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How to Make Money from Home During the Pandemic

No one could have predicted the way the coronavirus pandemic would affect our world a few short months ago. We had never experienced, in our lifetime, anything remotely like the global pandemic that required an almost complete shutdown of our economy. Unemployment is at a record-breaking high, and many are struggling to figure out how to manage without a steady job.

Working from home was once a cringe-worthy phrase as it conjured up scams that promised hundreds of dollars of a day working from home, once you coughed up all the hidden costs associated with your new job. The job usually consisted of selling products in some type of pyramid scheme or working for pennies doing mundane tasks from your computer. Making significant money from home was a rare occurrence until technology opened doors for those with marketable skills to sell their skills online.

Technology and a changing workforce had redefined working from home, even before COVID-19 became part of our terminology. Over fifty million people in the U.S. were doing some type of freelance work from home, before the pandemic. With so many people already working in the gig economy, the infrastructure was in place when many companies needed to allow their employees to work from home during the pandemic.

How to make money from home

If you are seeking to make money from home during the pandemic, there are an almost infinite number of opportunities. The first step is knowing your skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Once you have taken a little time to reflect on the things you like to do, you are ready to start your search for online opportunities to make money.

You can run your own business from home. The opportunities are limitless, but some ideas include:

  • Start a business teaching or tutoring students online.
  • Start a doggie daycare or if you have the room, board dogs whose owners need to go out of town. Be sure and check on insurance requirements and follow all state and local regulations.
  • Design gift baskets or other crafts for sale. For those who are crafty, they often fail to realize the market for their wares. Many people lack the creative skill or time needed to create personalized crafts or gift baskets.
  • Start your own business as a design consultant. If you are one of those people who can walk into a room and immediately tell what it needs to give it that perfect, finished look, then you would probably make a great design consultant.

Running your own business not only allows you to make money while working from home but also gives you freedom and flexibility to set your hours and the freedom to do a job you genuinely enjoy. One word of caution is that the online world is full of con-artists and scammers, so use caution to weed out those looking to take advantage of newcomers to the online business world.

Freelancing from home during the pandemic

If you have a marketable skill, you may want to try your hand at freelance work. There are two paths to get started as a freelancer. You can use your contacts and marketing skills to find clients, or you can use one of the reputable platforms that now specialize in matching freelancers with those looking to purchase those skills. Many freelancers use a combination of both to get their business started.

Some of the areas where freelancers are thriving while working from home include:

  • Virtual Assistant (VA)—a virtual assistant offers administrative support in a range of businesses. Primary responsibilities include things like answering phone calls, calendar management, document creation, and managing social media accounts.
  • Marketing Consultant—this field is hot right now as marketing becomes more critical than ever for the success of a business.
  • Graphic Designer—create a portfolio and get started if you are skilled in creating infographics, designing webpages, or producing designs for print.
  • Social Media Coordinator—Businesses realize the benefits of having an active and engaging social media account. You can build a full-time career out of managing those accounts if you are skilled in using social media to drive traffic to a particular website.
  • Translator—if you speak more than one language fluently, there is a huge demand for translators in the global economy. You can take a test to receive your certification, making your language skills even more valuable.
  • Copywriter—a copywriter specializes in writing content for business webpages and product and service descriptions.
  • Cybersecurity specialist—if you are familiar with the world of cybersecurity, then there are companies clamoring for your services. As more and more businesses create or expand their online presence, and hackers gain sophistication, the demand for cybersecurity specialists has been increasing for some time with no signs of slowing down.
  • Web developers—those who can code and build websites can make an easy jump to freelancing. Every person and business seems to want their own website, but few have the technical knowledge to make it functional with a sleek design.
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How to Make Money for Your Small Business on eBay

eBay is being used by small businesses everywhere to reach a massive customer base. Many small businesses do the all, or the majority, of their business on eBay. There are no barriers to selling on eBay, meaning a business can start selling immediately, and the only limits are how much time and effort you are willing to put into your business.

How small businesses make money on eBay

eBay is easy to use, and it presents an opportunity for people to start their small businesses with virtually no start-up costs. All it requires is for someone to identify a niche they can fill, open a seller account on eBay, and start listing their products.

Some small businesses have brick and mortar stores and use eBay to help move their products, while others use eBay exclusively to sell their products.  Whether you will use eBay as your sole source of moving products, or as an adjunct means of increasing sales, eBay is intuitive and easy to use, so it does not require an extensive learning curve to get started.

Tips for using eBay to make money

  • Determine what to sell—The options are limitless. You can peruse estate sales, garage sales and resell stores, as well as your own home, for items to sell. You can also sell hand-crafted items if that is your specialty. The obvious objective is to pay less for an item than you can resell it for on eBay, which is quite easy to do.
  • Set up your eBay account and link it to your Paypal account—Paypal is the only acceptable means to accept payment from buyers. You will have selling limits, but as soon as you get some positive feedback, the limits raise quickly.
  • Put the eBay mobile app on your phone—The app is a necessary tool for sellers as it allows you to quickly research prices of similar items. The app also allows you to do business on eBay from any location at any time.
  • Become a buyer first—It is easier to understand eBay from the buyers’ perspective by using it to buy items so that you understand what the buyer will see when perusing your products. It is challenging to start making sales on eBay with zero feedback, so building up some feedback as a buyer helps others feel more confident in you as a seller. Many experts recommend that you don’t start selling items until you have feedback of at least twenty.
  • One of your only start-up costs will be a postage scale—a postage scale isn’t necessary, but it will pay for itself in helping you quickly and accurately calculate how much shipping will costs. eBay works with the USPS so that sellers can enter the weight of an item and the class of mail, and then the correct shipping charge will appear for the buyer as the browse items. Skipping the scale can mean under or overestimating weight, which can result in overcharges to the customer who will then leave negative feedback. If you undercharge the customer, you are losing money on the sale.
  • Start by selling items in your home—Selling inexpensive items in your home will help you learn the ins and outs of eBay without investing in inventory. This also allows you to build up a favorable seller profile before venturing into reselling items you purchase to sell on eBay. As a bonus, you will be surprised at how much stuff you have cluttering your home.
  • Become an expert on an item’s value—Learning how to decipher the value of an item will help you know what a good deal is and what isn’t when you are purchasing items for resale. It will also help you price your items competitively to drive more business your way. You will continue to develop pricing strategies as your business grows
  • Order packaging and shipping supplies in bulk—Once you have established your small business of selling on eBay, you will want to save as much money as possible on supplies. Ordering these supplies in bulk quantities allows you to pay less per item shipped.
  • Keep meticulous records—As with any business, you need to be able to generate a basic profit and loss statement, so keep records from the first sale. You also want to keep all receipts associated with the purchases you have made. These records will be crucial for managing taxes on your small business, but it will also help you decipher high-profit margin items from those with a
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Companies Hiring Workers in New York for Work From Home Jobs

Working from home has gained popularity in recent years, and the pandemic has created more opportunities than ever to join the millions of people who have found satisfaction in work-from-home jobs. New York is notorious for its long commute times, and the expenses associated with commuting to a job. Working from home saves employees both time and money in the costs associated with working.

Millions of U.S. workers have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Many of those workers are now searching for ways to earn money while staying at home during the pandemic. Nowhere is this more true than in New York, where the coronavirus hit especially hard.

Many companies have allowed their workforce to move to remote work positions, allowing them to stay safely at home during the pandemic, while still maintaining their jobs. Working from home has gained popularity as advances in technology have allowed people to do their jobs regardless of their physical location.

New York companies hiring for work from home jobs

If you are a resident of New York, and interested in working from home, the companies below offer remote work options for a wide array of skills and experience.

  1. Netsmart—Netsmart specializes in proving mental and physical health care via the internet. The company is hiring for positions such as a Chart Reviewer and Certified Coding Specialists.
  2. Oracle—If you have IT experience or in-depth knowledge of computers and various software, Oracle provides remote work opportunities. Oracle is hiring residents of New York for positions such as a Database Administrator and a Principle Linux Engineer.
  3. Accolade Support Call Center Services—you would work as a call center agent, providing either technical support or customer service. Treated as an independent contractor, meaning you are responsible for paying self-employment tax, the company pays on a per-minute basis with a per-hour base rate.
  4. TransPerfect—This is a global company, headquartered in New York offering technology-enabled language translation services. The company offered telecommuting positions before the pandemic.
  5. Shutterstock—Most of us are familiar with the global e-commerce company offering the world’s most extensive collection of free photos and illustrations. Shutterstock offers a fantastic benefits package and is well-known for embracing freelance and telecommuting opportunities.
  6. Voxy—Based in New York, Voxy is an e-learning company offering online English learning opportunities. Voxy frequently posts telecommuting jobs, both part-time and full-time.
  7. Warby Parker—This company delivers eyeglasses directly to consumers and offers telecommuting jobs involving sales and customer service.

The benefits of working from home in New York

New York is a beautiful state filled with things to see and do, but it is also an expensive place to live. Enjoying all the perks of living in an area filled with natural beauty and vibrant cities with plenty to do can be difficult when you are tied to a traditional eight to five job, plus commute time.

Working from home leaves you with more free time to do the things you enjoy, while still providing the necessary income. We all struggle with the work-life balance, but working from home at a job you love helps you strike a balance between your career and your personal life.

If you have decided to try working from home, you have to decide if it makes more sense to work for a company that provides remote work options, or if you should start your own gig. Both have positive attributes. Working for a company means you should have a predictable income, some benefits, and unless you are a contract employee, you do not have to pay self-employment tax.

Starting your own gig gives you more flexibility to define your job description and change and expand it whenever you want. You will also have the flexibility to work whatever hours suit you instead of being tied to a company’s business hours. The income you make will be defined by how much time and effort you are willing to put forth, meaning you can conceivably make more money than you would telecommuting for a company. However, your income will be erratic as you establish a customer base.

Working from home is not the right career move for everyone. If you enjoy the camaraderie of working with others and look forward to the time out of the house, you may find yourself struggling with feelings of loneliness or isolation. If you are not a self-starter, you may need the structure of a traditional work environment to thrive. Know yourself and your personality, and then decide if working from home is a sustainable long-term career move.

 

 

 

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Companies Hiring in Canada for Work from Home Jobs

The gig economy was in a period of rapid growth when the pandemic led to many companies going to a work-from-home business model. Millions of workers are working from their homes, using technological advances to do jobs that were once considered impossible to do efficiently from home.

Many experts expect that even once things return to normal, the traditional workforce may have changed forever. There are advantages to working from home for both employees and employers.  Employees save time and money by not having to commute, eat out for lunch, and some are saving on childcare expenses. Employees can work from home when feeling under the weather without the risk of spreading a virus to other members of the company, which benefits both employers and employees.

Employers can spend less on office space, energy bills, office furniture and still have a productive workforce. Employers are also learning that employees are often more productive without the distractions of the work environment, and employees are more creative in their solutions when free to work wherever they are most comfortable.

The pandemic has brought about an economic downturn, leading to record unemployment numbers. However, finding a job working from home is easier than ever, thanks to the internet.  Use reputable sites when searching for work from home jobs and always be cautious of scammers. Legitimate websites that list work from home jobs in Canada do not charge a fee and be wary of hidden costs to match you with a job.

Companies in Canada hiring for work from home jobs

  • MakerKids—the company is located in Ontario, Canada, and is looking for work from home instructors to teach and entertain kids online with theatre, crafting projects, and more.
  • Concentra Solutions—the company is hiring loan processing assistants to work from home. The requirements include a quiet work area free from noise and distractions and a high-speed internet connection. The job requires typing experience, some technical knowledge, and excellent phone skills.
  • Global Mentoring Solutions—The company is hiring for full-time positions as a help desk analyst. The job entails handling IT support to customers through phone, email, and chat and requires that you be a Canadian citizen and experience working as an IT specialist or as an IT help desk analyst.
  • Sutherland—is hiring a work from home customer care support specialist for temporary jobs. The ability to multi-task and work history in customer care is needed.
  • Artage Portraits—is hiring an executive assistant to handle correspondence from clients, spend time on the phone, helping clients, online research, and the use of QuickBooks software.
  • Advanis—hires telephone research interviewers. You need a landline and a headset with a noise-canceling microphone. The company pays for all required training and then pays by the hour.
  • CTS Language Link—If you are bilingual, there are many opportunities to use your knowledge of a different language in a work-from-home job. CTS Language Link uses those who know two or more languages to work remotely for their call center and allow a flexible schedule that includes 24/7 operations. The company does require a proficiency test in English and the target language plus two years of experience as an interpreter.
  • goFluent—offers work from home jobs in Canada for those who are proficient in more than one language. Your work schedule will be four hours per day, five days a week, with flexibility in what four hours you will work. The job is a Business English Trainer, teaching those for whom Engish is a second language to speak English for business purposes.
  • Transcom—the company, hires Home Agent Customer Care Representatives from anywhere in Canada. To be considered, you must complete an employment screening that takes approximately 30-45 minutes.

The jobs listed above are a small portion of the current positions available in Canada for those who wish to work from home. These companies frequently add new jobs, so check their websites for the latest information.

Working from home in Canada also means not having to commute, which is nice anytime, but especially helpful on brutal winter days. The time you save with not having to commute can add precious hours to your day to do other things that matter, and the cost savings can add up to thousands of dollars a year. The cost savings of working from home is something to consider when deciding if a work from home job is right for you.

 

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10 Tips for Staying Productive While Working from Home

The coronavirus pandemic is introducing millions of workers to remote work for the first time. Millions of other workers have joined the freelance economy, or already had jobs that allowed employees to work from home. Whether you are new to working from home, or you have been doing it for some time, there are tips and tricks for staying productive.

It can seem like a dream to be able to skip the commute, dress comfortably, and do your work from wherever is most comfortable in your home. What you might not be prepared for are the distractions that can make working from home a challenge.

Ten tips to staying productive

  1. Stick to a schedule—It can be tempting to procrastinate and put work off when you first transition to working from home. Avoid the temptation and decide on the best work schedule for yourself, then stick to it.
  2. Define your workspace—Whether you have a home office, or you will be working from the dining room table, establish your workspace, and organize it comfortably. For those who have a family at home, try to find a place that isn’t central to everyone else’s activities. You might have to be creative and move things around to make this work. If you do not have a home office, but you have a guest bedroom, consider moving a desk or work table into that room to work. Having a door you can close to shut out the chaos in your home can be valuable, especially during conference calls and virtual meetings.
  3. Start each day with a list—Review your to-do list each morning and plan how to tackle what you need to accomplish that day. It is also helpful to have a master list for the week that you then break down into a daily work schedule.
  4. Keep in touch with co-workers and clients—If you are working from home due to the pandemic, there is probably a learning curve as your entire team adjusts to remote work. Check-in frequently with co-workers to ensure that there are no breakdowns in communication. Clients expect updates on the status of your progress, so be sure and take the time to call, videoconference, or send an email to inform them of the progress you are making.
  5. Hold a family meeting and clarify your new work arrangement—If you are new to working from home, this can be critical. Your spouse, children, and other family and friends will need to learn to respect your work schedule. It will be easier if you clarify when you will be working and when you are free to interact with them. Even young children can learn to respect boundaries, with a little training.
  6. Set realistic expectations for yourself—You can be much more productive when working from home, but don’t try to accomplish a week’s worth of work in two days. Give yourself breaks just as you would in the office. Take 15 minutes to walk around the block, or have a healthy snack. Occasionally stepping away from your work will help your overall productivity.
  7. Do not try to multi-task household chores while working—When working from home, you will have to work harder to keep your work life separate from your home life. It can seem like a good idea to start dinner while waiting for a conference call or do laundry on your break, but those things will distract you from the work you need to accomplish. Work or home will suffer from trying to multi-task both.
  8. Dress comfortably—It is one of the benefits of working from home, so take advantage of it. Despite the misconception that people who work from home spend their days in pajamas, most remote workers find it helpful to dress casually for the day.
  9. Get creative with solutions—If you are struggling to concentrate or feel stuck on a project, try working from somewhere else. You can brainstorm on your patio, or write a report in your recliner. Though it is essential to have a designated workspace, take advantage of not being tied to it. Changing up your routine, or where you are working, can help break a mental block.
  10. Learn to leave work—One of the most significant challenges of working from home can be learning to leave work. When you work in a traditional workplace, you have the physical act of leaving that helps you to leave work behind. Determine what time your day ends each day, and walk away from work until the next morning.

 

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5 Ways to Improve Your Businesses Online Reputation Management

In 2020, a business is obsolete without a website and a robust online presence. With the spread of COVID-19, being accessible to your customer base online is more critical now than ever. Having a stellar online reputation does not happen overnight and is not a one and done solution. Maintaining a strong online presence requires expertise and diligent management. Read on to learn the five ways to improve your businesses’ online reputation management system.

 

Social Media Presence

Social media has become the most important digital marketing platform, allowing you the potential to reach millions of customers worldwide. Social media is an excellent way to engage with your customers, and it is cost-effective as signing up for social media accounts is free. Customers tend to trust brands more that have a social media presence. If they can see you regularly interacting with your customers, replying to comments, and posting unique and relevant content, they will be more likely to do business with you.

 

Ask Customers for Reviews

Your past customers are an excellent network for you to expand your online presence. Asking satisfied customers to leave you a 5-star review is especially important if you have one or two negative reviews. If you only have three reviews, and two of them are negative, your business will seem less legitimate.

 

Send out an email to your past customers, asking them to write you a positive review on Google. You may consider giving out an incentive such as a free gift or a discount on their next purchase. Encourage customers to upload photos of the products they bought and be as specific with their reviews as possible. Oddly enough, a lot of positive reviews with one or two negative reviews mixed in actually can make your brand seem more authentic. You just need to make sure the positive outweighs the negative.

 

Showcase positive reviews on your website in the form of testimonials. Studies show positive testimonials on the home page of a business’ website can significantly help a brand’s online conversion rate. Testimonials give customers a sense of personalization; it makes them believe you care about their unique needs- which is hard to do online.

 

Publically Respond to Negative Reviews

It may seem counterintuitive when your instinct tells you to ignore negative comments, but you must address concerns from an unsatisfied customer. As frustrating as it can be, the first rule of business is “the customer is always right.”

 

You will appear honest and trustworthy if you can handle a negative review with grace and humility. Start by thanking the reviewer for leaving a review and expressing their concern. Tell them customer satisfaction is essential to your business and offer them contact information to reach out to you privately (use an email address, not a phone number). Empathize with a customer’s negative experience and remember always to apologize even if you do not feel that you are in the wrong.

 

Share User-Generated Content if it Helps Your Reputation

A customer who makes a positive Instagram or Facebook post about your product or service is essentially free marketing for your business. It means a customer was so happy with their experience that they wanted to share it with their network. Share these posts on your page for free marketing and to show appreciation for a customer promoting your brand.

 

Also, followers who see you sharing user-generated content will feel incentivized to make their own posts and tag you in them for the chance to be featured on your page. Everyone is looking for more exposure!

 

Partner with Influencers

Social media influencers are an excellent way for you to build brand authority. Social media influencers are considered experts in their particular niche, such as wellness or fashion. They are the trusted “gatekeepers” of the communities they represent and, therefore, have credibility with their followers. You should pay an influencer to post about your brand and the products or services you offer, exposing your brand to a large group of people who may not have known your company existed.

 

The reason influencers have such robust purchasing power is because their opinions are valued. Studies show 71% of people are likely to buy a product based on a social media referral. Create an agreement with an influencer who can represent your brand and start building a working relationship.

 

Building an online reputation can seem like a daunting task, but breaking it down makes it more manageable. Create a plan and stick with it. Building a robust social media presence, Asking past customers for reviews, responding to negative reviews, sharing user-generated content, and partnering with influencers are all great ways to build up your brand’s online reputation. You cannot expect to see results overnight, but with regular work and patience, you will see more online traffic and an increase in sales.