Monday, October 5, 2009

Non-compete or non-disclosure agreements, what are they?


This is a legal document not that much different from what you will find in the B&M world. Non-compete means that if you are working for a company that provides a particular type of service you may not work for a similar company at the same time. Each particular contract has different verbiage, but that’s it in a nutshell. It is fairly common in the WAH industry. Why would you care about this? Quite simply many WAHers work multiple part time jobs. This can limit the types of jobs you work. The choice of accepting a job with a non-compete is a personal one. All I can say is if it’s a good opportunity, and you don’t currently have a non-compete, don’t let that stop you.  If you already have one job with a non-compete and are looking for second backup, don’t sacrifice your steady income. It is possible to work multiple WAH jobs; they just have to be in different sectors. I do it all the time.


Once again, pretty straightforward, and common even in the B&M world. If you work in a doctor’s office or a bank, you know you cannot discuss patient or client information with anyone, even your spouse. Same thing applies here. A company providing credit card services, not only does not want client's confidential information disclosed (that’s a felony), they don’t want you to talk about their business practices. Let’s look at it another way, you’re providing research for a company about to launch a new product line. Not only can you not discuss the new product, you cannot discuss the research methods you use. We work in a fierce, competitive, global market. Competition can be lurking in your neighborhood chat room. I know too many people who have lost their jobs due to a casual reference. Is it fair, probably not, but put yourself in the client’s shoes. If you’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a new innovative widget, and your competitor launches their version first. That’s a lot of money lost, future contracts gone and no more work. So whether you’re in virtual chat room or at a party, talk about something else.
Search for non compete

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Companies that are Hiring Today!

Alpine Access is looking to hire 600 customer service agents. Visit::

Cloud 10 is hiring 250 CSR's.  Visit:

Leapforce is almost always hiring: 

West hires frequently: 

Sutherland is hiring Level 1 Tech support visit:

Visit the web sites for more information or to apply.  You can also visit my favorite forums where you ask questions from people who actually work at these companies.  Just remember most companies have a non-disclosure agreement.  Forum members can answer general questions, but not specific ones. 
Check back soon for more tips and leads.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to Find the Great Work at Home Jobs

So where are all these work at home jobs?
Short answer: Everywhere. You just need to know where to look.

Many big companies such as GE, Home Shopping Network, Hilton Hotels, and 1-800 Flowers all hire work from home individuals. There are also virtual call center companies like Alpine Access, Live Ops and Convergys that contract with major companies to provide inbound customer or technical services. Check out my favorite work forums you'll find new jobs posted all the time.

Perhaps you’re a teacher looking to make a few extra dollars. There are many companies that hire work from home tutors and teachers. A big employer in my state is Florida Virtual School, . A well known tutoring company that hires virtual tutors is Sylvan-Educate Online,  and there are many, many more.

Are you a writer or perhaps you’re bilingual. Writers can find many jobs online from writing greeting cards to E-books. Bilinguals can find CSR, TSR or translating jobs. What ever your skill, learn to be proficient at web searching. When you are searching in a major job search engine like Monster .com or Career don’t just search with work from home or telecommuting, try using the terms remote office, virtual, remote employee, and any combination you can think of. Remember, just because it’s on a big job search engine, does not mean it’s legit job. Do your homework, check the companies out before you send any personal information. Most importantly remember, you do not need to pay to find a WAH job.

Just because you’re planning to work remotely, don’t stop networking. If it’s feasible to perform your current job from home, approach your employer. Be flexible, offer to start doing it part time. I actually did that for four years, I worked from home one day a week. When I was ready to move permanently to a WAH status, I approached my employer and changed to P/T position. Just remember to honor your commitment. If your employer expects you to be working from home on Monday, be home and available. Don’t take the kids to the beach, unless you let your boss know.

Approach local business who are hiring for an in-house employee. Get an interview, but suggest a remote option. Just keep in mind they do not know you, so their initial response will mostly likely not be positive. You have to sell your services. Present the business with a true business proposal of what services you can perform, and how much you will charge them.

Many people have been successful at finding good wah jobs on Craig’s list. Personally, I have not. Now that does not mean they’re not there. Just please be careful, and follow all the common sense guidelines I’ve mentioned in an earlier post.

Remember visit my favorite forums, they post new jobs regularly. Also just because ABC company is not hiring today, does not mean they’re not hiring tomorrow. Many give you registration options, or just check back with them regularly. Online jobs can have peak periods, just like any other business.

Happy hunting and check back soon for more tips.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Waiting is the hardest part

You have now researched several companies, created an online resume, and are ready to begin applying. This is the hardest part. Don’t sit still, once you decided what type of job you want, apply to several. Competition is steep in the virtual world, just like outside. Many virtual employers contract with numerous companies. There may be nothing available today, and 3 offers tomorrow. I would say generally, if you hear nothing two weeks after testing, follow up with an email. Short, professional, and courteous. Also a good tip is to have an email address specifically for job search. Keep it professional sounding. No “hotmamma15 or superstud” type names please. Your name or first initial. Last name is a good one.

You get an email for an interview. One step closer, even though you can’t see this person, they are evaluating you. Unless it is a life or death situation, do not reschedule the interview. Yes, emergencies come up, but remember first impressions do count. Pick a time when you can have a quiet professional conversation at your computer. No driving down the road taking the dog to the vet please. Use your best speaking voice, no slang, no profanity, no gum chewing. Listen and answer the questions while selling yourself. Remember you already researched the company. Example: I am very interested in working for one of the largest credit card companies in the world. My 5 years banking experience should give me a head start in the training process……….. Sell yourself, and be knowledgeable about why you want to be part of this team.

You’re in, congratulations! You can now go to work in P.J.’s or flip flops, no more sitting in traffic, or watching the rising gas prices. Good luck to you and feel free to share your experience via a comment.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting noticed in the virtual world

How do I get an online job – either apply as employee, or start marketing yourself as a contractor. You will most definitely need a resume or business proposal. Either way you’re selling your services and experience. The resume should be short and focus on what you have to offer the employer. There is really no difference than in the B & M world. Many employers have you fill out an online application, but give you the option to upload your resume’. A good recommendation is a skill set listed high up on your resume.

Skills: 5 years banking experience performing customer service and teller duties. Excellent communication skills, strong mathematical abilities, extensive experience with Excel, Microsoft Word, in house software, and instant messaging systems. Received teller of the month award on four different occasions.

What does this tell us: Without even meeting this person, they have the potential to be an ideal candidate for a credit card customer service position. Why: Banking background demonstrates likelihood of passing a background check, knowledge of federal banking regulations, good speaking voice, and good computer skills.

Why is it important to list these skills separately? This is what recruiters want to see, if you get yourself noticed, they will read a little further. Keep in mind that thousands of people apply daily for these jobs. Many companies use scanning software looking for key words. No key words in the resume, you’re not going to get beyond the scanner.
What else do we need to say? The balance of the resume should be short and informative. A good guideline is strengths on top. For example if your education is stronger than experience, put your education on top. If your experience is more relevant to the job than your degree, put that on top. If your job history is relevant just highlight the last 5 years or so of work experience, only put more if you feel it is a good selling point. Explain time gaps: on leave to raise a family, military service, traveling abroad. Don’t leave unanswered questions; you may never have time to answer them. How good you look on your e resume is key. Use good grammar, no spelling errors, and minimum personal information. Your employer is more interested in your skills, than in what clubs you belong to. If you are a college student with no work experience than by all means draw on your volunteer work, clubs, academic accomplishments and even courses that would be of interest to your prospective employers.

Covers letters are useful to some jobs; others do not even give you an option. If prompted to upload a cover letter, by all means do. Your opening paragraph should briefly explain why you are an ideal candidate for the position and company. In other words demonstrate to the prospective employer what you can offer them. Take what you’ve learned about the company, the position and find a way to tie in your relevant experience or skills. Use a formal writing style, no slang, no abbreviations, just good grammar and professionalism. Be sure to thank them for their time, leave contact information and best way to reach you.

Testing even before you get an interview is very common in the virtual world. Test can range from voice auditions, personality tests, computer knowledge, to math, logic, typing or spelling. Use your time while you’re job hunting to brush up on your skills. When the test comes do the best you can.

Important note: You are only sending your resume to online companies you have thoroughly researched. If in doubt about their legitimacy, I recommend an email of interest which would contain a brief description of your skills. Request they forward you more information on their company. Never, ever provide your date of birth, home address or social security number to anyone unless you have verified the company is legitimate. When in doubt visit one of my favorite work at home forums and post the question.

Check back soon, for more tips. Followers are welcome, comments are encouraged.

Search for working from home

Monday, September 7, 2009

So you've decided to try working from home

Anyone can be successful working from home. After spending twenty years in the bricks and mortar world, I have been successfully telecommuting for the past six years. I have worked in a virtual call center for financial services, worked with an online tutoring company, blogged, evaluated web searches, and writing for a grassroots outreach effort. You can do this too; first you need to ask yourself a few questions

1. Do I want a part time or full time income?

2. What are my marketable skills (writing, customer service, technical support, web designing, tutoring, sales………..

3. Do I want to be an employee or independent contractor (Employee means the company you work for deducts all your taxes, Social security, etc. from your paycheck. This in turn usually gives them the right to hold you to a scheduled work time with direct (remote) supervision. An independent contractor (IC) contracts with a company to perform specific duties. They pay you a flat rate, sometimes an hourly rate for services performed. The contractor is responsible to manage or pay their own taxes. If you are an IC you are not eligible for unemployment or workers’ compensation. Think in terms of employing a personal assistant (employee) to answer your phone on specified days/hours with specific instructions on what duties they would perform versus a web designer (IC) you contract with to build a web site for your business. You might still pay this person hourly but other than achieving your goal, you will not be supervising them or even telling them how to do the job. If you are working for yourself you may want to consult a tax professional on the benefits of forming a sole proprietorship or even a corporation. For more information on employee vs. IC see,,id=99921,00.html

4. Do I want or need a flexible schedule or do I prefer a structured environment?

5. What type of home office do I have: Depending on your job path, you will need to create a business environment. This could be your lap top outside in your garden, or a more formal secluded place in your home. Friends have converted closets, basements; personally I have a guest bedroom that doubles as my office. What you use will primarily depend on the job you are doing. For example if you are writing or blogging, the laptop in the garden is perfect. Now if you are an employee performing technical support via phone for a large cable company, they will be pickier. Many require a land line phone (some use Avaya type systems), a headset (type USB vs. analog will depend on the software your employer or contractor is using, a computer, and a noise free environment. Many customer service or technical support employees are required to consistently demonstrate a professional quiet background. Translation – no dogs barking, babies crying, television in the background……………………you should get the picture now.

6. How much money can I make? It is very varied and really depends on the skills you have to offer. It is important to remember that you are not going to get rich overnight by doing something legal. As a web designed you will need to market yourself and charge the going rate or even slightly lower to attract clients. Writing and blogging again will vary depending on what type of writing you are doing. Individual bloggers can get paid by the word or a flat fee per article. Many writing jobs require you submitting samples of published work. Customer service or sales jobs are by far the easiest to come by. CSR’s usually work P/T at rates from an average of $9.00 to $12.00 per hour. Sales have the potential for more based on incentives.

7. Research the company you are applying to. Don’t just read the available jobs and what the salary is. Read about the company. Is this something you can see yourself doing? If not, move on.
8. How do I know who is legit? Do your own research, Better Business Bureau, research the owner of the web site through or other sources, check for complaints through sites like , and ask questions in virtual forums. Remember if it’s too good to be true it probably is. No one legitimate is going to pay you $25 hour to surf on the web or chat in a chat room. They might pay you $12. per website to critique and write a report after viewing them. Never pay for a job, same as in the B & M world. Legitimate companies will hire you without a fee. Having said there are a few exceptions, some call centers may require you to pay for the background check, others may require you purchase a particular piece of equipment (this is a personal decision if you want to do that).

Check back next week for how do I get these jobs. In the meantime check out my favorite work from home forums.