Melissa Fach is the Blog Editor at SEMrush, Community Manager at Pubcon, and Founder of SEO Aware. Melissa was awarded the 2017 Search Personality of the Year at the US Search Awards
1). How did you get started working from home?
I had just finished my Master’s degree and was pregnant. I didn’t want to leave my son when he was born, so I researched working from home. I read somewhere to take my best skill and use it to work from home. So, I took a shot with my writing skills.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I started off offering writing services, and there was a lot of work out there – and also, a lot of competition. I found that I needed to know more. I started learning about SEO, web design, and online marketing. This eventually lead to me starting my own agency.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I created a solid resume and writing samples that I could easily send out when they were requested. I used freelance forums and websites to find jobs. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn were not around back then, so it was important to have online profiles on freelance sites. I also started writing for sites that accepted guest authors, so I could prove that I was knowledgeable about certain topics and to showcase my writing skills.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
When companies are hiring a freelancer or someone to work from home, they are looking for a high-level of professionalism. There is a high level of trust that is also needed. I made sure I was the epitome of professionalism in all interactions. And then, I worked harder than anyone I knew to prove I was worth keeping/paying.
5) How do you market your business?
Writing, staying active with my industry on social media, going to conferences like Pubcon, networking through online forums & Facebook groups, and maintaining relationships offline as well.
6) What does your usual day look like?
Working from home is not like a regular workday. You work longer hours than most jobs and typically more hours, but you also get to have more freedom. I take my son to school every day, and then I start work at 8:20 am. I work non-stop until it is time to pick my son up from school, come back home, and work until my tasks are completed. Some days that means working until I go to bed, but I get the freedom to make more choices with my time.
Slack and Skype are used all day to keep up with the companies I work with, and meetings are held via Google Hangouts and conference calls. I have different browsers for each job to avoid confusion. Organization and extreme self-discipline are required.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started? What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
When I started, I was afraid to spend the money to go to industry conferences, but I should have gone sooner because it instantly changed the direction of my career – upwards. When you go to a conference, you are not there to sell yourself but to get to know people. Once trust is formed, those people become resources to you and you to them.
If you want to work from home, you need to be prepared to put in more hours than you would at a regular job. However, you will have some freedoms others do not – it is a give and take situation. You must have the resources to do the job right. For example, I have to have consistent Wi-Fi; I bought an SUV with Wi-Fi, so if it goes out I can just back my car into the driveway and continue to work. You have to be willing to go the extra mile.
You need to be aware of your tax-rate, saving for quarterly payments, and looking at the new tax laws to determine what deductions you can claim – you must save receipts for everything you spend on your business.
Lastly, we all need work and money, but you must choose jobs that will not destroy you mentally. That is the hardest part starting out; most people take the first jobs they can get and sometimes they are miserable. Don’t choose a company that will take advantage of your time and not pay you for your time. Working from home is hard enough; if you are in a job that drives you crazy, you will burn out quickly. Take care of you first.
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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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