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Erin Farrell Talbot has over 20 years of public relations experience with firms ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Having held key roles in corporate communications departments and public relations agencies, she has developed keen insights and perspectives as a communications and media relations strategist.
She has been a freelance consultant for several years working with companies of various sizes to implement strategic executive communications programs, corporate and trade media initiatives, crisis communications plans, sales and partner conference presentations, messaging and social media campaigns.
She has achieved results for clients across media disciplines, including Bloomberg TV, Barron’s, Crain’s, CNBC, CNN, eWeek, Investor’s Business Daily, Managing Automation, Mobile Marketer, New York Times, Network World, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Motley Fool, USA Today, and New York Post.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I decided to start freelancing when my first son was one years old. I would drop him off at daycare, in the morning about 9 a.m., head back home and work all day until it was time to pick him up at 5 p.m. My husband was a teacher and football/baseball coach, so he worked long hours during the week and weekend. So, I needed the flexibility.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I had been doing PR/Communications work for 20 years before I decided to go off on my own and start my own small firm/freelance business. That was 10 years ago! There was little overhead, all I needed was a phone and a computer.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I set up an “office space” in the corner of our living room and went to work. I learned a lot as I went along.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
I had told a few people that I was going to go out on my own and leave the big agency I had been working for. These were former colleague I had worked with both in house and on the agency side that called me immediately asking if I could help support projects for them. Many of the projects turned into longer term contracts with monthly retainers. I was able to secure a lot of business from former colleagues and co-workers who were short staffed and had projects they needed support with across marketing, PR and internal communications.
5) How do you market your business?
Most of what I do is word of mouth. I did put up a website five years into the business, and now use all sorts of social media tools to post coverage for clients or just thoughts of the day. I am also really good at keeping in touch with people.
6) What does your usual day look like?
I get up at 6:30 a.m.and go to the gym in our building. I am usually there an hour, catching up on news on the TV, or just getting in some “me time.” on the elliptical or the bike. I get back to the apartment at about 7:30, and take a quick shower, make a cup of coffee and wake up my boys (7 and 11) to get them ready for school. I usually check email while making lunches, and getting them breakfast. I take them to school at 8:30 a.m.;. get back about 9:00 a.m. and start the day. Usually on cup number two for coffee by then.
Sometimes after drop off at school, I will meet someone for a cup of coffee to catch up (friends, other moms, or colleagues). I will work until 3:00 p.m. and then leave the apartment to go pick up my 7 year old from school. Sometimes, I will take him to an after school program, or sometimes we come straight home because I have calls or deadlines. I usually will shut down work about 5:00 pm. for dinner and then will get back online at night about 10ish to check in and/or finish work. I go to bed about 11:30 p.m. and it starts all over again. Most of my work day is filled with conference calls, responding to emails or writing.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
That it is OK to have cup of coffee with a friend once in a while. Because I work from home, I don’t want to be disconnected from friends and others in my community.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
Take time to stop, make lunch, turn on the TV and take little breaks throughout the day. Take a walk, go to the gym. It is easy to get stuck sitting in the same spot for hours.