Things To Know When Building Your WAHM-dom: Part I

by Gig Girl on September 8, 2010

I realized something last week – Gig Girl has not written about gigs in quite a long time!! Sure, I’ve had a lot going on these past few months that I’ve shared.  I am very thankful that I was able to write about puppies, pregnancies, perspectives and one ridiculously inappropriate infertility specialist.

However, one of the main purposes of this blog is to really dig into the realm of Work At Home opportunities, the struggles of being a WAHM (aka Work at Home Mom) and share what I find.  So I decided A) I either need to write about some gigs, ASAP or B) I need to embrace all that is the third trimester of this pregnancy and simply change my blog title to “The Big Girl” to be a misnomer no longer.

I, Gig Girl, swollen cankles and all, wholeheartedly choose option “A”…

As I wrote back in June, I recently found myself in the position of having 3 clients just as my 6 year old embarked on his summer vacation.  The gigs ranged in function from straight Virtual Assistant tasks, SEO Content creation and project management, and blog copywriting.  I am very happy to report that as fall approaches I am still currently working on all three gigs. (I’m also very happy to report that I survived my first official full-time at home summer recess with O.  It was a struggle in the beginning to find balance, but we did so much together, had a lot of fun, and I’m very grateful.  I’m also very grateful to my two SAHM girlfriends, Carin and Chrissy, who scoffed at me for feeling guilty for sending O to a camp for 3 days total in the entire summer). But I digress…

Trust me, I understand that given my short tenure and experience with WAHM-dom, I don’t know much.  But, I do have a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past few months that I thought might be helpful to pass along.  Here are the first few that come to mind:

If it seems too good to be true: It is.  Be leery of ads claiming you too can make “$1,500 a day by simply doing data entry” or anything along those lines.  Often, these sites ask you to make a minimal purchase to acquire the “kits” needed to perform these “get rich quick” at home tasks.  Once you put in your credit card information they access your account and can easily drain your funds.

Find the best ROI with job postings: There are a lot of sites out there that claim to host valid work from home opportunities.  I personally have had nothing but success with hiremymom.com.  It’s important to note that there is a membership fee (one of the few online purchases I’ve allowed myself in this process).  However, in 7 months I’ve gotten 1 short term job as well as my 3 current on-going gigs from this site and it’s more than paid for itself.

You can also tap into free resources by searching sites like Monster and Careerbuilders for opportunities with words like “Virtual”, “Telecommute”, and “Freelance” to find potential work from home jobs.

Some of these sites also allow contractors to “bid” on jobs.  These postings are global and I’ve literally found myself competing with overseas resources who are offering to work for $3 an hour.  Really.  I dedicated a ton of time scouring gigs on some of these sites before realizing that:

a) Anyone looking to hire from this pool really is probably looking to hire someone at $3 an hour.

b) Despite my illustrious beginnings at notchup.com, I don’t want to work for $3/hr. At the risk of sounding snooty, the last time I worked for $3 an hour was back in 1989 when I was underaged and lasted 3 very looooong days at this seafood restaurant in my hometown (when my parents would pick me up, they’d make me sit in the cab of my dad’s Ford pickup and, once home, mom used to make me disrobe in the basement to try to dissipate the pungency of shellfish odor on my clothes…that’s how foul I smelled). Back then the $3 was under the table so it was probably more like $4/hr…which is more than I’d be making on these sites.  So I moved on.

Know your worth: Speaking of hourly rates, it’s absolutely fine to have different rates for different services…even with the same client.  However, set a non-negotiable bottom rate for yourself and stick to it, even if it means passing on potential “opportunities.”  Don’t sell yourself short. In the long run you probably don’t want to do business with someone who is severely underpaying you for your efforts.

Get it in writing: When you do find legitimate clients, have them sign a contract.  I purchased a simple contractor’s agreement from legalzoom.com and revised it a bit to fit my needs.  (Always get legal consultation when drafting up a binding document).  If a client doesn’t want to sign a simple agreement that protects her interests as equally as it does yours, move on…quickly.  Yes, you can still get stiffed with a signed contract on record, but at least it will provide you some piece of mind that the unknown, faceless person across the country that wants to hire you via the internet isn’t a total and complete creeper.

Keep an open mind: While I certainly don’t recommend taking on assignments that you’re not qualified for or don’t have the experience to complete, I do think it’s important to not put your home business in a specific box of “we only do this” or “we only do that.”  Case in point, I started Ovel thinking it would be a straight Virtual Assistant model.  While I do have one VA client, Ovel has also morphed into a freelance writing business.   While I still struggle with actually referring to myself as a “writer”, it’s been both interesting and exciting to watch my business’ unexpected evolution.

Do you run your own home business?  Are you a successful WAHM? What tips and advice have worked for you?  Please feel free to offer your own experiences/pointers in the comments section!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie September 9, 2010 at 8:15 am

Good Morning! I don’t run my own business from home, but sooo wish I could. I’m glad I found your site. I would love to see what you find and will let you know if I find anything. Happy hunting…to us both ☺

Kristin September 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

I can’t help but think maybe you’re a Geisha Girl with the comment “Speaking of hourly rates, it’s absolutely fine to have different rates for different services…even with the same client.” Hmmmmmmmm. You rockin’ a kimono over there?
Sayonara.

Jill Grant September 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I think this is all helpful and really great information. I think the “get a contract” and “know your rate” tips are very helpful. I once had a guy try to hire me to create a Flash presentation for $7 an hour. I wanted to say, “Yeah, I worked at a bowling alley for four years of high school for a better rate than that, Pal!”

One tip I have for you is to see if you have a BNI chapter in your area. It is Business Networking International. My sister used to belong when she was in the insurance business. Basically it is an internation group that has local chapters. Each chapter can only have one representative from each industry in the local area. There is a weekly meeting where members give speeches and, um, network . . . it is a great way to expand your business locally. Not sure if this is a fit for your business or if there is a chapter in your area. I actually never joined myself because there was always a web designer in my local chapter and then when there was finally an opening, I wasn’t able to make the meeting times. However, my sister always had a great experience with her group!

Jenn September 13, 2010 at 8:39 am

Although I’m not a WAHM, I think it is a very respectable job. Please keep up the good work and I look forward to the Gig Girl posts!

Gig Girl September 13, 2010 at 8:45 am

Hey Jill – thanks for the tip on the BNI. I will definitely check it out (wondering if things are different in NH?) And LOL on the bowling alley story – totally feeling your pain!! I’ve had some potential clients who literally want a 10 page dissertation on why I’m such a great fit for a position…but pay me less than I made babysitting back in 9th grade!
Thanks for checking in!

Fay September 13, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing “The Gig Girl.” and I’m pleased to inform you that your blog has been added to Blogging Women.

Thank you for sharing your blog with me and now the many readers of our blog directory. Keep up the great work and I’m looking forward to your future post.

Jill Grant September 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I always check in, even if it is a little belatedly :) . . . I’m glad Fay is adding your blog to her directory, I’m sure people will love it!

Here is the link to BNI in New Hampshire. http://bninh.com/

Leave a Comment

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.

Previous post:

Next post: