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Margo Aaron is the founder of the Arena Virtual Coworking Space, a community for solopreneurs who run businesses from home. She is a graduate of Emory University and holds a masters in Psychology from Columbia. She began her career as a psychological researcher, became a marketer by accident, and now writes about all things business except business on her blog, That Seems Important. She is the winner of the prestigious altMBA Walker Award and a contributor to Inc.
1) How did you get started working from home?
After graduate school, I landed a job in CT while living in Manhattan. The commute was 2 hours each way and I negotiated a work-from-home schedule, citing increased productivity. The commute would require I work 9 to 5 where working
from home would allow me to work more hours and work better. My manager agreed and that’s when it all started.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
After I left the above job, I started a company from home. The reason I chose to be home and not in an office was both a lifestyle and a business choice. Waking up and getting straight to work allowed me to get a *lot* more done vs spending an hour getting dressed and looking professional + another 30 mins commuting. I could get *more* done with a home office.
Plus all my clients were scattered in different parts of the US, so none of them cared where my home base was as long as I got my work done and occasionally flew out to see them IRL.
It saved me a lot of money in overhead when I first got started.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I got started while still working at a marketing agency. I took on clients nights and weekends until I saved up enough runway to quit my job. I gave myself 3 months to meet my revenue goals and if I didn’t meet them, planned to call it quits and get another job. It’s been four years since that day.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
Word of mouth. I told people I was looking to take on a side hustle and suggested different things I could do. I had spent years building up a good network of professional contacts so people were happy (and seemed excited) to help me. You cannot *start* reaching out to people when you need the help. You have to have built up the equity with them beforehand. I had a rolodex of people who knew how hard a worker I was and were eager to send projects my way.
5) How do you market your business?
When I ran a consultancy (the business I cite above), it was all word of mouth. My clients would tell their friends. Today, for my virtual coworking space, it’s a little different. Most of our customers come from my email list for my personal site, That Seems Important. We’ve done a little advertising, but we find the best members through word of mouth (so friends of current members) or when I go on a podcast or am featured in someone’s newsletter.
I wish there was a specific tactic I could give you, but it’s still very hands on.
6) What does your usual day look like?
Wake up. Coffee. Read. Start writing. Most of my work consists of writing so every day what I’m working on is a little different. I stop in the afternoon to go to the gym. And I take calls and meetings in the afternoon when my brain can’t write or think anymore lol
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
You can trust your gut.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
Know yourself! If you’re someone who needs a team or people around to motivate you, you will not enjoy WFH. WFH works for people who are self-motivated, enjoy being alone, or need long stretches of uninterrupted time to get work done. It’s not a better or worse lifestyle, it really depends on who you are and what your specific work and personal
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