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Myra McElhaney is a writer and speaker who encourages people to Enjoy Life and Do Good!
Speaking professionally for over twenty years, Myra has traveled the country providing keynotes, conference breakout sessions and workshops for clients including Coca-Cola, AT&T, Delta Technology and Porsche Cars North America.
She is author of three books and her writing has been featured in four compilation books as well as numerous local and national publications including Investor’s Business Daily, Woman’s World and the AJC. Her memoir, Building a Life You Love After Losing the Love of Your Life is available on Amazon.com or MyraMcElhaney.com.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I’ve been working from home for almost 25 years. I first started working with a Fortune 500 company covering a sales territory. The company was based in NYC but we all worked from our homes. This helped prepare me for working from home in my own business which I started seven years later, doing similar work.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
Before the company I did training/sales promotions for downsized, and I learned I could provide training on my own as an independent contractor. I began contracting with organizations to write, design and deliver training programs and speeches. It was a natural progression to do the same type work independently rather than for a company.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
At home I already had an office set up in a spare room with a desk, phone, computer and fax machine. (That was before the days of scanning and sending via computer.)
The first thing I did was to join a couple professional organizations in the field of training and speaking. This enabled me to attend educational events and network with others who were in the same business and learn from them. This is where I was able to learn about marketing, product development and other aspects of the business.
Over the years my business has transitioned into being an author/speaker without the corporate training component.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
My first client attended the meeting of a civic club where I was speaking for free. After the meeting he asked me to come speak for his business. It was a small business and didn’t have the budget for the my rates but I negotiated to do it for what he was able to pay so I could get that first client on the books.
5) How do you market your business?
I market through networking and social media. I’ve also reached a point where I’ve hired a marketing person to make calls to my target client list.
6) What does your usual day look like?
There are a few scenarios for my ‘usual day.’ If I don’t have appointments I’m at the computer much of the day writing, answering emails and doing social media marketing. Other days I may do that plus attending a business networking function and following up with people I meet. On the days where I’m doing a book signing or speaking for a conference or organization I’m traveling to the event, meeting and greeting attendees, giving a presentation and working the book table after my program to sell books and talk one-on-one with attendees.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I wish that when I started I’d known how to keep good records and project my sales and expenses for the year. I knew so little about the money side of running a business that I made a lot of mistakes and missed some great opportunities. I had someone help me design a business plan but that didn’t filter down to my budget and to-do list. Now I work closely with my accountant to plan budgets, compare plan to actual numbers and to understand the accounting/bookkeeping side of the business.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
If someone wants to work from home I recommend that they take an objective look at what they enjoy doing, what they’re good at, what skills they have. Then find a business that’s in alignment with those three things. Next, I recommend they take a course or read a book on running a business and on marketing. Find a good accountant that can help you with the numbers side of the business if that doesn’t come easily to you. As they say, “Do your strengths and hire for your weaknesses.” That being said, never give anyone total control of your money. Know what’s coming in and going out at all times. They can help with the planning and accounting but don’t turn the decision making part to anyone.
Find Her Online:
Website: Myra McElhaney
LinkedIN: Myra Mc Elhaney
Facebook: Myra McElhaney Author