Friday, September 19, 2014

Work at Home Weekly Round Up 9/19/14

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Online Chat Jobs With Needle


I have had Needle listed on the Live Chat page for some time, but I have been wanting to go more in depth into this position.  The reason I want to explain it further is that it is one of the best live chat jobs I have found thus far.  That being said, it is also not an easy job to land.

What is Needle?

Needle is a company that has partnered with big brands like Adidas, Coach, Reebok, and Marriott in order to provide excellent customer service and sales. Needle uses chat agents to speak online via a chat messaging service.

What does Needle look for in chat agents?

Needle hires "needlers" for individual brands.  So, if you are working for Reebok you are only working for Reebok.  They look to hire people who are super fans of that brand.  They want people who know the products inside and out and love them.  This way, needlers can make genuine recommendations to customers and really sell the products.




What are the hours?

You make your own schedule with Needle.  It works a lot like Live Ops and other call center jobs as far as scheduling.  They roll out a schedule weekly and you choose hour long shifts.  As people cover shifts they will no longer be available.  Also like Live Ops, you are allowed to log in "uncommitted" and work without being scheduled.

How is the pay?

Unlike a lot of chat jobs that pay only for the minutes you are actually talking with people, Needle pays hourly.  The average seems to be $9-$11 per hour.  You also earn points that can be redeemed for prizes (brand products).

How can I apply?

There are two ways.

1) Register generally and let brands find you. One thing I suggest is that after you register you log in and edit your profile making sure to fill everything in.  I then suggest you do the training they offer.  That way, they can see you are all trained and ready to go.

2) Apply with specific brands.  A lot of people who work for Needle say it is better to apply to a specific brand.  You have to use your Facebook profile to start the process so you can only apply to one brand unless you make another profile. Here are the brand pages to apply with.  If I left any out or they add new brands in the future, the link is typically  https://pincushion.needle.com/needlers/welcome/BRANDNAME

Adidas
Astro Gaming
Coach
FinishLine
Leisure Pro
LuckyGunner Ammo
Marriott
Norton
Norwegian Cruise Lines 
Reebok 
Skull Candy
Urban Outfitters
Zagg


As with the other method, after you apply be sure to do the training and fill out your profile completely.

Are they hiring now?

I honestly do not know if Needle is hiring chat agents now.  They are accepting applications but I do not see any current needler jobs listed on their company job board.

How can I find out more about Needle?

Here is a good article from 2012 about Needle from USA Today.

Here are reviews of Needle on Glassdoor.












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Monday, September 15, 2014

Blogging the Right Way {Book Review}

 

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in order to write a review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  The Amazon links are my associate links.

Sometimes you get lucky in life.  Being given a copy of Blogging The Right Way by Cindy Buccieri was one of those times for me.

I was given a copy of this book to review.  I was excited about it because I am always happy to learn more about blogging and how I can be more successful at it.  At the same time, I tried not to get my hopes up.  Sometimes I read books on this topic and find them to just be recycling the same old 4 or 5 tips we find on the internet every day.

From page one, I knew Cindy's book was going to be a good one. She starts off literally from the beginning. She begins by explaining to you how to set your blog up on Wordpress or Blogger.  She walks you through everything.  Even if you had never heard the word "blog" before, you'd be able to set one up, and set it up WELL, by following these instructions.  

As the book progresses, we are taught everything from how to create great content, to using keywords, to getting traffic, and a whole lot more.  Everything is explained thoroughly (yes, even making money). This is a manual anyone can follow.  This volume is also filled with resources. Ms. Buccieri gives actual web addresses to find everything we need.

I've been blogging and taking blogging courses for a long time and I will tell you that I still learned a lot from this book.  There were many resources included in the book that I did not know about.  There were also many tips that I have not seen anywhere else.  Even an experienced blogger and internet marketer will benefit from this book, in my opinion.

I also enjoyed reading the book.  To be honest, there are times I do not enjoy reading certain books.  They might bore me or just not be useful.  With this book, I was bummed when I had to stop reading to go to bed.  It is written well so that you are learning and being entertained at the same time.  To me, it sort of felt like I was out for coffee with a friend and getting some great advice.

The only thing negative I can say about the book, and it is not even really negative, is that the author is not as much of a Blogger nerd as me.  There were one or two things she said in the book that you can't do on Blogger that I have been able to do on Blogger with the right hacks.  Of course, I had to really search to find these and people who use Word Press or other platforms would not know about this.

I now have this book in my cloud reader and it is in an active window at all times when I am working on my blogs.  I refer to it often.  As soon as I have a question or concern I turn to that section of Blogging the Right Way.  This book has also added a myriad of new items to my blogging to-do list because there are so many great tips I can now use to increase my blogging success!

I wish I had this book years ago when I was first starting out.  I really had no idea what to do then and learned a lot through trial and error.  When I would pick up books like this one they often lost me by talking about things I did not understand.  This book is written simply but covers all the complexities of being a blogger.  Every detail is covered yet it is explained so that people who are not computer or internet savvy (let alone SEO savvy) will be able to easily follow it. Anyone who uses this book will save themselves a lot of time and aggravation and will definitely be making money a lot faster than if they try to figure all this out on their own.

I highly recommend this book that I am lovingly deeming "My Blogging Bible," for both blogging newbies and experienced bloggers who are looking to improve, make more money, or gain more traffic.  

If you'd like to check this book out for yourself, you can find it here on Amazon!

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Friday, September 12, 2014

This Week's Spotlight: Crowe About Farm With a Linky Party!

freedigitalphotos.net 


Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this post. If you were to click on any of these links and make a purchase, the guest poster would be compensated.

It's Friday again.  We made it.  I have really been looking forward to this week because we have such a unique and worthwhile home business to share with you all.  Meet Ashley, who has started a farming home business and is thriving!  She has been kind enough to write this guest post to share with you how you too can start a business of this kind. She really lays it all out for us here along with her compelling story.  Without further ado, here's Ashely of Crowe About Farm!

Follow Ashley: Facebook  Pinterest Instagram Google +

The words green, organic, whole foods, etc. are all the buzz right now. People are demanding to know where their food comes from and what is in it.  I was one of those people a few years ago so I started raising my own food.  Now I raise it for my community.  Would you like to do the same?  

Hello, I am Ashley.  I am a wife, momma, farmer and blogger at www.croweaboutfarm.com.  I am very excited to share my story with you, because I strive to inspire other like minded women (or men) to do what I do.  

My Story

In 2007, I started dating the man who is now my husband.  He already owned a successful business, but he had other dreams for his future.  Since he was a young boy, he wanted to be a farmer.  He bought a little house in the country with some acreage and planted a garden. Shortly after the garden went in he bought me a homesteading book and turned to the page on raising chickens.  I was hooked!  I devoured that book in a weekend and couldn’t wait to place our first chick order.

Dan and I


I’ve always been into nutrition, and was very excited to start growing my own food.  I was already seeking out what I thought were healthy options, but the deeper I got into this homesteading journey the more potential I saw for healthier foods.

In addition to our garden, we raised a batch of meat chickens for our freezer, we had a flock of laying hens and also added some beef cattle. It was like magic.  All we had to do was feed and water these animals everyday and they would provide us with the best food I had ever tasted! I knew I wanted to share this with others.

Tess

In 2011, Dan and I got engaged.  We quickly made the decision I was going to quit my full time job and stay home to grow our farm.  We got married in May of 2012. In June of 2012 we found out our first farmhand was on the way.  

In February of 2013, we were blessed with our dear little Oliver.  Life was perfect...or was it?  I was so happy to be a momma, my baby boy was beyond amazing, but I was TERRIFIED.  I just knew something bad was going to happen to him.  I agonized day and night that my baby would stop breathing.  I quit sleeping, I quit eating and basically quit doing everything except staring at my little man.  What was really happening was I was experiencing Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. You can read my full story here.

Oliver and I
I was so used to being busy and working on something, but after having my baby I thought the world had to stop and my only duty was to take care of him.  This drove me deeper into depression.  I had been talking about blogging for a really long time, but didn’t think anyone would want to read what I had to say.  

While battling my way out of PPD/A, my husband was intent on growing our farm and getting my blog off the ground.  And that is when I hit my stride.

He really pushed me to get something set up.  He, and his brother who runs a company helping small businesses, really motivated me and gave me their full support.  At the end of February 2014 I wrote my first blog post and launched our website.

In the few short months that my farm and blog have been “live,” they have really taken off.  

Raising Pastured Poultry

We sell grass-fed beef, pastured chickens, pastured turkeys and soon we will be selling our pasture raised eggs.  I am also in the works of setting up a store on our farm where I will sell our products and other nutritious products I believe in.  Every once in a while my husband helps me with something big, but for the most part raising the poultry is my responsibility.  I place the chick orders, do all of the chores, take them to the butcher and market the birds.

Raising chicks on Crowe About Farm

If you are a stay at home mom (or dad) aspiring to start your own business, you have access to land and you have any interest in raising livestock, or some very healthy food, I encourage you to start with pastured poultry.  The start-up costs can be very low, the land requirement can be minimal, it is not difficult and there IS A DEMAND for this type of meat.  

(Tip: You do not have to own land.  Seek out a landowner in your community and see if you can trade them some chickens for use of their property. Chicken droppings are excellent fertilizer and improve land.  Raising these birds in the manner I suggest does not create a foul odor and the birds are quiet.  This will be a benefit for you and the landowner!)

For 90% of the days you have the chicken, the time requirement is very small.  It takes me about 15 minutes in the morning to take care of the chicks while they are in the brooder (about 2-3 weeks).  Once they are moved to pasture I have about 30 minutes each morning moving their pens,feeding and watering them.  Around the 5-6 week mark I start feeding the birds twice a day and sometimes move them twice a day.  This adds another 20-30 minutes in the evening. Overall, you will have plenty of time to take care of your kids and household or run another operation, in addition to your poultry.  

Every 3 weeks I purchase feed.  It used to take me about an hour to pick up feed because I had to unload it 5 gallon bucket at a time and I was buying 750 lbs.  We now have a new system in place so this takes much less time and effort.

We do not process our own birds, because we like to keep them in our freezer to have on hand for customers.  If you do not want to keep inventory, you can process the birds on your farm as long as customers pick them up that day.  All of this is discussed in the book I recommend below.  Since I take the birds to a butcher (that is 2 hours each way),it takes up an entire day.  Depending on the number of birds you raise,you will have a full day processing them yourself, your overhead will just be lower.  I have about 2-3 hours filling the pre-orders and stocking our freezers once I get them home.

How To Get Started

(Note: Unless you have a large amount of acreage and can raise a lot of birds sustainably, this enterprise will not replace an income.  However, it is a great supplement (and a necessary one if you are raising cattle) to other enterprises around the farm, to a blog or another cottage industry.  I don't recommend placing all of your eggs in one proverbial basket anyway, so adding pastured poultry is a no brainer.)

The first step you should take is to purchase the book Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel Salatin. If you do not know who Joel Salatin is, do some Google searches and read everything he writes.  The book (Pastured Poultry Profits) is his manual telling you EXACTLY how to start a business raising pastured poultry.  

Next,source quality feed.  I am a believer in the adage, you are what you eat. Finding top notch feed is very important when raising pastured poultry.  If you cannot find a good source, Joel breaks down the ration in the book.  You should be able to find all the components of the ration and mix it yourself.  We purchase our feed from a local, organic farm.  They are also raising pastured poultry but are very supportive of our farm.  Sustainable farmers are a community, not competitors.      

Raise the first batch of chickens for yourself so you have a little practice and know how before you start selling your product.  These chickens are ready for butchering in 7-8 weeks so the turnaround time is very quick (which also creates a good cash flow stream.)



Your next step should be to start a blog or website and tell your story. Customers who are purchasing this kind of meat like to know where their food is coming from and who is raising it. Build some buzz around the launch of your business by sharing the pictures, updates, blog posts, etc. about the batch you are raising for yourself.

Once you have the chickens figured out, you can add a flock of turkeys. Turkeys do not require any additional equipment and are a great product to stack with the chickens.  They will provide a cash flow stream around the holidays.

There are times when this business can be a little labor intensive, like when I unload around 500 lbs. of meat by hand all by myself, but I love every minute of it.  I look at it as a free gym membership.  I am constantly seeking ways to become more efficient or to improve my systems.  The fact that you are producing something that is adding to someone else’s quality of life is very rewarding, and the flavor is out of this world.

Resources

I recently wrote a post describing how and why we raise pastured poultry.If you have any interest in sustainable farming, read the post.

In the next few weeks I will be posting a video of my chicken chore routine and how our chicken tractors work.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss this video.

I am also taking a course on blogging.  Let me tell you, it is money well spent!  If you are interested in starting a blog to highlight your product (for any niche), growing your blog or using it as an income stream I HIGHLY recommend this course!

Please email me (ashley@croweaboutfarm.com) if you have any questions or want help getting your pastured poultry enterprise off the ground.  I am passionate about sustainable farming and want to help ANYONE seeking this lifestyle.      

Thank you, Christen, for having me as a guest blogger!  I look forward to interacting with all of you!


 How About You?

Would you like to be in the Spotlight?  Do you have an awesome home business or work at home idea to share?  Maybe your telecommuting experience can inspire others. If you'd like to be in our next Spotlight send me an email to cwypy76@gmail.com with the subject 'Guest Post' to get things rolling.

Now onto the Link Up!!  

Let's Do This!


Before you share your awesome links to your blogs, businesses, or rewards programs, just do a few quick things.
1) Grab The Button if you'd like to help promote this linky so that we all experience more success!
Home Business Link Up

2) Tweet about this link up!  All it takes is a click.  You can also share it on Google + , Facebook, or anywhere else! The more we share, the better we'll all do.  Tweet: Come link up your #homebusiness pages and #workathome blog posts at the Home Business Linkup. http://ctt.ec/RbibV+ #wahm @Workhomewisdom

3) Follow Ashley!!!  Ashely is our spotlight mom and she was kind enough to tell us everything we need to know to start our own poultry biz, so give her some love!!  
Facebook   
Pinterest  
Instagram  
Google +

Follow Me! I follow back and I am a supportive follower.
Facebook Twitter   Google + Instagram  Linked In  Pinterest  YouTube


4) Visit the other links in the link upAT LEAST the three people in front of you! If you see something you like Share It, Pin It, Bookmark It! When it comes time that you need to do some shopping come back to these bookmarks and consider supporting a fellow work at homie! This kind of sharing and support is what will help everyone to succeed because while you are sharing someone else's link, they'll be sharing yours.  I share them all!

5) Link up to your home business!! If you have more than one, link them all!  There is no limit.

Yes!  You can link up your referral pages of online programs like Swagbucks and Survey Sites.  Yes!  You can link your blog.  Yes!  You can link to Amazon Stores, Etsy and Ebay Shops, Articles You Have Written, and more!









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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Should You Work for Peanuts?

These peanuts are brought to you by freedigitalphotos.net

When I first started working from home, I was so incredibly grateful.  I really did not want to put my kids in daycare.  I felt like being a mom was my calling and it was the best thing that had ever happened to me.  I didn't want to miss out on it.

So, naturally when I found there were ways to make money from home I was just ecstatic.  I felt that any money I was able to make was better than nothing. If there were surveys and tasks for pennies, I did them.  After all, I was often online anyway talking to playgroup moms and visiting pregnancy forums and such. Why not make some money during nap time while I was on the computer the anyway?

I was such a different person then.  I only knew about a few ways to make money from home and I still felt like I had to fall over with gratitude for the "privilege" of being able to work out of my home office. I literally would do anything (within reason) to make any little bit of money. It did add up and I was able to earn, but now I am much more discerning. Now I can make more money in less time.

One thing that changed was that I started to learn about other opportunities.  Some paid more than others.  I realized that if I could make .70 cents for a 40 minute survey or I could make $10 for 40 minutes of customer service the choice was obvious.

Some jobs are not so cut and dry with pay.  You actually have to try them out.  Some call centers only pay per minute of talk time.  These work out great for contractors with busy companies like Live Ops or West where they are typically getting back to back calls.  However, there are slower call centers where you can be sitting and getting no calls and therefore no pay.

A little over a year ago I was working for Write Score at a rate of .35 per graded essay.  I was told most people make $10-$15 per hour.  I gave it a go.  I could not make more than $2- $4 per hour no matter how hard I tried.  I had to give it up.

I even used to write articles for just $5.  I'd do hours of research, writing, and rewriting.  I'd pour my heart and soul into the piece and I'd get $5 and my name would not even be attached to my work.  Then I started getting paid $20-$50 per article so I left the $5 offers alone.

Then there are micro jobs (I call them little jobs).  You do tasks for pennies.  Sometimes you have to give these a whirl for an hour and see how much this actually works out to be.  If you choose right you can make a decent amount, but choose longer jobs and you might make less than $1 an hour!

Yes, I used to work for peanuts .  I was just so thankful to be able to work from home at all that I'd do anything (within my moral guidelines) for any price. It's really only been for the past couple of years that I have decided to take stock and only do what is worth my while.

The second thing that changed was my attitude. Somehow after becoming a mom I started to lose my confidence. Thankfully, I have rediscovered that I am, in fact, a worthy person.  I work very  hard and do my best on every job I undertake.  I don't miss deadlines. I show up, even if it is virtually, when I say I will and I act professionally.  I realize that I used to beat myself up somewhat for choosing to be a stay at home mom, as if not working outside the home is some sort of character flaw, some sort of defect.  It was as if money determined my value. It did not matter that I volunteered or that I was a good mother, I was still worth less because I wasn't working.  Because I felt worth less, I accepted less.

As a telecommuter you are not worth less.  You are worth more. Typically, people are more productive when they work from home. (Proof!) Your work is still work regardless of which building you are in when you do it.Tweet: As a telecommuter you are not worth less.  You are worth more.  Read More: http://ctt.ec/7kB5S+  @WorkHomeWisdom

That being said, I am willing to work for a little less from home than I did outside the home.  This is because I do not have to pay for childcare, clothes, or gas.  My freedom and flexibility are also worth a lot to me so I take that into account.   I am, however, no longer willing to accept less than minimum wage.  The only exception to this rule for me is when it is a labor of love, a job that I find so terribly rewarding I would do it whether or not it paid any money at all. Some things are worth more than money to me.  Feeling fulfilled is priceless!


So, should you work for peanuts?  No! Decide what your time is worth and stick to that, but be willing to consider all the factors.
Examples:
1) If you are going to get paid for pretty much doing nothing and you can actually multitask and do another job at the same time.
2) If you are a writer and a job pays little but will give you a lot of exposure (or other opportunities like this that may propel you into your dream career).
3) If you find you are being paid even a little for something you would normally do for free anyway.
4) With home businesses or blogs you have to give it time. Track how many hours you work and how much you make each month.  Give it 6 months to a year to reach your goal before giving up.

Remember, don't judge per task or per project prices too quickly. For example, many people who are writing $1 Newslines are making $10-$20 per hour.  When I make .25 per minute of talk time for call centers I make on average $14 per hour because I usually make little bonuses along the way. 

What is the most important factor you consider when seeking work? Is it money, flexibility, a company you can believe in, or something else?


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Work at Home Weekly Round Up! {Sept 2- Sept 9}

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