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You Work at Home, Really?

Updated on June 26, 2017
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Married to the comic book geek of her dreams and mother of four amazing young men, Loretta has been working from home full time since 2001.

Yes, really - and even better is I enjoy it!

This is a mini interview between my lovely friend Lisa Roberson and myself about the work at home life.

I often get questions about my work at home lifestyle, what it means, what I do, and I'll be honest with you, I usually avoid those questions like the plague.

Most of the time people are just making small talk and semi-interested, or they say they don't "get it," or ask me why I don't have a real job, blah blah blah. I hate those questions and small talk makes me want to puke a little bit.

So for the RocketMoms Summer 2011 Session the first challenge was to create an about me sort of article - I buzzed Lisa on Skype and had her ask me five questions on the topic to get some meaty info pulled out of my brain.

I hope you enjoy this short Q&A, I'm actually thinking about doing a few more hubs and articles interview style like this. Let's get on with it!

(Me hanging out on the patio at NAMS, an internet marketing event held in Atlanta, where I met up with Lisa in person)
(Me hanging out on the patio at NAMS, an internet marketing event held in Atlanta, where I met up with Lisa in person)

In the past 10 years I've had a lot of different experiences working from home.

I've dabbled in many areas, that's for sure. In no particular order without mentioning company names....

  • customer service and support
  • data entry and document coding
  • bingo and gambling site chat room moderator
  • direct sales of bath and body products
  • phone and text operator (yes, that kind)
  • virtual assistant
  • graphic designer
  • desktop publishing
  • transcriptionist
  • writer and blogger
  • affiliate marketer

etcetera......

How did you know or find out there was work you could do online?

Remember when searching was called searching and we barely knew what Google was?

Finding out was no easy task, that's for sure.

Way back in 2001 when I first started this work at home quest I spent a lot of time at wahm.com - back then it was the place to be if you wanted to do anything remotely close to working from home, direct sales, freelance work, start your own website, etc... There were people interested in helping, there was a lot of great information, and we were a community determined. These days, I don't even recommend that forum to newcomers in the space, a lot has changed and a lot of misinformation is floating around over there since Cheryl sold the site and a corporation took things over.

I remember at the time there was a chat room available and if others were online the same time as you then you could discuss things in this chat room. Every Wednesday night a small group of us would meet up in that chat room and we'd plan, compare notes, talk about our day, brainstorm ideas. We were a mastermind group before it was cool to be a mastermind group! I still talk with many of those women still to this day - and we all still work from home.

How long did it take you, from the time you decided to work at home, to get enough work at home to warrant not going back to a j.o.b.?

This is a tough question... how much is enough?

Oops, I quit my job.

I was working full time (and then some) as the night manager at a telemarketing office. We sold magazine subscriptions, we did cold calling, warm calling, and in-house collections. At first I actually enjoyed working there, I had a great night staff, we had fun, we got things done. But, then the further into the management level and "behind the scenes" details I got, the less I liked my job. It started to really bring me down emotionally and physically.

On my birthday (December 27, 2001) I walked into the office with an empty box, put my stuff in the box, gave my staff their holiday cards from me, turned in my keys to the second evening manager and said, "I'm sorry, I can't work here anymore. I quit." Had a few hugs and took my husband and kids to get some dinner. At that moment I knew that I'd have to figure something out - and soon.

My first experience, like many others I'm sure, was with a "scam" online. There's no doubt we all run into them once in awhile and at that time they were harder to detect right away, there weren't as many reviews and discussions about those kind of things. But, I didn't give up - I went to forums, had those Wednesday night chats, and kept at it all.

My first real work at home experience was as a document coder, and I did that from 2002 up until 2007. I did add other things to the mix, but it was a part of my income for that time period, up until I started doing transcription work regularly, which I currently do as well in addition to blogging and affiliate marketing (and of course lens creation here at Squidoo fits into that mix nowadays.)

I'm rambling a bit here - to answer your question directly - there were times when my workload was slow and I felt the pressure to earn more and briefly would consider going back to a j.o.b., but I never made that drastic decision. I don't think I could go back to it honestly, I'd probably be fired within a week if I did.

My first income goal was $300 a month and I reached that within the first six months after I quit my job. My next few income goals were a little harder to reach and took awhile, with four small children my time was limited and I just took things one day at a time - and I still do. For a long time I was what you'd consider "part-time" these days I'm "full-time" and make an income comparable to my husband's and during some months actually more than my husband's - and still working on climbing up.

I think I answered your question in there somewhere

Would you rather have steady, consistent work online or have a somewhat consistent passive income from your own businesses?

Basically - job or business?

I'll take a nice dose of both, please.

I know, that sounds weird and you're looking at me funny right now.

Of course, the fastest way to get cash in hand when you're starting out working from home is to offer a service of some kind, do some freelancing, get the money you need to do the things you need to do - survival first, everything else later.

I'm one of the strange people that actually enjoys the service based side of what I do. The transcription work I do for clients is still a very large portion of my monthly income. I'm at a nice point right now where I can choose who I work with and when - I like that a lot and it allows me to give my clients personalized one-on-one service.

But, I'm also doing things that bring in passive income. I have an information product called Transcription Crash Course where I go through and teach people about how I started my transcription business. The income for that is what I would consider mostly passive, the sales process is all automated, but I do allow for Q&A via email if someone has questions, and I just set up a private Facebook group for discussion with the students.

What seems to be considered passive by the general population is affiliate marketing income and I definitely enjoy seeing those paydays. I do have some "niche" sites.

For example, my cross stitch site, which I've had since way back in those early days that I mentioned in 2001 and 2002. In fact, the domain name StitchingtheNightAway.com was chosen during one of those infamous Wednesday night chats, suggested by Rae Hoffman-Dolan (aka @sugarrae in the affiliate marketing world, Sugarrae.com) because I would often be stitching and chatting at the same time during those sessions and I wanted a website to sell cross stitch items on.

I have a few other sites too, but I don't want to bore you with a list of URLs ;-)

I'll be honest, I don't think anything is really truly 100% passive income - you still have to work at what you're doing, you still have to create quality content, you still have to get backlinks and do all the behind the scenes work. I'm honestly and truthfully not interested in a "4 hour workweek," I think that sounds dreadful, give me stuff to do, keep me busy, keep the paychecks coming.

Do you think it's easier for people to find work at home jobs online now than it was when you started?

Define easier....

Easy button anyone?

I don't think I would necessarily say easier. I would say there is definitely more freelance work and opportunity than there was out there 10 years ago to work for yourself from home without getting into a classic "brick and mortar" business. But, easy is in the eye of the beholder I think.

What steps do you suggest people take first to pursue this whole 'work at home online' thing?

Choose your own fill in the blank.

I honestly think the path is different for everyone. Start where you are and end up where you want to be.

I wish I could say, "Do this, do that, and then you're all set." But, I don't think it's that simple really. First you have to decide what path you want to take, if you want to work for someone else freelance style as an independent contractor or if you want to work only for yourself. Then you have to decide what you want to do, writing, blogging, affiliate marketing, direct sales, graphic design, the list goes on forever. Look at your skills, evaluate your position, decide what you would enjoy doing, what you want to do, and start on that path.

The best thing about all of this is that you can CHANGE your path at any time - as you can see from my example list of things that I've done or tried out over the past 10 years. There's no one right way to make money working from home online, there's your way and there's everyone else's way. My way might not be right for you and that's totally okay, in fact that's great. The world is full of opportunity.

If we're dishing out advice here a few things come to mind....

When you decide what you want to do find other people who are successful in that arena. Model after them, find out if they offer mentoring or coaching, get in their space, follow them on Twitter, read their blog, listen to their podcast, whatever you can do to pick up their "success vibe." Then get started working on your goals.

Whatever you decide, whatever path you go down, whatever business you get into, don't give up on it. You can work from home, you can make decent money, you can make your own opportunity. Go out there and grab it!

Want More Information?

I write about working from home on these blogs....

VAhelper.com

ItsaWAHMthing.com

NicheTwitch.com

Comments are always welcome! - anyone can comment here, even if you're not registered with Squidoo

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    • profile image

      AngryBaker 4 years ago

      I hope I can find the success you do. Great info here.. thanks

    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 4 years ago from Philippines

      Working at home is advantageous to moms with young kids :)

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      Great lens, thank you for sharing your story. I've been working from home for five years now, the hours are long but I love it.

    • Julia1000 profile image

      Julia1000 4 years ago

      Very comprehensive, honest and open lens. Well worth a read for anyone wanting to get started or already working on-line.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 4 years ago from United States

      @Margaret Schindel: Thank you so much :)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Loretta, I work from home and have found this to be a very well written and true-to-life account of the pros and cons. Congratulations on the well-deserved purple star award. Blessed!

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @KarenTBTEN: Thank you Karen!

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @anonymous: I knew there was a reason we got along so well ;-) I didn't realize you used to work for LiveOps, I know quite a few people that got started working from home with them way back when. They're still around, but I understand the workload isn't what it used to be. Still, a good starting point for those that want something job-like.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I agree with you on two counts,

      1. I fell into blogging, then affiliate marketing after I stumbled around online looking for ways to make a part-time income. I too did CSR work online with Live Ops and another work from home customer service rep company. It seems many others also fall into this category, mainly because I think no one really knows what affiliate marketing is until they've seen it in action. LoL. They don't go looking for it.

      2. I do not want a "4 hour workweek" either. That sounds dreadfully boring to me. Like you, I prefer (and like) to keep busy.

      It was nice reading your About Me story. Thanks for sharing, Loretta.

      Cheers,

      Missy

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 5 years ago

      It's good to see real people write about their own experiences, particularly in a topic like work-at-home which can draw those who want to believe but have little experience. SquidAngel blessings.

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your work at home story!

    • profile image

      Becksta 5 years ago

      A great lens... and a like from me

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @Becksta: thank you!

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @chgreen: Persistence is key!

    • chgreen profile image

      chgreen 5 years ago

      As a work-from-home transcriptionist, I can verify that money can be made online. The trick is to finding the profitable areas. I, too, have dabbled in many things since the onset of the Internet. Few are truly successful, but if you keep at it, you CAN make money.

    • profile image

      anneshaw 5 years ago

      Enjoyed each and very word you've shared. Your lens was really mind boggling. Really appreciate your work and sharing your experience beautifully. Hats Off!

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Very interesting to read about your experience of working at home.

      Wishing you much success.

    • retta719 profile image
      Author

      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @BarbRad: Thank you so much for this comment Barb. Sometimes it's hard to sound and feel original in this space because there is just so much going on out there. I appreciate your note :)

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      It's so refreshing to read something original on this subject, with helpful advice, that isn't just written to sell an ebook. I love the personal perspective you offer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @EricaMurphy: hi how are you .my name is addi iam from pakistan .iam searching online home job but i dont know how and where i start online work .i dont know about online home basse job.contact me at my id adeelahmed500@gmail.com.please help me about it thanx

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lens.

    • profile image

      diontew21 5 years ago

      Love the authenticity that exudes through your lens. Great job!

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 5 years ago

      Great interview! love your openness and honesty. fun to read.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Really like the lens and your overall enthusiasm and innovation in your work from home life!

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @anonymous: Thank you :)

    • Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image

      Lisa-Marie-Mary 5 years ago

      @retta719: That's so true! I've noticed that with just a question here or a prompt there we can be off and running! ;-)

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @jongaub: Thank you! :)

    • profile image

      jongaub 5 years ago

      Awesome Lens. I really enjoyed reading your experience about all the work at home stuff you've done. Great Job!

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @kl2534: I love the way you put that, it's perfect.

    • profile image

      kl2534 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I also have noticed an interest from the over 40 crowd for work they can do from home. The job market is so bad employers would rather have a younger employee with no experience in order to keep the wages affordable for the business. You are wise to have stopped working for a paycheck and started making a living.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @EricaMurphy: I've noticed an increase in former military members have been working from home in recent years and I think it's fantastic. If anyone has the discipline and self-drive required to make an internet career work it is our men and women of uniform!

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @CCGAL: Thank you so much :) I appreciate that.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @fitnessmaster1: It is definitely not easy - but it's so worth the effort!

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @Holley Web: I remember way back when I bought my first domain name my friends and family were like, "You bought what? Why?" LOL

    • profile image

      EricaMurphy 5 years ago

      I also love working from home mostly affiliate stuff with SFI. I really really love it. My two young sons ask why I make money playing on the computer lol! No longer in the army due to injury so have to make ends meet. I hear ya on that.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 5 years ago

      Loved this discussion. Your honesty and integrity shine through. Kudos!

    • fitnessmaster1 profile image

      fitnessmaster1 5 years ago

      Work at home is not easy but many people do this, i have started 4 years ago and i still do it.

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 5 years ago

      I do currently work from home and I love making my own hrs in my particular job. This is an excellent overview with some great advice. I have had my own domains since 1998 when the whole dot com boom was happening and it was fun just to say you had one :)

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @NoYouAreNot: Key point there being "serious" person ;-) Unfortunately so many people still expect to get paid to do nothing.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @cocktailsexaminer: Best of luck on your work at home journey! It can be a long road, but it's well worth the time.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @donnetted: Thanks Donnette :)

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @anticloud: It's one of those things that really bothered me in the early years of working at home. It doesn't bother me now, I figure their loss if they don't "get it" right?

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 5 years ago

      Working at home is pretty great. Cool lens.

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 5 years ago

      Beginnings are always difficult. Hard work is fine, if it brings in the cash we need and want. No serious person expects a freelance job to be "easy"

    • profile image

      cocktailsexaminer 5 years ago

      I would love to work from home. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • anticloud profile image

      anticloud 5 years ago

      Very informative lens. Thanks for putting it together. I, too, get negative feedback on occasion when I mention that I work from home. It is good to know I'm not alone.

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 5 years ago from South Africa

      Lovely insight into you! Thank you very much for sharing.

    • profile image

      stcajo 5 years ago

      It is still possible to make money online. The problem is so many people cant see through a scam. The way you have done things are great. I hope things continue to go well for you.

    • profile image

      successwithpaul 5 years ago

      it looks like working from home is popular these days

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @coach_moreno: Thank you!

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @BusinessSarah: Thanks Sarah!

    • profile image

      coach_moreno 5 years ago

      I like the lens!!

      Thanks!

    • BusinessSarah profile image

      BusinessSarah 5 years ago

      This is great information. I work from home the majority of time myself, and it's nice to be reminded that there are other people facing the same challenges and doubts! Thanks for the great lens.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @starryskye81: Student loans are scary business :( I hope you find a good path.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @happynutritionist: We're birthday sisters! Cool :)

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @Lisa-Marie-Mary: Thanks for helping me with the lens, Lisa. I was staring at a blank page until you asked me the questions, then I wrote TOO much and had to trim it down a bit. It's amazing how just a few little prompts can pull the information we want out of our brains.

    • retta719 profile image
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      Loretta 5 years ago from United States

      @annieangel1: Thank you! :) I appreciate that.

    • profile image

      starryskye81 5 years ago

      Awesome interview! I'm trying to learn more about working from home just to bring in some extra money. My student loans will be kicking in soon and will need a way to pay them while I am hunting for work :)

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 5 years ago

      I love reading about how others succeed working at home, and their stories in the process, so loved this. BTW, bit of trivia, we share the same birthday:-)

    • Lisa-Marie-Mary profile image

      Lisa-Marie-Mary 5 years ago

      Love this! It's nice to get more of a 'total picture' of your experiences. I know we've been talking for years, but, I guess I get it in bits and pieces as we talk, brainstorm, gab...

      Wish I had run into you and wahm.com back then - I sure wasted a lot of time on some goofy stuff! LOL I did learn good things, too....but, I did a lot of dumb stuff, as well! Thanks for answering my questions. Great idea for a lens!

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      what a novel and entertaining lens - I really enjoyed it.

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