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Why Not We Time? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 Ah, I just opened my windows for a little unseasonably warm pre-spring air, and came to the realization that today would be a great day for a little me time with my favorite little ones.  Hmm… Did I just say me time with my kids?  I sure did, and I’m proud of it!sailboats

 

Me time is all the rage these days.  The media bombards us with the idea that the only way we moms will ever keep our sanity, or at least keep up the appearance of it, is to spend oodles of time pampering ourselves in one way or another.  Let’s be clear, I am in no way opposed to pampering, but I’m also a realist.  I work out of my house.  I’ve got one kid in school, and one in diapers.  I’ve got to take my me time however it comes, and frankly, I deeply enjoy relaxing with my children.  That’s why I work at home in the first place, isn’t it?

 

No wonder we’re all stressed out.  Not only do we have to take care of everyone that crosses our paths, but now we are supposed to have the strength and energy left over to treat ourselves like a queen at the end of the day.  Now is the time to simplify.  Everything I need to burn away the stress of the week is right here by my side.

 

The reality is that what matters most is not how we appear to our neighbors, or how much spoiling our money can buy us.  What does matter is that we make the most of the time we have each day.  So why not shut the computer down every now and again while they are young?  I want to spend all the time I can with them now, because someday there will be more me time than I care to think about.

 

So, I’ve resolved that this afternoon my me time will consist of a decidedly slow walk with two puddle-stomping toddlers, a golden retriever, and one small piece of dark chocolate.  There you have it, pure joy without the need for sitters, aromatherapy, or a wad of cash.  I’d love to say more, but I’ve got some puddles in the yard with my name on them.

 

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Career Focus: Work at Home as a Web Designer by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

If you’ve got a knack for computers, then web development could be the work-at-home career for you.  You don’t need a lot of extra schooling to become a web developer, though it can be helpful.  Whether you have a formal education or are self-taught, what matters most to employers and clients is your ability to set them up with an outstanding website.

 SummerEnd

The Technology

 

To work out of your home, you will need a computer with Internet access.  Since web design projects can be large scale, project management skills are also important.  At-home web design can be done on a flexible schedule, making it very family friendly.

 

Getting Started

 

Start out by building your own website.  Potential clients and employers will expect a web designer to have a top-notch website showcasing her skills.  This is a great opportunity to experiment with different ideas, and get a sense of your personal style.  Be sure to include your resume and contact information.  You never know when a hit on your website will result in a new client.

 

Building a Portfolio

 

Showcase your talents through a portfolio.  As you build websites, collect a record of your professional experience through examples of the quality work you provide.  If you are willing to work hard and give your all to a few friends or organizations free of charge, your portfolio will quickly come together.  Don’t know anyone looking for a website?  Try volunteermatch.org.  The site will pair you with nonprofit organizations looking for volunteers.  Not only will you gain experience, but you will also be helping out a cause close to your heart. 

 

Choosing a Niche

 

Once you have a few jobs under your belt, you may find it beneficial to choose a niche or specialty.  Maybe you excel when working with nonprofits, or prefer the informal touch of a personal website.  Capitalize on your strengths and interests when choosing a niche market.  Specializing will help you gain credibility with your clients.  With a little planning, and a lot of hard work, you will be a professional web designer from the comfort of your home before you know it.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

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Career Focus: Work at Home as a Virtual Assistant by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

You’ve worked in an office for years.  You’re good at your job, but dread the morning commute.  You long for a flexible schedule that works with your family needs, not against them.  If this sounds like you, you could work at home as a virtual assistant.  Virtual assistants provide administrative services to their clients via the Internet.  Though not required, experience as an administrative assistant can be helpful. Buntstifte

 

The Technology

 

To work out of your home, you will need a telephone line, personal computer, printer, and Internet access.  A fax machine is also helpful.  If you would rather not invest in a fax machine, try an online fax service.  For a monthly fee, you can send and receive faxes by email.

 

Certification

 

Some virtual assistants find certification helpful in keeping their skills at peak performance.  The skills improved upon through certification include executive support, business decision-making, customer service, and project management.  Certification is also helpful in gaining credibility among your colleagues, and potential clients.  Try vacertification.com for more info on becoming certified.

 

Pump Up Your Resumé

 

Is your resume looking a little thin in the experience category?  If you are willing to volunteer your time, you can quickly gain the experience you need to succeed.  There are a number of websites available to connect you with a nonprofit organization in need of your skills.  Try idealist.org, volunteer.gov, or volunteermatch.org.  Beneficial to your career and the charitable cause of your choosing, this match is a win-win situation.  Work hard and you will likely accumulate some professional references as well.

 

Choosing a Niche

 

Once you have established yourself as a virtual assistant, you may want to consider choosing an area of specialization.   Most virtual assistants choose to specialize in a field of interest, such as real estate or medical transcription.  Make the most of your expertise and interests when choosing a niche market.  Specializing will help you gain credibility with your clients.  Over time, you will become an expert in your field, all from the comfort of your own home. 

 

 

Sources:

(2007). The Media’s Virtual Assistant Survey Results.  Retrieved March 7, 2009 from VA Networking Website:

http://www.vanetworking.com/survey/virtual-assistant-statistics.htm.

 

(2004). Virtual Assistant Skill set.  Retrieved March 7, 2009 from Virtual Assistant Certification Website:   http://www.vacertification.com/skillset.htm

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5 Ways to Keep Your Toddler Happy While You Work by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 Do you need a few more minutes to concentrate?  Are you finding it hard to focus with a two-year-old climbing in your lap?  This is a challenge many work-at-home moms face while their children are young.  Here are five items you may already have to entertain your toddler in a pinch:swing

 

Empty Boxes

 

Most of us have seen a toddler open a gift only to find the box more interesting than the present so thoughtfully tucked inside.  Hang on to a few empty boxes of varying size, and pull them out when your child is bored.  Set up large boxes as a fort, or open the ends to make a tunnel.  Smaller boxes make a great bed for stuffed animals, target for balls or beanbags, or can be used for sorting games. 

 

Tissue Paper

 

Young children love the crisp sound of tissue paper rustling in their hands.  Set aside some gift wrapping tissue, and give it to your child when he is bored.  Let him crinkle, cover and tear, while you meet your deadlines.  Just be prepared for a bit of a mess later.

 

Index Cards

 

A little tape, some crayons, and your toddler’s imagination add up to reusable fun.  Make your own flash cards by having your child draw on index cards.  If you have some time, cut pictures she likes from old magazines or use pictures of your family.  Tape the pictures to the cards, and cover them with clear contact paper to use again and again.

 

Paper Bags

 

An assortment of paper bags can be hours of fun for your little one.  Large bags can be used to play grocery store, or as a target for tossing soft balls or bean bags.  Smaller bags come in handy for making puppets.  Have your child decorate the puppet, and then show him how to make his new toy talk using his hand.

 

Old Greeting Cards

 

The next time there is a birthday in your house, save a few of the greeting cards, along with their envelopes.  Toddlers love the brightly decorated cards and will have fun taking them in and out of their envelopes.  Pair them with a shoe “mail” box, and the two of you can open your mail together.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Career Focus: Work at Home as a Public Relations Consultant by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 If you are a creative, outgoing problem-solver, then Public Relations Consulting may be the work-at-home job for you.  Public relations consultants build and maintain positive relationships with the public.  Their clients include individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, government officials and agencies.  Their responsibilities include writing press releases, speeches, and articles. They may also be responsible for arranging press conferences, and setting up speaking engagements.  A college degree in public relations, journalism, advertising, or communication can be very helpful in this field.Spring Trees

 

The Technology

 

You will need to set up your home office with basic communications equipment, such as a computer with access to the Internet, an email account, printer and fax machine.  An online fax service may be a viable option for those who prefer not to invest in a fax machine and second phone line.  A quick search of the Internet will turn up several providers.

 

Getting Started

 

A portfolio of previous work is key to finding employment in the public relations field.  Include items such as published articles, television or radio programs, press releases and presentations in your portfolio.  Build a portfolio by taking on a part-time internship or volunteering your services to a nonprofit organization.  Joining a professional organization will help you gain contacts within the industry. 

 

Certification

 

Certification can be beneficial to a career in public relations.  Professional recognition as a certified public relations consultant will demonstrate your expertise, and your dedication to the field.  Certification also helps you gain credibility with potential clients and employers.  Both the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators offer certification designations.  Both of these organizations require candidates to have at least 5 years full-time work experience, in addition to a bachelor’s degree.  Candidates must also successfully pass an examination to receive certification.

 

The public relations field is expected to grow more rapidly than most careers through 2016.  Public relations consulting, when paired with a self-motivated, enthusiastic individual can be an outstanding career choice for the work-at-home mom.

 

Source:

 

(2008). The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition.  Retrieved March 9, 2009 from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Website:  http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos086.htm.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

4 Quick Tips to a Company Ready Home Office by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

If your home business requires occasional client visits, the state of your home office can make or break a business deal.  When my husband and I were looking for someone to photograph our wedding we visited a few photographers working out of their homes.  One invited us into a poorly lit kitchen to review his portfolio, while the contract-winning operation invited us into a home office that displayed quality and professionalism from the start.  I’m not saying that the state of your home office alone will win your clients over, but every interaction leaves a lasting impression.  Here are four tips to make sure the impression you leave is a good one:Allium flower head (macro)

 

1.  Clear the clutter.

 

Put away anything that doesn’t need to be out.  A disorganized home office will leave your clients wondering if you will drop the ball when it comes to their projects.  This is especially important when you are working with multiple clients on proprietary information.  Your customers need to know that they can trust you to be discreet.

 

2.  It’s all business.

 

Your office may be located in your home, but it should reflect a business environment.  Though you may enjoy hanging your children’s artwork and other personal effects in your workspace, when clients come around it is time to tuck these items away. 

 

3.  Critical cleaning.

 

Don’t waste time cleaning everything from top to bottom.  Focus from the waist up, on the areas that capture the eyes.  A quick dust over surfaces should suffice.  Do make sure that your guest bath is clean.  Wipe the mirror and sink, and run a brush around the toilet bowl.  Finish off by emptying the trash cans.  We all feel more comfortable in a clean environment.

 

4.  Liven it up.

 

A few strategically placed plants or a vase of fresh flowers can do wonders to brighten a room.  If you are fortunate enough to have a blooming flower garden, cut a few blooms and bring them inside.  Adding natural color to your office space will make it calm and inviting, something you can enjoy even after the close of the business day.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Help, Please! An Interview with Networking Guru Lucy Rosen by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 I caught up with Lucy Rosen, president and founding member of Women on the Fast Track, an international networking organization for business women.  Here’s what Lucy had to say:

 

What are the benefits to networking? How many words do I get? New relationships. Opportunities for new opportunities. Opportunities to connect others. Opportunities for jobs / information / resources, but I think the biggest one is the opportunity to help others.Gardening tools

 

What networking advice has benefited your career?  Everyone has value. It may not be a good fit for you, but that doesn’t mean to write them off.  It means file them away to refer them to someone else!

 

Where can a woman find networking opportunities?  Local clubs, organizations, associations, online, at schools, alumni groups, other mothers, other women, newspapers, radio, and magazines. Virtually every daily paper has a business section and usually it appears on Mondays. In that section would be a list of all the networking “things” happening in and around your community.

 

What advice do you have for women who want to network, but feel shy or uncomfortable?  Most of the time we feel shy or uncomfortable because we think we don’t have anything to give. We are the “givers” not the receivers- so it’s much more comfortable for us to give than to receive. If there is a feeling of not having much of worth to give – start making a list of all the different people you know – from your neighbor, to the woman on the PTA you met, to the different jobs you have had and who you know from there. I reconnected with someone from high school that I hadn’t seen in 30 (gulp) years… She was looking for a job in accounting, and I happened to know an accounting firm that was looking to hire – so there you go! It worked.
How can a business woman start a networking group in her area?  They can call me and I will help them start Women on the Fast Track chapter!

You can find out more about Lucy Rosen and Women on the Fast Track by visiting her website at www.womenonthefasttrack.com.

 

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