Friday, March 30, 2007

Monitoring Your Business: Keep Affiliate Links Up To Date!

From a website owner’s point of view, affiliate marketing programs can add to your income as well as improve your credibility among your visitors. Signing up for affiliate programs should involve as much thought as the types of information you offer on your site, whether you sell products or services or simply have a blog site.

If you have a personal blog concerning dogs or cats and you place affiliate links for a pet products company on your blog, you are more likely to earn sales commissions than of your blog site promotes vitamin sales and you are linking to pet companies.

The products offered by affiliate companies should be related to the primary focus of your site.

With the number of affiliate marketing programs available, there is no doubt you can find an appropriate site with which to be affiliated. You will want to know ahead of time the commission structure and when payments can be expected. This eliminates future frustrations and disappointments.

Most companies will also keep you informed of any program changes, which would include changes to commission structure or other payment details that may affect your continued affiliation with them.

When you are working with companies as an affiliate, simply placing their link on your page does not end your involvement. Many offer seasonal merchandise or services and keeping your links up to date can make your website more credible to your visitors. The web is a dynamic marketplace and people notice if your site is static, or worse, out of date. If someone visits your site in March or April and you are still promoting free Christmas delivery, many will believe your site is no long active and may ignore your other links.

Many times companies will have sales offering coupons you can place on your site as links, but you need to constantly monitor the coupons for going out of date or for offering products or services that maybe you do not want to promote on your site. For example, if the focus of your site is for children’s education, you may not want to promote an adult-oriented site or a gambling site. This can happen when some of the smaller sites lose their domain name and another company picks it up and promotes products other than what you were used to seeing.

It has happened where a company will go out of business and their name is bought by a gambling or a dating site and all links to that name now are pointed at the new site. If you are not keeping track of your affiliated sites you could unknowingly be promoting a site that goes against your primary business focus.

If you are going through an affiliate marketing corporation that manages the programs for many companies and one goes out of business, the links on your page will typically disappear. However, if you are affiliated with a company and their own program that goes out of business, the link may remain but will give your visitors an error message. Another indication that your site may be out of date.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

How Affiliate Marketing Works

There are several companies in the Internet marketplace that are capturing a piece of the affiliate pie by bringing affiliate marketers together with companies offering commissions for sales. Their role is to manage the affiliate programs for the companies while ensuring the sites offering referral links are paid commissions in a timely manner.

While a few companies manage their own affiliate-marketing program, the use of affiliate marketing corporations is growing with the trend becoming more popular, freeing company resources to concentrate on customer service. It also allows the companies to use the information from referred visitors for lead generation.

The landing page for most companies contains requirements to register to use the site. Minimum, information is requested (as opposed to mandated), enabling companies to gather visitor information. This works well for companies offering items or services, which are not considered renewable. For example, shoppers for music, food items and other disposable items will be shopping for them frequently, while those seeking mortgage information or for re-mortgaging their homes will generally do so only once or twice in their lifetime.

By using affiliate marketing, these companies have thousands of other websites sending visitors their way instead of relying on expensive advertising and marketing, possibly limiting their exposure to potential customers specifically searching for that specific type of information. It can tap into additional markets where they may have been missing the boat.

Affiliate marketing corporations can also help review websites applying to be affiliates, reducing the possibility of a website offering services that is not in the company’s best interests from displaying their ads. For instance, a website that sells religious materials may not want to be affiliated with websites for gambling or adult oriented materials. Of course, this goes both ways, as a church may not want to place ads for gambling on their site.

Generally, a company signed with an affiliate marketing corporation will supply a variety of link styles, including text links, graphics links, banners, and even search box links for affiliates to choose from. These links rest on the corporation’s website and are gleaned by the affiliate for the best fit for their sites. The corporation will then track the activity for the link including the number of impressions, the number of clicks as well as the amount of purchases and commissions due the affiliate site.

Affiliate marketing corporations however, do not work for free. They often receive a cut of the sale in addition to the affiliates. While this adds to the cost of making a sale, the companies realize that without the additional exposure the sales probably would not happen, and they get the additional benefit of customer information for potential future sales.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Inside Affiliate Marketing

While work at home moms are often the favorite target for Internet scammers, website owners are a close second.

You own a website and are possibly paying a bit of money to keep the site running. Do you not wish you could make some money with the website you work so hard to maintain? Imagine how wonderful it would be if you could you’re your hobby into a real business that would not only pay for itself, but even offer you a few extras that could be put to good use for the kids, or your family.

To a webmaster, affiliate marketing is almost always the answer to this dilemma.

In and of itself, affiliate marketing is a wonderful opportunity share in the profits of a reputable company by displaying their links and banners, and allowing interested parties to visit those sites and perhaps purchase a product. When they do so, the company will often offer you a small percentage of the sale as a finder’s fee.

But, there is a seedy underbelly to the affiliate marketing industry that will actually jeopardize your good name as a webmaster and will also result in payouts that are pennies on the dollar.

For example, have you ever been surfing the web only to suddenly stumble across a website that touts an amazing nutritional supplement that does it all?

Weight loss for the overweight, hair growth for the bald, an increased sexual stamina for those lacking it and a host of other items are cured or corrected with a pill after breakfast, lunch and dinner. These miracle cures are touted on the website via a long list of testimonials, and you can almost always recognize the feel of these sites simply by the long list of text they sport, the varying fonts employed, and also the different colors these words are written in.

You may simply shrug your shoulders at such a site until – about halfway down – you see a copy of a commission check the webmaster has posted and suddenly he or she has your undivided attention. The check is small enough to be realistic yet big enough to have you consider what you could to with the money and how it could ease the tension at home from lack of disposable income.

When you are hooked, the spiel usually involves a site owner who is so successful that he or she has decided to take on two or three qualified novices and train them to do the business as well. This involves selling the miracle product to your friends and neighbors and then just sitting back and waiting for the money to roll in. Additionally, you will need to post banners on your website. What has just happened, in a nutshell, is an affiliate scam that ties your success directly into a multi-level marketing scheme.

While your links will attract more interested parties to the originator’s website, you might end up meanwhile alienating your friends and families.

Let's be clear: This is not what affiliate marketing is all about, and it is important that you understand the implications of your putting links or banners of any business on your website before you get started.

There are some very good affiliate programs out there. By doing your homework and picking good solid companies, you can see some positive revenues and good results coming your way.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Dream Come True For Most Moms

It is something that many women dream of: the chance to be able to stay at home with their children and to not need to take their children to the babysitters so they can go to work.

It is hard to find a place in this world that will allow you to work and contribute to the family income, but that will also allow you to stay at home with your children. Luckily, if you are working online there are many opportunities for a stay at home mom that will help your family make ends meet.

The important thing about working from home and being a stay at home mother is that you can set your own hours. This is very important if you have small children that are going to need your time.

Instead of making your children wait until your work is finished, you can figure out a way to make your work wait until your children have free time you can spend at work. Being a stay at home mom and working is something that requires a little bit of structure, but once you have figured it out is something that is easy to do.

You are going to be able to stay at home and get your work done, and you are also going to be able to show your family that you care about them by being there for your kids all of the time.

There are many things that a stay at home mom can do to work from home.

The most important thing that you can do is to figure out what kinds of things you are interested in.

This is critical. It is very hard to motivate yourself to work if you aren't interested in it.

After all, working is something that is going to be with your for awhile and you want to be sure that not only are you doing good work but you are making ends meet for your family in a way that makes you happy.

You can find something that you love to do, and you can find a way to do it at home, so your children never have to be at home without you, and your family time can be spent as a family. Working form home is something that has become quite popular with families and with other moms.

Try to find a way that it can fit in your lifestyle as well.

The online community has opened up infinite possibilities to you. Your job is to find the one that fits you best and go for it. You'll be happy you did.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Taking Your Kids To Work: A Look At The Home Based Business

More and more women are leaving the corporate world behind to try their hand at traditional homemaking. Being a wife and homemaker is a considerable responsibility in itself.

Many women choose to work outside of the home to supplement their husband’s income and experience personal fulfillment through success in their chosen profession. The two income family is now the norm.

With the arrival of the first bundle of joy, comes many conflicting emotions and struggles. Although it sounds old fashioned, the reality is that mothers juggle multiple conflicting demands on her attention including children, husband, cooking, cleaning and careers. The desire may be to nurture and protect her children and husband but the expectations and time constraints imposed upon her often force her to compromise on all fronts. This can result in guilt and depression in the over-burdened woman.

It may not be a coincidence that divorce has become more prevalent and children more delinquent since the rise of two income families. Women are often finding themselves drained emotionally and physically from the dysfunctional patterns of behavior that are imposed on them by today’s society. Many women are fighting back by starting a home-based business.

By working from home, women can now set their own hours, save time and money and spend more time with their children. With a little work and by choosing the right home business, this new opportunity can bring in a solid passive income with less hassles than the corporate world offers.

The benefits for mothers also include being able to hire part time nannies instead of full time sitters and arrange for childcare to be done in their own homes. This allows peace of mind for the mother and a chance to squeeze in quality time with the children during breaks, have picnic lunches on the lawn and never miss another chance to kiss away a fresh boo boo.

Hiring childcare help during busy seasons in your business can help you keep your sanity. On slower days, the children can do quite well if they are kept in a structured environment and on a schedule. This takes preparation. Plan quiet times around favorite television shows, set up crafts and activities that require minimal supervision and intervention on your part. Prepare snacks and sippy cups in advance so toddlers can help themselves when hunger strikes. By keeping mealtime and naps on a schedule, you can be better prepared to give an estimated time for that conference call or know when a meeting time is absolutely out of the question.

No mother wants a stranger raising her children. Deciding to work at home with your children can be a wonderful compromise that allows you quiet those conflicting emotions of being torn between work and motherhood.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Make Money Online The Easy Way

Making money is something that many people take for granted in this world. The go to work and bring home a pay cheque.

Today, there are many more ways that you can make money. Just surf the web and you'll see huge numbers of opportunities to make extra money. This is one way that people who work at home earn money ... and if you can find the right opportunity, it's better than a work at home job because it has the opportunity to build a stream of passive income.

There are many different options for work online businesses. You can sell products or services online and make money this way. If you have a basement full of stuff you want to get rid of, or if you know of some places where you can buy things cheaply that can be sold for more money, you can sell it online. Lots of times people take a long time to figure out what they want to sell on line but once they do they find themselves making quite a bit of money.

There are other things that you can do to make money online. If you have a web site with good levels of traffic, you can allow advertising to be on your site, and you can make a part of the profits for these ads. Some of the ads will pay you money whenever they are clicked on, and others will get you a small amount of money just for being on the site.

If you like the idea of a JOB, there are places you can get online jobs. Just make sure you are careful and do your research. Too many of the work at home programs are hooks for scam artists. If you can find some of these small jobs, you can quickly add them up to a bigger pay cheque. For instance, there are some jobs that will pay you for going to different forums and adding in on the discussions. If you like to go and talk online, this is a great way to get money because you are getting paid to do something that you might do anyway.

Try not to stress too much about making lots of money online right away. Remember, you are building a business and it takes time to gain traction. If you want to business to be sustainable, not a flash in the pan, build it on a solid foundation. Take the time to find the sites that will pay you to do things you are interested in, and take time to make sure that the work you are doing is not worth more than you are being paid.

Once you are established, you are going to find that making money online is much easier than you thought it was.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

The Joys Of Working At Home

In the fast paced job market, it might seem like there is never enough time to do what you really want to do – be at home with your families and take care of what you need to take care of while you are there.

Luckily, now there are many ways that you can work from home. OK, but you already know that or you wouldn't be reading this article.

Let's talk about the good stuff: There are many joys of being able to work from home, and make enough money to actually make it worth it.

First of all, if you have children, you are going to get to be there for them during the day when they are young, and after school when they are older. This is so important for families. You only get one chance to be wit you children because once they grow up, that's it. So, you should take every opportunity to be near them and take care of them when they are young.

By working from home, you don't have to pay for child care. Most of the time, people end up spending the money that they make working directly on child care, and unless they love their jobs and need to do their jobs, it simply isn't worth it for someone to work part time to get enough money to pay someone else to care for their kids. Think about how nice it would be to be able to actually make money, and not need to spend any of it on childcare.

There is a certain freedom that comes along with working from home. By being at home and staying at home you are there to tackle things that come up during the day. You can keep on top of household chores and take care of issues when they arise, without trying to squeeze them into an already packed day.

No more leaving in the dark and coming home after the sun has set for the day.
No more trying to do all of the house work and chores on the weekends.

When you work at home, you can simply allow yourself to be at home and enjoy the life that you are living.

Remember that the best part of working at home is getting to do the things that you really enjoy and getting to do them in your own environment. Nothing beats fact being able to stay at home with your family and with your house chores, and make just as much money (if not more) than when you were slaving away for someone else 40-60 hours a week.

Enjoy the perks. They are just a few of the joys of working from home!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Working At Home Has Real Advantages

Many nine to fiver’s are bucking the system by starting a home-based business. Confinement to a cramped cubby hole in a perpetual maze of dividers and battling road rage heading to the office are things of the past for these entrepreneurs.

So what are some of the perks to having a home based business?

To start, you can keep your own hours. Your schedule is as flexible as you are. Need to see the dentist? Make your appointment for whenever. No more waiting around for that first appointment of the day or trying to find an office open after five. Kids have a mid-week soccer game? Not a problem. Better yet, you know that cable repairman that says he’ll show up sometime between 11 am and 4 pm? You can tell him, “That’s perfect.” and really mean it because you’re home all day anyways.

Working from home means that you can now embrace that chronic insomnia that made you late for traditional jobs and left you dozing off during meetings.

Here's one of the most startling advantages to starting a home-based business. Just think of all the money you save by working from home. (And I'm not talking about the tax benefits here).

There's no need to buy that new suit and impressive pair of heels. No more dry cleaning bills. Your cat doesn't care how professional you look. You can work naked if the urge strikes you, (just make sure the blinds are closed or you might get unsolicited visits from your neighbors).

You can save a bundle by eating last night’s leftovers for lunch and buying snacks in bulk at the grocery store instead of making trips to gas stations and fast food joints. Pay on average $0.35 for a a soda instead of $1.19 and watch the saving add up in a year’s time. You might even save enough to buy your own cappuccino maker and say goodbye to your local $5-a-cup coffee shop. I haven't even tallied the costs of buying lunch out which is so tempting when you're working in an office.

Remember the last time you took your car in for a tune up and the mechanic told you to start car shopping, immediately. Just think of how long your vehicle will last without those daily trips to and from work. Save gas money, get your oil changed twice a year, never replace your tires again! You don't want to know how much my gas bills have gone down since I started working at home four years ago.

These are all great perks of a home based business.

The government also gives home businesses fringe benefits in the form of tax breaks. Now, buying that computer you've been ogling for months is actually good for business, it can mean better tax breaks at the end of the year. Get money back for your telephone bill, rent, mortgage, heat, and other overhead expenses. And believe it or not, it’s completely legal. You will also have new tax breaks for travel and other perks. Talk to your accountant to make sure you qualify for, and are taking advantage of the benefits open to you.

The benefits of basing a business from your home are nearly countless. If a traditional office environment is leaving you stagnant, a home business may be just what the doctor ordered.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Getting Home Businesses Off The Ground - Tips

Now that you have made the decision to start a home business, you might think that it is all smooth sailing and that there is nothing you are going to have to worry about as you make your way into the work at home job market.

Sorry to say, that's just not true!

Working from home might be great once you get going, but in order to get to the point where it is going to be worth it, you are going to have to do some grunt work and do a lot of it, before it pays off.

You hear a lot of hype about work at home options that earn thousands in days or weeks. It is hype. Don't fall for it. It's important to know that working from home is like building any other business. It takes time to earn a sustainable income.

Some tips to streamline your business.
1. Decide what you are going to be
2. Determine the right market
3. Identify ways to target that market
4. Set a plan for building your market (including investments, timelines and strategies)

Once you know what it is that you are going to do, you need to begin to be able to market yourself. Whether this means advertising your business or taking care of your portfolio, you need to make sure that people know what you can do and that you can do it well.

Don’t expect to be able to simply start in at a large paying work from home job on the first day.

It might take you awhile to fully get a grasp on what the job market is, what people need, and to begin to make some connections when it comes to your field.

The most important thing that you can do is to make sure that you have a good example of what you can do and that you have it accessible online. Whether this means that you are going to develop a website or build an online portfolio, you need to get that done right away so you can start to apply for jobs or to find customers.

One of the most important thing about finding work at home is to make sure that you have a place where potential clients can look at what you can do and can hire you if they’d like.

However you decide to market your business or your company, you need to get your name out there and to get started.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Time Management: An Illusive But Essential Tool

Working at home to earn some extra income is a blessing for most, but for
some it can become a nightmare in very little time.

It is far too easy when you are working at home, to allow outside influences (dinner, laundry, kids) to infringe upon potential earning time. While you don't have to travel to get to the workplace, it is essential that you schedule structured time for work, rather than working when the mood hits ... trust me, the mood won't hit when you need it to.

Let's face it, if you are not on top of your schedule, and using some of the management tools available to us, you might quite possibly find yourself at the end of the day with precious little to show and huge deadlines looming.

Miss a few deadlines, and the odds are that you will lose that wonderful business opportunity that allows you to earn extra income while working at home.

Time management tools are greatly varied, depending on your needs and habits. It is possible to create a plan that works well for you (but won't work for someone else.) We are all individuals with different habits and needs. For example, I dedicate time in the morning to writing. It is when I am the most creative.

To this end, quite possibly the most important technique that will help you to remain focused while earning the extra income is to set an objective for each day that you have work to do at
home. Define your goal for the, identify which projects need to be completed and how you need to pace yourself to see them through to completion. The easiest way to achieve this is simply by breaking down your project into its varied components, assigning time values to them and then meeting these deadlines one at a time. The small sense of accomplishment you will feel when you achieve one or more of the deadlines will go a long ways to ensuring that you do not suffer from burnout or other frustrations which will take the joy out of earning extra income.

Do not, create a huge list of every to do you have. This will do nothing but make you feel overwhelmed. Instead, identify one or two priorities per day and do nothing else until they are complete. Then move on to the less important items on the list. The next morning, revisit the list and assign a new priority. It is easy to get distracted by emails or phone calls. Don't let them. Focus on the priority then work through the niggling other requests on your time.

One of the most overlooked time management tools for those working earning income is the schedule and calendar. It is not enough to simply block out a period time that you will use to work, but you will need to augment this block with reminders, as well as frequent breaks. No one can keep working to earn extra income when they are burning out. You were likely seeking extra money by working at two jobs, not headaches and frustration with no rewards. Take a few rewards, an afternoon walk, an evening out. Whatever reward fits your circumstance.

Adding frequent breaks also gives you time to you to interact with friends and family who will not mind the extra income you are earning as long as it does not interfere with your ability to also spend time with them. In the long run, this form of scheduling will benefit you as much as it benefits them.

As a final note, working from home or taking on an additional home based business to earn extra money is a great way to set the path towards a more profitable financial future but you need to treat it like a job and a business. Time management is one of the most overlooked aspects of business but it is one you can't ignore.

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Make The Most Of Your Opportunity

The Internet is home of the business opportunity ad. While some are not legit, others have the potential of netting you a pretty penny.

Once you have found such an opportunity, it is important that you make the most of it. That doesn't mean sitting back and complaining that a system doesn't work. But is does mean to be wise about how you pursue this opportunity to help you earn money, and protect you from losing your hard earned cash in the process.

When you are starting out in pursuit of your business opportunity, you will need to juggle your full time job and your extracurricular pursuit. While it might be tempting to throw caution to the wind, quit your job and pursue the opportunity full time, it is extremely unwise to do so.

Let's face it. If the business is legit, it will take some time to build up the revenues to the point where you can replace your income. And, the bill collectors will still expect to be paid while you are building this new business. If you have a family, it is unfair to expect them to suddenly make do without the little extras they have come to appreciate.

Instead, continue to work your regular job while expanding on your business opportunity and spend your spare time working the business. This will prevent you from having to give up after a few unsuccessful months with maxed out credit cards.

Building a business takes time. There are many marketing opportunities out there to help you build the business and if you are seriously building the business, you won't be harassing family, friends and everyone you meet to buy your product. Your family and friends can provide other kinds of support while you are growing your business.

There's a great expression about this industry: you are in business for yourself, not by yourself.

If you have chosen a good opportunity, you will have coaching and mentoring support. Use it. The people who have been in this business longer than you have some good advice on how to build the business. Learn from them, and others around you.

Your business opportunity requires exposure, yet there is more to advertising than paying for a three by five ad in the local rag.

Instead, attend trade shows, hand out flyers, print up business cards (not the free ones that carry another company’s logo on the back) and network with other entrepreneurs.

Use the Internet, there are so many opportunities on the web to legitimately promote your business (and numerous marketing systems to give you a systematic approach to Internet marketing).

Go to where the business world is located and get out the word! This ensures that you will truly make the most of your business opportunity without having to spend money you may not yet have earned on costly advertisements that may not be as effective as you had hoped.

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Where NOT to find work

In the world of working from home, sometimes people choose to take jobs that they find on the Internet. It is hard to open your email these days without being flooded by offers from a wide range of different people and places.

It is also very easy to do an Internet search and come up with several options for places that claim to have work at home jobs. Some of these are perfectly fine and legit, but some of them should be avoided at all costs for many different reasons.

First of all, you should avoid any job board or market that wants you to pay a large amount of money in order to have access to the jobs. This applies for many different situations, but especially for work at home freelance writers. Most of the places that will ask you to pay for your own job listings are probably not places you want to accept work from.

There are many places online where you should be able to search for jobs and to apply for jobs without having to pay for this service.

If you find that you cannot find these types of jobs, you should try to look in a different place or try to broaden your search because there are indeed several places which will post jobs that do not require you to pay to search for them.

Another important tip is to make sure that you are avoiding jobs where the person offering you the work only has a free email account, or doesn’t provide you with any company name. You are going to want to be sure to stay away from these jobs, because the possibility that they will be scammers is quite high.

You want to look for work from reputable companies that provide you with a contract, or at the very least, company information that you can use to track them down if payment is not made for the job you do. The best thing for you to do is to join some job boards or discussion boards and ask questions about which different options are legit, while sharing your experience with others.

After you have been doing online work or working from home, you are going to want to develop a portfolio so that you can showcase your work for others. There are many online sites that will help you with this task.

Being online and having your material readily available for viewing is a huge benefit for you. You can be sure to get many different job offers if you can get yourself some sort of online portfolio so that people can see what you are really all about.

Remember that this is one of the good things about working from home, you can market yourself successfully.

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Where to Find Work

When you are looking for work from home, you have several different options.

That's the good news! It used to be that the only way to work from home was to work it out with your boss so that your work could be done at home and you wouldn’t have to always be in the office.

Today, everything is different. Many employers are making it easier for their employees to work at home and only come in to the office every once in a while. This is a great benefit to many people who have been working for a long time on certain projects or who have been working for a long time at a certain career and want to continue doing what they do well and what they love, but want to, at the same time, be able to do it from home.

However, now you don’t even have to worry about finding an employer who will eventually let you do your work from home. Now there are many ways that you can actually start a business, a career, or even part-time work, straight from your home computer and you can go about getting a job online just the same way you’d get a regular job. All of these jobs that you can find are going to provide you with money and a full time job, but the trick is knowing where to look for them.

There are many places online that offer work from home jobs. BUT, some of these places should be avoided because of obvious reasons.

A good rule of thumb is that you should never have to pay anything to find jobs. If you do decide to subscribe to a service it should be one that only requires a small start up fee or a once a year fee. Don’t pay by the month or pay a lot of money for access to jobs boards, because there are plenty of job boards out there that you can access for free.

Once you have weeded out the jobs "opportunities" that require payment just to apply, you still have several options. There are very few careers out there that don't allow you to work from home. And, your location shouldn't matter either. Technology is making a global marketplace available to you.

Start by doing an online search for your job, and then get looking. You might have to look at several sites before you find some with a good lead.

Remember that you need to market yourself exclusively by email and online sources, so your portfolio online should be very good.

Next: Where not to find work!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Tips For Finding Work At Home

So you want to work from home. Congratulations. There are some real advantages to working at home.

Now that you have made that decision, you might think that it is all smooth sailing. You might even believe that there is nothing you are going to have to worry about as you make your way into the work at home job market.

I'm sorry to say it's just not true!

Working from home might be great once you get going, but in order to get to the point where it is going to be worth it, you are going to have to do some grunt work and do a lot of it, before it pays off.

Like many things in life, success at a home business takes effort.

The first thing that you need to do is make a clear decision about what exactly you are going to be.
* You need to have a clear idea about what market you are going to go after
* You need to make a decision about how you are going to get that market
* You need to determine the best way to conquer that market

Once you know what it is that you are going to do, you need to begin to be able to market yourself. And thanks to the Internet, there are a myriad of marketing opportunities that will open up new markets for your business. Whether this means advertising your business or taking care of your portfolio, you need to make sure that people know what you can do and that you can do it well.

Don’t expect to be able to simply start in at a large paying work from home job on the first day.

It might take you awhile to fully get a grasp on what the job market is and to begin to make some connections when it comes to your field. The most important thing that you can do is to make sure that you have a good example of what you can do and that you have it accessible online. Whether this means that you are going to develop a website or an online portfolio, you need to get that done right away so you can start to apply for jobs or to find customers.

To recap: The most important thing about finding work at home is to make sure that you have a place where potential clients can look at what you can do and can hire you if they’d like.

After you know what you want to do and have taken steps to begin that process, you need to start to apply for jobs or contracts. To do this, you might visit many different job boards each day and apply for as many of the jobs that you think you can do as possible.

Or, it might mean that you visit job boards and other boards and recruit clients for your business. Whatever it is that you need to do, the important thing is to get your name out there and to get started.

If you decide to build an Internet based marketing business or start a network marketing business from home, much of the above business tips still apply. You need to market your business and you need to get your name out there. It's hard for people to buy from you (albeit services or products) if they can't find you, don't know what you do ... or worse, can't buy your products simply and easily.

There are numerous resources online to help with each of these steps. Take your time and do your research but above all ... stop waiting and get started. You business will only succeed once you actually start doing the work!

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Staying Sane While Starting A Home Business

Starting a new business can be a harried experience.

There are a myriad of decisions to be made. Personal and business budgets get stretched. The new secretary quits before the end of the first week.

At times, you feel the struggles are endless.

When starting a business from your home, you can add a slew of unique challenges to the list. But, being aware of the potential pitfalls, and preparing for them can preserve your sanity.

Challenge # 1

Friends and family members frequently assume that if you are home, you are available. Nothing can set your work back hours, faster than an unplanned visit from your mother.

Solution: Set clear boundaries regarding your schedule and availability for phone calls and visits. This will go a long way in preventing misunderstandings early on in the life of your business.

Challenge #2

If you are choosing to keep your small children home with you while you work, that carefully planned schedule can quickly become fodder for your three year old.

Solution: Get up early is often the best way to increase your productivity while those little angels are still slumbering away.

Challenge 3#

There are always days when work piles up and you need more time than you were projecting.

Solution: Have contingency plans for days when the work load requires more attention than usual is an excellent way to head off disasters before they happen. Find local babysitters who are willing to come to your home to help out when needed. Recruit friends and family to provide occasional entertainment for short periods of time to allow you to work without interruptions.

Remember, when you are working at home, anything that helps you keep focused is a good investment in preserving your sanity.

Challenge #4

You need office support, supplies or other experts but don't know where to look. Business directories, Internet advertisements and even newspaper ads are clogged with scams and incapable providers.

Solution: Finding service providers that are both competent and trustworthy is a lesson in perseverance. Seeking the advice of a seasoned home business veteran can be your salvation. I have always relied on referrals. Word of mouth will reveal strengths and problems with service providers.

If you find that you have chosen poorly and end up with a full sized, ten year old copier in your den instead of that sleek, all-in-one model with all the bells and whistles that you paid for, don’t despair. Don’t back down either. You can explain your dissatisfaction firmly and politely while explaining that the services were not acceptable. If after bringing the blunder to the business’ attention, you are still left feeling cold, you can report the offender to the Better Business Bureau and call for legal advice.

Don't forget the perks!
While there challenges associated with working at home, running a business from your home has a few perks, especially at tax time. Consult with a tax expert or accountant early on will arm you with the knowledge necessary to save you time and money when filing your first year’s business taxes.

Using good old common sense, a little street smarts and a lot of charm and honesty will help your achieve your business goals, while allowing you to keep your sanity and your home life intact.

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Company Perks: Telecommuting

When discussing the many benefits of telecommuting, it is almost always a foregone conclusion that it is the employee who benefits from this new mode of doing business.

The highlighted points usually involve not wasting valuable time being stuck in rush hour traffic, and the fringe benefit of being home when children are coming home from school.

While these facts are undeniably true, some of the benefits that are associated with telecommuting do not just have to do with the employee, but also the employer, including:
* the ability make do with less office space
* put the employee into a mutually ownership position of her or his work, so that customers and clients will receive a greater level of service.

Very often the many benefits available to the company at large are overlooked. While the employer itself may only be one dot on the map for a large company, the overall benefits to a company makes telecommuting a company-wide opportunity for qualified employees cannot be overlooked. When one small satellite office of the company succeeds, it is always a good time to see what works there that might work in other markets as well.

Productivity is almost always the first litmus test that must be met for a satellite office to be considered successful, while fiscal savings rank as a close second.

A company will benefit from telecommuting workers on a number of levels.

1. Employees no longer feel chained to their desks by an eight to five schedule. Sure, a worker may take a longer lunch, stop by the neighbor’s fence to chat for a bit, and perhaps even mow the yard during regular working hours, but on the upside this same worker is much more likely to remain at his or her computer and continue working until a project is finished than will be the worker who still has to fight traffic on the way home.

2. Telecommuting workers are much more likely to pick up the work again after family obligations have been met in the evening than it is likely for the office worker to once again get
into the car and return to the office to complete a certain project.

3. Another savings opportunity presents itself when you consider the reduced employee turnover your company will experience. After all, telecommuting jobs are hard to come by and it is not surprising that these employees will work harder to ensure that the company will be satisfied with their performance to ensure that their position itself is safe.

All in all, telecommuting is truly a win-win situation for the employer, employee, and the parent company.

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Try Telecommuting: Employee Benefits

As an employee you know how much time is wasted each day, often before you even set foot inside the office.

You are stuck in traffic for hours on end. Instead of being on the telephone talking with
customers and clients you are forced to inch at a snail’s pace closer to the exit that will take you to yet another clogged highway.

It is therefore no surprise that so many employees clamor for a chance a telecommuting. If you have what it takes to work diligently and without direct supervision of others, then this mode of work will most likely yield great benefits for you.

While there are many benefits to this form of work, the one stated most often is the ability to spend time with your family.

There are a few other benefits that might not be as obvious, such as the fact while working at home, you are often building stronger ties with customers and clients. These important relationships ensure future growth for the company, which will help you to personally reap greater profits by establishing that one on one relationship so many consumers crave.

Add to this the heightened productivity you will experience as a result of no longer being subject of the traffic congestion that is so frequently found everywhere, and you can see how your personal sales will begin to take off!

Some wagging tongues will attempt to belittle your efforts, and quite possibly even make you feel guilty for taking a coffee break, taking Rover for a quick walk, or simply for doing a load of laundry in between assignments. As long as you are not taking more breaks than working, ignore these slights. Short breaks and a change of scenery are akin to the trip to the kitchen at work to refill your coffee ... and I'll bet those back at the office take breaks here and there as well!

The benefits of taking a break are many: You get away from everything for a bit, exercise, and then return quite often with a fresh perspective and ready to give it even more of an effort.

Interestingly, one of the greatest benefits to telecommuting for the employee is rarely mentioned: the fact that disturbances by other employees are all but eliminated. You know how frustrating it can be when suddenly someone enters your office to chat, or to ask for your help with a task, or simply because they want to discuss an aspect of a project with you. The time it takes for these briefings can be greatly curtailed by telecommuting, thus allowing you to complete your assignments faster and with much greater efficiency. This in turn might allow you a bit of leisure time toward the end of the day that you would not have been able to realize otherwise.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dial Up Telecommuting: Employer Benefits

In a few previous posts, I've written about telecommuting as a work at home option. If that appealed to you, this next three part series should be of interest to you. While it is based on the employer perspective, consider these benefits when presenting telecommuting to your bosses. If might make the option palatable to them.

What could your employees do if they were not stuck in traffic every single day for two or more hours? I'll bet you are probably stuck in that same workday traffic. There are plenty of executives, data entry personnel, and others who are clogging the roads every single day. But think about it, is physical presence at your company really required?

Sure, you need a data entry clerk, but does she have to sit at a desk every single day to receive her work assignments? Could they not just as easily be delivered by courier or mail? Perhaps you could cut down the amount of time that she spends in the office while giving her the opportunity to work at home.

If your mind is working in that general direction, then you are probably ready to contemplate telecommuting for the people in your office. As an employer, you know that there are numerous benefits for you. While almost everyone thinks about the many advantages this mode of work has for the employee, the other side is rarely considered. Here are some of the most obvious benefits to your operation – and bottom line!

1. Save on space.
Space equals money, and instead of expanding your operation every few years when new personnel needs to be hired on to keep up with the growth of your business, you will be able to continue leasing the same space without making costly renovations to cram more people into the small space.

Having a number of telecommuters working for you enables you to stagger the times when they come in and thus three to five workers can share one work station (A concept that used to be called hoteling)! While the initial cost of setting up several of your qualified employees to telecommute might be off-putting, consider the money you will save in facility related costs, and
you will break even very soon.

2. Software makes connections easy.

With the many software innovations, you will no longer have to attend long and drawn out meetings that take time away from the many tasks you could be performing. Instead, online meetings, conference calls, and group emails will permit you to continue your supervision of the projects that are outstanding while at the same time freeing up time for everyone who would
normally have to travel to meetings and take up time that could be better spent working on a task.

These are but two of the many facets that make up the advantages telecommuting can offer to the employers. Do not make the mistake of dismissing the idea immediately.

Here's another benefit that you might not considered: telecommuting may enhance hiring. With more and more people seeking a work life balance, you can offer them the option of office or home based work and attract better/more qualified people to your company.

You will need to make sure that the person to whom you entrust this kind of work is disciplined enough to handle it, but once you have found them, you will be sure to reap great benefits.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Want To Work At Home: The Possibilities Are Endless

The typical dream image of the person working at home almost always involves
pink fuzzy slippers, an over-sized coffee mug, and a relaxed atmosphere.

While I can admit I've been known to work in my PJs and slippers, it's important to realize that "all that glitters is gold". There are some very serious pitfalls that have to be avoided in order to make working at home a profitable reality for anyone who is willing to give it a try. To this end, there are usually two avenues available to anyone ready to give it a go: self employment and telecommuting.

Before we move ahead, lets explain the differences between the two. First off, telecommuting means you are still employed by a company. You might be working at home but you are technically still an employee and bound by the company rules. As a self employed person, you are running your own business (and responsible for all aspects of the business including invoicing, accounting, managing workload and client relations).

While both of these options will allow you to stay at home in pursuit of profit, they each have their pitfalls. Before you decide to embark on either one of them, make sure that you weight the pros and cons!

For example, while so many late night commercials are filled with smiling
mothers who are seeing their little ones off to school only to return home
at a leisurely pace to sell a product for an international company. It is important in this situation to remember that you are selling a product and you will be required to handle customer concerns, complaints and even compensation if the product doesn't work for them as claimed. Before starting in this kind of a business, understand what the product does, how it does it and most importantly what the return policies are like. When you are starting any business, understand the legal ramifications. When you own your own business, you open yourself to potential law suits if things go wrong. Make sure you consult both an accountant and a lawyer to ensure you and your assets are protected.

While this may make you now consider telecommuting, keep in mind that this field has its pitfalls as well. For example, while your boss in the office will appreciate your hard work and dedication when she or he sees you burning the midnight oil to get a project finished, she or he will most likely not have the same appreciation for your efforts when you do the same thing at
home. Remember there are still bosses out there who believe if they can't see you working long hours, you must be slacking off (even if your results tell a very different tale.) Conversely, if you do manage to achieve the almost impossible deadlines while telecommuting, the odds are good that you will be facing tighter and tighter deadlines. Since you are most likely not an hourly employee, this means that you may end up working 20 hours in one day, and still only get paid what you normally would. As am employee, you earn a salary which does not always translated into profits when you are working long hours.

So, what should you do?

Sit down and find out exactly what it will take to make your work at home dream a profitable reality. Weigh the pros and cons of each option and make sure you have a clearly defined plan for your business or telecommuting solution. Do not too quickly lunge at an opportunity that at second glance is little more than an anchor weighing you down.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Want To Work At Home? Try Telecommuting

My columns often talk to people who are looking to get out of their 9-5 jobs and start their own business, but if you are one of the millions people who enjoy their professions and who actually do not mind working for someone else, there are work at home options for you as well.

Sure, the American Dream has always been to set out for yourself into the world of
business, make a name for yourself with a product or service that only you
have thought of, and then turn your life from rags to riches.

Considering that many Americans have families, mortgages, and bills to pay,
the number of people who manage to successfully quit their jobs and become
self employed is small. Some would say the risks are high.

Many try it and quite a few have moderate successes, but a far greater number will go through their life’s savings, and in the end stand to lose their homes in order to meet financial obligations that went by the wayside and suddenly seem to pile up.

As I always say, you need a plan to ensure you are protecting your lifestyle when embarking on any business opportunity.

Perhaps you have sat in traffic time and again, bemoaning the fact that you
are wasting two or more hours of your time each day simply getting to your
job – the kind of time that could be put to good use! This is probably also
the time that you remember the many articles you have read on telecommuting,
and you are wondering if you have what it takes to take this step. After
all, if you were to approach your boss with a well thought out plan, she or he would might give you a chance to prove yourself.

Yet telecommuting is not for everyone who wants to do it. You need discipline.

First and foremost you will have to still consider yourself employed and thus bound by a schedule. While it is tempting to procrastinate on work until you finish that last load of laundry, mow the yard, or groom the dog, you do have to remember that you are on the clock.

Additionally, you will still need to meet deadlines and work to accommodate the work schedules of others in your company. This means that working in the middle of the night so that you can accompany the kids on a field trip the next day might not work.

Secondly, you will need to have adequate equipment. While almost everyone
owns a personal computer, there are a myriad of software programs out there
that may not be compatible, and you need to ensure you can easily connect to your corporate servers, databases and programs from home. Some business security prevents this kind of access so test it out before you go to bat with your boss!

There are a few more things you will need to have at home to replace your office. Will you need a fax machine or a scanner? Maybe you need to change your long distance plan to accommodate long distance calls?

It is important to have all your ducks in a row before you start! Do you see a theme here: have a plan and telecommuting is a work at home option that may work for you.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Forget The Daily Grind: Work At Home (cont)

Are you tired of the shuffle of the every day grind at work?
Are you stressed and tired when you come home
Do you hate the thought of having to do it all again tomorrow?

It might be time for you to make a change. Thousands of people are deciding that they want to work from home, and they are making it work for them.

Maybe it can work for you as well.

The first step is to figure out what you are doing with your life now and see if there is any way that you can do that at home. For example, if you work in an office, is there a way to move most of your work home. This is often called Telecommuting.

Of you are providing a service that you can do from home, perhaps you can do it from home as a freelancer or consultant. Many bosses today are helping their employees find ways that they can do much of their work from their home offices both as employees as well as self employed contractors. With advances in technology, this is getting easier and easier.

If what you are currently doing cannot be done from home, don’t despair. There are still some options for you when it comes to working from home. If you are willing to take the chance of quitting your job, and you are good at what you do, there's a pretty good chance you can connect with an online company that will need your services.

If you want to completely change what you are doing for a living, you are also going to be able to find online work, whether or not it is in the field that you currently work in. Start looking into different businesses or companies that strike your interest. You could even start it part time before quitting your job to see if it is really something you want to do.

Here are a few tips on how to start building your business.
1. Go get your portfolio and your resume online. This might mean setting up a website for yourself, so that you have a link you can send to potential employers. In a few mouse clicks they can look at what you do, and how you do it.
2. Sit down and make a list of the types of work that you would be willing to do. Then, you can begin your job hunt! You should be able to find several jobs that can match your desires and your needs and wants, as you go through life.
3. Set a schedule. Working from home takes dedication. You need to treat it like a job and work at it diligently. If you are easily distracted or have little internal drive, working from home will be a daily struggle to actually do the work you want (and earn the money you desire).

Remember that in the end working form home shouldn’t make you more stressed and more hateful of your job.

If you can’t find something that you can do at home to make money that will make you happy, maybe working from home isn’t what you should be doing.

Always keep your mind open for new possibilities.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

The Path to Freedom - Self Employment

Want To Work At Home? One of the most natural ideas if to become self employed.

Do you dream of skipping the endless commute to work every day ... I know that giving up the 2 hour each way commute to work every day was a dream come true!

Do wish you did not have to put up with your boss who would be
lost without you ... don't even ask me about this one.

If you answered yes, you might have what it takes to become self employed.

Consider the ultimate perk of being at home with your family during the
times they might need you, such as after school and at meal time. You can use big chunks of time for your work when all have flown the nest during the day to go to school.

If all this sounds appealing, then you simply owe it to yourself to look into the possibility of self employment.

There are different ways to go about achieving your goal. The road to self employment may be less traveled but it is nonetheless enticing. Yet before you bid your boss farewell, make sure you have what it takes to turn a dream into a profitable reality.

First and foremost, you must remember that you will no longer be able to look to a second party to hand you a guaranteed check every other week. Also remember it takes time to build up a business so you might be waiting for contracts or checks to come in.

Take a hard look at your current financial situation before making a leap. If you are heavily bogged down with credit cards bills, mortgage and car payments, and if your children attend private school, you will need to make sure you have enough money in savings to support yourself for at least year, so that you can give yourself ample time to pursue your dream while keeping up with your obligations.

Secondly, remember that you are setting yourself up as a business. As a result, you are not only the provider of the service or products, but you yourself are the figurehead, spokesperson, and image of the very business upon which you are embarking. That means, if an issue of liability arises, the customer or client will look to you for help and – if needed – compensation or a refund. You need to be very clear with customers about what you are providing and what the return policies are (in the event of a sales position.)

Depending on your business and the industry you are in, you should examine the possibilities of incorporating the business. This protects you, and your family from any legal threats that could be leveled against you (either rightly or wrongly) by a client.

For anyone desiring self-employment it is a good idea to invest a bit of money in one or two hours of a small business lawyer’s time to find out exactly where you stand. This step may save you a lot of money and grief in the long run.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tips to Avoid Being Scammed

No matter where you on in the world, there are countless online and work from home jobs to choose from. But, just like anything else online, there are also things available to you that might seem too good to be true - and often, they are.

Here's the good news, there are several things that you can do to make sure that you don’t end up beings scammed out of your hard work or money.

1. Do your research.
If you are offered a paying position or even a temporary job by someone online, do a search on their name or email address and see if anything fishy comes up. Try to deal with people who have good reputations, or at the very least who don’t have bad reputations. You should try to avoid people who send you emails from a free email accounts, unless they include a lot of business information that you can check and verify. Remember that you should always be on the look out for potential scammers, and this includes in the job market.
2. Ask Questions.
Try to ask as many questions of the person who is hiring you before you begin work. Make sure there is a work contract that you can sign and keep for your own records, so that you will have written proof if anything goes wrong or if you do work that you aren’t paid for. The more information you are getting on the person who is offering you work, the better chance you have of staying clear of scammers, because often scammers will not give you very much information.
3. Keep Records.
It goes without saying that you need to keep track of your own work, and everything you are doing. Track what you have done and how much you need to be paid for it. Be sure to keep track of when that payment has been received. And, if you can, try to keep records of all of the communications that you have with the people who are recruiting you to work. Make sure that they are always answering your questions.
4. Trust Your Instincts.
Feel out a person before you take work for them. Make sure that you are able to trust this person, and that they have given you enough information so that you feel they are trustworthy. You should be able to know if you can really trust someone or not by the time you begin to work with them. Avoid the places and the people who you simply don’t trust. If you don’t trust someone, you shouldn’t take work from that person. That is just a good rule of thumb to keep in mind. Don't work for those that you do not trust, and this should go for all types of work, whether it is from home or not.

There are lots of good opportunities out there for entrepreneurs. You need to go into them with your eyes open and your radar on. There is a rule of thumb that always works: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Do you homework and you will find success not scams.

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