Lisa Mills is a work-at-home mom of three girls. She's been working from home since the early 90s and has done just about everything including selling on eBay, running an online used bookstore via Amazon, day trading stocks online, freelance writing, and publishing websites, and more. Read on to see how her work-at-home journey began.
Tell us about yourself and your work-at-home journey.
Over the years, I've had a variety of work-at-home jobs. I've worked as a freelance writer, sold antiques and collectibles on eBay, day traded on the stock market, and operated an online used book business. I'm currently working as a general transcriptionist, and I publish a work-at-home website, Work at Home Mom Revolution, for moms seeking work from home jobs.
Although my work-at-home journey began while I was still married, my need to work from home kicked into high gear when my husband and I separated back in the early 2000s. I desperately wanted to be home for my three girls during this tough time in their lives, and working from home was key to achieving that.
At the time, I had an online used book business, but I soon discovered that alone was not going to sustain me and my children. That's when I began looking into transcription as a possible telecommute career.
How did you get into transcription and do you need any special skills or training?
I was taking online classes for medical transcription through Career Step and was doing well, but I had months to go before I would complete the course, and because of my change in circumstances, I needed to make money immediately.
Around that time, I read about general transcription, which is transcription of audio from interviews, radio shows, market research groups, legal proceedings, etc., and it sounded like something I would enjoy. So I applied to a well-respected transcription company, passed their test, and, to my surprise, was hired right away. I've worked there ever since, going on a decade now.
It's a fun and flexible career. Most companies allow you to take as little or as much work as you like, as long as you turn it in by the deadline, and you're generally given a 48-hour turnaround time on work.
General transcription is a home business that costs very little to start. Besides a home computer or laptop, you only need a pair of inexpensive headphones, a foot pedal, a copy of Microsoft Word, and transcription software, which you can purchase inexpensively over the Internet.
I love the flexibility. When my kids were younger, I did most of my work at night when they were in bed or during the day while they were in school.
Best of all, it's one of the few work at home jobs that provides a decent income. I love to share my enthusiasm for general transcription as a home-based career! I've even written a Kindle e-book on the subject, Jump-Start Your Work at Home General Transcription Career: The Fast and Easy Way to Get Started!, which is available on Amazon.com
In your opinion, what are the best work-at-home jobs for moms?
I think it depends on your strengths. If you enjoy variety, general transcription is a great choice. I'm an introvert, so it's the perfect career for me. I download audio from the Internet, transcribe it, then upload the completed transcript back up to the Internet.
However, if you enjoy talking to people, and you're a social butterfly, you'll probably thrive in a virtual customer service position. So many companies are now hiring home-based workers, and it seems like the numbers are growing every year.
Another work from home career I think is perfect for moms is freelance writing or content creation. There are more websites being created every day, and all of those sites need content! If you have excellent spelling and grammar skills, freelance writing can be a super way to make money from home.
What methods do you use to decipher if a work-at-home job is legit?
Well, the most obvious sign of a scam is the adage – “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” When I see a job listing offering an exorbitant wage, I'm immediately suspicious. The listing itself is often a clue. Bad grammar and poor spelling are usually an indication that a job is not legitimate.
I try only to highlight companies with whom I'm familiar. But if I'm at all unsure, I check with the Better Business Bureau online to see if the company has had any complaints registered against it.
How do you minimize income peaks and valleys?
I try to save during the good months, keeping in mind slow times may be ahead. I'm happy to say I've never gone without work over the past decade. But it never hurts to be prepared. I also try to spread the risk out by having multiple sources of income.
What advice do you have for other moms who want to work from home?
Work on your resume, and when you apply for a work-at-home job, make sure your resume reflects relevant experience for that particular position. Most important is to keep putting applications in, and not simply waiting for a response from one company. Some companies file applications away and don't contact a candidate until they have an opening, often months later. So hedge your bets and apply continuously. This is one instance in which persistence really does pay off.
As a busy WAHM, how do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
Honestly, I feel like I'm not nearly as organized as I could be. However, I rely heavily on Google Calendar and a To-Do List I constantly keep on my desktop. I also utilize online tools, when available, to help me manage my website and social media promotion.
Thanks to Lisa Mills for sharing her story!
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