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Alina Adams is the NYT best-selling author of soap-opera tie-ins, figure skating mysteries and romance novels. Her Amazon best-sellers, Getting Into NYC Kindergarten and Getting Into NYC High-School lead to the website, a podcast series, and a private consulting business to help parents know all their school options – and how to get them.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I had worked in a corporate setting up until I became pregnant with my third child. After that, it became too difficult to juggle both, and I decided to start my own business, working from home, so I could be with my kids and set my own hours.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
Applying a child to Kindergarten in NYC (yes, even your local, zoned one) is a full-time job – and I did it three times! As a result, other parents started coming to me for advice. So I gave out advice. Then they invited other parents, and it turned into a workshop. Preschools began offering to pay me to give a workshop. And parents at those workshops begged me to write a book so they could have all my information in one place.
April 2015, I published the book they’d been clamoring for, Getting Into NYC Kindergarten, and now I regularly go to schools, religious organizations and other businesses, giving talks to help people navigate the Draconian NYC school application system. I tell them everything the NYC Department of Education won’t.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
Because so many people wanted to talk about their particular situation after reading the book/attending a workshop, I began offering private consultations, which turned out to be the most lucrative part of the process, and now it’s a full-time business. The job is perfect for working from home. I do my consults over the phone or in person during the day, and am still available to do school drop off, pick up, attend any parent activities and get my kids to their after-school classes without it causing a disruption – most parents who need my services are free the exact same hours I am! Plus, I really feel like I am helping people, which is my favorite part of running this business.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
They came to me! My workshops offer general information, but parents had questions about their specific situation, so we’d schedule a private consult.
5) How do you market your business?
The public workshops are my best form of advertising, but there are also my podcasts at www.NYCSchoolSecrets.com/podcast, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, word of mouth from satisfied customers. Parents are so happy with the advice I’m able to give them that they refer me to their friends!
6) What does your usual day look like?
Mornings are for getting my kids off to school. Afterwards, I have roughly between 9 AM and 3 PM to write articles for my various freelance outlets, conduct consults over the phone or in person, promote on social media, respond to email, book guests for my podcasts and record it. Then from 3 PM on, it’s back to the kids, whom I take to their various activities. After 6 PM, it’s time for my open to the public workshops.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
How all consuming it would be. There are no weekends of holidays off in the school consulting business. If parents have questions, they need answers from me ASAP. I also conduct some of my workshops on the weekends, as that’s the only free time some working parents have.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
Be prepared to get really, really sick of your four walls. Try to get out as much as you can, if only to see a different set of four walls, and speak to someone in person rather than over the internet.