Home Employment - Your Guide To Home Employment

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There is no such thing as a free lunch. Neither is there an easy way to earn money, especially from home. To make yourself employable, you need to ensure that you have the required skill sets as well as good marketing and interpersonal skills. A sound portfolio (for aspiring writers, editors, photographers, designers, etc.) is a must.

Today several private companies and MNCs are employing people who prefer working out of their homes. A host of opportunities exist for home employment in areas as diverse as telemarketing, selling insurance, data entry, typing, data conversion, copywriting, accounting , writing (academic and journalistic writing), editing and proof reading, web design, content development, Internet-based research for companies, graphic design and desktop publishing, programming, audio and video editing, translation work and etc is available.

With a fair bit of technology skills (typing and word processing skills, being PC literate), entrepreneurs can use the worldwide web to start companies and work from the convenience of their homes.

Before you get into the home employment groove, make sure you have the requisite qualifications, hardware, and time management skills to convince potential employers that you are the right person for the job.

Step 1: Make The Right Choices

Before you consider quitting your day-job or begin working from home, take a piece of paper and list out your skills, preferred areas of employment, and your comfort-level in each area. For instance, if you are a programmer, weigh the benefits of home employment versus working in a corporate environment. If you are a student, chart out your daily schedule and figure out how much time you can spare for a ‘part-time' job, even if it doesn't involve stepping out of home.

Remember, you may or may not earn as much as you would in a full-time job, and freelance projects take time to source and payments are delayed, in some cases. Zeroing in on the right kind of job is important. Don't get stuck with a job you don't like.

Step 2: Set Up Your Workstation

Once you have narrowed down your choice of employment, you can set up your workstation. You need to make sure that your future work area is very comfortable – use ergonomic furniture, wherever possible.

For Writers/Editors: A fast PC is a pre-requisite, you may also have to install software such as MS Office/Open Office, QuarkXP-press or Adobe InDesign.

For Designers: Although it's not important to invest in a Mac (Apple Macintosh), make sure your PC has enough RAM (at least 1 GB), hard disk space, and install a good graphics card. You also need to install design software such as Adobe photoshop, 3D Studio Max, Quark, Corel Painter, or Adobe InDesign.

For Data Entry/Typing Assignments: A computer, MS Office/open Office, or other data-entry software.

For Medical Transcription: Medical transcription involves transcribing medical records dictated by doctors (patient history, records, notes, lab reports), usually located in clinics abroad. Basic requirements include a PC with about 40 GB hard disk space, 256 MB RAM (minimum), sound card and Internet access. You would also require headphones, word processing software, and a good dictionary.

Step 3: Prepare Your Portfolio:

Prepare a good resume, entering the right keywords under ‘Objective'. Use sites like IT-people and Monster to get basic understanding of the job profile. Use Resume Builder on these sites (needs registration) and on MS Word.

Step 4: Set Up A Web Site or Blog

Create a good web site (one that's not too garish, text or image heavy).

If you are a freelance photographer or freelance programmer or freelance web designer or freelance graphic designer, put up thumbnails of your work on the site. You could also set up a web log (blog) on sites such as Blogger.com and LiveJournal.com. Don't forget to provide your e-mail address, resume, and contact details at a prominent location on the site.

Use the best search engines in the business Google, Yahoo!, MSN search, and the right keywords (freelance programming, freelance translation, freelance projects, Data entry, Freelance programmer, Freelancing, Freelancers, Freelance work, Custom web design, Outsource projects, Outsource work, and etc.) to find the jobs you want. Don't provide personal details while registering on a website unless it's absolutely essential.

Rent-a-coder.com, a freelance-sourcing site has a ranking system to rate the work of freelancer programmers, and help companies choose people best suited for a particular project. Elance.com, Guru.com, GetAFreelancer.com, Scriptlance.com, and Freelance Work Exchange are other popular freelance sites.

It's very, very important to ‘connect' with the outside world. Join networking groups such as Friendster and Ryze , have your blog linked to blog rings, and enroll in forums, user groups and other specific online communities. Caveat-online communities have their own set of protocols and etiquette. Remember to follow the rules; don't forward your resume to everyone you meet.

Step 5: Create A Work Schedule And Meet Deadlines

Create a ‘work culture' for your self. Just because there is no ‘boss' breathing down your neck, you can't afford to slacken or miss deadlines. In fact, you have to work twice as hard to ensure that the companies/clients hiring you have absolutely no reason to regret employing a freelancer.

Step 6: Sell Yourself

Be your own Boss, and brand manager. While it's important to have an online presence in the form of a website or blog, it's equally important to be aware of competitive pricing and different payment strategies.

Do not charge your clients less because you are working from home. Make enquires pertaining to the market rates for a particular project (say, web-design or coding), and charge them accordingly. Also, do not under-rate or overrate your skills; and do not undersell or oversell yourself. Be as honest as far as possible.

Tip: To ascertain that Google throws up your site when users enter certain keyword, make the title of your webpage very specific (Fashion Photographer or Freelance Writer or freelance programming or Outsource work or as the case may be).

Ensure that your site linked to other prominent ones, by publishing research papers online, being part of active online communities or regularly updating your web log with quality content.

Step7: Upgrade Your Skill-Sets

When you have time, enroll in training sessions, part-time diploma courses or distance education programs to upgrade your existing skill sets. With technological advancements, there will be rapid changes in the employment scenario as well.

The IT industry, for instance, is continuously evolving. You may have to invest in software courses, at least once every year, to learn new programming languages, improve your design and editing skills, and so on. Not upgrading your skills periodically would reduce your chances of employment, in any field.

Step 8: Exercise Regularly

As the maxim goes, health is wealth. Working from home may reduce your travel time but it might also bring to halt the little exercise you were getting earlier by walking to and from the train or the bus station. To ensure that you give your best to the projects you source, some physical exercise, yoga, and meditation sessions coupled with a balanced diet will help you stay mentally and physically in good shape.