Working from home

While I was getting ready for work this morning (getting an adequate amount of caffeine), I was trolling through my email (part of the caffeination process here)  and found Christine Hoskin‘s discussion on the pros and cons of self-employment.  If you think working from home is for you, take the time to read this–it’s a realistic presentation of both sides of the work-from-home scenario–a thought-provoking post.

Working from home is attractive, but can you really do it?  It’s  important to have assessed yourself  carefully for ability to work this way–how do you react to three days with only the cat for company?  (Discussing that plan with a friend who knows you well can help if you’ve never taken an online class or been a telecommuter.) Can you  control that tendency to be distracted from your work by the glimpse of a dust bunny lurking in the corner? Can you manage so that you  get your work hours in?

I have to cultivate a mindset that says “work”!  So even though it’s an extremely short commute , I get ready by doing the usual things you’d do before starting a commute: drink coffee, brush teeth, take shower, drink coffee, get dressed, etc. The good part is that getting dressed can be putting on a fresh pair of sweats if you want, and caffeine is readily available, but I’ve got a “work” attitude.

Can you put you work aside when you’ve achieved you goal for the drink-before-you-think-mug-4033453_1_8f8f1c6a-b9ae-4f55-b5e2-6d95d53001a3_large[1]day?  That is equally important as being able to get a reasonable day’s work in. One of the most difficult things for me was to learn not to try to work 24/7! You can’t be really productive and creative if you have a raging case of burn-out.  True, there are times when you’re faced with a deadline that you HAVE to do 24/7.  But when that’s over, take a day off.  Learn to pay attention to your mental as well as physical needs.

I’m definitely an introvert, but I find that I need to make myself check out the world outside my home once in a while–I need to plan activities with friends periodically.  That trip to the grocery store where you really don’t interact with anyone but the checkout person really doesn’t qualify. As an introvert, I think my social life has benefited from self-employment/working from  home–I have more control over when I interact with people. The stress of enforced interaction (e.g. course lectures) has been removed.

I love Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Twitter (need to learn more about using that one)  for providing interaction with friends (indexers and otherwise), but I think it’s important to have face-to-face interactions too.

Virtual interaction with others works so much better if you have had face-to-face contact, so attending professional meetings is important. I’m looking forward to this year’s ASI conference in Seattle WA where I’ll get to refresh face-to-face contacts that are maintained  by email and social media between times. Register for that conference!

Once you think you’ve enough work scheduled to make the jump from part-time to full-time indexing, it can be almost frightening to hand in that resignation letter–but it feels great when you’ve taken that leap of faith.  Then someone cancels a job, and you’re chewing you fingernails for a bit.  Then you get an unexpected repeat job from a client and you can relax again–you have to tolerate the uncertainty and that can be hard.

Another thing you have to remember is that you’re it–no one to CYA.  You do everything associated with your business–dust the computer, empty the trash, keep up  hardware, update software, marketing, etc. You can’t let those things slide either.  If you don’t take care of those as well as writing those indexes, you’ll lose the good parts of working from home!

Now, back to indexing!

Marketing is all about building relationships

safifer:

Some good tips for client relationships!

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

You have a business and you want it to grow, so you know you have to make contacts and turn them into connections that lead to business growth. But thinking about the effort as ‘sales’ and ‘selling’ intimidates many, so try to think about it as relationship building.

Nurturing prospects and clients is important to retaining business – and retaining and building your business is your goal, right?

Here are some tactics you can try. Give any or all of them a shot to find what feels best for you and works best for your business.

Offer a perk to a returning client to make her feel special. Perhaps a discount on new work; a discount once a year to see if that encourages clients to hire you for new work. Perks don’t have to be discounts, you could offer a free marketing report for their area of expertise.

Keep in touch

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How to Read a Book?

safifer:

…and for indexing?

Originally posted on CONFESSIONS OF A READAHOLIC:

If you are reading this post, then you are certain about the importance of ‘reading’.

To acquire knowledge with aim of increasing one’s understanding, is reading enough? The answer is yes, but the question remains, how?

We need to think about how we read and Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book is a perfect place to start with. Published in 1940, it immediately became a bestseller, and since that time the book has been updated many times, famously and notably by Charles van Doren in the 1970’s.

Most of the times, we think reading is something that you can do or you cannot – that is you can either read or not. The truth, however, is that reading is a skill that can be improved with knowledge and practice.

The goal of reading determines how you read. If you’re reading for entertainment, you’re going to read a lot differently and…

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It’s a challenge to be your own boss

safifer:

Great post. Things we need to be conscious of as freelancers/sole proprietors.

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

Being your own boss is thrilling, isn’t it? It’s nice to not have someone to report to every day. You don’t have to deal with someone hassling you if you don’t show up or if you spend all your time chasing dust bunnies, shiny objects, or killing time on Snapchat or Facebook.

Of course you want to impress your clients, but they come and go and care about what you can do for them, not necessarily about your personal success.

There’s a lot of freedom (insert Mel Gibson’s scream from “Braveheart”) in working for yourself. Maybe too much at times.

To be successful and keep your business on track, you need to think like a boss. What do I mean? Here are a few tips.

  • Determine and write down your goals
    • Yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals will help you achieve the success you want. Written goals keep you…

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Habits

safifer:

Thoughts applicable to freelance work-from-home–with the only supervision being the cat!

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

I’m in the middle of a project requiring consistent action on my part. I broke down the project into smaller parts, made a check-list of each of the different tasks involved, and started taking tiny steps forward, sometimes doing only one thing that required a few minutes in a day.

I’m at the point now where I have a daily goal to accomplish in order to complete the entire project on time. Each day I mark down where I need to be at the end of the day to stay on task and I try to do a little more than is required in order to stay ahead of the deadline. So far, I’m more than meeting my daily goals and expect to finish in plenty of time.

While I’m totally excited about the project, it has nothing to do with writing. (I’d tell you what it is, but it’s…

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…and another food spot in Charleston

I’ve had another recommendation for a place to have seafood while in Charleston:  Hyman’s Seafood. Great looking menu and not expensive.  This recommendation comes from a good friend who does know how picky I can be about the quality of my food–especially my seafood.  Menu looks interesting, and there is a specific gluten-free menu posted on the website.

Food in Charleston SC

I’m excited about the American Society for Indexing convention–it’s good to get to talk face-to-face with other indexers–there’s always something to learn. I’m excited to see the other who worked on the Best Practices document again–and I’m looking forward to visiting Charleston SC.  I’ve never been there so I’m planning to stay until Sunday morning to have a little time to look around.

I’m told you couldn’t get a bad meal in Charleston–being my naturally skeptical self, I don’t believe that. I’ve had my “feelers” out to friends and acquaintances who are in the restaurant business in one way or another and I got some recommendations for foodies (like me). I’ve gotten a recommendation for Husk.  I’ve just been perusing the menu, and I think that this is a “must” for one dinner–and maybe Sunday brunch before I head back to Durham.

Note that when I asked for recommendations, I didn’t stipulate anything about price, so food quality was the only stipulation. I’ve gotten these recommendations for a chef who has spent a lot of time in Charleston–and who is a very serious, seasonal foodie, and has left out the “touristy” places (although he says some are good.  Included in his suggestions (I asked for his “raves” in addition to Husk) are:

  • McCrady’s Restaurant for seriously good food in an inventive way–sous vide, foams, etc. (As of right now, this link seems very slow to load, but it does eventually do it. The menu looks fantastic.  This Sean Brock’s (as well as Husk).
  • Husk (also Sean Bock presenting local Southern food) is lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.
  • EVO Pizza (that is for Extra Virgin Oven) and, yes, it’s pizza, but with house-made charcuterie. Features local microbrews, too.  Lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday.
  • Glass Onion (and I’m told that the cookbook is awesome–and this from someone who probably doesn’t really need a cookbook).
  • Bowens Island Restaurant for outstanding seafood (and I’m warned that this is “hole-in-the-wall” when compared to some other restaurants, but unbeatable seafood.  Dinner only, closed Sunday and Monday.
  • Martha Lou’s Kitchen for soul food and “low country” food; lunch only.

I’m sure I’m not going to get to eat at all of these–but Husk is right at the top of my list and I dare say that you can guess my next preferences. I’m going to this convention business, but I’m not passing up some good food.  Anybody want to join me?

It’s almost conference time again!

It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was getting excited about the 2013 ASI conference–and here it is again–conference time.  I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again. I appreciate! Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter for staying in contact, but nothing beats getting together face-to-face!

I’ve not been to Charleston SC before so I’m looking forward to that as well–and hope that by then we’ll have some nice weather.

Tips for working at home

Working from home is wonderful, but it takes some discipline. A colleague posted this link on Facebook and I though it was helpful so I thought I’d share it.

Frome the Huffington Post “Working from Home: Here Are Ten Ways to Do It Better”

Some of these things I worked our for myself, but there are some suggestions here that I’m going to try to carry out–especially the workout time. That is the one that slips most for me.

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