Francesca Montillo Cooked Up a Work At Home Career
Francesca Montillo is the owner of Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures. Her business has several components to it. She offers custom Italian travel packages for travelers wishing to visit Italy and does all the work for them, as well as provides a few week-long culinary tours during the year, and offers cooking classes out of her home. She is also a freelance for and travel writer.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I knew I wanted to be my own boss and work independently, but I had no idea where to start. I took my interests, which are mostly Italian food and travel and started a business offering travel packages and also leading about 3 tours to Italy during the year. I incorporated as an LLC, built a website, built a mailing list and persevered. I marketed myself as an Italian ravel expert, started writing many blog posts and eventually people took notice and I started getting clients and leading these trips.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
The commute and parking situation into Boston was just ridiculous and very stressful. Not to mention, that I didn’t like what I was doing and questioned why I was putting up with it. I wanted flexibility with my schedule, own my own future and work for myself. I wanted the freedom that working for someone else could not provide.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I took care of all the required legal steps first. I had my kitchen inspected and certified by my town to offer cooking classes. I formed an LLC, I opened business banking accounts and applied for an EIN, which is essentially your business’ social security number. Then I built my own website, started blogging and posted those posts on Facebook groups to draw people to my website. I started writing for several outlets, at first, they weren’t paying but it drew a lot of people to my site, so it was still to my advantage in some ways.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
I wrote to my local paper telling them about my business and they did a story on my business and what I do. Someone saw it and that’s how it started rolling. Most others have come from Facebook or referrals.
5) How do you market your business?
I contact many, and I mean, many writers and ask if they want to write about me. Most do not respond but occasionally a few do, and they write something up. I appeared on several Podcasts as well as several local TV channels. Mostly community shows but it helped spread the word. I also blog, post those blogs on Facebook and that helps. I occasionally take out paying ads on places where I feel my target audience is. But I limit these as the ROI isn’t always what I expect it to be. I also just published a cookbook and that has really helped in getting the word out about my business.
6) What does your usual day look like?
I start my answering any emails that may have come overnight. Because of the time difference in Italy, I usually wake up to emails from folks in Italy. A lot of my work means contacting folks in Italy such as local guides, cooking schools or hotels for clients so it’s getting quotes for excursions or activities. I design custom packages for clients so it means working with them on their needs and preferred style of traveling. After the ‘work’ is done, I may blog, write an article for one of the outlets that I still contribute to or market a cooking class in my home.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
That it’s process, that success doesn’t come overnight and that at first, you will be doing a lot of work that isn’t profitable and you will feel useless. Don’t always equate success with money. Sometimes the time it takes to put together a blog post, that you’re not being paid for, can seem like wasted time, but it’s needed to spread the word about your business.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
One would have to recognize that it’s not for everyone. You have to be disciplined and maintain a schedule. It’s much easier to get sidetracked and start laundry or spend too much time that has nothing to do with work. Set yourself a schedule and stick to it like you would an office job.
Find Francesca Montillo Online:
Website : The Lazy Italian
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Discover how Francesca Montillo turned her love of Italy into a home based career involving travel, food, and more! @thelazyitalian #successprofile #workathome #homebiz” quote=”Discover how Francesca Montillo turned her love of Italy into a home based career involving travel, food, and more! @thelazyitalian #successprofile #workathome #homebiz”]