Month: June 2019

The Ups & Downs Of Freelancing (Working Day & Night)

Most of my adult life has been spent working for other people. Even when I achieved a leadership position, it was still under the umbrella of The Company.

Up!

 I did go rogue back in 2013 and went to work for an online paper. I was so happy to be writing and editing and helping train other writers. This is my dream job. If I could get paid well for writing, I would be in a permanent state of bliss. Unfortunately, I was not making the money I needed to support my family.

I was severely depressed for several weeks after I left that job.

I mentioned in another post that as an independent contractor or freelancer unless you get a spectacular client that pays extraordinarily well, you might need more than one gig to cover everything.

I didn’t understand this in 2013, but the lesson stayed with me.

Down to #WageLife

Thankfully I picked up another #WageLife gig in early 2014. That one lasted until 2016 when I lost my childcare and had to miss work “too much”. I was released on what I thought were good terms, but each time I have reapplied to that company, I was declined.

The entire time, I was still looking for some kind of #WAHLife gig to replace that JOB (Just Over Broke) so I could get about the business of raising my child without moving us to a cardboard box.

Let The Juggling Begin

In September 2016, just after I was so politely fired (#notsalty), I started looking at Uber and Lyft. I had already spoken to a Lyft driver who had good things to say about it. Even though I didn’t have a car, Uber and Lyft both had a program where you could lease a car from them and start driving right away.

They took the cost of the lease out of your earnings automatically, so there was no extraneous expense, aside from gas. They even covered upkeep like oil changes and other maintenance.

I started the process of leasing a car from Uber. When I had the money for the $250 deposit, I caught a Lyft to a local lot and had a look. I wanted an SUV, but they only had sedans. I ended up with a lovely 2015 Toyota Camry.

Despite my aversion to being out of my house for extended periods of time, I started working right away. I had to make sure I made enough to cover Uber’s $180.00 weekly lease as well as my bills.

Shortly after I started with Uber, I added Lyft to maximize my driving time. When one was slow, I switched to the other platform.

I had a rider who mentioned another company in my area called Favor They are a delivery service that started in Austin, TX. I was not always comfortable having people in the car with me, but I had to pay that weekly lease to Uber.

*Favor is only active in Texas https://favordelivery.com/runner-faq

I added Favor to my list of freelance gigs I was running, and the income got somewhat better.

The Cost of Doing Business

In 2017 I got a pretty good income tax return, so I decided it was time to ditch the lease. I went back to the same car lot and picked up my Ford Explorer. It was older (2008) and it did not have the awesome touch screen from the Camry. It did have Bluetooth and voice capability, so I went with it.

It was also about $400 cheaper than my Uber lease by the month. Overall, I was paying over $700 a month to lease the Camry. With the Ford, my monthly outlay dropped to $270.00 + insurance at $160.00. I was still coming out way ahead.

Crossing Over

I ran with Favor for a good while. I liked having my car to myself and the deliveries weren’t too bad either. I got to know the restaurants in my area pretty well, and when I did Uber/Lyft, I was able to enhance my riders’ experience by sharing my eatery knowledge with them.

While I was doing all of this, I had another work from home job reviewing ads and videos for a company called ZeroChaos. It paid $15.00 an hour, weekly by direct deposit and that was a pretty good gig.

Unfortunately, it was limited to no more than 25 hours a week. That contract ended in July 2016, which is one of the downsides of contractor work.

Not only do you have not much chance of benefits but you also never know exactly when that cash cow is going to dry up. We were notified by email 2 days before the end of the ZC gig.

How Many Jobs??

Talking to people about my various gigs usually elicited the same reaction: How did I balance it all? I have to say that my home life suffered.

I was rarely home to cook dinner, so my son had to pick up that slack for me. Being a teenager, he often threw together a meal that was not quite what I would have done. I had to remind him to do a veggie and to cook to everyone’s tastes, not just his own.

My husband was doing laundry, and his shirts were never ironed. My house cleaning fell way behind. It wasn’t filthy, but not as tidy as I would like to keep it.

The very worst part was I was missing out on my baby boy. He is now 4 and I am not doing any of these gigs at the moment. I am determined to find something steady and lucrative that I can do from home, with him dashing about as he does.

This is the challenge for anyone wanting to work from home, at home, virtually or remotely as a telecommuter, freelancer or independent contractor. We are all trying to strike that balance of work-life. Making enough money to cover living expenses and to live well are the ultimate goals.

Time On My Side (And Front…And Back)

The scheduling flexibility available when driving for Uber, Lyft or Favor is excellent. I could work in blocks of a few hours at a time or take one call and take a break. I could log out, go have dinner with hubby, and go back to work or go home.

It always requires discipline. Nobody is going to call you to ask why you’re not working. It is completely up to you to motivate yourself to get up and get out the door. You and only you decide how long you’re going to work, how many calls you’re going to accept or reject. With these gigs, you have almost complete control of just how much money you make.

Win…And Go Home!

That discipline also comes into play when deciding when to go home. Uber implemented a change to its platform that would not allow drivers to work more than 12 hours at a stretch. This was for safety reasons. If you hit the threshold, your Uber driver app would not allow you to log back in for work for 6 hours. This was to force drivers to rest.

A lot of people only drive on the weekend, from Thursday through Sunday. They slept in the car and pulled 12 to 16 hours of driving without a break. These people made mad bank, of course, but they traded this for safety.

Sleep deprivation diminishes reaction time and attention span. When you drive for a living, this is not a good thing. Personally, I got woozy anywhere from 4-6 hours on the road. It is not really seen as strenuous work outside of the industry. Anyone who drives for a living can tell you that physical and mental fatigue can set in before you know it.

Oh Yeah…

While I was doing all this driving, I was also working from home for SigTrack. It is a data entry gig confirming voter registration information. It is penny work, but it goes pretty quickly.

It wasn’t very hard to do enough work to get a small check. The most I ever made in one pay period was $50.00. It paid weekly, however, so it was good pocket change.

I am still registered with them, but I have been focusing on Appen.

I picked up Appen shortly after I started with Allied (and I was still driving, mind you). With Appen, you are assigned to various projects. The work involves anything from tagging videos and ads to recording voice prompts to improve voice recognition software.

The pay is usually around $10.00 an hour, but I have seen projects paying as much as $19.50 for specialized work. The pay periods are usually monthly, but I am starting a project soon that pays biweekly. This one is transcription work and I am looking forward to it.

Other Side Side-Gigs I was running at the time included:

Secret Shopping for:

Bestmark

Second 2 None

Shift Smart *

And photo inspection for insurance claims with Onsource. If you decide to check Onsource out, please use my Inspector ID in the referrer spot. It is 35852.

*ShiftSmart is completely app based. All of these gigs require a mobile phone and the app to work them. Onsource requires verification of your driving record.

I was a busy bee.

And Then…

In 2016 I started classes at Everglades University Online. I have been interested in herbs and natural healing all of my life. When I saw they offered course for a degree in Complementary & Alternative Medicine, I went for it.

I’m still attending but had to take a short break. I’m adding lessons at The Herbal Academy, because why not?

Last But Far From Least

Remember when I mentioned earlier that I was on the hunt for a #WAHLife gig? I found Wealthy Affiliate in 2014 just after I gave birth to my now 4-year-old son. At the time I was struggling with having to back to work in 4 weeks instead of 6. I used 2 weeks due to my mother’s illness at the time.

I can only speculate on why I didn’t get into WA at the time, but I guess it’s a combination of factors.

Anyway, I found it again earlier this year. After 3 months I own 2 domains and 5 websites. This is one of them.

I won’t get into everything they offer here, but I wrote a review on them. Let me remind you that I have been searching for some kind of legit work from home gig for over 20 years. This is the first and only platform I can say all these things about:

  • It’s not a scam.
  • Has ongoing, relevant & timely training.
  • A responsive and helpful community. No competing for customers or commissions.
  • Affordable!

Even on my How-Are-We-Going-To-Pay-That budget, I can afford it.

Take a look. Your first 7 days include free access to select Premium features. If you upgrade within that time, you pay only $19.00. After that, it is only $49.00 a month*.

*Via auto draft. No refunds. Cancel any time.

One More Thing

If you do decide to go Premium within the first 7 days, send me a Private Message or drop a note on my profile page. I will be delighted to give you these BONUSES:

• Unlimited access to ME as your Mentor.

• Feedback on your content and your website. We’ll cover everything from syntax to social media!

• Access to the Diamond Traffic Program to boost your site.

 

As you can see, living the #WAHLife as a freelancer or independent contractor has its challenges, I can honestly say I don’t get bored. I do get tired, but I expect that. Nothing worth doing is easy.

While working on this, I was reminded of a popular skit from a mid-90s TV show called In Living Color. It was about a family that worked several jobs to make ends meet. I hope you enjoy this little snippet as much as I do.


Until next time,

Gig on.

Gwendolyn J

Virtual Call Center Gigs (Where to Find Them)

When I came back to Texas in 2010, I got back into working from home. This is not a bad gig and if you have the right skills, experience and set up, it is also an easy gig to get and keep.

The most abundant jobs are in call centers, outsource, and third-party vendor companies.

I have worked as a remote or virtual agent for three different corporations. I had excellent benefits, good hours, advancement opportunities, and schedule flexibility. Hands down it outstripped any other call center environment I’ve ever been in.

I worked call centers since I was 18-19 years old until my early 40s. I’ve done inbound and outbound, warm and cold calling, sales, surveys, customer service, tech support, coaching, training, and managing.

I have done, seen and heard it all. By phone, of course.

“Telecommute” is a somewhat outdated term. I’ve noticed most companies are referring to their home-based agents as remote workers, hires or agents. I have also seen at-home gigs called “telework” and “virtual call centers”. These are all terms you can use in your search for a job at home.

Where Do I Find Virtual Call Center Gigs?

So how, you ask, does one find a good virtual call center job? Well, first you have to find the companies that are hiring home-based or remote workers. One place I found a wealth of good information that’s kept up to date is on Facebook.

Don’t roll your eyes. It’s for more than prank videos.

Really.

I have mentioned the closed group that you can join by invitation only called Legitimate Work at Home Sources and Links. It has well over 3000 members as of this writing and the group has done nothing but grow and improve since I joined years ago.

The group moderators are very diligent in keeping the group clear of any MLM, pyramid, sales, etc. There is NO prospecting allowed here. Believe me, I have chafed at it, since I enjoy a good affiliate program, but nope, Not here.

I found 2 of my last 3 remote jobs through this page. We’re talking hourly jobs with paid training, supervisors and the whole works.

I would happily send out the email invite for any who wish. Just leave me your address in comments.

#WageLife Job Sites

In the last 5-8 years, established legitimate job search sites have seen a mass influx of remote, work from home jobs
for call centers. I’m referring to Monster, Career Builder and Indeed, to name a few.

 

 

You do have to be careful because a lot of these “jobs” are actually business opportunities, survey farms, or direct sales recruitment. When searching, set the LOCATION as REMOTE and the job type as call center, customer service, tech support, sales, etc.

 

This way, your results will actually pull up call center jobs for remote, at-home workers.

#WAHLife Job Sites

We have also seen a rise in sites that cater specifically to people who want to have side-gigs from home or remote work with hiring companies. In this category, we have Rat Race Rebellion, Flex Jobs* and Viral Vocations**.

*Flex Jobs charges a fee to access their jobs
**Viral Vocations charges for access, but they offer a free membership option

Some of these companies are only hiring in certain states. The location should be your state, and if the job is not available there, do not bother to apply.

Freelance & Independent Contractor (IC) Sites

I went into detail about several freelancer and IC sites. This is a good place to look if you want to own your schedule and work as little or as much as you want and go boss-free. Upwork and Fiverr fall into this category.

It takes some searching, but you can find call centers that are looking for freelancers or contractors. Many outsource firms have short-term projects that do not require a workforce of thousands.

 

This is where you can jump in and take (or make) those calls for however long the project lasts. These positions do not usually come with benefits, but it does allow you to make some income, and add a blurb to your resume for future job hunting.

Other sites that offer virtual call center work include:

Arise*

West

Sitel

Conduent

Alorica

Concentrix

LiveOps

Sutherland

Jobs with any of the companies above can come with benefits that include vacation time and health insurance. Many offer project-based work that may or may not include benefits.

*Arise requires agents to undergo certification training. This training is not included in the job offer and must be completed before you can start working.  From Arise.com:
CLIENT CERTIFICATION
Enroll in a certification course that works with your schedule. These are highly specialized, instructor-led online courses. Most come with a fee that ranges from $50 to $250. These courses are required by clients and provide details about the client’s systems and the requirements of the particular program.

Sharing What I Learn & Where I Earn

I’m working on a group & FB page inspired by the group I mentioned earlier. The difference will be that I will allow legit WAH jobs and biz ops, as long as they are not over-hyped money traps. I don’t want my group to be stuffed with marketers marketing to each other. If you want to build a list, go prospect elsewhere. I got links too.

I want this page to be a home for people who want to work from home but diversify their income so one missed check doesn’t mean crisis and distress. So, anyone looking to help me with that is more than welcome.

The page is going to be linked to this blog, so information can flow both ways.

Done With Being Bossed?

If like me, you are no longer about that #WageLife, you have options. For ICs, the sites I already mentioned offer a tremendous number of gigs for people who want to dictate their own work schedule and income.

Other options include direct sales, with companies like Avon*, Melaleuca*, and AmWay**.

*At this time, I am not affiliated with any of these companies.
**AmWay is officially an MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) company, but you can also earn by selling their products and recruiting.

In most cases, you can earn both by selling the products, and by recruiting others to do the same. Be aware that in order to earn you must maintain a monthly purchase amount with Melaleuca and AmWay. I am not certain if this is the case with Avon. Back when I was doing it, you had to buy all of your supplies from them, including samples, sales books, flyers, and even receipt books. Now that they have gone online (I know I just totally dated myself) this may no longer be the case.

Or you can go into Affiliate Marketing.

This is honestly my preferred option because it is so straightforward. You do not need samples, sales pitches or recruiting parties.

All you need is a link from the owners or sellers of the products of your choosing. You take this unique link and drop it in your website, on social media, or in emails. If people are interested, they click the link. If they make a purchase, you get a commission.

Most affiliate programs are free and do not require you to purchase the products you are promoting.

Get Some Know-How

To do this effectively, I suggest building a website. With this website, you can review products you promote as well as create content for visitors that informs or entertains. Unboxing and demo videos are very popular on YouTube and can be included in your site.

Using keywords specific to the products, you can gain high ranks in search engines and this creates free organic traffic.

I talk about content creation and niche marketing in other posts on this site, but the main thing you need is training on how to maximize exposure to your site and your links.

I am a member of a group called Wealthy Affiliate. It is by far the best training and affiliate community I have ever been part of. I wrote a review when I first joined, and I am now all in.

Wealthy Affiliate teaches you how to build a website and create targeted content for that site. You also learn how to incorporate affiliate links and even offers an in-house affiliate program that pays 50% commission monthly.

The best part about Wealthy Affiliate is the cost of joining. The first 7 days are free. This allows you to look around, try out the training, build up to 2 sites and get a feel for the experience.

Whether you decide to upgrade or not is completely up to you.

There are other, far more expensive affiliate training programs out there. WA never claims to make you quick money, but they do allow you to explore the site before you buy anything. For the cost of membership, you get hosting, training, SEO & SSL support for your sites, tech support, and a mass of other benefits that would take hours to go through it all.

Step in and check it out. If you do upgrade, drop me a note on my profile. With others in the community, I will be right there to help you get started and keep you on the right track.

Financially Speaking

Whatever course you decide to take, I urge you to never give up a good paying #WageLife job before you have a dependable income to replace it. Even if you start making money right away, give it 3 months or so before you kiss that job good-bye.

You also have to calculate benefits into this decision. If you have insurance or 401k options, do not throw this away immediately. Take stock and see if your affiliate income actually covers everything you will need to continue or improve your quality of life.

The beauty of affiliate marketing is that it can be done part-time and still earn you a nice bit of change. No need to rock your boat if you do not have a bigger boat to sail on.

If you are currently looking for work, I highly recommend you focus on that, and then look into boss-free #WAHLife because nothing is worse than coming across an awesome biz op like Wealthy Affiliate and finding yourself too broke to get into it.

This happened to me 3 years ago. If I had joined WA back then I would already be free of #WageLife. We live and learn.

 

Have you been looking for a #WageLife call center job? Have you found one and want to share?

Do you have questions about affiliate marketing or direct sales gigs? Drop me a message below and I’ll get back to you soon.

‘Til next time,

Gig on.