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You know what the scariest thing about starting a work-at-home business is? Not knowing where to start!
From deciding what kind of business you want to create to dealing with taxes and health insurance as a freelancer to marketing your business and finding clients — it’s overwhelming!
And it’s also pretty lonely. You have a lot of questions about how to get started, but there’s no one there to answer them.
Elizabeth to the rescue…
Today on the blog, my friend Elizabeth Wiegner is here to tell us how she started her work-at-home business as a business management consultant and how she helps virtual entrepreneurs to start their businesses. Having worked directly with Elizabeth, I can vouch for her. This lady knows what she’s talking about!
Take it away, Elizabeth!
1. Hi, Elizabeth! Tell us a little bit about you and your business. What’s your work-at-home job?
Hey, hey!! I’m Elizabeth Wiegner! I help virtual entrepreneurs transform their work-life pursuits from average to awesome. And I get to do that in three ways!
I help people who want to work from home but aren’t quite sure how to do that. We work together to learn how to take the leap into a new career from home.
I also help with time management obstacles entrepreneurs often face. With work always around, it’s hard to take a break and actually enjoy their life. So I help find ways for them to enjoy both sides of life!
And then I also help virtual business owners learn how to manage their teams efficiently — and with heart. That way they and their teams can have productive, fulfilled work lives.
2. Getting started is one of the most difficult things when it comes to working from home. It took me a couple of years to figure out what I wanted to do and how to make it happen! Why did you decide on this line of work and how did you get started?
I started teaching piano out of my parents’ living room when I was 12! And that kicked off my entrepreneurial life! Since then, either part- or full-time, I’ve worked as a freelancer.
I’ve had my fair share of work in various aspects of corporate life, from working sales/customer service at a medical supply company, admin assistant in oil and gas, manager at a local gym, to legal and HR work at a large nonprofit.
But nothing ever made me as fulfilled or passionate about work as actually getting to work for myself from home. I would do part-time work as a freelancer throughout my other jobs…and I finally decided I was done with all that! I took the leap and started working full-time again from home. And haven’t gone back : )
3. Working from home (or anywhere you want!) is the best! Did you need any training or experience for this job? Did you take any courses?
A lot of the experience I needed I actually had from previous jobs…and even from skills I learned in high school! Like learning how to communicate well and write effectively; how to troubleshoot challenging customer service situations; how to have strong interpersonal skills; and how to talk to people rather than just typing on a computer screen.
My mom also drilled in me the importance of being able to learn on my own and do my own research. She also gave me the desire to work hard, always go above and beyond, and to treat people right. Those skills have been invaluable.
A lot of people overlook or discredit experience or skills like that because they don’t seem like real money-making skills.
But I can’t tell you enough how just learning how to work with people and be a good person will take you a long way in business! It’s just as important as actually having “payable” skills, like being a proofreader or a graphic designer.
Now I’m not discounting those payable skills — they are super important too!
For instance, I loved proofreading. But I didn’t know how to make money off that skill.
So I purchased a course on proofreading that grew my skills beyond the knowledge I already had and taught me how to market them. It helped me turn a hobby of finding errors on a page to actually making some great money each month!
Beyond that, I’ve also purchased courses on topics I wasn’t necessarily passionate about, but I knew the skills I could learn from them would really help me grow my business, like learning how to create effective tripwires or how to write sponsored posts.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my entrepreneurial career is you often have to spend money to make money. And one of the best ways to do that is to invest in quality tools to grow your business (like a good website building plugin); in fellow entrepreneurs who can help you in areas you’re just not very good at (like my CPA, who I couldn’t imagine running my business without!); and — the main point I was getting to here — in quality courses to help you grow.
I can Google and YouTube. I can research stuff and figure it out. BUT I only have so many hours in a day. And sometimes all the research still doesn’t come up with just the info you need.
The most efficient, most credible way to learn skills — whether that’s a skill you will directly make money off of (like virtual management) or an indirect skill (like learning how to build your email list) — is by taking a course.
4. I completely agree! Why waste days researching how to do something when you could learn in a few hours from someone who has the exact answer you’re looking for? Talk us through a typical workday.
This is one of my favorite parts of working from home — getting to make my workday…mine! Usually I get started a bit later in the morning and work later into the evening/night because that’s when my brain functions best.
I usually start off by opening my email and Trello so I can plan my day out, and then I dive into my priorities. I’ll take breaks for lunch/supper and any errands or other responsibilities that come up during the day — or if my brain is just done and needs some downtime (another awesome perk of working from home!).
I’m free to work on projects as the priorities for them dictate. And I love that.
5. Having the freedom to set your own schedule is awesome. No more 9-to-5 unless you want to work those hours! Is this your full-time job or a side hustle? How many hours a week do you work?
It’s my full-time job! And hours per week…hmmm… That really depends on the week! How many and what kind of projects I have, what my clients’ schedules are like.
Some weeks sit at a comfy 40ish hours. Others clock in at about 70.
6. What one quality would you say is the most important for your job?
Oh my goodness! That is a really good, really tough question!
Three came to mind right away — diligence, interpersonal skills, and honesty.
Because you have to be diligent to get everything done.
You have to be good at interacting with people to make them enjoy working with you — whether that’s with a client or with your team.
And you have to be honest for your clients and team to trust you and to keep your business running.
I think honesty wins out though, because you can be the most diligent or the best people person…but in the end, if you can’t be trusted, you don’t have a business.
You have to be honest about turning projects in on time, honest when you tell others you will do something, honest about paying people, honest about keeping client confidentiality, etc. etc.
7. What one tool could you not live without?
Trello! I am SUCH a fan! I have so much going on in my business, I can’t keep it all in my head. And I don’t need to be wasting brain space trying to keep up with details like when something is due, the hundred moving pieces of a project, helpful information I need to reference, or items I want to research later.
Trello keeps that all organized for me. I make a card, write down whatever it is I need to remember, slap a due date on it, and I’m done!
I don’t need to remember it anymore because Trello will do that for me. I just have to open my Trello board every day, see what’s due that day, what’s coming up due…and I’m good to go.
8. How do you manage your work/life balance when you work from home?
I’m type A, which goes along with being a major workaholic. I love to work, and I get a lot of my joy and fulfillment out of seeing my work help others be successful. So I really, really have to make a conscious effort to not work all the time.
I make it a point to notice whenever I’m feeling mentally tired and it’s taking me a lot longer to complete projects than it normally would. And then I’ll take a break. I work from home, so I can! Sometimes that break is a lunch break or running errands that need to be taken care of or getting my daily exercising in or even taking an epic nap 😀
My phone is a huge distractor since I have email and Slack on there. Both necessary for when I’m not at my desk but need to be updated on work. It’s also unnecessary when I’m watching a movie or spending time with others. I’ll turn off my alerts then so I’m not tempted to check.
I have a room dedicated just to my office, so that when I go in there, I know I’m going there to work. Not watch TV or play games on my phone. But to concentrate and get stuff done. It does wonders to have everything I need for my workday right there — and nothing else.
I also remember my biggest why for working from home…and that’s getting to spend more quality time with my husband. He’s truly my best friend. Sometimes I do get a little too wrapped up in work, but when I remember he’s my main reason for wanting to be home more, it’s a lot easier to close my laptop lid and go spend time with the person who matters the most : )
9. I think having a dedicated workspace is really important to help you keep work and life separate. What’s your favorite part of your job?
Ahhhh! SO MANY favorite parts! I’d say the biggest is the freedom to create a career I’m passionate about that gets to touch the lives of others.
I don’t have a boss.
I set my own income.
I can do a job that my skills and personality are best suited to.
And I can help others achieve their dreams and live better lives because of it.
10. What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Potential clients fall through. It takes 10 hours to do what you thought would be a 2-hour job. People aren’t appreciative of all the effort you’ve taken for them. The list goes on.
But it just comes with the territory. It’s minor compared to my favorite parts of working from home : )
The most challenging, honestly, is probably the work-life balance for me, just because I love what I do so much. Which is why I help others with time management — because if you can manage your time well you can enjoy that work-life balance so much more!
11. Any advice for someone interested in getting started with this work-at-home career?
Go for it!! And go for it now!
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who say they wish they could work from home too.
But…there’s always a but.
And they talk themselves right out of their work-from-home dreams.
There is never that absolutely perfect moment to start working from home. There will always be something in the way, however small (or big!).
You just have to get started on it.
It doesn’t have to be this major deep dive! You don’t have to quit your job immediately and start working from home.
You can take small steps. Build up to where you want to be.
It doesn’t have to happen allllll at once, because, honestly, it won’t ever just happen. It takes time. And work.
But you have to take that first step.
And I have just the thing to help!
Two things actually!
You can download the 35-page guide + workbook I created on what you need to do to start working from home. (It’s freeeeee!)
And the second one is…the next question actually 😀
12. You’ve created a course for wannabe work-from-homers. Can you tell us about it? Who would it be suitable for?
I wrote a course specifically designed for people who know they want to work from home but don’t know how to get started.
I totally get starting to work from home can be really overwhelming!
Sometimes you don’t even know what you want to do. You just know something needs to change with your current career…and you want to start working from home.
So I take all the questions like
- What are the first steps I need to take?
- How do I get health insurance?
- Where do I find clients?
- How do I stay motivated?
- And a whole lot more
and answer them inside my course, Ditching the Water Cooler: The No-BS Course to Get Started Working from Home.
Just like it says in the name, it’s no-fluff. Because nobody has time to wade through a bunch of pointless information.
You’re a busy person. You know you want to work from home. You need help knowing what to do.
And so I’ve written the course to guide you through the steps you need to take.
- 15 modules
- 59 units
- an 87-page workbook and
- a private Facebook group
to help you make your work-at-home goals a reality.
You can check it out here!
Elizabeth Wiegner is a business management consultant. Which is just fanshy talk for she helps virtual entrepreneurs transform their work-life pursuits from average to awesome. Whether you’re just thinking about working from home or you own a successful business with a team, she has the expertise and the dynamic personality to help you reach your goals. She works from home with her husband Jonathan (a strength coach who also works from home!) and three awesome cats. When she’s not working, she’s playing Eurogames or trying out local restaurants.
If I didn’t already work from home, I’d be chomping at the bit to get started after talking to Elizabeth. Her enthusiasm and positive attitude are infectious (in a good way!). If you’re interested in quitting your 9-to-5 job to work for yourself, but you have no idea where to start, check out her course linked above!
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