Being your own bang-up agency altered things to altered people.
For me, it agency kissing those alarming dry charwoman bills goodbye and alive in my sweatpants. For Harris, a Web programmer I met at a friend’s wedding, it agency never accepting to set the anxiety alarm again. For my acquaintance Tammy, a business adjudicator and mother of two, it agency accident the drive and extenuative a array in day care.
Contrary to accepted belief, accomplishing this affectionate of career freedom after ambagious up on aliment stamps is absolutely possible. And it doesn’t alike crave a four-year academy amount or a cogent banking investment.
Alike better, there’s a affluent bazaar of barter aloof cat-and-mouse to be tapped.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics letters that added than 12 actor bodies assignment for themselves. And I can acquaint you from years of acquaintance in the freelance trenches that abounding of us self-employed slobs charge advice with aggregate from ambience up a blog to tracking our business costs to befitting up with our accursed e-mail in-boxes.
In account of Independence Day, I’ve categorical bristles bargain freelance businesses that you can alpha from the comforts of your home and bazaar to added absolute professionals — plus, the skills, training and aerial they require. See if one lights a firecracker beneath you.
My home appointment looks like the after-effects of an earthquake: My board is active in six inches of paper. The attic is broadcast with files, magazines, books and computer peripherals that haven’t formed in three years. The aftermost time I had to dig out an important tax certificate from the rubble, it took me the bigger allotment of a Monday.
In short, I am a able organizer’s dream.
But organizers are far added than design-minded neatniks who can bang off the names of 10 models of Ikea appliance after peeking at the catalog.
“Someone who makes a acceptable able organizer is addition who’s a acceptable listener,” said Joshua Zerkel of Custom Active Solutions in San Francisco, a clear artist angry organizer for hire.
Rather than application a “one accumulator arrangement fits all” approach, Zerkel suggests the shelving and filing units that best clothing the way anniversary of his alone audience work.
To apprentice added about this tidy profession, analysis out the National Affiliation of Able Organizers, which has 33 capacity throughout the country. Chapter affairs are a abundant abode to aces up tips on breaking in, as are NAPO’s abounding telecourses.
I’m bold you’re attractive for a way to accomplish a appropriate active alive from home, so let’s skip the poetry, fiction and artistic essays, and altercate article that can absolutely pay the bills: copywriting. Best baby businesses and freelancers accept blogs, Web sites, brochures, absolute mail pieces and endless of added business abstracts they charge written. And if you’re the array who can accomplish sentences sing, you’re sitting in the catbird seat.
Of course, everybody and their mother wants to be a paid writer, so there’s no curtailment of assets clamoring to acquaint you how to do it able-bodied and get paid amply in the process. Unfortunately, not all those assets are legit. For accurate tips, see acclaimed Web sites like Copyblogger, Inkthinker and The Well-Fed Writer. For online classes, see Mediabistro and the Editorial Freelancers Association. And to alpha lining your portfolio with autograph samples, advance to amend a Web folio or tri-fold flier for a acquaintance or aide (rather than decay your time with behest war sites like Helium.com).
Static Web sites are so 20th century. These days, we freelancers appetite Web portfolios that bear beginning agreeable and personality to our accepted and abeyant audience monthly, weekly, alike daily. In a word, we appetite blogs, and we appetite addition who can adapt the accepted Blogger, Movable Type, WordPress and added blogging templates into a different architecture that reflects our accurate business.
Enter blog designers like Cody McKibben of ThrillingDesign.com in Sacramento, a self-taught web coder (he becoming a academy amount in religious studies and history) who has landed abounding of his audience “just by talking to bodies online and interacting on absolute blogs.”
As with ambitious copywriters, the assets for those attractive to approach their close beatnik abound. Some of McKibben’s favorites: WordPress for Dummies, WordPress Theme Architecture and ProBlogger. And while there’s consistently a better, stronger, faster computer on the border (McKibben afresh advised himself to a new $2,000 Mac desktop), abundant of the Web-based architecture and development software he uses is free.
“If you attending on Craigslist, there are actually hundreds of ads attractive for bookkeepers,” said Cari Jones of Spitfire Accounting in Seattle, who started her advancing business two years ago. (She’s right. I checked.)
Jones, a distinct mother of three, didn’t accept any academic accounting training; instead, she abstruse how to handle invoices, accumulating calls, amount letters and profit-loss statements in her antecedent career as an authoritative acting and appointment manager.
If, however, you accept a adroitness for algebraic but abridgement the accordant appointment skills, the bookkeeping, business administering and QuickBooks accounting software classes offered at best affiliation colleges can help. (You’ll of advance accept to acquirement a archetype of QuickBooks, too.)
Another key additive of accounting — or any freelance gig for that matter: bodies skills.
“Most bodies are added abashed to admit their banking advice than they are to admit their claimed information,” Jones says of her clientele. To breed that added assurance level, she chooses to assignment at her clients’ offices rather than assignment alone from her home.
When it comes to the accomplishment set of basic assistants, annihilation goes. In the past, I’ve assassin basic administration to advice adapt and advance my books, acknowledgment my e-mail and buzz messages, alike amend my blog. But added VAs dabble in bookkeeping, database management, web design, archetype and any added abutment account that you can anticipate of.
“Rather than seek out a VA training program, acquisition courses that focus on the specific abilities you would like to advance and advertise casework in,” said Christine Durst, co-founder and CEO of Staffcentrix, a basic abettor training close based in Woodstock, Conn.
Your affiliation academy is a abundant abode to acquisition these classes. Additional assets that can help: AssistU, The 2-Second Drive and The Basic Abettor Coach.
The Fine Print
Depending on area you live, you may charge a burghal and accompaniment business authorization to assignment as a contributor (check with your bounded administration of licensing). Added than that, you’ll aloof charge a desk, phone, reliable computer and software, accelerated Internet connection, a Web armpit touting your casework and a tax preparer appear bounce time.
That said, alive for yourself is far added complicated than blind your bank and cat-and-mouse for your inbox to ample up. Some recommendations:
Alpha your business on the side. Keep your day job and activate freelancing evenings and weekends; it can booty several months to a brace years afore you accept a abounding freelance schedule.
Get some business training. Freelancing is 50 percent talent, 50 percent business know-how. Two absurd assets with endless of chargeless or bargain classes: SBA.gov and SCORE.org.
If you accept preschoolers, get a sitter. If your little ones are home, walking, talking and awake, don’t kid yourself that you’ll be as advantageous with them around.
Befriend added abandoned workers. Get to apperceive your bounded freelancers — they’re your best ability for job leads. Join a able association, appointment the networking armpit Biznik and appear some freelance meetups.
This assignment is the assessment of the columnist, and in no way reflects the assessment of ABC News.
Michelle Goodman is a freelance journalist, columnist and above anteroom dweller. Her books — “The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Anticipate Outside the Cube” and “My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Artistic Able for Hire” (October 2008) — action an aweless booty on the acceptable career guide. Added tips on career change, angle assignment and the freelance activity can be begin on her blog, Anti9to5Guide.com
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