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

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

Do you have an artistic eye?  Are you comfortable with computers? You could work at home as a graphic designer.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average income for graphic designers as $45,000 per year.  With the option of enjoying the flexible work hours of a home office environment, this is a career worth looking into.  fresh-paint

The Technology

At a minimum, you will need to equip your home office with a computer, printer and design software.  Most entry-level positions require at least an associate degree, with a bachelor’s degree preferred. 

Getting Started
The key to success as a graphic designer is a killer portfolio.  The best way to build a portfolio is to get busy working.  That may seem intimidating if you have little or no experience, but there are plenty of opportunities out there if you are willing to do a little pro bono work.  Many nonprofit organizations looking for graphic designers, and free is the right price. lists open paid and volunteer positions within the nonprofit sector.  Gaining much needed career skills is even more fun when you are assisting a worthy cause. 

Choosing a Niche

Once you have built an impressive resumé, you may find it beneficial to choose a niche or specialty.    Choose an area of expertise based on your strengths and interests.  Specializing will help you gain credibility with your clients.   Here are a few graphic design specialties to consider:

– Advertising / Commercial Designer

– Animator

– Desktop Publisher

– Illustrator

The Need for Leads by Kim Hadley, Imaginations Everything

 by Kim Hadley

No one has to tell you that getting qualified leads is essential to any real estate practice. Since you already know that, I won’t go into all the reason that you need leads. What I will do is make suggestions on how to use your site to get qualified leads. 

First a dose of reality. Not everyone who visits your site finds it informative and initiates contact will be converted to a client. Probably not even half, a quarter or an eighth.  That’s the way it is in real estate whether your lead comes from the web or a human referral. However, despite the fact that your percentage of client conversion may seem to be low, consider it from the standpoint of commission earnings. 

If you only get two conversions from 1000 leads a month, a mere .002%, that still equals a very nice commission. Naturally the more leads you get, the more chances you have to convert them to clients.  There are those that will argue quality vs. quantity as far as leads go. Each may have a legitimate argument but the fact remains that being a successful sales agent also means playing the odds.  

This means that you want to get a large quantity of leads and then filter out the quality ones to concentrate on converting.

Converting them to clients will be up to you and your skills, but getting a large quantity to convert will come from your website.  Another consideration is prospective clients who may just have begun to consider buying a home but are not quite ready. People like this, whether they be walk-ins or have made an appointment are usually considered the bane of a realtor’s existence.  They have you drive them around all day, looking at houses all over town then say, “Thanks, we’re just looking”. Now the realtor has wasted the day and despite their best efforts at converting them, these same people may decide to use another realtor when they are finally ready to buy. 

A friend of mine is planning to move to Kentucky in two years and she’s already visiting websites of realtors in that area, looking at houses and trying to learn about the different neighborhoods.  She likes one site so much that she constantly visits it and because of the information listed on it, she’s considering buying land there now that she can build on later instead of waiting two years to move and then purchase a home.

This is one of the beauties of lead generation from the Internet.

People can browse houses online and then come back to you when they are ready without you ever having to leave the office. The trick is to make them come back to you.  Three ways to do this is by the use of email links, freebies, newsletters and information request forms.

Site Goals and Positioning by Kim Hadley, Imaginations Everything

by Kim Hadley

One of the main purposes of optimizing your website is to improve its position in the search engine rankings and thus on the search results page. While I encourage you to employ the various techniques to achieve this, it’s important not to over emphasize your website’s position.

It won’t help you to have your site returned at the top of the search engine pages if your site is not attractive to viewer’s, doesn’t provide the information they need or is difficult to navigate. It is important to drive traffic to your site, to be sure, but it’s only 10% of the battle. The biggest part of the battle is keeping them there, offering them the information they are looking for, and then encouraging them to communicate with you.

This is why before you start worrying about getting your site to the top of the search result page; you need to make sure its worthy of that position.

The Information Highway by Kim Hadley, Imaginations Everything

 by Kim Hadley

The Internet is called the information highway and in order to travel it effectively, you will need to gather some information yourself. The best place to start is at the website that you already have in place. Look at your website from the standpoint of your prospective clients.
Another important piece of information is finding out what your competitors are doing. Go onto the web and type in various keywords and phrases that prospective clients may use to find real estate in your area and see whose site pops up. We will delve further into competitor snooping techniques in later blog posts.

Gathering information is only one piece of the puzzle. Your site needs to give information to the viewers and it needs to be the information that they are looking for, not just useless fluff.

There are many ways to make your site more informative and do so in such a way that will cast you as an expert in your field. Two such ways are by posting articles and blogs.

These informative tools contribute to your site and finding sources to post about will be important to your online success. You will need to surf the Internet for e-publications that discuss real estate trends.

This will give you a constant source of fresh topics for both your articles and your blogs. Having a site with fresh and informative information is not only important in establishing a quality site, but it’s important from a search engine perspective.

Amazing Source for Gaining New Clients/Job Opportunities by Nicole Ocean

Within the last few months I found out about an incredible employment/project posting website that I bet many of you have already heard of, while I venture to bet that most of you may not know exactly how powerful and career/life changing this website can be.

The website I am referring to is called 

This website is chalk full of opportunities to gain new clients for your business, go into and start a new business for yourself and even hire other experts to assist you with your own projects.

I found out about and Sandra Beck through Elance and have been quickly building a new eBook consulting business called “nicolesdreams eBooks Consulting.” (

The website is free to sign up and free post a bid on 3 any projects (within 1 category) before having to pay a small monthly fee.

You can choose one of these categories to list yourself as an independent contractor or small business:

Web & Programming

Design & Multimedia

Writing & Translation

Admin. Support

Sales & Marketing

Finance & Mgmt


Engineering & Mfg.

Now just think of the endless possibilities on gaining more income, clients and opportunities as well as hire out projects that you’d like an expert to do for you.

Check it out today!


By Nicole Ocean

nicolesdreams eBooks