I made over $40,000 a year my first year working from home. Most people barely make over $10,000 their first year working for themselves but I had inadvertently stumbled into a principle of making decent money working from home. I didn’t sign on with a multi-level marketing company – although I know a lot of people who are successful at MLM. Instead, I landed a project that entailed a using a skill set that I had applied for over 15 years part-time while working in a full-time job.
For over 15 years, I had freelanced for numerous publications. I had also worked other projects part-time to earn extra money from home. Some of those at-home jobs included:
- Publication layout and design at $20 to $25 per hour
- Writing technical magazine articles at $1 per word
- Copywriting press releases for $25 per hour
I was working in the most boring job in my life when I landed a contract to ghost-write book. That contract had enough income to cover 3 months of my salary so I took the leap and left the boring full-time job. That ghost-writing project didn’t work out but I ended up landing another contract that paid close to $50 an hour writing and editing technical content. I’m such a geek that I actually enjoy drilling into the details of technical content that drives a successful user experience online. Since that contract, I started my own business providing social media, public relations, event management and copywriting services to businesses.
I believe you can make a decent living working from home and since this post is based on making $25k working 20 hours a week, here’s how you can do it.
1) Calculate Your Billable Hours First, let’s do the math. If you took 2 weeks off during the year for a vacation, then you would have 1,000 billable hours available.
You would have to charge $25 to $30 an hour to cover those billable hours.
2) Research Companies Next you need to figure out the skill set or services that companies or businesses are willing to pay $25 to $30 for. From my own professional experience, I knew that I could charge $25 to $30 an hour for:
* Public Relations services
* Copywriting services
* Event Management services
Here are other services or skills that companies or businesses would pay $25 to $30 an hour:
- Appointment Setting
- Call Center Services
- Computer Servicing
- Computer Support
- Direct Sales & Marketing
- Event Management
- Medical Transcription
- Technical Writing
- Public Speaking
- Software development
- Virtual Administrative Services
3) Create a Services Package You might have to discount your prices the first couple of months of business to get customers in the door. Or you could offer a trial price for 30 days with the intent to charge the regular fee the second month of service. The goal is to create a package the makes sense to your customers.
4) Market Your Services I would recommend a multi-pronged approach – email blasts, social media, presentations and paid advertising to fill up your pipeline of work. Create a 30 day calendar filled with marketing activities. I’m a big believer in getting in front of as many people as possible to talk about how your product or service will benefit that company.
I believe this is the biggest weakness in small businesses. The owner is caught up in doing the work that they don’t devote any hours to marketing their business. You must allocate hours to marketing or you will be out of business.
5) Set Aside Space in Your Home for an Office If you can’t set aside a room, then set aside space on your kitchen table for a certain number of hours to work your business. When you talk on the phone, you need to sound like you’re working in a professional environment. Toddlers babbling in the background is not a professional environment.
For moms with toddlers, I recommend working while they are taking naps. One hour working on the phone can get a lot of results if you focus on making appointments or connecting with potential clients. When I was starting my business, I had a spreadsheet with names of potential clients and kept track of every contact point with them. You have to have a focused plan of connecting with prospects.
The project that paid me over $40,000 my first year working at home was extremely technical and required a lot of writing, editing and research. I also worked with a virtual team where I checked in with them several times a day to meet deadlines. It was a high-paying gig but demanding.
Most high-paying work at home positions will require technical expertise or working with a virtual team. The ability to Skype, host Google hangouts or lead in a conference call are extremely useful skills in a virtual team environment.
So do you still want to work at home? Here are some useful links:
If there’s enough interest in this post, I may write a series based on the steps that I outlined above.