you to set a schedule. You may have to bid for schedules each week and be expected to stick to that schedule. In other words, you can’t schedule based on how that particular day is going. Employers need to know that they’ll have coverage for incoming calls at all times.

If you have a set schedule or bid for a schedule, stick to it. Adherence is one of the big ways employers evaluate remote employees in these kinds of jobs. If you’re always late to your shift or quit taking calls early, they will notice and mark you down for it.

Some will expect you to work within normal office hours, while others are open 24/7/365, and expect you to be available for night and weekend shifts. Depending on the best hours for you to work, this can be a good thing. College students, for example, may love that they can get work hours after classes are out for the day.

If the job is more flexible about when you work, the availability of work may depend on call volume or by who signs in first. Just because you’re available at a particular time doesn’t mean work will be there waiting for you.

Understand Your Pay Rate

Many customer service work at home jobs pay on talk time, rather than hourly. This means that if you aren’t on a call, you aren’t getting paid. Obviously, this sucks if you have a shift that gets very few calls, but you have to sit there waiting.

Other positions may pay hourly.

Some customer service jobs may offer commissions or bonuses, especially if you’re expected to upsell. This can be a big help if you do well, but don’t assume that you will get top commissions right at the start. When considering your base pay plus commissions, it can be safer to assume you’re near the bottom so that any extra is a bonus, not something you’re relying on.

Understand Employer Expectations

Make sure you understand what your employer expects you to do. This goes beyond merely sticking to your schedule.

Many employers, for example, will train you on a script. On some jobs, part or all of the script may be a legal requirement, not just something your employer wants you to say. I had to deal with that when I worked for the phone company many years ago. While many parts of the calls we could be flexible, there were certain things that absolutely had to be said in a particular way each and every time.

Employers may expect you to try to make a sale on every call. This is a real pain when you’re dealing with a customer complaint. Once again, speaking from experience. There are times when you can resolve a complaint with a better product, but other times the attempt at a sale will only annoy the customer, and you know it will only annoy them, but your employer will expect you to do so anyhow. Having to make sales can be fun on the right calls, but there will be times when you wish you could just handle the problem without the pressure to sell something at the same time.

Beware Of Customer Service Job Scams

There are scammers who set up job listings that claim to offer customer service jobs from home. Make sure you don’t fall for anything too easily.

As with any other work at home job scams, there are some key things to look out for.

The first thing is to see how they’re contacting you or want you to contact them. You’re best off applying directly through the employer’s website, or through a link their website directed you to. It’s not at all uncommon for employers to have one job board or another handle job applications.

If the job contacted you or you found the job listing elsewhere (even here), look into it carefully. Make sure it’s the real thing before you apply.

Big warning signs include being directed to apply on a different website or being requested to send your application to some Gmail or similar address. Very few real employers have applicants send in their information that way.

Another warning sign is when the pay is too good to be true. Scammers rely on greed or need overtaking common sense. If the pay is oddly high and the interest in your qualifications is minimal, it’s most likely a scam and you should skip it.

If you have any doubts at all about a work at home job, research it before you give any personal information. It’s better to take a little extra time with these things and be safe rather than fall for a scam. Falling for a scam will take up a ridiculous amount of your time dealing with the aftermath, not to mention any money you may lose to it.

Expect Your Job Hunt To Take Time

Very few people find a work at home job of any sort right away. It’s no different from searching for any other kind of work in that respect. Just think about how many people you know who have searched for a job outside the home for months with little or no success. It’s no different when you’re looking for something to do from home.

Except that there are probably fewer jobs and more people applying for them. Most home based jobs are open to people in many states, and may even be available worldwide. You aren’t just competing with your local workforce for these positions.

Take Your Work At Home In Customer Service Job Seriously

Once you’ve landed that work at home in customer service job, take it seriously. You need to be every bit as professional as you would be if you worked in their office.

Adhere to your schedule, as mentioned before. Be professional with the customers you’re dealing with. Demand that family and friends respect your work hours.

That last may take some time, depending on how your family and friends view work at home jobs. Some have a lot of trouble taking them seriously. But if you are strict with them, they will learn eventually that they can’t expect you to drop everything with your work at home job any more than they would expect someone who worked outside the home to do that.

If you aren’t sure that your family will handle it, practice before you get started. Tell everyone you’re doing a practice shift, go into your home office, and do something on your computer. See if they can leave you alone and keep things quiet enough.

Talk to them after about what went right and what went wrong. This may help you come up with a plan for when you’re really working. Getting off to a good start is the best way to ensure that you keep your new work at home customer service job when you get it.

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 March 14th, 2018

How To Encourage Your Kids To Be More Independent

How To Encourage Your Kids To Be More Independent

What do you think about when you think about your childhood? Odds are, you don’t think about the television you watched, at least not as much as you think about the fun things you did, especially without your parents. Many kids now don’t do nearly so much on their own. Wouldn’t you like to encourage your kids to be more independent?

It can be difficult to encourage your kids to be more independent these days. There are a lot of things encouraging them to stay inside, from the delights of online games to the fears many parents have of allowing even their teens to do things on their own.

Being comfortable doing things on their own is vital for your kids, both now and later in life. You don’t want them to be completely dependent on you as adults, do you? Now is the time to teach your kids to enjoy age appropriate independence, so they can do more and more on their own as they grow up.

This is not just something to do when the kids are small, although you can start then. It’s something to do throughout their lives.

Books To Read

With all the highly protective parents around, it can be very difficult to let your kids be more independent. Many have very few friends who can meet up with them on their own. Mine have this problem, even my teens. Everyone is in too many activities. They don’t have time to run around and just be kids.

Worse, some people will report kids for being outside if they think they’re too young to be out alone, even when the kids are a perfectly reasonable age. It’s reasonable to be concerned if a two or three year old is wandering the neighborhood alone; it’s quite another when the child is ten or more.

Reading some of these books may help you get more comfortable.

Free Range Kids – I received a free copy of this to review years ago. It’s still worth a read. Kids are capable of so much if you just let them try.

Last Child In The Woods – Another book I received a copy of long ago. It makes excellent arguments for why kids need to get out in nature.

Balanced and Barefoot – I haven’t read this one, but it strikes me as another good choice. The author is a pediatric occupational therapist, and the book explains why kids need to play independently outside. Developmentally, it’s a big deal.

Playborhood – One of the big reasons many parents don’t let their kids play outside is because there’s nobody out there for them to play with. You can change that.

Know Your Local Laws

Laws regarding kids can vary quite a bit from state to state. Make sure you know what your local laws say about things such as leaving kids home alone or leaving them in the car.

If you’re unfortunate enough to have excessively concerned neighbors, knowing the laws won’t always protect you from CPS. Some CPS agents will have their own ideas as to what is safe for kids. But for the most part, knowing the laws in your area should be enough.

On the plus side, some states such as Utah, are looking at making laws that state parents can let their kids play outside safely. It’s too bad that it takes a law to allow something that used to be assumed, but that’s where we’re at.

Get Your Kids Outside

Encourage your kids to be more independent by getting them to play outside, both on their own and with you. If you don’t have a yard, this may mean finding a park or playground where they can play, and will take more of your time.

Taking your kids for a hike is another good way to get them outside. Give them room to roam ahead or behind you as appropriate to the situation. Don’t make them stick right by your side without a good reason.

As kids get older, find more ways for them to go outside without you. If your neighborhood is safe, as many are, just encourage them to go play outside. Make sure they have toys that are fun for them to use outside.

My son, for example, loves remote control anything. Remote control toys are best used outdoors for the most part, unless they’re just too small for that.

Bikes, skates, balls and so forth are classics that are always good for kids to play with outside. Give them a good supply of outdoor toys, and playing out there becomes much more appealing.

Help Your Kids Build Skills

Independence isn’t just about playing outside. You should also give your kids the skills they need to do interesting things without you.

What that means depends on what your kids want to do. Your child might be artistic or they might enjoy building things. They may be into electronics.

Do things with your kids that help them build up the skills they need to take their interests farther. While you don’t want to overdo scheduled activities, the occasional class in their interests is a good thing.

Learn with your kids also. Make things with them. Teach them some of your skills, or pick up a new one with them.

I helped my son build a computer, for example. He did as much of the work as possible, and did online research as necessary. I helped with the build and with troubleshooting. We had lots of fun together. It was a huge boost to his confidence.

Set Appropriate Limits

Some people badmouth kids who are allowed to go out and about on their own because they assume they’re troublemakers. Don’t assume that encouraging your kids to be more independent means you don’t have to enforce limits. Of course you do.

The big ones, of course, are to respect other people and to respect their property. If your kids are doing something that might injure someone or damage someone else’s property, there’s a problem.

There’s a difference between letting your kids run wild and encouraging them to be independent, after all. That difference is in your expectations for their behavior. Set your expectations high.

Give your kids solid rules for how to deal with playing in the street. The old cry of “car!” when a car is approaching is great when there’s a group of kids playing and a car comes along. Make sure they know that they have to clear the street when a car comes along. Lots of games are far more fun for kids if they can play in the street, but they need to respect the primary use of the street. It’s safer for your kids and much less frustrating for neighbors.

Don’t let your kids play in the street unless you know they can handle it. If the kids are too young or don’t pay enough attention to traffic, it’s not safe. And of course, if the cars go too fast through your area, it’s probably not a good idea to include the street in their play. Use your judgment.

How far you let your kids wander will depend on their ages and the general safety of the area you live in. My kids love going to the store for ice cream, which is about a mile away. The older two can do this on their own if they like. The youngest must have one of the older ones with her.

Further along is a park they can go to, but they must use the crosswalks at the lights. I’ve seen too many close calls by that park to want to cross at the crosswalk that doesn’t have so much as a stop sign myself, never mind letting my kids do it. Too many drivers fail to stop for pedestrians in that crosswalk. The stoplights make it a little safer.

Teach Them To Be Safe

Beyond setting appropriate rules comes teaching your kids to be safe in general.

This is not “stranger danger.” There are times when talking to a stranger is entirely appropriate.

Teach them to be aware of their surroundings. Teach them how to deal with problems they may encounter. You can’t teach them everything, but when you talk about the more likely situations they’ll face, they have a better chance of dealing with other situations as well.

Teach Your Kids That You Trust Them

If you want your kids to be trustworthy, you have to trust them. This takes years of building up so that they’re confident in themselves and in your trust.

This starts as soon as they’re old enough to play alone, especially outside. Don’t insist upon being a part of everything they do.

When they’re playing in the yard or in the park, watch from a distance. Don’t be right there to help them climb. If they ask for help, that’s fine. That’s trust.

As they get older, set up rules that are based on trust, both when they’re out and about and at home. Do what needs to be done to keep your kids safe online, but trust them as well.

This means don’t check up on everything they do. You don’t have to check their texts daily when they get to that age, not unless you have a reason to mistrust them or if there’s a known problem you’re helping with.

I’ve had occasion to check my kids’ texts due to a suspected problem. I explained clearly what the situation was, so they knew I wasn’t being arbitrary.

At the same time, you want them to trust you. If your kids come to you with a problem, talk it out reasonably with them. Don’t get mad right away. Listen to the whole story. Discuss where things went wrong, and discipline appropriately. Done right, you’ll increase trust by not going overboard.

I’ve had to help my oldest with problems where she had to share texts with me to help with a situation she did not know how to deal with. We even had to consider whether to get the school involved. I was very glad that she trusted us enough that she could come to me with such a problem.

Give Them Responsibilities

Having responsibilities helps kids to be more independent. From helping to load the dishwasher when they’re small, to helping prepare dishes and keep the house and yard up as they get older, responsibilities help kids become more independent.

You should also make them responsible for their own homework as much as possible. Help them build the habit of starting on time. Don’t help them unless they need it, and even they don’t just hand the answer to them.

It’s often difficult to give your kids responsibilities. Teaching them to do chores is harder than doing it yourself during the learning curve. Some kids want you right there when they have homework to do or have a difficult time learning to manage their time. Give it time, and it will get easier for all of 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.

Last Updated March 13th, 2018

Coworking Space Vs. Coffee Shop – Which Is Better?

Coworking Space Vs. Coffee Shop - Which Is Better?

What do you do when you work at home, but you don’t want to work AT home on a particular day? The coffee shop is the traditional answer for many people. You get your coffee, you get your wifi, and a little bit of socialization. So long as the coffee shop doesn’t mind you hanging around, it’s a pretty good deal.

But have you considered a coworking space? It costs more than going to a coffee shop, but it has a lot of advantages too. Let’s take a look at a coworking space vs. coffee shop so that you can decide which is better for your needs.

The Coffee Shop

Coffee shops have long been the choice for teleworkers who need to get out of the house for a while, but want to keep working. The free wifi and easy access to coffee and snacks, makes it a highly appealing place to work when you don’t have to be glued to your home office.

Even if you don’t chat with other customers, it’s a little bit of human contact, which many work at home parents need. You can even bring your kids if necessary, although bringing children means you probably won’t stay to work as long. Coffee shops aren’t made for little kids to sit around at very often, and there’s only so long that their tablets can keep them well enough behaved.

Coffee shop

On the minus side, you’re taking up space the coffee shop may need for other customers, and they may not like it if you stay too long without additional purchases. Most people recommend that you make a purchase every couple hours at least.

You shouldn’t make a lot of phone calls or do other noisy work while working in a coffee shop. You’ll annoy the other patrons, and it’s rude. These are things you should be doing elsewhere.

Meeting quietly with a client or coworker at a coffee shop isn’t too bad, so long as you aren’t disrupting the other patrons, and you have each purchased something.

A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t be louder than the other patrons. If the shop tends to be quiet, your phone calls will be more resented than if there are a lot of people already chatting. Of course, a louder shop also makes it harder to hear the other person on the call, not to mention the background noise they may get. There’s a balance you should find.

Above all else, respect that the coffee shop is a business, and you’re using their facilities.

The Coworking Space

A coworking space costs more to use than a coffee shop, but it has a lot of advantages. It can be worthwhile to use one at times. Some work at home employers offer a stipend to use a coworking space.

The first thing to do when considering a coworking space is to see if they offer a free one day trial. Many do, and you should use it before you consider whether you want to use the space more often. This gives you a chance to meet the other people who use the space. You’ll get a feel for if the culture there is what you want. They should at least offer a tour if they don’t have a free trial.

Coworking space

You might be surprised by how affordable a coworking space can be. I took a look at the website of a local coworking space, called The Orange Space. I’m not going to quote prices, as these vary so much from coworking space to coworking space. A day pass may not far off from what you might spend in a day at the coffee shop. Coworking spaces may offer part time and full time memberships available too. If you used this kind of space regularly, it could come out cheaper than going to the coffee shop.

Plus this one, at least, includes coffee and tea. You’ll have to bring your own snacks.

Costs will vary quite a bit depending on your area. I saw prices ranging from $12 for a single day pass, up to the $500 range for a dedicated, full time desk. Prices get higher if you need a space for a team, but I considered what an individual might pay. Several places had monthly plans starting at $100 per month, which is very reasonable. A few go higher for individuals than $500/month, but those are in expensive areas.

You definitely don’t want to bring your kids to a coworking space. It’s a professional space, and the other people working won’t appreciate the distraction, even if the kids are mostly good. Many coworking spaces do not allow children at all.

A few coworking spaces offer childcare as well, which is great if that’s a problem you’re facing. It costs extra to use the childcare, of course, but if you need that help it’s a great convenience. Collab&Play is one such company.

The great part about coworking spaces is that everyone else is there for the same reason – to work! While you may chat with the other people working there, you all have the goal of having a productive day. Still, coworking gives you a great chance to network and connect with other remote workers in your area.

Which Is Better?

When considering a coworking space vs. coffee shop, it may not be clear which is better for your needs.

If your use will be rare and you don’t care about networking with other professionals, you may as well stick to the coffee shop for those days that you need to get out of the house. Libraries may be a good choice too.

On the other hand, if you like getting out of the house to work often, and enjoy the ability to network with other professionals, go for the coworking space if it’s in your budget. Take a look at the ones available in your area, and try out the ones that look good to you. See if they’re a fit. So long as you don’t need anything fancy in your coffee, many of them include that. You won’t even miss out on your caffeine.

These aren’t your only choices for places to work when you work at home. You have a lot more options. But both coworking spaces and coffee shops are popular due to the advantages they have to offer.

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 March 12th, 2018

7 Fantasies About Online Home Businesses

7 Fantasies About Online Home Businesses

It amazes me how much people want to believe that it’s easy to earn a spectacular living from home. I know all the big sales pages for internet marketing products make it sound like that, but it’s really not that simple. They encourage fantasies about online home businesses that don’t hold up once you get started.

If you want to know just how unlikely it all is, just take a look at the disclaimers. No matter how much they talk up the ease of big earnings, they have to admit that big earnings are the exception, not the rule. Most people will fail, or at least not do as well as the big earners, by a long shot.

I get how much fun it is to have fantasies about online home businesses. The dream sounds wonderful. It happens for some people. But even the little things you might fantasize about while planning a home business may not happen the way you want them to.

Fantasy #1
More time for your family

How I’d love for this to be true! I’ve been working from home since before my oldest daughter was born, and I’ve run my own websites for 16 years now. Running my business hasn’t always made it easier to have time with my family. I still have to plan it.

Your mileage may vary, but the simple truth is that any business is hard work, especially in the early days. If you don’t work hard, you slow down the growth of your business and it may never take off.

That said, there are some advantages to an online business. You have more freedom to decide when you work, and that’s a big help. You can run most online businesses from home, and that means you can at least be physically present, even when you’re kind of busy working.

And if you work hard, eventually you get to where you can take time off more easily, as well as learning more about when you work best. It does get better from the early rough days of not having enough hours in the day to handle all that your business needs, never mind everything your family needs. If it doesn’t, it’s probably time to hire some help once you can afford it.

Fantasy #2
Easy money

I hear this one all the time. “I’ve been working at this for x months and I still can’t quit my job!”

True. You can’t.

I worked my online business for three years before I was able to quit my medical transcription job, and it was a risk even then. There are times I wish I still had that assured income.

That’s because this doesn’t come easy. If getting rich were as easy as all that, inflation would probably make us all poor again. But it would be fun while it lasted.

If getting rich were as easy as all that, inflation would probably make us all poor again.

Failure in any business is easier and more common than success. Even the most successful business owners usually have a number of failures not only in their past but in their future. Failure means you challenged yourself. It’s only a bad thing if you let it stop you.

Fantasy #3
Lots of tax writeoffs

The trouble here isn’t so much that there aren’t a lot of tax writeoffs for online businesses. Any legitimate business expense is a writeoff come tax time.

The trouble is that many people think they can write off all sorts of things that they really cannot. And that gets them audited.

You have to think before you write off any expense. Is it really a cost of doing business or are you lying to yourself?

If you buy a new computer, for example, is it really for your business or will the whole family be using it regularly? My computer is just for business; we have a separate family computer that the kids and my husband play their games on. If I were to replace it, that would be a business expense. Replacing the family computer would not be a business expense.

My home office is not only my home office. The room is also used as a guest room. This means I cannot claim the entire room on my taxes as a home office. My desk is the only area that is exclusively my office – and I make sure everyone knows to keep their hands off!

Fantasy #4
Build it and they will come

Long, long ago, in the early days of the internet becoming popular, maybe this was true. Now, with so many other websites to compete with, not a chance.

You have to market your site. Get the word out. Advertise. Whatever you want to call it, you have to do it.

The same goes for your social media accounts. They aren’t going to suddenly have a ton of followers. It takes time to build a solid social media following. You have to be interesting. You have to stand out.

And that whole going viral on social media thing? Not as easy as you would like it to be. By a long shot. A few people hit it lucky and go viral with no effort at all. They probably won’t be able to repeat it if they tried.

Be ready to grow your business slow and steady. You might be one of the lucky few to go fast, but if you aren’t prepared for things to go slow, you’ll get frustrated long before things start happening for you. As fantasies about online home businesses go, the dream of going viral with little to no effort is way up there. Worse, it can do more harm than good.

Fantasy #5
Tons of traffic is always a good thing

Nope. Not even close. Not if you want to earn a living from this internet thing anyhow.

There’s good traffic and bad traffic if you’re looking at earning money.

There’s good traffic and bad traffic if you’re looking at earning money. Good traffic has a decent percentage of people who will buy from you or otherwise help you to earn money. Bad traffic overloads your server and doesn’t earn you anything, or only very insignificant amounts.

If you’re serious about your online business, you want buyers! People willing to spend money!

It’s a blast having the traffic on your website take off. I can tell you from experience that it’s even fun if it knocks your server down. Frustrating, but an ego boost nonetheless. It means you’re doing something right even as you scramble to get back online and take advantage of the traffic.

If you don’t earn anything, the ego boost is all the benefit you’re getting. That doesn’t pay bills or put food on the table.

This is the bad side of going viral. Too often it doesn’t do what you would like it to in terms of income and long term improvements to your home business. If the surge in traffic doesn’t include an increase in income, it’s not a good thing, especially if you had to upgrade your website hosting to cope with the traffic.

Fantasy #6
You just need to be an expert on your topic

Being an expert is very good for your business. You need to be one. But it’s not enough to bring you success. There are a lot of experts online, and probably a good number in whatever niche you’re in.

You still have to market your site. No one knows you’re an expert if you don’t tell them. Show your expertise elsewhere. Comment on blogs, join relevant Facebook groups and participate on forums intelligently. Be helpful, but don’t push people about going to your site. If you’re interesting and helpful enough, your signature or profile links will do that for you without annoying the forum or blog owner with blatant advertising.

It may also be a good idea to submit guest posts to relevant websites so that you get in front of their audiences. Find out who publishes the best content in your industry and see what it takes to get something you’ve written shared there. Alternatively, see what it takes to become a resource that they quote. Find a way to get in front of that audience that you want and they already have.

No one will discover that you are THE expert they need if you haven’t spent time marketing your online home business and building a reputation. The internet is big and you are small, no matter how brilliant you are. Do the work so that people will find you.

Fantasy #7
Anyone can succeed online

I see this a lot. Sales letters promising that the system they teach is so easy that anyone can do it. Yet somehow most people trying any one system will fail at it.

Some of that is from people not trying. Most of it is because what works once doesn’t necessarily work twice online. Another part is that working online simply isn’t for everyone.

That’s true no matter what you’re talking about. There is no one type of job or business that is right for everyone. Some people really can’t stand the isolation common to running an online business. Some just never get comfortable with the tools and processes needed to work online. Some fall too deeply for the idea that buying the information and throwing up a trash website should be all it takes. Some give up too easily. Some honestly cannot afford to take the risk of either time or money.

That’s just life. It doesn’t matter what you want to do, sometimes it won’t be the right choice for you and you need to find a new path. Other times it all clicks and is wonderful. Only way you’ll know how it’s going to go is to give it a try.

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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