Archive | September 2009

Make the Switch: How to Change Careers by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 I made the switch to a work-at-home career, and so can you.  Here are a few easy steps to get you started on the path to a new career:Yellow field

 

Assess Your Skills

 

If your primary focus is the ability to work out of your home, you’ll need to know which of the skills you have will be most helpful when you make the switch.  There are many skills that are useful across a variety of industries, including many work-at-home careers.  Consider not only what you are good at, but also what you enjoy.  Here are a few skills common to many work-at-home positions:

 

l       Computer Skills

l       Customer Service Skills

l       Project Management Skills

l       Communication Skills

l       Research Skills

l       Accounting / Business Finance Skills

 

Choose a Career Path

 

Now that you’ve pinpointed which skills you already have and which you most enjoy, it’s time to decide on a direction.  There may be more options than you realize for work-at-home mothers.  Here is a short list to get you started: 

 

l       Executive Assistant

l       Graphic Designer

l       Web Designer

l       Research Assistant

l       Marketing / Public Relations Consultant

l       Bookkeeping and Accounting

 

Gaining Experience

 

Depending on the career path you chose, you may need additional schooling or certification.  Check for professional organizations within your industry.  They are a great source for volunteer and network opportunities, and may help you assess which certifications will be most beneficial to you.

 

One of the greatest challenges posed when switching careers is the sudden lack of experience.  It can be hard starting over again, especially in a market that seems interested only in seasoned professionals.  Test run your new career by volunteering your time to a friend, or a nonprofit organization.  Offer your services free of charge and put in your best effort.  You’ll gain experience and professional references, all while helping out a worthy cause.

 

Don’t Give Up

 

Switching careers is exciting, but it is also difficult.  Remember, it takes time to build a career.  The rewards are great when you are willing to give it everything you’ve got. 

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Get a Grip on Your Green by Tracking Expenses by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

A good expense tracking system should be part of every mom’s repertoire, but this is even more important for a work-at-home mom.  Not only are you chief financial officer of your household, but you are also adding business expenses into the mix.  Here’s a quick look at a few methods to help you get a grasp on your green:money

 

Receipts

 

No matter what method you use to track your spending, receipts are a must to claim your business expenses as a tax deduction.  You can use your receipts to track your spending at the same time.  Keep all your receipts in one spot, and then set a date with yourself to review them at regular intervals.  Categorize each receipt based on the transaction type, and then enter the totals into a spreadsheet or financial planning software on your computer.

 

Calendar or Notebook

 

Write your expenses down on your calendar each day, or in a small notebook.  At the end of the month, tally everything up and categorize it as you see fit.  Record the results in a separate notebook or on your computer.  A computer will give you a leg up when you are ready to review your budget.  You can easily produce graphs and charts to compare your target budget with your actual spending.  Plus, there is less risk of losing your work when you back it up.

 

PDA

 

Most PDAs have an expense tracking program built-in.  If yours doesn’t, check the web for free software downloads.  Keep your PDA handy to easily record transactions throughout the day.  Assign your expenses a category and your monthly budget review will be a snap.  Don’t forget to backup often.

 

Check Register

 

If you use a check or debit card often, use your check register as an expense tracking tool.  Let your bank do some of the work for you.  You’re statements will make it easy to review your monthly spending.  Canceled checks will leave a nice paper trail, if you ever need one.  Be sure to record everything on the spot, especially debit card transactions.  These are more likely to get lost in the mix.  Balance your checkbook regularly, and you’ll be good to go.

 

Source:

 

(2009). What Tax Records to Keep.  Retrieved March, 10, 2009, from the Internal Revenue Service Website:  http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=105111,00.html.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Make the Switch: How to Change Careers by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

I made the switch to a work-at-home career, and so can you.  Here are a few easy steps to get you started on the path to a new career:popcorn

 

Assess Your Skills

 

If your primary focus is the ability to work out of your home, you’ll need to know which of the skills you have will be most helpful when you make the switch.  There are many skills that are useful across a variety of industries, including many work-at-home careers.  Consider not only what you are good at, but also what you enjoy.  Here are a few skills common to many work-at-home positions:

 

l       Computer Skills

l       Customer Service Skills

l       Project Management Skills

l       Communication Skills

l       Research Skills

l       Accounting / Business Finance Skills

 

Choose a Career Path

 

Now that you’ve pinpointed which skills you already have and which you most enjoy, it’s time to decide on a direction.  There may be more options than you realize for work-at-home mothers.  Here is a short list to get you started: 

 

l       Executive Assistant

l       Graphic Designer

l       Web Designer

l       Research Assistant

l       Marketing / Public Relations Consultant

l       Bookkeeping and Accounting

 

Gaining Experience

 

Depending on the career path you chose, you may need additional schooling or certification.  Check for professional organizations within your industry.  They are a great source for volunteer and network opportunities, and may help you assess which certifications will be most beneficial to you.

 

One of the greatest challenges posed when switching careers is the sudden lack of experience.  It can be hard starting over again, especially in a market that seems interested only in seasoned professionals.  Test run your new career by volunteering your time to a friend, or a nonprofit organization.  Offer your services free of charge and put in your best effort.  You’ll gain experience and professional references, all while helping out a worthy cause.

 

Don’t Give Up

 

Switching careers is exciting, but it is also difficult.  Remember, it takes time to build a career.  The rewards are great when you are willing to give it everything you’ve got. 

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Get a Grip on Your Green by Tracking Expenses by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 A good expense tracking system should be part of every mom’s repertoire, but this is even more important for a work-at-home mom.  Not only are you chief financial officer of your household, but you are also adding business expenses into the mix.  Here’s a quick look at a few methods to help you get a grasp on your green:Piggy bank

 

Receipts

 

No matter what method you use to track your spending, receipts are a must to claim your business expenses as a tax deduction.  You can use your receipts to track your spending at the same time.  Keep all your receipts in one spot, and then set a date with yourself to review them at regular intervals.  Categorize each receipt based on the transaction type, and then enter the totals into a spreadsheet or financial planning software on your computer.

 

Calendar or Notebook

 

Write your expenses down on your calendar each day, or in a small notebook.  At the end of the month, tally everything up and categorize it as you see fit.  Record the results in a separate notebook or on your computer.  A computer will give you a leg up when you are ready to review your budget.  You can easily produce graphs and charts to compare your target budget with your actual spending.  Plus, there is less risk of losing your work when you back it up.

 

PDA

 

Most PDAs have an expense tracking program built-in.  If yours doesn’t, check the web for free software downloads.  Keep your PDA handy to easily record transactions throughout the day.  Assign your expenses a category and your monthly budget review will be a snap.  Don’t forget to backup often.

 

Check Register

 

If you use a check or debit card often, use your check register as an expense tracking tool.  Let your bank do some of the work for you.  You’re statements will make it easy to review your monthly spending.  Canceled checks will leave a nice paper trail, if you ever need one.  Be sure to record everything on the spot, especially debit card transactions.  These are more likely to get lost in the mix.  Balance your checkbook regularly, and you’ll be good to go.

 

Source:

 

(2009). What Tax Records to Keep.  Retrieved March, 10, 2009, from the Internal Revenue Service Website:  http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=105111,00.html.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

No Wonder They Call It Work by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 Most of us have considered the upsides to working from home, setting your own schedule, no commute, working in your favorite robe and slippers (if you so choose).  But working at home has its downside, too.  Working out of your house is no day in the park, it’s work and it can be tough.hammock

 

The Downside to Flexibility

 

Flexibility doesn’t just mean that you get to take off when it’s sunny or spend an afternoon on a field trip.  Flexibility in your working hours also means accomplishing the job, even when you’d rather not work.  Sometimes being flexible requires long hours or spending a good chunk of your weekend finishing a project, with the reward being that you are available to chaperon that field trip after all.

 

Setting Boundaries

 

Being the ‘no’ woman isn’t easy.  When we work in a corporate environment, the boundaries are usually laid out for us.  Company policies are in place to guide us and make our jobs easier.  When we work at home, we are the ones to set and enforce those boundaries.  Whether with our kids, our friends, our employers or clients, we must be willing to draw the line.  If you can’t say no, working from home can quickly become an express train to the burnout zone. 

 

Let the Results Speak for Themselves

 

Discipline and self-motivation are the foundation of any work-at-home career.  If you work from your house, no one knows whether you are working hard, or hardly working, unless they are seeing results.  To be successful you have to be driven to achieve above and beyond what is expected.  A results-oriented attitude will ease the minds of concerned employers, who may be wondering just what it is you are doing in that home office.

 

Independence or Isolation?

 

What one working mother considers independence, another may view as isolation.  After becoming a victim of corporate downsizing, a friend of mine decided to stay home for the summer.  That summer ended in July at her house.  She needed the time away from home during the day. 

 

Sweet Success

 

When it comes down to it, a home-based career can be deeply satisfying.  I love the time I am able to share with my family, and the sense of accomplishment I have at the end of the day.  Overcoming the challenges we face on the job makes each success that much sweeter.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

No Wonder They Call It Work by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 Most of us have considered the upsides to working from home, setting your own schedule, no commute, working in your favorite robe and slippers (if you so choose).  But working at home has its downside, too.  Working out of your house is no day in the park, it’s work and it can be tough.Rainbow woman

 

The Downside to Flexibility

 

Flexibility doesn’t just mean that you get to take off when it’s sunny or spend an afternoon on a field trip.  Flexibility in your working hours also means accomplishing the job, even when you’d rather not work.  Sometimes being flexible requires long hours or spending a good chunk of your weekend finishing a project, with the reward being that you are available to chaperon that field trip after all.

 

Setting Boundaries

 

Being the ‘no’ woman isn’t easy.  When we work in a corporate environment, the boundaries are usually laid out for us.  Company policies are in place to guide us and make our jobs easier.  When we work at home, we are the ones to set and enforce those boundaries.  Whether with our kids, our friends, our employers or clients, we must be willing to draw the line.  If you can’t say no, working from home can quickly become an express train to the burnout zone. 

 

Let the Results Speak for Themselves

 

Discipline and self-motivation are the foundation of any work-at-home career.  If you work from your house, no one knows whether you are working hard, or hardly working, unless they are seeing results.  To be successful you have to be driven to achieve above and beyond what is expected.  A results-oriented attitude will ease the minds of concerned employers, who may be wondering just what it is you are doing in that home office.

 

Independence or Isolation?

 

What one working mother considers independence, another may view as isolation.  After becoming a victim of corporate downsizing, a friend of mine decided to stay home for the summer.  That summer ended in July at her house.  She needed the time away from home during the day. 

 

Sweet Success

 

When it comes down to it, a home-based career can be deeply satisfying.  I love the time I am able to share with my family, and the sense of accomplishment I have at the end of the day.  Overcoming the challenges we face on the job makes each success that much sweeter.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Tech Savvy: Using Technology to Lighten Your Workload by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 Did you know that you can add time to your day?  No, the time fairy isn’t going to come add another hour to the clock for us, but we can gain some ground by using the time we have more efficiently.  The technology is there, all we have to do is learn to use it.windsock

 

Get Mobile

 

Today’s PDA’s are incredibly versatile.  In one handheld device you can schedule your day, track your to-do list, answer email, call a client, and surf the Internet.  Staying caught up on things is easy when you have access to everything you need, anytime you need it.  Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your PDA:

l       Read the manual.  It may seem boring, but understanding how it works will be the key to making the most of your investment.

 

l       Speed up email and Internet access with Wi-Fi.  When shopping for a PDA, select a model with Wi-Fi capability.

 

l       Check out the keyboards when testing out different models.  You’ll want to be able to enter text comfortably if you plan to use email or word processing features.

 

Go Online

 

The Internet is a vast source of time saving technology.  Hook up to a few of these time-savers, and you’ll be enjoying more free time before you know it:

 

l       Sign up for online banking and auto-payments to cut time on opening mail, writing checks, and sending out your bills snail-mail style.

 

l       RSS feeds can keep you up-to-date on the happenings in your industry.  You’ll need to install a feed reader, such as Google Reader.  Once you have a reader, subscribe to your favorite websites.  Generally, you can easily subscribe by clicking on the orange RSS symbol.

 

l       Google Alerts will send you an email update on specific topics that are posted on the Internet. Select your search parameters, and how often you wish to be updated, and the site will send you an email summary complete with links.

 

Get to Know Your Software

 

Understanding the software you use can make a huge difference in how efficient you are throughout the day.  Set aside some time to get to know the features of the software programs you use most often.  Usually, there are short cuts you can take advantage of, such as templates, hot keys and macros.  Time spent becoming proficient in the tools you use most, will pay off big in the long run.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com