How did you get started working from home?
I started working from home when I started my business. My consulting business involves remote working when I’m not working face to face with clients. I had worked remotely occasionally in my past engineering work, and I found that I could get significantly more work done because I wasn’t distracted, I saved the commute time to work (2 hours back in my day!), and I was able to be more creative since I was in my “element”.
How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I started out in engineering (my degree is in chemical engineering- surprise!). I spent several years as a petroleum engineer in the oil industry, where I discovered my talent and passion for lean thinking. When I realized there was a market need for my talent and passion, as well as how much I could potentially enjoy running my own business, I jumped in!
How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I started with significant amounts of research both on owning/starting a business and on consulting in general. Once I honed in on the niche I wanted to pursue, I began creating the building blocks in a stepwise fashion. By this I mean I only used the bare bones at first, then as funds came in, I built more. The basic building blocks included: business plan draft, website, e-mail/phone communication, payment setup, proposal templates, intellectual property (downloads, guides, videos, training courses, etc), intellectual property protection via trademark and copyright, LLC setup, and marketing.
How did you get your first client or customer or job?
I started heavily contributing to prominent trade journals, blogs, news sources, etc in my field of study. I also created an experience sheet that showed all of the past projects I’d worked on in my career that applied to what I’d be consulting in. Both of these gave me serious clout with prospective clients, as well as confidence in what I was trying to do.
How did you market your business?
I used trial and error at first, then kept the methods with the highest return on investment. Methods I have utilized include SEO optimization, direct mail campaigns, reaching out to my direct network, press releases, and writing for applicable news sources to my profession.
What does your usual day look like?
My day typically (always) includes starting out with a priority list. I keep long term and short term priority lists (I’m an expert at efficiency remember?). There I rank the tasks I have for the day by the value they will add. I pick 3 high priority focus areas and do those first and foremost that day. This can include recording a new video, writing a new blog, working on a new downloadable guide, responding to requests or comments, meeting with customers, drafting a proposal, or larger client project work. I have a strict work life balance (after all- I work so that I can LIVE), so I don’t work long hours. But then, I’m doing what I love, so it doesn’t actually feel like work most of the time!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I wish I had known how owning my own business would allow me independence to my schedule, open immense levels of creativity, and enable me to really drive my career in ways that aren’t possible working for a large oil company.
What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
Relentlessly pursue your dreams. I see so many people talk endlessly about this dream or that dream. And that’s as far as they get. A very small portion of people move those words into action and actually go after their dreams with tenacity and determination. It takes a lot of both of those qualities (tenacity and determination) to make it.
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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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