Every time my daughter's friend calls I am always so impressed with her phone manners. "Good afternoon, this is Elise," she begins each conversation (and occasionally makes me smile by saying the same in the morning or evening too). She then politely asks if my daughter is available.
Then there is my son's friend. He has dispensed with any semblance of greeting and immediately demands that I put my son on the phone before I can finish saying hello. I always slow him down a bit by asking who is calling, although I darn well know who it is, and commenting about the hour of his call or what a hurry he is in. He has never gotten my hint.
Guess which one I am more likely to arrange for a get-together with my child.
Good phone manners are a nice thing. And I think everyone should practice them just so that we can all live in a more civil world. But if that isn't enough of a reason, consider this: Good phone manners will help you (and your children) get what you want.
It's human nature to respond positively toward someone who is polite and friendly. Whether you are a telecommuter who works part-time at home or a home-business owner, proper phone etiquette in the home office will only help your career.
But for the work-at-home mom, the importance of phone manners goes beyond our professional lives because our professional and personal lives can blur together. And as parents we have the added task of making sure to set a good example. None of us want our child to be "the rude child" as, I admit, I have not-so-politely designated my son's friend. However, I have to say that my kids are not as polite on the phone as Elise. So it's something to work on.
- Phone Manners for All Occasions
- Phone Etiquette in the Home Office
- How to Write Email That Gets a Response
The spring before my oldest began kindergarten I considered whether a week in summer camp might help get her ready for school. It was late April, and the trees were blooming when the idea of summer camp first came to me. But I took a while to decide about summer camp (and then procrastinated a bit), and so it was May before I settled down to search for just the right summer camp for her.
Ha! Little did this newbie parent know that summer camps can book up before the first crocus pokes through the ground. (I'm sure even sooner, but those camps were out of our price range anyway.) And while I wasn't shut out of summer camp, most local summer camps had already held their open houses, so I had to choose a camp based pretty much on brochures and websites, not a personal visit.
As it turned out, the camp was a great choice, but I learned my lesson. The next year I began thinking about summer camp in January. I made the rounds to the summer camp open houses in February and March, and in the end decided to go back to the one she had already attended.
More on Summer Camp:
If you're a good typist, transcription might be the right work-at-home job for you. However, keep in mind there's more to transcription is more than simply typing.
A transcriptionist listens to a recording, sometimes using a foot pedal to control the speed of the playback, and types what she hears, interpreting and editing by varying degrees depending on the type of transcription job.
Minimum speeds for transcription jobs range from 60 to 85 words per minute (WPM). Types of transcription jobs include corporate, legal, general and medical.
Be wary of any company that tries to sell you transcription certification services, particularly those that make hiring you contingent on completing their certification program. Companies that turn you down for a transcription job but then encourage you to sign up for a transcription certification, usually at a cost of a few hundred dollars, are more than likely work-at-home scams.
Legitimate transcription companies will evaluate your typing speed and accuracy through testing, and look at your resume to determine if your experience matches their needs. Certification for general transcription is not usually a factor for determining if you are qualified for a transcription job. (However, for medical transcription jobs certification is often desirable.)
More Work at Home Jobs:
- Transcription Jobs
- Data Entry Jobs
- Medical Transcription Jobs
- Call Center Jobs
- Writing and Editing Jobs
- Where to Find Microjobs
- Website Usability Testing Jobs
- Nursing Jobs
- Online Teaching
- More Work-at-Home Jobs
Many telecommuters are employees. While in many respects the telecommuting employee's taxes are a bit like everyone else's (i.e., receiving a w-2 instead of a 1099-MISC), one key difference is the home office.
Can telecommuting employees deduct their home offices expenses? The answer is an irritatingly imprecise sometimes.
Employees who want to deduct their home office expenses have a few more hurdles than independent contractors do. Naturally anything your company reimbursed you for is not deductible. But the IRS will also want to know why you work at home, and then, even worse, not all of your unreimbursed business expenses (which include your home office) are deductible.
Read on for more about home office deductions for telecommuting employees.
More Tax Resources:
An ads quality rater job is one of the few legitimate work-at-home Google jobs out there. Google is known for many things, but being a company with work-at-home opportunities is not generally one of them.
Ads quality raters check up on Google's algorithm to determine whether a given search is returning relevant results. Because Google is global, many of these positions are bilingual jobs, but there are English-only rater job.
Applications for these jobs is done through Google, but the company contracts out the hiring. These jobs require a college degree (or "equivalent" so there's some wiggle room) and U.S. residency. See more on how to apply for an ads quality rater job. Similarly, Lionbridge, a global localization company that counts Google among its clients, hires for similar positions across the globe, while Leapforce is a company the works solely with search evaluation. Appen also has search evaluation jobs as well as a whole host of other bilingual work-at-home jobs.
See list of companies with search evaluation jobs.
What does it take to be a home business owner?
A lot of answers come to mind. There are, of course, the practicalities, like a business plan and seed money. And then there are the intangibles, like a little business know-how and the right personality for business ownership.
Sometimes those intangibles can be as tough to come by as the practicalities. After all, home business owners start their businesses because they have an affinity for one aspect of the business. For instance, perhaps you love to make jewelry, but that doesn't mean you know the first thing about marketing your jewelry or keeping track of inventory. Or if you are a freelance writer, that doesn't mean you know how to file a Schedule C on your tax return.
If you're considering business ownership, browse these resources to see if you're ready to take the plunge.
Probably the number one piece of advice for independent contractors when it comes to taxes is: Get a good accountant!
And even as an independent contractor who does her own taxes, I think that advice has a lot of merit. I do sometimes wonder if I really am saving any money by not paying someone to prepare my tax return.
But what I think is often implicit in that advice--and what I do disagree with-- is that somehow an independent contractor's taxes are too complex for the lay person to truly understand.
Not only can independent contractors understand the ins and outs of their own tax return, they must understand them. We make business decisions all year long, not just when we are filing our taxes. And those decisions affect our taxes. The same is true of record keeping. It's not just something we do in April. Or at least it shouldn't be!
So you need an understanding of the tax issues of independent contractors whether or not you have an accountant. This guide to independent contractors' taxes, while not a replacement for your accountant, should give you an understanding of a freelancer's tax issues.
The first question many have about a micro job is: What is it? You may know more about them than you think. If you've heard of Amazon's Mechanical Turk, Fiverr or TaskRabbit, then you've heard of micro jobs. But these are all very different organizations, so read on for more on micro jobs.
The concept behind these online gigs--as they are often called--is rather new and the definition rather loose. For the most part, it is defined as a small task that earns a small fee. These can be done completely online, or it can be a real-world task coordinated online. However, jobs in online data entry, particularly those done through a crowdsourcing platform, may qualify as microjobs too. So for more about exactly what a micro job entails, see:
Another good question: Can I make money at it? The payment is small but so should the time required to complete it, so to make any money at this you'll need to find micro jobs in volume and complete them quickly. And you have to be careful of PayPal and other fees that could eat up your earnings. Probably no one is going to make a living at it, but the question of whether it is worth your time is a good one. And I'm hoping others can help me answer. If you have worked a micro job, tell us about your experience.
And you may want to know finally: Where can I find a micro job? For that I have some answers. I listed companies with all kinds of microjobs--in-person and online tasks, reward programs and surveys, small services marketplaces, website testing and more--here:
Many of you are in the thick of winter break this week. For some I'm sure that means so fabulous vacation to someplace warmer or maybe someplace colder. But those for whom the temperature doesn't change may be trying to get some work done while the kids are home, and winter break is not so fabulous. (And this year we're still a ways from spring break!)
At this time of year so often we wake up to find no school again today, due to snow days, sick days, teacher professional development days and holidays, etc. So what's a WAHM to do? Try some of these ideas:
- Winter Break Things to Do
- Independent Activities for Kids
- child care
- No School Today! What's a Parent to Do?
- Teach Kids to Cook
- Books Any Kid Can Read
As a telecommuter, are there a few things you'd like to tell your office co-workers? I know I have some.
But as a freelancer that's never even met most of them in person, I've learned that if it doesn't directly affect the job, it's best to just keep my mouth shut. Most of my grievances are pretty minor anyway, like the first item on this list of things that annoy a telecommuter: going home for the day in mid conversation.
What gets you? When working with a telecommuter, please don't __________. Fill in the blank with your own pet peeve.