Education & Networking Key To “Making It” As A WAHM

by in Starting Your Business

“Get Paid $200/hour for sitting around in your underwear!”

“Housewife makes millions with Google, with only $100 investment!”

“Earn big money from home, the beach, anywhere – while sipping cocktails and doing absolutely nothing!”

You’ve seen the claims, plastered obnoxiously all over the web, especially if you’ve ever done a search in Google for anything relating to “work at home opportunities.” One thing there is absolutely no shortage of, are folks online, willing to sell you information on how to get rich, online. Some is legit, some not so much. Thankfully, real people who are actually making a real honest living working from home, are available to help you weed through the clutter and get to the heart of what it really takes to be successful as a WAHM (or WAHD) – many of them are right here on this blog!

I am not going to talk about how to make you rich today. But I do want to answer a question I am regularly asked more often than any other question, while also imparting some wisdom (?) to hopefully help clarify the difference between “making it rich online” and “creating a reliable source of income while working from home.” Work from home doesn’t have to equate to sleazy “get rich quick” scheme. In fact, it shouldn’t.

Of all the questions I am asked, the one I hear most is “How can I get started doing what you do?” I don’t think most folks who ask me this, actually have a solid understanding of the details around what it is I do for a living. I don’t know they ever had a light bulb moment where it was decided they wanted to be an Affiliate Manager specifically, or an Internet Marketing Consultant. Most folks actually tend to look at me like I have 2 heads when I answer the “what do you do for a living?” question (though, less frequently today than in the past – perhaps a sign that the internet is maturing some – it’s more mainstream now than it was when I first started). That is, that’s the look I get before they realize the flexibility my career affords me – an idea which is usually met with a mixture of curiosity and intrigue. And THEN the “How can I do what you do?” question arrives.

I think, most of the time when people ask that question, what they are really saying is, “I want the flexibility and freedom to work for myself, on my own time, by my own rules and to my own standards. I want more time for family, friends and whatever other things make my life feel whole, happy, healthy, well balanced and complete. I want an overall improved quality of life.” And I can understand why. A huge part of what I love about my self-employment is the ability to enjoy just that. Unfortunately, often I’m asked this question after someone’s already invested in some get rich quick scheme promising a turnkey solution to financial freedom which produced no return on investment. They know what they want, they just don’t know how to get there.

As mentioned by many of my fellow WAHM contributors right here on this blog, there are myriad legit ways to find career independence – not just in the specific role(s) I happen to play. But the rise of the Internet has opened doors to many new career opportunities that didn’t exist in times of yore – at least not in the capacity they do today. Careers like Social Media Marketing consultants for example or “Community Managers” weren’t something that existed even 15+ years ago. Or Digital Media Specialists. Or Website Developers. Search Engine Marketers. Search Engine Optimization Experts. Web Content Strategists or Bloggers (yes, companies do hire professional bloggers, increasingly often today, or pay for articles by career writers). Today you can even be a Customer Service or Sales Representative from the comfort of home, depending on the company you work for (if not self employed). The list goes on.

So, the good news is, there are many career options today for those with their sights set on working independently from home. But no matter the role, the one thing all self-employment options have in common is, no one’s going to hand the opportunity to you. Like any other type of success, in career or otherwise, you have to get out there and OWN it.

First figure out the what/why/when and “how” and then make it happen. Here are a few tips for finding success as a work from home professional:

  1. Make a list of professions you would be legitimately interested in, whether work from home or otherwise. If the work itself isn’t satisfying to you, working from home isn’t likely to make it a whole lot sweeter.
  2. Do your research. Sites like this one offer all sorts of ideas on what you can do to work from home in a variety of roles/capacities – whether working for yourself or someone else.
  3. Network with people in your field of choice both online and off. You’d be surprised what information some folks are willing to share.
  4. Source out a professional to help guide/mentor you (there are agencies and communities online that can match you with a mentor if you can’t find one yourself)
  5. If an opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is. Ask questions of professionals you trust to review the opportunity for you, if you aren’t sure. Communities like Women Online Marketers United,  can help.
  6. Check out job boards for opportunities where companies are hiring to fill positions remotely. A few to check out: http://www.elance.com The Affiliate Summit Forum Indeed.com Job Listings Linkedin.com
  7. Consider interning for a few months with someone who is already working from home in self employment
  8. Identify the roles you’re most interested in and then get started at learning whatever it is you need in order to become an expert (or at least competent) in that arena/field.
  9. Source out educational opportunities to help you learn the skills and expertise you’ll need to be a smash success in your chosen field (just like in the offline regular working world). Especially if you plan to be a consultant of any type, clients are more likely to hire someone who is an ‘expert’ in their field. You may not be an expert today but with enough education and practice you can become one. Educational opportunities and resources to help hone your skills/expertise include:
  • Local business events/seminars/conferences
  • Online webinars (some charge a fee, but many are free)
  • Web discussion forums (play around with keyword searches in Google and explore various ones until you find one or a few that seem worthwhile)
  • Local colleges and universities may offer courses to help improve your skills. You don’t necessarily need a whole degree but a few courses can really help.

You will have to do your homework before you find the right direction for you but the options are out there. Figuring out answers to all those “W” questions (and the one “H”) can often be the most daunting part as there is such an overwhelm of information available today. But spending the time up front to do that can be the difference between dreaming about working from home and making it a reality.

What have your experiences with trying to break into the work at home field been? What are your challenges? Are you a WAHM? How did you get into it? We want to hear from you – feel free to use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

About the Author - Liz Gazer

With one foot in the corporate world and one foot in WAHM life, Liz Gazer is both Director of Affiliate Marketing at FlightNetwork.com and CEO of Growthspurt Media, a Marketing Consultancy serving the global e-commerce business community since 2006. After nearly a decade of client-side employment in Marketing & Communications and drawn to the idea of more flexibility to balance career vs. family, Liz took the leap into WAHM life in 2006 and never looked back. Today, Liz combines her childhood passions: writing, speaking & educating on the things she cares most about, while helping others sculpt their own business & personal success. An impassioned career woman, wife & full-time Stepmom to a special boy with developmental delays, Liz has been involved in advocacy & awareness initiatives for special needs and blended family success. Liz also leads the Affiliate Summit Toronto community, in organizing monthly business networking events for e-commerce marketing & digital media professionals. When not buried in writing, teaching, speaking or strategic planning, Liz is passionate about health/wellness, family & friends, music & the arts, culinary adventures, retail therapy and her two furballs, Cleo & Freddie.

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Loretta March 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I agree 100% that most of the time when people say, “How do I do what you do?” they really have no idea what they’re asking and definitely no clue what information they actually want, they just generally like the idea of not punching a clock. In the early days I used to give fairly detailed answers when people asked me on a whim, then I realized they weren’t truly interested in what I was doing, they were more interested in the get rich quick ads they were seeing on television or hearing on the radio.

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Iris April 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I think doing your research is very important. I went into working from home online blindly and got scammed. It took me a few pairs of bruised knees to finally find a legitimate source of online jobs.

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