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It’s not what you think. I don’t have 150K in my pocket right now. But yes, Intra just saved me 150k. In just two months!

But first, what is Intra?

Intra is a natural food supplement that helps balance and strengthen the body’s systems. It has the proprietary formulation of 23 time-tested and trusted botanical extracts, which provide antioxidants, flavonoids, lignins, polysaccharides and other health-enhancing nutrients specific to each herbal extract. 

I first heard of Intra from an aunt. That was a long time ago, back when I had no care about supplements. I was young. I was healthy. What do I need supplements for?

Then last year, my high school batch had a reunion. And two batchmates were actively promoting Intra. I got curious, and I asked for the literature. What I read intrigued me, and got me thinking… Hmmm… 23 botanical extracts. Maybe this could make up for the lack of vegetables in my diet.

So I asked my batchmate, An, if she could tell me more about it. She told me about the numerous testimonies that people have shared. She invited me to come to the Lifestyles head office so I could see and hear for myself. But I said no. I don’t have time. It’s too far. And I have no intention of doing the business. I just want to use the product. She said I’d be better off if I register as a member so I could take advantage of the discounts. So I said, game. Tell me how I could get discounts.

She came to our house one day in May last year. She lives in Manila, but she was happy to visit me in Batangas. On that same day, I registered. I was really just looking for something to compensate for the lack of vegetables in my diet. But being a numbers person, I knew I’d save more if I register as a distributor and not just a member. So I got the Express Package.

One jigger a day keeps the doctor away.

The whole family started taking Intra right away. At that time, I was on a break from crocheting because my fingers were giving me problems. My nerves were not so good. Even the simple task of washing the dishes was problematic for me. My hands were so weak, I would always feel like I would drop a glass.

That was the first change that I felt. After just about two weeks, my hand started to feel stronger. In June, I was able to go back to crocheting.

Then I noticed that I was falling asleep the moment my back hits the bed. I used to have problems sleeping. I would feel sleepy, but when I lie down, I wouldn’t fall asleep. Like my mind remains active. I blamed it on the irregular hours I keep being a virtual assistant. I sometimes have to work on Pacific Time.

Migraine attacks were also a regular thing for me. And I used to have attacks that last for days. Since I started taking Intra, I haven’t had a single attack. Amazing, huh?

Born with just one kidney.

Yes, I’m special like that.

Back in 2009, I had this excruciating pain on my lower right abdomen. I was rushed by my husband to the hospital because I was doubling over in pain. On the way to the hospital, I started to lose sensation on my legs. Like I was seeing them, but I was not feeling them. When we arrived at the hospital, my husband had to half-carry me. I was able to walk, but only because I was thinking of walking. I was not feeling my legs at all.

We were referred to a surgeon and he advised an appendectomy. Last minute, he said, wait, let’s get you a whole abdomen ultrasound. There might be something else.

So I had the ultrasound. Three sonologists alternated in performing the ultrasound, while repeatedly asking me if I ever had an operation before. My answer was simple. I’ve never been hospitalized except for the three times that I’ve given birth.

The reason for the repeated questions was revealed when we got the result. They were looking for my right kidney.

The pain finally subsided, and I was not operated on. The reason for the pain remains a history to this day. Maybe it was just God’s way of letting me know that I only had one kidney so I could start taking better care of myself.

A deliquent patient.

From 2009 to 2012, I was under the care of a nephrologist. But I got tired of going to the doctor, so I stopped.

But then in 2018, I started to feel like I really have to take better care of myself because I’m not getting any younger, and we have children that we need to send to college. Intra has been my first move to better health.

Then in March, I found me a new nephrologist. I brought all my past lab results to her, and her first order for me was to have a follow-up ultrasound. She said, you only have one, so let’s see how it’s doing in there.

Stones in my gallbladder.

I was shocked. I was worried. I was afraid. I had all these feelings when I first saw the result.

My husband tried to console me. But the doctor was worried, too. She said, if this is just one or two, I would not do anything. At least not yet. But it says, at least 5 so there could be more.

So she referred me to cholecystitian. She said he’s the best in the hospital.

Lo and behold! It’s the surgeon who was instrumental in me finding out about my lone kidney. Had he gone ahead with the appendectomy without ordering the whole abdomen ultrasound first, we would have not found out about the kidney, and I’d be without an appendix now.

So when I went to see him, I trusted him. I knew he would do the right thing.

He asked me what I was feeling. Told him I’m good. He asked if I was feeling any pain. I said no. He asked if I was feeling bloated. I said all the time. And I told him I have discomfort on my right side just below my chest. He said that’s where your gallbladder is.

My worry scale just went up ten notches. At that time, I’d do anything he’d advise me to do.

He explained what the game plan would be. He showed images and explained the procedure in graphic detail. But when he quoted me what the cost would be, I balked. I asked, can we possibly wait a few months? I need to raise funds for this. He said, ok. But the moment you feel pain, you go to the emergency room and call me.

I promised to do just that, and that I would also have a follow-up ultrasound in two months.

Intra in my mind.

On the way home, I texted my friend An. I asked her if she has ever encountered testimonies of people who had gallbladder stones. She said yes. There have been several. I asked for the dosage. And she said, just three jiggers, Marge.

I started with three jiggers right away. One after breakfast, one after lunch, and one after dinner. At that time, my daughter and I were living in Manila. She was rendering her OJT hours in an events company and being inexperienced in city living, I had to keep her safe. And that meant me walking her to the trike stop every morning, and picking her up from the office in the evening.

We started living in Manila on February 25. And every morning when I walk my daughter over the MRT station I would feel really winded and there was a pain in my chest.

But after my ultrasound on March 10 and I’ve started with the three jiggers daily, the pain disappeared and I did not feel as winded as before.

Again, being a numbers person, I thought of the extra savings I’d get if I just registered my husband for another Express Package, so I did. The plan was, if Intra works for me and it somehow dissolves the stones in my gallbladder, then we’d register our daughter, too, and then we’ll have the opportunity to do the business for real.

Then in the early part of May, knowing that I was about to have my follow-up ultrasound, I told my husband I wanted to double my dose. And I did. I started taking 2 jiggers three times a day.

After a week, I started feeling dizzy. I suspected that the 6 jiggers were too much. That I was becoming hypoglycemic. So we went back to 3 jiggers. And I was fine again.

Happy day.

Indeed, it is!

I had my follow-up ultrasound today. And the stones are gone!

Echo free means no stones! Isn’t that amazing?

So yes, Intra saved me 150K. Could be more, because that was just the doctor’s estimate. You know how estimates go, right?

My husband says I only consumed less than 7 bottles of Intra in the past two months. If I were just buying it on SRP, that’s only Php 12,600. But because I’m registered as a distributor, it’s waaaaaay lower than that.

So…

Now I think I want to do more than use Intra. I have my own personal testimony that it works. And I want to share this with anyone who’d care to listen. In fact, I’m now working on a Healthy Lifestyle page right here on my site so you’ll have all the info you’ll need about Intra.

Are you interested to know more? Please do message me on Facebook! Or call or text me on my cell, or we can meet up in Manila. Just let me know!

The post How Intra Saved Me 150K in Two Months appeared first on The Happy Work-At-Home Mom.

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I recently wrote about how you can start a successful career as a freelancer. Today, I write about the ten best online business models that you can do should you decide to take the entrepreneur path.

I chose ten because these are the models that I have already done, and doing.

So let’s go through them one by one.

Make Money on Affiliate Marketing

Affiliating with businesses in order to promote them is not a new concept. But what you need to know here is that you can make it your main source of income without the need to physically venture an inch out of your home.

If you were to ask me a single method that marketers use to make a surefire rapid income on the Internet, my answer would be affiliate marketing. Though there are dozens of home business models on the Internet, and I’m going to cover 10 of them here, it is quite safe to say that affiliate marketing ranks among the top three.

I know this because, in over a decade of being a VA, 90% of the clients I’ve worked with are affiliate marketers. That’s what they do. That’s how they earn, and most of them are doing it passively. In fact, my very first client was an affiliate marketer. It is from him that I learned how to build a website, how to do SEO and how to find marketable products.

Basically, the affiliate marketing model means to promote someone’s product over the Internet. You are helping them with their advertising and are getting paid a commission for that.

You can start by making an account on an affiliate network such as ClickBank, ShareASale, Commission Junction, and my favorite, Amazon. This is a place where advertisers post their advertising requirements. When you are a part of any of the networks I mentioned, you can choose the products you want to promote. You will want to know what people within your network would be interested in and choose to promote those.

The roundabout way of doing this is to choose the products you want to promote first, then find out if they have an affiliate program, then sign up. This is more effective if you are like me who has chosen to promote very specific niche products.

So for example, you want to promote Tupperware. You can go to the Tupperware website and check out if they have an affiliate program. Or you can go to Amazon and see if they have Tupperware. Either way, you get an affiliate link, and you can promote Tupperware to your friends everywhere in the world where the Tupperware company or Amazon delivers. See the linked Tupperware word there? It has my Amazon affiliate link. So if you end up buying when you get to Amazon, I get a few cents out of that sale.

But wait! A few cents? Didn’t I just say that you can make this a main source of income?

Well, if you do your affiliate marketing business right, it can be. This post is going to be here until I stop publishing my website. And so that link stays for that same length of time. And this is not the only place where I have put that link. And that is not the only Amazon link that I have. Over time, it becomes a passive income.

Build a Niche Content Site

People on the Internet are mainly looking for information. If you provide them the information they are looking for, you are a winner all the way.

But what is a niche content site?

A niche content site is a site that caters to a particular group of people. Like gardening is a niche; cooking is a niche; crafting is a niche. Other people would not be interested in reading about those topics. But those who are will likely find your website and even subscribe to your RSS feed to watch out for new information that you might come up with next time.

There can also be a niche within a niche. Like, in gardening, there could be a sub-niche of how to do away with aphids or how to use the right mix of fertilizers to make those grapes bigger. These are sub-niches. You must remember one thing here… the narrower you are making your niche, the less traffic you are likely to get, but on the flipside, these people are more focused and they will be more interested in doing business with you.

Think about it. If someone really wants to have some information on aphid removal, and your site has that content and also promotes some product relating to it, like an aphid spray, the likelihood of that visitor buying the product from your site is indeed high.

This is how you need to go about it.

  • First, think of a popular niche that you would like to build a site on. You could go to places like Google Suggest and check out what many people are looking for.
  • Google Suggest will also give you a host of keywords that you can use. These are the keywords that most people are using when searching.
  • Build content. You will need to have at least 50 pages or so of content to make some kind of impact. Spruce up your content by using the right keywords so that it reaches out to the people who are looking for the specific information.
  • Then, look for products on your affiliate network site to promote on your niche site. You can put ads in the form of text and banners. By having your own website, you are saving money on advertising services such as Google Ads. You have to make your website popular so that more people will visit, which in turn will increase the number of clicks (and sales) that you get. At the same time, the popularity of your ads will increase the traffic on your website.

The Happy WAHM is a niche content site. My main niche is working from home. How to be happy working from home is a sub-niche. Or how to homeschool while working from home is a sub-niche. Another sub-niche is how to find time for a hobby while working from home. You get the idea.

Blog Your Story

This is one model where people actually have fun sharing their experiences and get paid. In my case, it also increases my business prospects.

You can monetize blogging in several different ways. There isn’t just one way in which you can make money out of a blog; there are several. Once you have a blog of your own, it is a learning experience in itself. But, at the same time, the money that comes in while you are simply sharing something that is already true to you becomes a motivation to go the distance.

A very good platform to build your blog would be WordPress or Blogger. I’m a WordPress advocate. Tried Blogger in the early days but it did not have all the features I wanted, so WordPress has been it for me.

While you can set up a free account on either platform, having a self-hosted domain lends more credibility. Partner brands would choose a self-hosted domain over a free one anytime. Some would even require you to submit your domain authority before they decide to work with you, so yes, a self-hosted domain is what you’d want to have if you want to be serious with your blogging.

If you’re interested in having one, check out my hosting services.

In blogging, content is king. If you want your site to be visited, then put out great content. In the past years, I very rarely blogged. But because the few times I did I had content relevant to my niche, partner products still found me and was fortunate enough to have written posts that I felt good about.

The following are some ways in which you can monetize your blog:-

  • You could use PPC advertising on your blog.
  • You could directly sell or advertise products. (See my sidebar.)
  • You could give away an eBook or a newsletter subscription and get leads.
  • You could build a blog, populate it and then sell the whole thing for a tidy profit. (What I plan to do with my Essential Oils website but I will get a different domain for it.)
  • You can accept paid posts from companies who need help in promoting their products. My rule on this one is to only accept posts that are within my niche. I don’t want to veer away from my narrative for the site.

Shout out to these group of bloggers who are really rocking it in the blogging world. Mommy Bloggers Philippines and Bloggers ng Pinas, thank you for having me as a member although I’m not as active as the rest of you!

Infopublishing

When we talk about infopublishing, we are talking about eBooks, newsletters, videos, audiobooks and the like. Generally, this is content that people can download to their devices.

I have so far completed one eBook. And I have at least a dozen more drafts, but let’s talk about that another day, okay?

There are two ways in which you can get into the infopublishing business:

  • You could create the info content yourself on a topic that is within your chosen niche and sell it on your website. This is what I did.
  • You could hire someone to create it for you, then sell it on your website.
  • You could promote someone else’s product for a commission.

Whatever is the way you choose to go, you would be distributing informative content.

You can also distribute this content through your own affiliate program. If you believe you have a great product, then go ahead and set up an affiliate program and have other people sell your product for you. That will multiply your reach a thousand-fold.

Sell Software

Never underestimate the power of software applications. You are using dozens of them on your desktop yourself.

Selling software is one of the most logical ways to make good money on the Internet. People who use computers are always trying to make their jobs easier or to add more quality to their jobs. That is the reason they are looking for good software all the time. With broadband Internet, it has become so very easy to provide software in downloadable formats. You promote a link from where people can download a particular software and allow them to access it when they make payment. They will pay and you give them the link to download the software.

Many marketers tease people by giving them demo versions of the software for free. This allows the downloaders to understand the quality of the product before they decide to spend good money on it. These demo versions generally have some features locked or they are timed demos that expire after a specific number of hours worth of usage. When that happens, people are prompted to buy the product to make use of it limitlessly.

For promotion, you can use more of the same methods that you would use for affiliate marketing. If your software becomes popular, especially in places where your niche market usually visits, you could be assured of a healthy flow of downloaders. At the same time, you have to remember that there is no lifespan for this. There will always be downloaders, provided you promote well and keep upgrading your software, which means, you can keep generating a flow of passive income for years.

Just like with infopublishing, you don’t have to be the one to create your software. Come up with an idea that your ideal software will solve, then hire someone to do it for you. And then set up an affiliate program for it.

And you can also sell software through affiliate marketing, just like the way I’m doing it with Scrivener on my sidebar. I’m personally using Scrivener for my own writing projects. This is a secret, but I’m working on my own book. Sssssshhhh!!! And because I found it really great, I decided to promote it. My market? My clients in my VA biz.

Membership Sites

Membership sites are just what their name indicates – these are sites where you are asking people to become members of your website site and in return, you are providing them with a host of value-added services. On most membership sites, the members are provided with some free offers and downloadable products and they get privileges on various affiliate sites, too.

The basic concept of a membership site is that you keep your goodies hidden from the general Internet public and allow them access to it only when they have taken the membership action that you ask them to. This has been on the pipeline for me for the longest time but alas, I still have yet to implement my plans.

Membership sites do take a lot of effort. You have to have a unique concept to make your membership site appealing to members and you have to make constant efforts to provide high-quality information to your members.
They are going to be disappointed otherwise and you are going to lose credibility. I know this because I have managed some membership sites for clients. The amount of work that goes into the maintenance of such site is just overwhelming.

But maybe I will still do this in the future. I have like 40GB worth of information/resources stored that I know WAHMs are going to love. For now, I’m just skimming the surface and sharing bits and pieces of them on my page and my Facebook Group.

Sell Your Services

What’s the best, most unique and special thing that you can sell and keep selling forever?

Your own services, that’s what.

You have a talent for something? Go right ahead and peddle it on the Internet.

The Internet has a market for everything. Even for your own services. If you think you are good at something, the Internet could be the best place for you to vend your skills.

Check out my post on how you can start a successful career as a freelancer.

Of course, it is understood that the kind of services that have a demand on the Internet are services that you can provide online. These are mostly services related to website building and maintenance, and Internet marketing, just like the ones below:

  • Content creation
  • Blog management
  • Search engine optimization
  • Website creation
  • Social networking services such as Craigslist postings
  • Managing other virtual staff
  • Proofreading and editing

The drawback here is that you have to spend a lot of time in front of your computer, all the time. Unlike in affiliate marketing, for example, where you can just set it up one time and forget about it. Until such time that you want to make an update, add a new link or remove a non-performing one. In selling your services, you earn only as much as you work and there is no opportunity for passive income.

Network Marketing

Network marketing has been present since the pre-Internet times and it has received its fair share of criticisms. However, this is a sure moneymaking biz as clearly evidenced by the millionaires you see gracing your Facebook and Twitter feed ever single day.

The concept is too darned simple – you build a network of people and jointly you promote a product or service. At the same time, you try to bring more people into the network. For each person that joins the network, the upline members earn a commission. Direct sales bring in the money, too, but the main commission is brought in through the commissions that the network building generates.

However, the implementation is not quite as simple. Building the network can be formidable to most people. To address that, trainings are provided so you can build your network well. You get a website from the network marketing company that you join, you can attend physical seminars and webinars and you have access to a host of material, online and offline, where you can learn how to promote your network most effectively and efficiently.

Presently, I am a member of two networking giants, Young Living and Lifestyles. I joined these companies because I found the products effective for me and my whole family. Earning from them is just an added bonus. Join my team!

The drawback here is that there are a lot of players in the network marketing (also called as multilevel marketing or simply MLM) world. A lot of them are scammers and these are the people who have given the industry a bad name. You have to be particularly wary of pyramid schemes in which people earn only through building a network but don’t have any product to sell.

Internet Auctions

Online auctions could be a good means to earn a good amount of online income.

Net auctions are just like the ordinary auctions that you know, except that they are conducted over the Internet. A product is displayed on the auction site with its features and benefits all spelled out. Then a minimum bid is marked.

Top of mind for auction sites is eBay. Another one is uBid. These are just a couple of sites where you can buy and sell products for a profit.

Speak Out Your Mind

Not many people know that they can really earn money for calling a spade a spade. On the Internet where anything goes, this happens, too!

You may have heard of online surveys. Yes, they’re legit. And yes, they pay.

Well, at least, some of them.

Take note, you can’t make this your sole source of income. This is just something you’d want to do in your spare time. Instead of endlessly scrolling through Facebook, try answering some survey questions instead. Online surveys can bring in money, but you can’t live on it.

But why do surveys work in the first place?

These surveys serve brands to improve their products. The brands hire a marketing team (or they have an in-house marketing department) who put up these surveys for people to respond to. Results of these surveys become the basis of how they can improve their products.

Yep, I did this, too. But only to try it out.

How to get into it? Just Google paid surveys and you’ll find hundreds of them. Just go for the legit ones, of course.

So those are my top 10 best online business models. I’m sure there are more, but I can only write about things I have firsthand knowledge of.

If you want to share YOUR favorite online business models with me, leave them on the comments below.

And just as I always close my posts, please LIKE me on Facebook.

The post 10 Best Online Business Models appeared first on The Happy Work-At-Home Mom.

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I’m a WAHM. I’m a home-based professional.  I’m an entrepreneur. And I’m a freelancer.

If the interest in this thing called WAHMing has been impressively high before, it just skyrocketed anew a couple of months back when an interview with a fellow Filipino freelancer aired out, the interviewee claiming to make 100K monthly just by writing emails.

I didn’t see the interview since I barely have time to watch TV these days.  But my Facebook feed has been full of it for days.  Plus, I happen to be a member of the Facebook Group where the interviewees are also members. But full disclosure, I rarely read the threads, sorry.  I have to prioritize my activities while on Facebook.  Meaning, I just mainly check messages from collaborators, clients, and to update client pages.

I do the occasional scrolling on my feed to see what’s happening in my network, but I really don’t stay much on the feed. I leave my window on the page.

I asked my husband to send me the link to the news clip, because now I’m interested to know what was discussed.  Always wanting to learn from someone who’s doing well, that’s me.

But alas, he can’t find it.  And I tried to Google it myself, but gah!  I got 973,000 search results, all about making 100K per month as a freelancer.  Must be a really lucrative business to be in!  No wonder everybody’s talking about it.

And everybody wants to be a freelancer now.  So questions abound.  All starting with how.

My being a freelancer, a WAHM, was not a conscious decision I made.  I was pushed to become one.  Back at the time that no one understands what a virtual assistant does.  Back when there were no workshops, no webinars, and no Facebook groups.

So I started out blind.  Counting on my skills, my motivation to make it, and my best friend, Mr. Google.

I’ve conducted my share of workshops in the past, and I have three different modules on How to Become a Virtual Assistant.  Then I moved on to coaching with my module Work-At-Home 101: How to Leave Your 9 to 5 for Your Entrepreneur Dream Life, and a module on How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business. I even had two runs of WordPress for Beginners with my partner, The Techie Mom.

Until everyone became an expert and I just felt I no longer need to get a piece of that pie.  Let the new experts teach the new ones the ropes.  I have to make time for crochet, and more time to just cuddle with the hubby.

That is, when I’m not working as a virtual assistant.

But for the sake of sharing, let me write my own piece on how you, too, can be a freelancer from home.

When you think of freelancing, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

You probably think of a writer, novelist or journalist immediately.

You have probably heard of freelance photographers. too. The husband of a fellow WAHM is one. And my daughter will soon be a graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Arts, and last we talked, she won’t be seeking employment, so another freelancer in the making in our household.

What about freelance software designers, freelance medical billing specialists, or even freelance scientific researchers?

These are all jobs that have recently begun to see massive growth because more and more people are realizing that they can make far more money working for themselves as freelancers than they ever could solely from being employed.

So it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? You work in a particular niche for a few years, get a lot of practical experience in your chosen area of employment and then gradually make the switch from working the nine to five to becoming your own boss as a freelancer.

But is it really as easy as it sounds to become a freelancer and actually make a living doing work on a freelance basis?

We have to keep in mind that there are quite a few freelancers out there who are only doing work part-time. Not because they make a ton of money and only have to work a couple of days per week, but because they actually have had some trouble finding work and need a much more solid career option in order to make sure that they do not find themselves facing bankruptcy. So they stay employed and get into gigs.

However, such a scenario does not have to happen to you if you are willing to do whatever it takes to become a freelancer. Your career switch may not happen overnight – but eventually you will become highly successful at what you do.

It’s a guarantee. I can say that coz I made it happen for me.

The first step in making that jump from office work to freelancing is to decide whether or not you have what it takes to become a freelancer.

We all want to be our own boss, but do we all have the drive and dedication that it takes to be successful without the watchful eye of our supervisors?

Sadly, some of us don’t.

Therefore, you have to really sit down and think about what makes you so special in the world of freelancers.

Do you have a large enough skill set to make you stand out amongst the hoards of different people all seeking the same work as you?

Do you have the time management skills necessary to run your own freelancing operation and meet all of the deadlines set upon you by your clients?

Do you have enough networking and research skills to find your own clients?

If you have even the slightest doubt in your mind about freelancing, then maybe there are other career paths that are better for you in the long run.

Now, provided that you are willing to jump in to your freelancing business with both feet, you need to start off on the freelance path slowly before you can really start raking in the cash.

Don’t quit your job just yet! Instead, you need to begin your internet hunt for freelance work in your area of expertise and see what you can come up with.

Some skills, such as the ability to write coherently or do software design for clients of all types, are highly marketable and you should really have no difficulty whatsoever finding a goldmine.

On the other hand, if you are only able to do tasks that are not as easily marketable on a freelance basis, you will have more difficulty finding work for your freelance operation. Data entry, research, and those copy-paste tasks are legit but pay peanuts, and competition in those areas is really stiff.

Currently, some of the most popular niches for freelancing include writing, editing, photography, web and graphic design, software design, and social media management. I heard architecture and drafting are in high demand, too.

Once you have decided on a niche that you want to freelance in, you will need to start finding your first clients. Whatever you do, do not start your hunt with any of the clients that you may have dealt with in your current job.

There are all kinds of laws against this practice and it may get you into serious trouble if you are caught.

Instead, turn to your favorite search engine and search for some forums and databases specifically designed for freelancers seeking work in your chosen niche.

There are tons of different places for you to visit, so within an hour you will probably have at least ten or fifteen bookmarked websites where you can find employment as a freelancer. Set a time to visit each one of them and check how you can sell yourself to prospective clients through those websites.

When you start out as a freelancer, you will probably have to take a few jobs that do not pay very well at all. That’s fine because these jobs help you build your skill set and help you familiarize yourself with the tools required for certain tasks.

They will help you learn how to more effectively manage your time, speed up your workflow, and even help you get more used to using a computer and the internet to search for answers to any questions that may pop up while you are doing work for your client.

While doing the low paying jobs, take time to build a list of satisfied clients. Since you will have to primarily compete with all of the other freelancers in your niche, you will have to come up with your own value proposition. Some freelancers I know compete with price. Personally, that’s a no-no. But to each his own, right?

So try to manage your fees where you have enough to tide you by after the cost of operations like electricity, internet, allowance for equipment repair and the like. And come up with your own unique value proposition.

Just do it right and you will eventually will graduate to higher paying jobs, be able to negotiate your fees, until you have practically doubled your employment income with income from freelancing.

At this point, you should feel confident enough to possibly start thinking about reducing the number of hours you work at your current job to part-time status or even quit your job altogether and make your fortune solely through freelancing in your selected niche.

My personal gauge is to have at least 6 to 8 months worth of your current income in the bank before you quit. It will take 6 to 8 months for you to gain traction as a freelancer.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Imagine this…

After a long day at the office, you decide to stop by your local bookstore or supermarket to pick up a copy of your favorite magazine.

When you open it up to a story that you find fascinating, you look at the author’s name and see that in his biography it says that he is a professional freelance writer.

Looking at the selected photographs, drawings and diagrams quickly makes you realize that all of the artwork for the story was also done by freelance photographers and graphic designers.

When you get home, you decide to start up your computer and log online to check out the news for the day that you might have missed.

Topping the list on your favorite tech news website is a brand new program that looks like it could be a lot of use to you.

Visiting the software programmer’s website shows that he is also a freelancer – and seems to be doing rather well at his chosen field.

Realizing that so much is created by freelancers, you decide to dedicate the rest of your evening to researching the freelance databases to see if you have what it takes to join this growing world of self employed individuals.

But wait!

You need to know the benefits and the drawbacks of working for yourself on a per client basis.

So let’s talk about the benefits first.

The moment you decide to become a freelancer, everyone you talk to will probably tell you how cool it is to be your own boss. I know this for a fact coz my former officemates tell me this all the time.

You are in control of your work and nobody else (except for your clients) can tell you what to do. If you don’t want to work on Fridays – you don’t have to. Or in my case, if I do want to work on holidays, that’s okay, too.

Take any days off that you want, but make sure that you finish your projects by the deadline. By being your own boss, you really have the freedom to steer your life where you want it to go.

You get to plan your own schedule, choose the projects that you find enjoyable, charge any rate you please, and be almost totally self sufficient – a major bonus of being a freelancer for many people looking to escape the daily grind.

You can set your own dress code, too. If you find all of your freelance work online, who is to say that you don’t have to just hang around in your pajamas or underwear all day long? No, I don’t wear pajamas. I just don’t wear a bra.

But seriously, from corporate to WAHM, I saved a lot of money from not having to dress up for work.

No sense in getting all dressed up when you can just get out of bed, enjoy a nice cup of hot coffee, watch the news for a few minutes and then plop yourself down in front of your computer to start your workday.

Freelancing gives you the ability to work in your own style and in total comfort no matter who or what you are doing work for.

By working freelance you can also spend a lot more time with your family and friends.

Because you do not have to go to work on a strict schedule, you can spend time with your children when they get home from school and with your friends and your spouse whenever they are off work.

The flexibility of having a freelance career is second to none and there is practically no other job in the world that gives you both the spare time and the financial freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it.

Finally, with freelancing, you have nearly limitless income potential. Because you work for yourself, you get to keep all of what you earn. Not a penny goes to anyone else (aside from the government in the form of taxes).

All of the profits belong to you so you get to spend it how you please. Furthermore, because you work on a per project basis, you can accept as many projects as you want to earn as much money as you see fit.

You are not salaried, so the more work you do, the more you get paid.

And now, for the drawbacks…

As with anything in the world, there are drawbacks to becoming a freelancer in any niche you choose. The predominant drawback is that you are not as financially stable as you are when you are working for someone else.

You have to take care of all of your money management, you have to work on project after project if you want to have enough money to stay financially afloat, you have to provide for your own healthcare, and the biggest challenge of all is you have to find your own client.

These four factors all add up to create a feeling of financial insecurity for many people, and because of the major financial risk involved, many people feel that freelancing is not for them.

There is also heavy competition in the world of freelancing. The internet has been both a blessing and a curse to freelancers from around the world.

On one hand it has opened the doors to make the world of freelancing much more accessible to anyone who has ever thought about setting out on their own and becoming their own boss.

On the other hand, though, the internet makes it very easy for freelancers to get in touch with potential clients and possibly steal jobs right out from under you. I’ve had this done to me by my own assistant.

There was a point in my career where I was getting more clients than I could afford to serve on my own, so I hired an assistant and had a table for her in our house. Set her up with a desktop computer and trained her every step of the way. After about a year, I gave her a loan so she could set up her own office in her home.

It was working out fine until one of my clients emailed me to ask if I would endorse Ana, coz apparently, she reached out and applied for a position with them directly.

The funny thing is that, had she told me she wanted to venture on her own, I would have endorsed her. I have been saying no to clients at that point because I no longer have the bandwidth. Losing one of my clients to her would not have been a problem. But she did it behind my back, and so I was very straightforward with the client. I told them that I believe Ana was capable because, hello, I trained her. But I would not endorse her because she was not honest with me.

The client decided not to hire her. And I let her go. And that was the end of her freelancing career. Last I heard, she’s working in a factory in another province. She just couldn’t land a client on her own.

But back to the drawbacks…

Because of the heavy competition as a result of the internet, you may have to start out with very low pay for each project you do as a novice freelancer.

When your client list expands, however, you will be able to make more in the long term.

How to Get Into The Freelancing Business

We have all read an article, seen a photograph, tinkered around with some software, or visited a website that was designed by some type of freelancer.

Chances are that at some point or another we have all wanted to go out on our own – away from our current jobs – and start a new career path as a freelancer in our field of specialization.

But why don’t we?

What holds so much of us back from going out and doing what it is that we want to do with our careers?

Why do we allow ourselves to be tied to our employer as if some invisible shackles enslave us?

What types of skills do we need in order to finally break free from the nine to five shifts and start out on our own as a freelancer?

You should ask yourself all of these questions before you even think about quitting your current occupation in pursuit of a freelance job.

Each and every year, far too many people believe that they can simply quit their jobs and pursue a career as a freelancer in whatever their specific niche may be – and far too many of them fail, only to go crawling back to their previous employer in hopes that he will give the destitute freelancer his former job back. Again, this situation is all too familiar.

I had a former officemate ask me to teach her the ropes of freelancing, and I did. She resigned from her job. I trained her for one month. I gave her actual tasks she would be doing for a client.

And then I found her a client. Because she’s not confident about her communication skills, we agreed that I would be the face of the service and she will just do the work. I would get a small percentage of the fees for my trouble.

So I found her a client, and on the same day that I signed the contract, she told me she could not go through with it. She went and got herself employed again as an accounting staff with a footwear brand.

This unfortunate circumstance happens for one reason and one reason alone – the person who wanted to branch out on his own as a freelancer had no idea what to expect.

People told him that he could be free, have as many days off as he wanted and retain all of the profits from his work.

But nobody ever told him that he may have to work long and hard to meet deadlines, manage his finances himself, compete with thousands of others for the same clients, and maybe have to learn new skills.

Before you begin your venture into the world of freelancing, you should know that it is not all fun and games – a lot of serious thought must go into your actions if you are to be successful.

Whatever you do, do not quit your current job right now, as you will not have a livable source of income for at least a few months while you search for well-paying projects.

Quitting your job will come in due time, but only after you have managed to net a few illustrious contracts first.

With your passion and desire to push you, the first step should be to log onto your computer, pull open your web browser of choice, head over to one of the top three search engines, and look for work.

Use specific keywords that describe what you want to do. Your search should give you a massive database of different business websites in need of what you have to offer.

And then, create your online profile.

I have been giving this advice for so long I’m so sick of it. Create an online profile, get out there, let prospective clients know what you are capable of doing, let them know your value proposition.

And all those fall on deaf ears. At least, that’s how I feel.

When I started out, that was the very first thing I did.

I created my own website. And because my skills were not in the creative realm, my first website was hideous! But I was determined to let prospective clients know of my background, my skills and my passion that I just went ahead with it.

It also showed prospective clients that I was serious enough to spend money on my business.

So I created my profile on LinkedIn and created an ad on Craigslist offering my services, and shared my website link everywhere.

That’s how clients found me. I did not have to look for them.

It was just so professional to be giving away a domain email instead of a Gmail, or a Yahoo, or a Hotmail account, you know.

In the same manner that when I talk to prospective clients, the first thing I check is their email address. Is it a domain email? And then I go ahead and check out their website to get an idea what their business is about. I would think that legitimate prospective clients have this mindset, too.

Because clients also need to have that assurance that you are legit. Having your own cyber address somehow makes clients feel comfortable venturing into a partnership with you. Prospective clients will be more inclined to trust you.

Having a portfolio may be one of the most important things you can do if you want to succeed as a freelancer, as it will help you move up in the world of freelance work. So again, build a website and build you portfolio in it. Throw in a testimonials section for good measure.

Eventually, you may find that some potential clients may start coming to you with their offer of work, hearing how much you can accomplish or how good you are at meeting deadlines from the people who hired you previously.

When putting out your portfolio, only include projects that you have all of the rights to, because if someone thinks that you may have stolen pieces of your portfolio from others, the word may get out and you risk not being hired for freelance work by anyone – ever.

Furthermore, only add items to your portfolio that make you look good in whatever particular niche you are trying to find freelance work in.

Sure, if you are looking for freelance work as a web designer you could include an article you wrote on chemistry. But why would someone looking for a skilled web designer really care about something you wrote for a chemistry website? Well, maybe your prospective client was also hiring you to write his web copy. So you’d want to show samples of your writing skills, too.

Finally, your competition from around the globe will be another major barrier in your pursuit to become a self-sufficient freelancer.

People from all walks of life and from just about every country in the world will be competing for the same projects as you, so you had better be prepared to offer something that other people simply cannot compete with.

For example, if you are a freelance writer or editor, the best way to compete is to highlight your English proficiency and your fast turnaround time. If you are writing a technical copy, be ready to hyperlink to your resources.

Graphic and web designers, as well as software programmers, should take advantage of online courses to keep abreast on new trends. You can update your website with any recent certifications you’ve earned as you go.

How to Find..
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Thanksgiving has come and gone.  How was your celebration? How much thought and effort did you actually put into that day? Did you spend time being grateful for your friends and family? Or are you just glad that you got to enjoy a long weekend?

Maybe really geared up for the Black Friday sale that followed?  And if you did not get everything you need on Black Friday, there’s still Cyber Monday.

Like any other holiday, Thanksgiving is that one day when commercialism and the promotion of consumerism can creep in and ruin the real meaning of the day.

While people can say that they do spend Thanksgiving giving thanks, one can’t help but wonder… is this the only day of the year that they do so? Why not fill the entire year with tons of gratitude?

We don’t have to save our thanks for our family and friends for just one day of the year. We can instead get into the habit of letting all these people know just how special they are to us throughout the year.

A whispered “I love you” and “I’m grateful for you” to your spouse and kids. A spontaneous hug to your parents and siblings.  A quick text message to your friends and co-workers.  A smile and a thank you to your server at the restaurant. Or the cashier at the grocery. Or the guard at the mall or your office building.  Little things we can do each day that shows our gratitude.

Thanksgiving is also that time of year when retailers hold the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.  Like telling everyone to go shopping for Christmas already!  There’s nothing wrong with shopping if you have the budget for it. I personally do not advocate this…

I do have credit cards, but I go by what my brother has taught me.  “If you can’t buy it in cash, then you can’t afford it”.  So even though I use my credit card for the convenience of not bringing cash around, I make sure whatever’s due is paid in cash, in full and on time.

Shopping can also eat into the time you spend with your family. If you are going to shop, make it a family activity.  More fun, right?

If you do intend to hit those sales this weekend, and the sales on the days leading to Christmas, take a few moments and be grateful for those employees who are working. Don’t forget to smile and say “thank you” to them. Any small action, even from a stranger, can brighten up anyone’s day. Especially for those who have to work when they would much rather be home enjoying the day with their family.

Thanks for my friend Nelle for allowing me to use a photo she took at the mall on this post.

The post Do You Truly Give Thanks At Thanksgiving? appeared first on The Happy Work-At-Home Mom.

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Networking.  No, it’s not the multi-level marketing (MLM) that most people equate with the word.  When I talk about networking, I simply mean making connections.

Networks matter for career success. People in your network help you find people who can assist you with projects, refer you to new employers (or for freelancers, clients), and make connections to new and bigger opportunities.

One study says that 36–42% of employees who do networking are more likely to receive top performance evaluations, 43–72% more likely to be promoted (an effect that builds in the 2 years following the program), and 42–74% more likely to be retained by the company.

Networks matter for keeping your sanity, too. Especially for freelancers and work-at-home professionals like me.  We need a network to stay abreast with what’s happening in the industry.

Truth is, networking happens mostly during after-hours activities, like after-work coffee dates, weekend get-togethers, or at far-away conferences.  That poses a problem for me.  Since most of my colleagues are based in the Metro, and I’m based in the province.

And did I mention I’m a work-at-home mom? So no officemates to have coffee with, except for my husband, of course, who also works from home.

Case in point, I had to miss the annual Homeschool Convention because it was the only day I could take my daughter to an important dental appointment.  It would have been a great day for me to reconnect with fellow homeschooling parents, and meet new ones. But as a WAHM, I have to set my priorities.  It would have been workable if the venue was near, but it’s a 3-hour travel, so no, I just had to miss it.

So how do I  strengthen connections with colleagues if traveling to the Metro is out of the question?  How do I meet new connections if my days off from work are reserved for wearing the mommy hat?

For many of us, that problem doesn’t get solved.  The network just stops growing, and in worse cases, it even shrinks.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  As WAHMs, we just need to be more creative and deliberate.  Or is the word intentional?

So here are some of the key points I learned from David Burkus’ book, Friend of a Friend: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career.

Hit the pause button on making new connections.

Focus on old friends and former colleagues.  These are people who are already in your network, but have become dormant because of your circumstances.  I try hard to do this myself, having coffee dates with friends from my past life as a corporate junkie.  Sending messages on social media; commenting on their posts; tagging them in my updates that I think are relevant to them; or sharing something that reminded me of them and tagging them.

Re-establishing relationships and catching up is a lot faster than making new connections. And the truth is, they are more valuable.
 

Explore the edges.

This one’s a good idea for introverts like me.  It’s a lot easier networking with people you share a common friend with.  Or maybe people that your relatives already know.  It can be that you already know the person by name, but you have not connected yet. So David suggests to solicit an introduction from the common friend and take it from there.

Go virtual.

This, I have down pat. I’ve been using social media to connect, and lately, I have stepped up my game by accepting or making calls via Messenger or Skype.  Maybe soon I can forget about being shy and move on to video calls that will make some high-fidelity face-to-face conversations happen without having to leave home.  We can even have coffee together, virtually.

Make introductions.

This one is powerful. I know my friend Kathy does this a lot.  And I’ve done this quite a few times myself.  Introducing two contacts from two different networks that you have is a great way to strengthen your connections.  You strengthen the network around you, provide value for both contacts, and become known as an overall generous person. You can do it any time of day via email, but make sure both parties know your introduction is coming.  Or you can create a group chat.

Use business travel wisely.

There may be times when traveling for work is unavoidable, but you can make the most of your time away.  I do this all the time, when I have to meet with a client in the Metro.  I just plan my trip so that I arrive a couple hours early and use that time to meet with a friend.  Or plan to stay longer, and meet the friend after the business meeting.

Another way to do this, especially when attending a conference or a seminar, is finding out who’s coming to the event and setting up a schedule for quick chats with those you know.

Talk about other interests.

When parents get together, chances are the main topic would be kids. Examining non-kid interests, hobbies, and even work can lead to a stronger bond and more reasons to stay connected.  A fellow homeschooling mom, Donna, did a great job at this during the Homeschool Convention.  I missed the event, but I was kinda there, as part of her presentation.  She made a presentation of homeschooling moms’ other passions that they developed or discovered while homeschooling.  The result, it created another avenue for homeschooling moms to connect through another interest.  And she created a group chat for us moms who she used as examples.

A lot of these steps seem like a regular part of networking, and they are. We just tend to neglect them. I believe that growing a thriving network is not just about attending networking events, working the room, and hoping to meet new people. A big (and more important) part of networking involves taking care of the network you already have and slowly expanding it through current contacts. It’s true that I used to think that networking can only happen at after-work events or at big gatherings, but I have since realized that much of it can be done from right where I am – my workstation.

You don’t have to find more time to do networking, you just have to fit networking into the time you have.

The post Networking Tips for Work-At-Home Moms (and Dads, too!) appeared first on The Happy Work-At-Home Mom.

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I’ve been familiar with LabDoor since 2014.  But it’s only last week that I started using it for myself.

I use Labdoor when my client needs me to link a supplement he recommends to his affiliate account on Amazon.

So let’s say he wants to recommend supplementing one’s diet with glucosamine chondroitin, I would go to Amazon and search for that supplement.

Those are big words, by the way, so I just copy and paste from his article to the search box.

The results would show different brands, so I would then go to LabDoor, and see how those brands rank.

Cool, huh?

What is Labdoor?

LabDoor is an independent company that does the hard work for us.  They test supplements to find out if what they claim on their labels are true, and whether or not they have harmful ingredients or contaminants. They grade and rank the supplements, prepare a report and then they publish the information.

And take note, they buy the products that they have selected for testing.  They do not accept samples from manufacturers. That way, they do not form a bias.

How Labdoor helps.

So Labdoor goes through the following process:

  • Select the product for testing.
  • Purchase the products.
  • Collect testing data on those products.
  • Convert collected data into scores.
  • Generate rankings.
  • Publish the result.

And all we have to do as consumers is go to their website and check for ourselves which brand is best.

Their rankings are 2-fold.  There is a ranking for quality and another ranking for value.

My reason for going to LabDoor last week was to find me a good Vitamin D that I can get from Amazon. I had some blood work done, and for today, I’m sharing the results of my 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test.

Why did I get tested in the first place?

Well, if you Google what the 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test is for, you’ll find that it is requested when your doctor believes you are at high risk of having Vitamin D deficiency.

So who are those at high risk?

  • people who don’t get much exposure to the sun
  • older adults
  • people with obesity
  • babies who are breastfed only (formula is usually fortified with vitamin D)
  • people who have had gastric bypass surgery
  • people who have a disease that affects the intestines and makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, such as Crohn’s disease

Notice that I highlighted the one that applies to me.

Come one, people!  I’m not that old!

But anyway, in one of my mother’s regular visits to her internist, it was mentioned in passing that I’m a virtual assistant.  The good doctor asked me how long I’ve been a VA, and I replied, “Going on 13 years.” Right then and there, the doctor wrote me a lab request for 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test and a bone densitometry test. He told me to get those done and see him when I have the results.

And because I’m stubborn, I never had those tests done.  Until something happened two weeks ago.

I’m not going to delve too much on what it was that happened, but suffice it to say that since October 2009, I’ve been under the care of a nephrologist.

Now back to my hunt for Vitamin D.

My test result showed a level so much lower than the normal range.  A level of 30 to 40 nanograms/milliliter is adequate, and I had 10.5.  So I was prescribed 4000iu of daily intake of Vitamin D for the next 2 months, and a repeat of the test after that period.

I’ve never taken any vitamins in my life.  Well, except for those prescribed when pregnant.  Other than those, I don’t take any meds at all.

Not even for a migraine.

Now, here are some fun facts…

There are doctors here who sell what they prescribe.  Yes, even when you can see on the hospital bulletin board that it is prohibited. There’s a long list of reasons why they cannot and should not sell, but still…

So we buy from the doctors.  Because another fun fact is… we can’t find Vitamin D higher than 1000iu in pharmacies.

And the doctors sell either Kirkland or Healthy Options.

And the price!  While you can buy Kirkland from Amazon at Php1.35 per softgel (at 54 to a dollar exchange rate), we pay Php10.00 per softgel to our good doctor.

Hey, I realize they also need to pay for shipping cost and everything, okay?  So I’m not complaining.  

But if I can get it directly from Amazon without worrying about shipping, why not, right?

So I went to LabDoor to check how Kirkland’s Vitamin D ranks.  It has a score of 81.5 out of 100.  Not good enough, because it only has a score of 66 on Ingredient Safety.

See, LabDoor also shows the ratings based on

  • label accuracy,
  • product purity,
  • nutritional value,
  • ingredient safety, and
  • projected efficacy.

The ratings are also coded in colors. Dark green is best, light green is good, yellow not so much.

I checked out the other brands that I’m familiar with, like NatureMade, and it has a score of 85.9 out of 100.  It’s twice the cost of Kirkland, but I like that it scored higher with LabDoor. The only concern is that they only tested the 1000iu, and I need the 2000iu.

The top-rated Vitamin D?  It’s called NutriGold. It has a score of 87.4 out of 100.  It’s a no-brainer, I’m going for this one.

And I’m writing about LabDoor, why?

I mean, other than finally waking my blog up from its deep slumber.

Well, for one, I know that there are parents in my audience.  Parents who buy their kids vitamins on a regular basis. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the information that LabDoor gives away for free.

And two, because I know that there are also freelancers in my audience, who, like me, fall under the category of “people who don’t get much exposure to the sun.”  Guys, if you’re like me, whose only time outside the house is to go for groceries and run errands, please go and see your doctor.  It won’t hurt to get tested for your Vitamin D level.

Like it literally won’t hurt if you find a phlebotomist who draws blood like Iliad.

And then you can plan on working under the sun, like on a beach, or a park…

Now I’m dreaming.

So there you have it, folks!  I hope that you find this post helpful.  Thank you for reading! And feel free to share!

Do you, have questions, comments or feedback about this post?
Please leave a comment below, or post them on my Facebook Page.

The post Labdoor: Why You Should Check It Out appeared first on The Happy Work-At-Home Mom.

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