Making Ends Meet - Is It Possible To Make Money Online?
Work From Home but Do it Realistically
Copyright © 2012 Dana Flannery; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.
Is there any one moment where you suddenly feel ready to leave your baby with a stranger? Does anyone really crave life back at the office? Dont get me wrong, most new moms feel bored or restless from time to time, but most arent desperate to get back to the commute and the boss-man.
So, is the dream of making money online really viable? Here are some tips to help you decide if youre suited to making money online.
Scammers, Scammers Everywhere
There are people lining up to take advantage of you; they know that they can play on your vulnerabilities. If it sounds too good to be true, its probably too good to be true. Anything that asks you to work commission only, to make phone calls from home on commission, to fill in surveys, to earn a squillion dollars using Google...chances are, its a scam.
If youre not sure, you can try searching for the offer on Snopes.com or simply Google it with the word scam. If you still dont find anything, keep looking!
Unless you have the business nous and the skills to go pro, working from home while the kids take naps or go to kindy, is a slow path to wealth. Youll more than likely find that youll just be making ends meet — not making yourself rich.
Its important to be realistic about this, as working from home with kids is frustrating, tiring, and very, very hard. If your focus is on getting back to that $100,000 a year income you were getting pre-children, youll probably find working from home a little soul destroying. Focus on paying the bills, not getting rich. That will come when the kids have moved out!
Opening Yet Another Online...
Baby boutique, graphic design firm, handmade anything, maternity wear store, mom blog...be very careful! Some industries are completely drowning in work at home mom businesses and the result is lower income, impossible search results, and the very worst thing — constantly investing the family budget into your business.
Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to investigate the both the popularity and the competitiveness of your business idea. If there are a million people doing it more cheaply than you can afford to, dont do it.
The Problem of Monetizing
So, youre a natural blogger who gets a squillion hits a day and everyone knows your name...or at least that is the goal. You may be surprised to learn that very few bloggers make a living wage.
You may read 10 blogs religiously. They may have dozens of comments on every post. They may be invited to big events and get mentioned on famous industry pages. Theyre STILL not making much money.
You can sell Adsense ads, you can sell bespoke advertising, you can become an affiliate for everything, you can sell merchandise, you can endorse, do social media shout outs, and every other steam of revenue under the blogsphere, but you still may not make as much as youd think.
All that takes time and hard work and it also devalues your blog. If you cant see a way to monetize, then there probably isnt one!
The Low-Pay Freelance Trap
Yes, there are tens of thousands of freelance, from home jobs on pages like Elance and Odesk, but there are millions of people applying for them, many far more desperate than you! The problem with freelancing websites is that theyre frequented by freelancers in developing countries, where $50 for a weeks work isnt a bad deal!
These sites can help you get on your feet, they can help you get a portfolio together and they can help you with some beer money but they shouldnt really form your long term plan.
There is an option, though; if you have a solid writing skill set, you can generate on-going residual revenue. This site, The Green Frugal, Running Across Texas and I Can Fix Up My Home, are all good examples that are not revenue-sharing, but where authors keep all their Adsense revenue.
Bricks and Mortar Freelancing
This is a winner. If you have accounting skills, bookkeeping skills, telephony skills or any skill that can be utilized in your home for a local business, youll be able to make a reasonable wage.
Note that delivering pamphlets and walking dogs are not hugely skilled jobs, so they dont really come under the skilled freelancer umbrella. This is idea as youll also have a solid job to put on your resume when the kids are off to school.
These are by far the best work from home opportunities. To get them, try leaflet dropping in industrial, commercial, or office areas. Write a great pitch and let it be known that youre willing to contract, saving them the expense and inconvenience of employing someone.
If youve got great skills that can be used at home, youre going to be fine! Computer programming, online marketing, writing, graphic design, desktop publishing — any highly skilled job that can be done on a home computer can be a lucrative option.
Just be warned, it doesnt happen fast, youll need time to find clients, build a client list, and get work submitted, approved and paid. This can take months, or if youre not a natural sales person, even years.
Youll need to outlay for a website, software, and basic advertising — so keep this in mind before you send in that letter of resignation!
Using the Tools Available
There's a reason they call Facebook Mombook. Theres a reason there are so many fabulous little gorgeous things on Pinterest. Women do Social Media Marketing very, very well. There is a huge work-from-home culture that thrives across Facebook and Pinterest and theyre both free, excellent platforms for getting your products and branding out there.
Pinterest allows you to create amazing, visual advertising for yourself and boasts an incredible click through and share rate. So its easy for people to buy and to tell their friends. Facebook offers a community and a network to help you spread word of mouth and to grow. Both are ideal for WAHM businesses, just dive in and start networking!
The Website Dilemma
Sure, you can get a free basic website — there are tens of thousands of sites offering them up! Remember though, online, if youre not paying, you yourself may be the product. Free websites can contain hidden, embedded links to pornographic or gambling websites.
They may be set up to be easy to use but are not easy to rank for in search results. A free or cheap website is usually a bad plan. If youre on a tight budget, use Wordpress.org to create your site, buy a template (around $50) from a reputable company (Elegant Themes, Simple Press, etc.) and pay someone on Elance a hundred dollars to create the shell of your website.
Choose a reputable web host (some good hosting sites start from $10 a month for a basic website), read up on SEO, and over time, youll have a money making website on your hands, not a broken one that need rebuilding from the ground up.
You Need to Up-Skill
Unless you can afford a team of consultants, you need to up-skill. Getting a simple image done for your Facebook page could cost you $200 — and you may need to change it a half dozen times a year! To create an online presence for yourself on a work at home mom budget, youll need to learn the following:
- Advanced time management skills
- Basic web design and content management skills
- Good English and communication skills
- Administrative skills
- Small business accounting and taxation skills
- Networking skills
- Basic graphic design skills
- Basic photo manipulation (Gimp is a good start)
- Basic SEO (SEO Moz is a good start)
- Basic Copywriting (Talk About Creative is a good start)
- The principles of Social Media Marketing and Networking
- Basic PR skills
The Work At Home Mom community welcomes you with open arms! But if you would like to write for this site, check out our submission guidelines if you would like to make money writing for this site.
About the Author:
Dana Flannery is an extremely busy mother of one delightful terrible two year old. She also runs a hectic work from home Content Marketing Agency which has grown from a small work from home operation to a sizable business run by remote workers from across Australia and New Zealand. Shes living proof that there is money to be made, from home, online.
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