This week’s Work-At-Home Success story comes from Dr. Katherine Loflin of Loflin Consulting Solutions. Dr. Katherine Loflin, “The City Doctor,” is an internationally recognized and award-winning leader in place-making: the creation of quality of life places and why they matter. She has held leadership and advisory roles in some of the most groundbreaking and innovative place-making projects. Dr. Loflin is a two-time TEDx speaker on place and has been featured widely in press. In her first, much-anticipated book, “Place Match: The City Doctor’s Guide to Finding Where You Belong,” Dr. Loflin uses research, place stories from her global work, and her personal journey in a guide to help you find your Place Match by showing how your search for the right place mirrors your search for the right partner.
1) How did you get started working from home?
Surprisingly to myself and my employer at the time, I decided at the end of my maternity leave that I didn’t want to miss the first year of child’s life, so I resigned and started my consulting practice.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I chose areas where I had expertise through education and experience, and knew I could attract clients based on the reputation I garnered during my working years.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
Since I knew I would need to set up as sole proprietorship, so the initial set up was quite easy. I decided what areas I had expertise and a ready market existed and created a basic website. Then I let folks in my contact list know that I had left my position and opened my own consultancy and listed my areas of available engagement.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
As an interesting twist, my first client was my former employer at the time of my transition. They decided to outsource my old job back out to me. I no longer had benefits, but I had my life back. However, I knew I couldn’t always rely on that first client and started focusing diversifying my clientele asap.
5) How do you market your business?
My business grows 100% through word of mouth and referrals. I don’t advertise per se. I ask clients to provide testimonials on website, I display my engagement schedule on my site so people can see where and what kind of engagements I’m doing, I regularly post on my professional Facebook page, and I guest blog for other well-known sites.
6) What does your usual day look like?
Get my daughter off to school and spend the first hour afterwards completing dead lined task for the day. After, respond to emails. Next check social media and respond and/or write a blog/tweets as appropriate (not daily). I also try to spend some time everyday thinking proactively: what outreach should I be doing, new ideas I have for talks or available products. Then I take care of any housekeeping things (grocery store, errands) before my daughter arrives home from school. I check email periodically throughout the day and night and before going to sleep charting the following day’s activities. If I’m traveling for an engagement, obviously the day reflects that. And with the book in production, often my days recently have been focusing on writing and marketing strategies for the book.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
That you have to make more of an effort to stay connected with the rest of the world when you work at home. It’s easy to stay in PJs all day, or even go the whole day without really speaking to anyone. Have to make a point to enjoy the life that working at home provides, without losing touch with the rest of the world.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
I really wouldn’t recommend taking the leap until you are relatively sure of at least a client or two waiting in the wings. It’s also smart to have some reserves, both when you start out and throughout your practice. Self-employment can be feast or famine so you have to smart about saving during quarters to get through the lean quarters. Also, know the self-employment tax laws, when you need liability insurance, to get an LLC, to need copyright/trademark protection, how to write contracts, price your services, menu options for your services, etc. You might not need all of those things so be sure you have a defined need or requirement before getting an LLC or purchasing liability insurance. Often folks jump in spend money on things in the early stages so they feel official only to find it was not necessary and there were other more pressing things to spend those precious early start up funds on.