Anita Johnson’s only goal right out of high school was to become an attorney. But the first year of law school did not go as planned. Because Anita learned to type, however, she spent the better part of 30+ years providing word processing support to countless attorneys in numerous prominent law firms in Atlanta. And Anita spent countless hours teaching herself how to most efficiently use the seemly complicated software that came with the new personal computers that started to appear in those law firms in the mid-90s.
Somewhere along the way, she fell into the new industry of Help Desk Support because attorneys and secretaries needed to know how to use the new personal computers that appeared on their desks. Before leaving the legal field, she created a training manual specific to that industry which focused on WordPerfect users who had to learn to work with Microsoft Word, and used that manual to teach several hands-on classes to legal support staff.
With 20 years’ experience helping computer users resolve a myriad of issues, Anita has spent the last 10 years providing ONLINE Help Desk/Customer Support and Technical Virtual Assistance for several well-known Internet Marketing professionals.
1) How did you get started working from home?
After being let go from my last full-time job as a Help Desk Support Engineer, supporting law firms nationwide in October 2002, it seemed no amount of effort on my part was getting me an interview, let alone a job.
So, I turned to the Internet in April 2003, instinctively “knowing” there had to be a way to “Make Money Online”. What I did not realize at THAT time was that “making money online” and “building an online business” are two entirely different animals.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
Because I was in search of “making money online” or “work from/at home” opportunities, I did not really make a conscious choice or career decision (like building an online business would involve) regarding the type of work I was willing to do online to get paid.
From 2003-2006, I searched for, and researched, everything regarding making money/working from home. There wasn’t a lot of information that one could trust then and everything had a price tag. I had more time than money, so for over 3 years, I was online daily reading and trying to figure out how to make money online. And it was my Mom who made sure that my son and I lived indoors without me having a J-O-B.
It was 2007 before I ever made any money. And for the past 10 years, I have earned income online by providing Technical Virtual Assistance and Expert Help Desk Support.
For the past year, however, my sole source of income has been driving for Uber! And because no amount of driving is going to pay what I know I can earn online, I decided to build a new website focused on promoting a new ride-hail service that recently came to Atlanta: Flexx On Demand Rides.
My new site was designed to acquire new drivers and passengers for the referral money, while also silently signaling my Internet Marketing connections, colleagues and former clients that my 2-year hiatus that apparently started when Mom died, was now over.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
In the very early years, I spent a lot of time researching what was available and signing up with a LOT of websites that were either offering work at home jobs or freelance opportunities. None of them resulted in paying work. That’s also when I discovered online communities of people who introduced me to affiliate, internet, network and referral marketing. And I spent years teaching myself and learning from others how to do each.
Back then, visiting forums and contributing to discussions is how people found opportunities. It was the Instant Buzz website where I found someone who was looking for ‘help desk support’. I applied in April but didn’t get a response until August.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
The person who finally responded in August assigned ‘desks’ or clients to me. That was steady weekly money, but it took a few years before I was brave enough to release her because she had been keeping ½ my weekly pay for 3 years (I didn’t know any better). And she also knew nothing about the client ‘desks’ or their products/services that she assigned to me.
5) How do you market your business?
Since I didn’t really ‘build a business’ when I got started earning money online, I didn’t market what I do. Because of one client of seven years, all my other clients have been referrals, and gained as a result of attending an Atlanta event that used to happen twice a year for seven years.
6) What does your usual day look like?
Since my life has been in transition since 2014-2015 due to loss of clients; Mom’s passing; and returning to Atlanta to unexpectedly drive for Uber, my days are VERY FLEXIBLE! Right now, because of the new website, I am gaining referrals for Flexx and just this week acquired a new online client!
My goal with the new website is to promote and earn while being online earning the money I know is available, and driving for Uber and Flexx when I want to, NOT because I need the money.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
That accountability is important and hiring a mentor is well worth the investment. Back then, I didn’t have the money and hiring a mentor wasn’t even a thing. Nowadays, they are everywhere (life and business coaches, etc.) . . . people who can show you the way to what they are doing, or what is working for them, or helping you figure out what you want to do online, while all the while holding you accountable.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
The truth of working at, or from, home is it can look like anything! So long as you are not commuting to someone else’s place of business, and you are earning money in other ways, you are hopefully doing what is working for YOU.
There are thousands of ways to earn money without the traditional “J-O-B” but each person must decide for themselves whether they want to be work at home employees; telecommuters; freelancers; independent contractors; business owners; affiliate, internet, or network marketers; ecommerce vendors; or even that BROAD industry of virtual assistants.
Pick something you would do whether you got paid or not. And READ and LEARN what you don’t know. It’s how I started and still operate to some degree. I do the type of work that engages me and makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I love the flexibility of my life and am excited to see where my path is going next.
Find Anita Online:
Facebook: Technical Assistance Services –TechnicalAssistantServices
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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