Tag Archives: work

Work-at-home job vs. homebased business

Recently, I’ve been receiving a lot of emailed queries from mothers asking how they could start working from home. Often, the hope is to quit the regular office-based job and replace the office-based income with homebased income.

I’ll say this straight: If you’re looking to replace your office income with your work-at-home income, you should not be looking for a work-at-home job. You need to start your own homebased business. And it is something you should begin to do while you are still in your office job.

Why?

Because often, work-at-home jobs pay much less than a homebased business will. After all, with a work-at-home job, you are just getting a percentage of what your employer gets from the client. If you own the business, you get 100% of what the client pays.

In fact, from my experience, the only way a work-at-home job can equal an office income is if you double your office hours, which means you work 80 hours a week instead of 40.

The downside, of course, is that with a homebased business, you will need to search for clients yourself. But let me tell you this: the process for finding your own business clients is almost the same as the process for finding a work-at-home job you can live with. In both cases, you need to

  • search online,
  • send a lot of application letters and work samples, and
  • activate your social network.

That is why you need to start your search for a work-at-home job or business many months before you quit your office work. It’s no overnight deal.

Perhaps, the reason why a lot of people shrink from starting their own business and look for jobs instead is the fact that a business promises less financial security than a job. It’s true. Client payments get delayed. Clients themselves are seasonal. You need to learn to manage your finances. But whether you have a business or a job, that is a skill you need to learn anyway.

And though a job offers more financial security in terms of regular payments, a business offers more financial rewards in terms of payment volume.

Another problem with having your own business is that your amount of accountability gets magnified. In the case of a writing company, for instance, the writer’s work gets edited and fact checked and proofread before it is sent to the client. If the writer contacted the client directly, the writer would need to be able to edit and proofread his own work and make sure his facts are correct.

If you feel that your skills are not sufficient for you to contact clients directly, then yes, you may need to get a work-at-home job instead of start your own business … but do the job part time, while you are employed, so that your skills can be honed to the point where you can eventually stand on your own.

Then, when you quit your office job, you won’t need to look for a work-at-home job anymore. You can start your own business.

Reposted from Nanay Notebook

My new entrepreneurial lifestyle

I am now officially an entrepreneur. While many of the employed have romanticized ideas of what entrepreneurs’ lives, I’ve now seen first-hand how it is. Here’s how my lifestyle has changed:

1. I put in more work hours.

If you’re an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean you dilly-dally for most of the day. It’s quite the opposite: there are many things to be done when building a business, and since I’m just starting out, most of that work goes to me. Don’t start a business just because you want to work less—it won’t happen.

2. My time is flexible.

While I do work more, I get to choose when I will. That means I get to visit friends when they’re in the hospital, run errands at the mall right when it opens, transact at the bank outside the lunch hour, work out at the gym when there are fewer people, etc. I guess it’s my little reward for having to work more hours.

3. I get more of the morning sun.

sunriseSomething tells me I used to be deprived of vitamin D. I’d usually be in the office between 8:00 and 10:00 am, so I wouldn’t get a chance to get vitamin D the natural way. But now, since I occasionally walk around from 8:00-9:00 am, I enjoy the smiling sun.

4. I get heat exhaustion once in a while.

The sun is fine in the morning but it gets bad after that. I’m rather sensitive to heat, so I really avoid going out at midday. But there’s no one else to do the running. I do go out for errands at noon when I have to, and most of the time, that means the heat will get to me. I try to battle the heat by drinking cold juices but in the Philippines, you could only do so much.

5. Wasting time has very real consequences.

When you’re employed, you could get away with being idle once in a while. But when you’re building a business, everything rests on you, so time wasted really means less income. I can’t afford to waste a single minute of my time because it means something in the plan won’t materialize.

6. Money really matters now, and that’s a lot of stress.

I used to take the flow of money for granted because I received a paycheck every two weeks. Now, I have to make the business work, and that means I have to make the income model work. That’s a great deal of pressure. But it really comes with the territory, and I knew that this would happen even before I made the leap to entrepreneurship. I’ve had to come up with ways to sustain myself (e.g. part-time work) so that the money stress won’t kill me.

And last but not least…

7. I get to build my business the way I want to, without having to explain or prove anything to anyone!

When you’re employed, you’d have to have nearly everything approved. We builders by temperament can’t build anything without having to explain so much to our superiors. Since I’m running on minuscule funds from my own pocket and from an angel investor (i.e. my ever-so-supporting mom), I don’t owe any explanations to my bosses or shareholders. Building is simply faster this way—and heaven for people like me! When I go to work, I just go straight to work. I don’t make as many proposals and presentations as I used to 😉

What do you think about entrepreneurial life?

Feeling intellectual right now? Try this: Philosophy of Work

Time and moneyHere’s a summary of my Philosophy class on why persons work:

Work is part of the humanization — that which makes a person more human, and different from animals — process of man. By definition, “work is the activity which man exercises in a free and burdensome way, with the purpose of acquiring the means to satisfy his own needs and wants.”Let’s face it. We have to work if we want to achieve something. Analyze the statement closely. Work is clearly a means, and not an end. it is an activity that has an end outside itself. The activity that does not have an end outside itself is contemplation, an end in itself.

Distinguishing roles, as in your role as a CEO and your role as a father or mother, has a tendency to split the personality of the person as if he or she is a different person at work, and at home. [Maybe that’s why there are schizophrenics… hmmm.]

Although work humanizes us, it can also dehumanize us when we start becoming workaholics. We know that we are workaholics when we have already destroyed our social life.

To end, “Work is for man. Man is for others. Man is for God.”

This is a repost from Diary of a Semi-Young Teacher. You can view the original article here.

This post was written by Trish Castro.

My fight against backaches: a more comfortable laptop workstation

I work long hours on my laptop, and by the time I log out, I usually have a good ol’ backache. That’s no mystery—laptops are really not ergonomic, and that’s the reason why they’re not supposed to be used for hours and hours straight. But I’m not some rich kid who can buy a separate PC just to have a more ergonomic set up. I knew I was ruining my posture, and while I didn’t have the money for the most obvious solution, I had to be resourceful and find an alternative.

The problem with a laptop is that there’s really no way to make it ergonomic on its own. Your arms must be L-shaped while typing, and your eyes must look forward into the screen. That’s impossible when the screen and the keyboard are attached to each other. To make things worse, I often use an office desk of the usual height, which means the keyboard is too high for my arms and the screen is too low for my eyes. I unconsciously end up frozen in a hunched position, which I’ve little doubt is too reminiscent of Quasimodo.

I thought of two ways of solving the problem: 1) setting the laptop at the right arm height and then pumping out the video on a separate monitor that’s at eye level, or 2) lifting up the laptop screen at screen at eye level, and then using a separate keyboard at arm height. Since I didn’t have the space for a new monitor, I scrapped the first option out. I’ve seen set ups that involved using a laptop lift/stand, so I thought that might work, but then I realized that my laptop doesn’t open up wide enough for these stands. My laptop’s screen would end up facing downwards.

laptop desk, keyboard, DJ laptop stand, and laptop
My home workstation: laptop desk, keyboard, DJ laptop stand, and laptop

Luckily, after months of searching, I found the solution: use a DJ laptop stand and a laptop table. The DJ laptop stand will lift my laptop high without demanding that it open as much as the usual stand would, and the laptop table will hold both the stand+laptop and an extra keyboard. Thank God for that DJ laptop stand. I’m no DJ so I don’t really know what they use these stands for, but I sure am glad that they’re there.

So here’s the full list of components:

Computer chair

Got it from Festival Mall for P1k+. There are better ones out there, but I’m on a budget.

Laptop desk

It was on sale at Handyman for P400, so I grabbed it immediately. But I think prices are ordinarily around P500. Be warned: a lot of laptop desks that are for sale are for your bed, especially the ones at CD-R King. They’re not what you want if you’re setting up a real workstation. Before you buy, make sure that the laptop desk is the right height for someone seated.

Keyboard

Mine is a very expensive Apple Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard. It retails for around P5k. I had my reasons for buying it, but most people would be fine with an ordinary USB keyboard. There are some that sell for P200 at CD-R King.

DJ laptop stand

The one I got doesn’t seem to be commercially available here in the Philippines. I bought it from this guy here, who shipped it in from abroad. (Edit 2016/10/05: That link no longer works, but I’ve also found the laptop stand at Lazada.) This model is very sturdy and heavy, and it works great for a semi-permanent set up. If you’re a mobile worker and you want to bring it around, you can get a Stanton Uber Stand, but that’s more than three times the price of mine.

Mouse

You don’t expect to use the trackpad much in this setup. I already had a wireless mouse which a friend gave me as a gift, so I was good to go. But if you don’t have a mouse yet, CDR-King sells a whole slew of USB optical mice for only P150.

A few more photos:

View from the top
View from the top
Box for the DJ laptop stand
Box for the DJ laptop stand
DJ laptop stand
DJ laptop stand