All Articles Tagged "work from home"

It’s Okay To Be Proud You’re A Work-From-Home Mom

June 13th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

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Can I be honest? There are times when I don’t feel like I’m doing enough with my career. I love being a self-employed mommy who can work from home. I can save money on childcare and experience the best of both worlds, being a working and stay-at-home mom.

As silly as it sounds, I sometimes feel a little intimidated when I attend networking events, especially when the “what do you do” question comes. Sure you can spout off the title on your business card, but to me, it’s a little different than an executive with a corner office.

There are so many fabulous people with really fancy job titles!

All intimidation aside, I’m so thankful to be in the company of women making power moves and setting the course for success, regardless of who they work for and where.

While I don’t have as many mom entrepreneur or work-from-home friends, we all talk from time to time sharing stories and frustrations. At the end of the day, we should all be proud of our endeavors and embrace them wholeheartedly. Sure we might call an extra room in our home — or the kitchen table — our office, but who really cares? We’re the captains of our own ship and navigating self-employment waters to make our own success.

Working from home, let alone yourself isn’t easy. It’s not as glamorous as it is on television where you’re sleeping late, or heading out to a spa in the middle of the afternoon just because. In many cases, you can’t afford a rental space for an office, or don’t want to as it takes money out of your pocket. Yet, I sometimes feel like the work many of us do is watered down, almost to the point of being a hobby on our downtime between folding laundry and taking our kids to school.

Just because the hustle looks different doesn’t mean it’s not a hustle.

For me, working from home full time hasn’t been a walk in the park. My journey began as a part-time entrepreneur until I was self-sufficient enough to let go of safety nets. This of course didn’t happen overnight and took years of hard work and dedication. Throw two kids under age two into the mix and finishing the day with your sanity becomes a major accomplishment. Needless to say my office stories can be pretty boring compared to others who work for major companies.

Even if society doesn’t think our job titles and what we do are worthy of mention, we don’t need their validation. Entrepreneurs and the movers-and-shakers don’t always look alike. We all have different goals and how we go about tackling our dreams. A work-from-home mother can accomplish so much and conquer her industry in the same manner as someone at a traditional 9-to-5.

It’s okay to pat yourself on the back from time to time.

Is An Office Of Your Own Worth The Money? Questions To Ask Yourself & Alternatives To Consider

May 27th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

Black woman/business owner/freelancer in home office/workplace next to computer

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As I write this, I’m secretly plotting an escape plan from my own home office. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working from home. You don’t have to worry about things like choosing a boardroom-ready outfit, commuting costs, lunch and childcare if you happen to have children. That doesn’t mean you don’t have wild dreams from time to time about setting up an office of your very own.

My home office is actually one of the bedrooms in my house. It’s pretty comfy when you aren’t tripping over toddler toys (funny, my husband works from home too and his office is spotless) or have random visitors “dropping by” throughout the day as if you don’t have work to do. What started as a little piece of solace has quickly turned into a clubhouse for social gatherings.

I get excited when I visit or see photos of other self-employed friends setting up a commercial studio of their own. Aside from looking pretty dreamy, it must be really exciting to trek off each day to your own space with keys and quiet. This makes me think about whether or not I could use an office area outside of my home, and more importantly, if it’s a practical idea.

As glamorous as having a separate office is, it can get very pricey.

Unfortunately too many entrepreneurs jump into unnecessary expenses before their business even turns a steady profit. Who else is guilty of stocking up on more office supplies and custom business cards than needed?

The truth of the matter is, a private office is more of a want than an actual need for many self-employed individuals. Yes it would be great not to work from your kitchen table or the living room sofa, but you do have to consider the additional costs before you sign on the dotted line.

Ask yourself if the business your in really needs a ton of space to operate. Those who work virtually or provide a service online might be comfortable with a desk and chair, while those who create products — or keep a small inventory — might need additional room. The most important aspect to think about is cost.

Offices aren’t free.

Studio and other forms of commercial space mean a monthly rent payment for you. This of course does not include additional furniture and storage items you need, the cost of utilities and other expenses outside of what you have at home to keep things moving. Should your business turn a nice profit that allows you to save and pay yourself, by all means, get that dream office.

With a 16-month-old child and baby on the way, my dreams of having a separate office is not in the cards right now. There’s just too much going on for me not to be close to home. Perhaps I’ll revisit the idea once they start pre-school and aren’t at home full time.

If you happen to work from home and are in desperate need of a change of scenery, here are a few ideas to consider that won’t cost as much as getting an office of your own.

Home office swap. This might sound weird but can be a breath of fresh air when needed. If you know someone who also works from home — and keeps a tidy space — think about swapping rooms for the day.

Collective/shared office space. One popular route many entrepreneurs are taking is a shared office space. Some come with their own rooms while others are simply an open area with multiple desks. While it might not be 100 percent yours, the rent will be much lower and you get out of the house.

Backyard shed renovation. Here’s one I’ve been considering. Whether you call it a “mom shed” or a place to get away, some are renovating old sheds into mini offices. This would allow you to be super close to home but removed enough to complete more tasks.

Have you been considering an office of your own?

Just Because I Work From Home Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Work

April 23rd, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

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For whatever reason, some people who work traditional 9-to-5 jobs think those of us who collect a check from home are kicking back as if we have a day off and nothing to do. In the words of Maury Povich, the lie detector determined… that was a lie.

As someone who has worked from home for years now, I get it. There are certain perks that come with being a stay-at-home entrepreneur or telecommuter. For starters, you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear and whether or not traffic will be a mother heading into the office. I for one was never a heels type of gal and enjoy walking into my office on the daily with leggings and a casual shirt.

Regardless of what you think or heard, working from home isn’t always a walk in the park. Sure it does give you freedom from office drama and a boss breathing down your neck, but my oh my does it come with its own can of worms.

While it might look like I’m living the glamorous life to friends and family, those who are in my inner circle know it comes with a cost. For starters, my hours tend to be longer than most people I know who work in a traditional office. Some of my girlfriends stare at the clock to leave for the day while I’m trying to remember if I made dinner so I can put in a few extra hours. Weekend tasks are an unfortunate but sometimes necessary reality as you might need to do a little more in order to get ahead. Since I run my own show, if something doesn’t get done, it falls on my shoulders to do it. You can’t “milk the clock” and still collect a check. If you don’t deliver, you don’t get paid.

And let’s not even talk about vacations or maternity leave. Those who are business owners or in the freelance world typically have to work on the double in order to cover the days they plan to miss. With five weeks to go in my second pregnancy and plans for celebrating my wedding anniversary out of town, I can’t tell you how many nights I had to burn the midnight oil in order to make sure things will be on auto-pilot. Some of my gal pals who recently had children are fortunate enough to work for jobs that have paid maternity leave. With my first child, I “took off” two weeks. This time around I hope to be able to have at least a month since I’ll have two children under two.

Speaking of children, if you’re a work-from-home mommy, there’s really not much of a break you get. Yes I truly count my blessings when it comes to not paying childcare, but good gracious work days tend to double when you throw a little one into the mix. I actually know a few stay-at-home moms who made the decision to go back to work so they could get a little more peace during the day to concentrate on their jobs.

I’ll never complain about my ability to work from home. I’m living a dream. That doesn’t mean the dream doesn’t come without a cost, or affords me additional hours in the day to kick back and be lazy.

Can anyone else relate?

Has Your Child Influenced Your Small Business Brand?

March 6th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

Working mom with child

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I’m not the kind of mom who forces people to look at an image gallery of my child so they can tell me how cute he is. I’m also not the parent to post a zillion pictures of him on social media. Yet as much as I try to not be “that person” who’s consumed with their baby (seriously, how can it be helped), I must say that he has certainly influenced my professional life.

I operate in the world of decorating where I provide lifestyle advice and tips for the design aficionados at heart. I guess it’s only natural there would be a shift in my focus considering I am a mother–and desire my home to look nice but also be functional. Having a child has been one of the biggest blessings in my life and surprisingly made me go back to the drawing board when it came to my personal brand. Isn’t it natural my business would evolve too?

Needless to say my target market has expanded. I can now relate to a whole new demographic. There just needs to be a balance so I don’t neglect my intended audience with things that aren’t relevant. Then again, it could lead to a new path I never thought to take.

I can think of so many women who made the decision to leave the corporate world to focus on motherhood, or take their small business in a different direction. For them the decision was pretty simple: to fill a void in product or service to a particular group of people who are often targeted, but not always understood. Because they could relate with their own experiences it became almost effortless to package their ideas into a new business plan.

My son and baby on the way have forced me to think outside the box when it comes to my business and the things I’d like to achieve. Yes I always aim to be the best I can be, but my experiences as a work-from-home mother are unlike anything I have ever experienced. In fact, it has made me think bigger than just one site and a particular industry. I’m currently researching ways to expand and create an umbrella that also covers my new-found sisterhood of mommies. I want to help women in particular who stay at home with their children bring in additional income.

There’s a bigger picture that’s starting to take form. While it’s still a bit blurry, I just needed a few extra pieces of the puzzle in order to see it.

Obviously everyone’s path is different. Some people find inspiration where others don’t and that’s okay too. Maybe your child doesn’t influence your business. At the end of the day you have to do what you think is best for your path.

Related Read Sometimes You Have to Step Away to Move Forward

Why Work-From-Home Moms Need A Standing Appointment With Their Children

February 27th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

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I’m sure if you read the title of this article you were probably questioning what parent is so busy they need to schedule time with their child. The truth of the matter is all of us can get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle that makes juggling work/life balance a difficult one.

One of the biggest misconceptions about work-from-home moms is our schedules. I guess some folks like to skip over the fact that we do work. Don’t get me wrong, I count my blessings for the opportunity to do what I love and be at home with my family. Aside from saving on expensive childcare costs, it’s nice to see my little 13 month old running around. I just wish I could dedicate more one-on-one time with him throughout the day.

Like a “traditional” job, many work-from-home mommies have a daily routine. And while it can and will vary between individuals, all of us have to give our attention to what we do in order to make money. Once my son turned six months old and started getting into things, I thought about his development and need to socialize. Sure it’s not going to be high on his list of to-dos like a toddler, but it was something to consider. After all, he was at home… every day of the week and weekend. No matter how much I tried to cram into our Saturdays, I felt it wasn’t enough.

I started looking for nearby activities that he could participate in that would reduce his cabin fever. Luckily we’re dead smack in the middle of five libraries that have weekly gatherings for children of all ages. In fact, there were tons of play dates and opportunities to hear a story and play with musical instruments. Knowing myself and my need for order, I started scheduling standing appointments once or twice a week. This would let anyone in my business world know I was out or busy, but in reality, it was non-related work time with my son.

Even though he doesn’t get it (why would he), I can tell he gets excited to get in his car seat and go somewhere. On average, I try to make our adventure at least an hour and dedicate all of my time to play and bonding. Not only does it tire him out (thank you Jesus for naps) but also gives us much needed mommy and child time.

I understand the average working mom might not have this luxury, but if you work flexible hours or call a space at home your office, you have the potential to do the same. As good as my intentions are throughout the day to play with my son, I find it hard to concentrate on deadlines and spending long amounts of time playing with blocks. Sure I have the evenings where my husband and I can really soak in our time as a family, but as a mother who’s at home with her child throughout the day, I don’t want to wait.

If your schedule doesn’t allow you to leave your home, try starting your work day early so you can close down shop a few hours early. This is something I have done since my son was an infant that gives me extra time to unwind and spend with him.

How do you find the balance?

10 Tips To Negotiate Working From Home

November 12th, 2014 - By Taylor Gordon
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Have you wanted a job where you work from home, but never knew how to land one?

There’s good news. Depending on your job, you can request remote work and have it approved by your current employer.

Read on to find out how!

Crack The Whip: 9 Tips To Stay Motivated While Working From Home

August 18th, 2014 - By Michelle Alerte
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For those with the ability to set their own schedule and work in their pajamas, learning to stay motivated is an invaluable asset. You, unlike many others, don’t have a boss breathing down your neck to “get ‘er done,” which is the good news. The bad: no boss means debates between getting a project completed or going to the park for ice cream on a sunny day not only feasible but dangerous to your career. MN understands, and we’re here to help you crack the whip on your motivation and get you focused on even the nicest of days. The ice cream can wait.

You Better Go To The Office! Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Work From Home

August 30th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Times they have a’ changed with more and more people choosing to work from home. Though it’s definitely not for everybody, many enjoy the effortless commute to their jobs and having the ability to work within a schedule that best fits their needs. Yet it would seem that there are quite a few naysayers who are pushing for people to work less in the home and more in the office.

Here are some reasons why a person should not work from home. Do you agree?

Ditch The Office. The Future Is Freelancing!

August 8th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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If you have been itching to leave the office and freelance, now seems to be the perfect time. According to new surveys from two freelancers’ marketplaces, working independently is the wave of future — and present.

The new data shows that businesses are relying more and more on freelancers. ODesk found that businesses spent more than $1 billion to conduct work using its “online workplace” platform, which features more than four million registered freelancers offering more than 2,000 different skills, reports Yahoo.  Startups, especially, are utilizing freelance workers. According to oDesk data, 58 percent of hires on its platform are made by businesses that call themselves startups.

And it seems no college degree is needed. Online services marketplace Rev.com found that freelancers without a college education earn more than their higher-educated work-from-home counterparts. “Freelance workers without any formal education beyond high school work the most, with monthly earnings nearly three times that of their counterparts with a graduate degree, Rev reports,” writes Yahoo.

Older workers, who tend to be more reliable, work more hours, earning 30 percent more per month than those under 30 (with normalized pay rates), and produce the same quality of work (all ages average 4.5 out of 5 in quality score), found Rev.com.

Freelancing will continue to grow.  Staffing Industry Analysts estimates that the market for online workers will increase to $2 billion by 2014.

 

Is Yahoo Right? Should Employees Not Be Allowed to Work from Home?

February 25th, 2013 - By CAP
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Yahoo employees are livid about a memo that was recently sent from HR to employees and subsequently leaked to the public, revealing that, come June, employees are no longer able to work from home. Those that do will be let go and can stay at home permanently! Although there are only a few hundred employees that work from home full-time, the memo directs anyone who even works from home occasionally to make the transition. It goes as far to say “… for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration.” Geez you can’t even wait for the cable guy?

HR (and CEO Marissa Mayer) justified the drastic decision by saying, “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.” You can check out the memo on AllThingsD. However, most all data implies that reducing employee flexibility can leave an organization divided.

AP Photo/NBC Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

AP Photo/NBC Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire

The first thing to consider is how much employees value flexibility in their workplace. In a survey conducted by Mom Corps Houston, 45 percent of the 1,096 working adults who responded to questions about flexibility at work said they would be willing to give up, on average, as much as 8.5 percent of their salary for more flexibility at work.

Another aspect to consider is how productive employees will be while working from home. The numbers are still in favor of allowing flexibility. A study conducted by Stanford University of a Chinese company showed that productivity increased when employees were allowed to work from home. As reported by Forbes 9.5 percent of the increase was due to employees working more hours since there was no commute, fewer distractions, and fewer sick days taken. At home, it’s less likely that employees will be distracted by the discussion of who sang better last night on the Oscars, or taking an extended lunch break and hitting the mall.

The call center employees also took more calls per minute. The same study showed that those who worked from home were 50 percent more satisfied with their jobs and less likely to quit.

Yahoo has been struggling to stay afloat and this is another ploy to get back on the right track. Just last week, Mayer paid a visit to the Today show to unveil the company’s new homepage. That move was later questioned; Yahoo and GMA have a business partnership, and that was Robin Roberts’ first day back on the job. It was a ratings winner… for GMA

Maybe by forcing all employees into headquarters every day they will weed out the least productive employees. One thing is clear: Yahoo employee morale was reduced the moment that memo was sent.

Employees in tech jobs are spoiled when it comes to work flexibility. And with hundreds of competing IT firms in the area that allow flexible work schedules, many employees will be seeking other employment that allows them to work from home.

After the memo was released, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote:

“For anyone who enjoys working from wherever they like in the world, and is interested in WordPress, Automattic is 100% committed to being distributed. 130 of our 150 people are outside of San Francisco.”

The most beneficial work environment is when employees have a mixed presence in the office, working a few days at home and some in the office. This allows you to be able to wait on the cable guy, while also building strong relationships with your coworkers, your managers, and the company as a whole.