Today, I'd like to discuss working from home. On the whole, it's a pretty good thing. I don't have to buy clothes for work (professional clothes, that is-I don't work naked) or gas to get there or food to eat while I'm there. I also don't have to deal with customers anymore. Much like Randal on "Clerks," I felt retail would have been great if it wasn't for the effing customers. Oh, there were some really nice ones. But when they were bad, they were horrid. And I don't have to pay taxes upfront. So far, our deductions have been large enough that I could just take the taxes out of our yearly refund, even without itemizing. This obviously means I need to make more money.
It can be hard to concentrate at times, especially with little ones around. But another benefit is that I can stop what I'm doing and attend to whatever I need to anytime, unless I'm having a frazzled day. In those cases, I will scream like a shrew at Mr. Snarky to go take care of it. I'm kidding. Maybe.
I started my adventures in working at home in 2007, when Princess was 1 and Lightning was a wee one. Mr. Snarky's job took care of the bills, but I wanted some breathing room and to contribute again. I started doing SEO writing for a woman on a pregnancy board. Boooooooring but I was getting paid.
A few months after that job dried up, I found ChaCha, a text message answer service, in August 2008. It was really great. I don't really recommend this job anymore, however, unless you're willing to work very long hours for very little pay.
ChaCha has always maintained that the job is meant for fun money only, but most Guides were paying decent amounts of bills when I started there. It's hard to adjust. With ChaCha losing customers who use Sprint/Nextel (meaning *I* can't even use the service I work with!), T-Mobile and Boost, I really don't know how much longer they can keep a free answer service paid for by advertisers going.
I have worked in every role ChaCha offers, with the exception of Voice Transcriber. I changed roles and took pay cuts due to concerns over being able to get enough traffic. Prior to my first role change, ChaCha instituted a pay scale based on question category, so most questions paid less than when I originally started anyway.
There was a period in late 2008 when traffic came to a virtual standstill. It's actually why I changed roles then and again later because I was scared of a repeat. It became pretty apparent to me that I needed to broaden my work at home horizons in case ChaCha went under. So in 2009 I began looking for other things I could do from home so that I could continue as a stay-at-home mom and not just work to pay the daycare.
I kept coming back to writing. It seemed to be the best fit since I had two children and one on the way. I couldn't work the phone jobs due to background noise, and the other text message services either didn't pay any better and required a schedule or were dirty texting (ew) and still didn't pay any better. Plus, I now had a little experience with SEO writing and always did well on essays and reports for school. I surfed work-at-home mom boards, looking for places that would hire with little experience (or none, since I could not verify my previous experience because I was no longer in contact with the lady) and chose to apply to Textbroker in July 2009. More on that in my next post.