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Exploring Working at Home

Cheryl Gochnauer


As you might imagine, it's a rare day when I don't receive an e-mail regarding work-at-home prospects. Although stay-at-home parents are generally well-versed in stretching their dollars, sometimes it's helpful to examine options for generating extra cash while still focusing on family.

A cardinal rule when seeking work-at-home prospects - NEVER pay anybody to give you a job. If someone promises to send you a list of money-making strategies "for only !", RUN. All you'll get is a letter advising placing the same sort of ad YOU fell for, along with a disconnected contact number.

There are several legitimate companies, including respected firms like Mary Kay, Discovery Toys, and Pampered Chef, which require an initial investment to cover start-up costs. Be careful to realistically consider the potential buyers in your life and purchase only what you're sure you'll be able to sell. Otherwise, you'll end up with more than your share of great makeup, fun toys, snazzy kitchen utensils - and pressing inventory bills.

I've found the most promising work-at-home leads usually emerge through networking with people you already know personally (friends/family/neighbors), socially (pastors/teachers/fellow volunteers) and professionally (business clubs/organizations/past co-workers). Best place to start - your former employer.

Maybe your boss turned you down flat a couple of years ago, when you first offered to work from home. Even if you've already quit your job to become an at-home parent, consider putting together a proposal and asking again.

In case you hadn't noticed, we're in the midst of a cultural revolution. The proliferation of home office equipment has split the marketplace wide open, dramatically multiplying the number of companies which allow employees to telecommute. Your boss might surprise you with a change of heart, welcoming help from an already-trained employee.

Or try approaching different companies in your same field, linking up with a more family-friendly business. For instance, just because your former boss wouldn't hire you as a freelancer doesn't mean his competitors won't. Outsourcing is a profitable way of taking care of overflow work. Offer the skills needed, and you become a valuable commodity.

Having a speedy computer, second phone line, fax machine and Internet access place you in the running for many work-at-home jobs. Take time to determine your strengths, then start pitching yourself to companies that can use your expertise.

From Working Mom to SAHMTelecommuting

To receive Cheryl's free weekly ezine, write Visit her website at Copyright 2000 Cheryl Gochnauer.

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