Working from Home - A Story of Risks and Rewards

06 January 2011
Working from home never entered my mind until I saw the need. I realized today that it takes more than good grades and good attitude to survive the market. The world doesn't need book-smart people. It needs people who know how to work intelligently.

Modesty aside, I breezed through the academe with flying colors. I was happy of course to garner good grades and bag a couple of awards here and there to make my resume shine like a star and to land a job. The downside was that everyone expected me to be "successful with my career." If that means holding a nice-sounding position and working my ass off for some popular but low-paying company, no, thanks. I plan to be charitable on my golden years, which is about 3 long decades from now.

writing for pay
Getting paid to write. Unlike 9-5 desk jobs, working from home allowed me to take control of my own schedule and dictate my rates. It took me 3 tries to get my foot at the door. What's your story?

I said, "Sayonara" to the corporate world 2 years before I got married. I was happy with the work. The people were great, but the schedule sucked. Plus I figured I'd never get rich with the current salary and benefits I was receiving then. Heck, I could barely finance my graduate studies with my pay! So, I ditched polishing my resume and stopped seeking regular full-time employment in the Philippines soon enough. I just wanted to live a good life, and doing that basically means enjoying the work and getting paid decently for the results. That's when I took the risk of working from home. 

Take 1: Like Peanuts!

The first stint was almost a disaster, but it didn’t burst my bubble. I was literally paid peanuts: $1.50 for a 500-word article. Minus PayPal deductions, I received barely a dollar for every page. Still, the rate was much better than the absurd few-cents-per-page project posted at ODesk and Freelancer.

I took the bait as I wanted to snoop around on what it's like to write for the web. The job was basically a cinch: pump out as many articles as I could. Quantified, that's between 5 and 15 write-ups a day. Additionally, I had to dumb down – okay, “simplify” – everything and make them look "pretty” enough for a 7-year-old kid to understand. That included the usual combo of spell checks, Copyscape scans and sundry.

Take 2: Like Left-Over Coffee -- Warm but Still Not Hot Enough.

The second stint bolstered my spirits. Having earned some bragging rights to my few months of web content writing experience, a client took the risk of hiring me. The pay was $110.00 for 3,000 words of website content. I was so excited that it took me less than a week to finish the job. Kaching!

Though the project was short-lived, it gave me direction on how to get clients and how to take advantage of referrals. It's also worth mentioning that my husband - then boyfriend - played a pivotal role in the situation. I had been musing then on the possibility of joining a call center for some quick cash. He was so against the idea and so determined to stop me from considering any call center job at that. Our tiff ended when I got hired online.

Take 3: Sweet as Custard.

At present, my rates have multiplied several folds from my early rates. I consider myself blessed to have found good clients, some of whom I have worked with for quite some time already. If there's such thing as luck, I wish it'd linger on and on and on.

Have I reached a sweet spot already? It's hard to tell. I'm fine with where I'm currently at... but not totally contented yet. The perks of the job have their own risks, which I will discuss in detail later. Working from home is no fairy tale. It's not for everyone. However, I'm happy that I'm one of those who took the risk and made it through.
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