Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It Can be Done!

So last week I talked about what to stay away from when looking for a job to do from home. There are so many scams out there, what really is legit?

I began to homeschool in grade 6. My mom pulled my brother and I out because the school kept passing us into each grade. In grade 5 I had trouble reading and didn't even know what vowel sounds were, the sound of a long a or a short a, I had no clue. My brother was having more difficult trouble. His grade 3 teacher told my mom that she had to keep the smarter children entertained so if my brother couldn't keep up, oh well. That wasn't good enough for my mom.

In 1998, our first year of homeschooling, it was my mom's second year of staying home. My dad was an automotive mechanic and worked Monday to Friday, he came home for lunch. My parents dealt with financial issues, at one point needing to claim bankruptcy. Although my brother and I wished to do things, I was content with how things were. As the years went by we could do more and more things.

What helped was my mom was able to create a small business for herself to help out. Granted, each month she broke even and sometimes made a little money, but it helped with bills and the little things we could do. My uncle had thrown her a welder's hat and told her to try and make a decent one. She went through a few prototypes and finally came to one pattern that my uncle liked. There were no pressure points, no shrinking, my uncle liked them and was her first customer.

She made welder's hats for nearly 7 years. I remember my brother and I going with her to farmer's markets (as she also did plaques/wood-working/knitting) and as we got older, my brother and I did crafts too that we could sell to earn a little spending money. My mom would also go to welder's supply places and even sell to welding companies.

Granted, for my mom, this was not a get rich job. It helped her to be able to stay at home to homeschool my brother and I and at the same time bring in a little income to help us be able to take swimming lessons, travel to different towns, go on field trips with other homeschoolers. I always looked forward to the end of our school year. Our school board would have a year end party at Sylvan Lake. I loved it. I looked forward to it every year.

What my mom did was start her own business with something that she knew people would want. If there is something you can offer that you know other people would like, then you have just begun the first step. And that is finding something that you are talented at doing. Some people knit, some people paint, some people sell things like Avon and Regal. These things are okay, just stay away from those internet scams and you will be okay.

Starting your own business is never easy. The first few years are hard. Each province/state has its own procedure to follow when you create your own business. Research this on Google for your respected area to see what you need to do. My mom didn't need a business license because she was from a small town, but in Edmonton she would have needed one.

I am a computer technician and I have considered fixing computers from my own home, but ultimately I know that in pursuing such a thing will be difficult. I would have to work through the day, maybe even evenings, for my clients. I would have to go to their home, so what would I do with my children? For me this doesn't work. I have this skill, but it is not feasible to do from home, not yet anyways. Perhaps when the kids are in school, then maybe I can do that.

But what if you don't have a talent that you can use to create a product? What then? Ever heard of Avon? Regal? Discovery Toys? Usborne Books? Pampered Chef? Tupperware? These are companies that you can sell for and earn a little profit. They are not a get rich type of employment and they do ask for a fee upon applying, but they are very legit. You will need to ask yourself if you are out-going, a people person, willing to get out and about and make connections to sell these products, willing to be a host for parties. These types of jobs do require a person to be out-going and willing to create relationships with clients in order to sell these products. Upon deciding what company you want to go with, figure out what your interests are. Are you into makeup? What about toys or books? Do you enjoy cooking? In answering these interest questions will help you decide what company to sell for. If you enjoy makeup, then it would make no sense to sign up with Pampered Chef. If you like children's toys and the educational value, it makes no sense to sign up with Regal. Find a company with the same interests that you have and find a consultant that you can inquire about becoming a consultant yourself. Remember, these do require a fee to sign up for these companies. You get a consultants package to start you off.

So, you don't have a talent you can create to sell a product, you are not a people person, what other options are there? In my experience the field becomes limited, but not impossible. You can babysit, run a day home (although it would be best if you got yourself accredited), even look in the classified for positions from home. This last one worked for me. An ad for Pizza73 asked for a home service person to take orders in the evenings. This one was the perfect job for me to do from home. I had an interview at their office so I know it was legit. They also PAY for training, something those online scams tell YOU to pay for.

If you have a creative imagination, you can do anything from home. You can help those in your community, especially seniors, take them for a ride to the store, help them around their house. Believe me, after volunteering at a senior's lodge for 6 years, they really don't mind children and love the company of someone who is willing to spend time with them.

If all else fails, find a part time job in the evenings. You can stay home during the day and your spouse can look after the children in the evening.

Remember, working from home is not going to make things easy. For a time, you will have to sacrifice things to make the ability to stay at home work. That will mean not going out as much as you once did, maybe giving up that second vehicle (unless like us you have a loan with it, in which case, spend less gas money on it). Find a way to minimize your bills. We have yet to do this, but if we place our house insurance together with our two vehicles, we can get a discount rate for all three. Also, consider if you really need that smart phone. Would a regular cell phone work better? It would be cheaper since you wouldn't have a data plan. And consider, if you have a cell phone, do you use your house phone? We don't have a land line, just our cell phones. What about TV? How often do you watch all those channels in your packages? What package are your paying for? Are you willing to go to a cheaper package? We got rid of our TV. All we have is internet. But we don't mind, it actually frees up time to do other things instead of sitting in front of the TV.

If you really want to stay at home, sit down with your spouse and take a look at your finances. Are you able to live off one income? What things can you eliminate that are not necessary? Perhaps using thrift stores more often then brand name stores. The possibilities are endless, it is a matter of whether you are willing to make those choices to better your life and your families life.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Beware!!!

You see the headlines to make $100/hr with just the click of your mouse on your computer. How about making $10,000 in one week? How about being able to become rich in only a few months??

Two words for you....

Put it this way, there is no such thing as a get-rich quick job. There just isn't. But because we live in a world where we want things now, people tend to fall for these scams. I have once and have read into some others a bit more. I don't claim to be an expert, but from experience we should all be able to help one another out. We don't need a Master's degree to be able to give advice... I guess it depends on the advice.... But in this case, it is common sense.

If you have to pay money before you start, chances are it is a scam.
I fell for this one. It was only $10.00, pay through pay-pal. Apparently I was supposed to get some training material to work from home. The training material I got was how to write ads to scam other people into paying you $10.00. And I couldn't do that! Yet there are people out there willing to simply do this over and over again, for no real reason except to scam you out of $10. And there are people who will fall for it, I did. I felt so bad that this was the way to make money that I didn't even bother trying to trap someone else who, like me, was just trying to find some way to make more money, be it to stay home or what not.

$10.00 doesn't seem much, but get into the more bigger scams, the ones that ask you for $100 to even $500 for a business package! And yes, it is unfortunate, but people have fallen for this. Legitmate Employers do not ask for money!

If you have to recruit people to earn an income, chances are it is a scam.
This is where you hear about MLM aka Multi-level Marketing. These are also known as pyramid schemes. If the only way to make money is to recruit other people into this "business", then you are scamming others into the scam.

What is unfortunate is companies like Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kay, and Pamper chief, fit into this category. The reason is you recruit other people, but these are not the super bad ones of MLM. At least with Avon and Mary Kay, you sell a product to those interested, it is not simply recruiting other people. So unless you are a really good people's person and good at sales, these do not work for everyone.

I have thought about Discovery Toys. There is a recruit process, but by no means do you make money off of the recruits who have to submit a payment amount to start up.

If it sounds too good to be true, well you know the rest. Stay away. Listen to the doubts you have. If upon reading you think it is a scam right off the bat, your intuition is most likely right.

Work at Home Scams to Stay Away From:
(summarized from About.com)

Assembly Jobs -- those are the ones that ask you to assemble crafts and such.

Data Entry Jobs -- This is similar to the one I fell for, in essence, there is no real position.

Multi-Level Marketing -- This is not a job that has a paycheck, its starting a business with no guarantees, and chances are there are lots of other people doing the same thing you are doing.

Online Businesses -- Start your own online business and get rich? There are many websites out there that advertise this. You basically get duplicate information on how to have a business at home that you can get from a government's website for free.

Posting Ads -- Again, similar to the one I feel for. You are posting up ads to scam others into doing the same.

Processing Claims -- You usually need to buy equipment, software, and pay for your own training. Money out, but no money in.

Stuffing Envelopes -- All major companies have their own machines that do this. This is a scam. You can't make $3-$5 stuffing envelopes. My own company has a machine that does this.


So is there anything safe out there? There is, but it is really hard to come by. I'd say a good 90% of the things on the internet are scams. Even those websites that state "Legitimate jobs here", but you have to pay an amount to see this list of jobs. That is a scam too.

So what can be done from home? I will discuss what options you can do from home, that although you won't get rich quick, it can provide an income for you.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Huzzah! A Job I can do From Home!

I know I have not posted here for a little while. I am not usually good at keeping journals, although I would like to be able to. So at least I am coming back and writing this up.

You know that job I talked about, with Pizza73? Well I had an interview yesterday with them. It went very well. I gave her my list of three references that I had and thus the questioning commenced.

She asked me what had appealed to me to apply for the job and asked why I did so. I told her that it was perfect for our family situation. It was an evening/nights position, so it would give me the freedom during the day to be with the boys (and soon this baby) and when Graham comes home, I can "go to work". It was interesting because she stated that she too began in the position I was applying for so that she could be home during the day. So I think she totally understands my position and where I am coming from.

Near the conclusion of the interview she asked me if I would be available for training. Sounds like I am hired! But note! This is not an hourly wage position. This is a contract position with commission. The amount I make depends on the number of orders I take. She explained it that one could make $9/10 per hour or if one was really into the job could make $15/16 per hour. This is a self-employment job, but I think I like that idea! I mean, the worst of it is for Saturday nights I'd be staying up until 3am, midnight every other shift, but I mean, I think this would be worth it to be able to stay home with the kids. And Graham and I figure that after both our vehicle payments are up (which would be in about 4 years) that at that point we would be able to live on one income. So this is temporary, but the best position for us! I am looking forward to beginning my training!

By the way, the job is basically taking orders. The best thing is, I don't need a landline. All I need is a USB headset as the calls would be coming from online, via their VoIP software that I will be required to install. After that, nothing more is needed.

I am looking forward to this! I know for the rest of the year it will be tough as I will continue to work full time along side this part time position, but hopefully while on maternity leave and thereafter, things will work out.

In essence, we only need to cover the van payment. Everything else can be covered with the CCTB, UCC, and child support. (unfortunately the UCC is only good up until the child is 6 years old, but I mean, that is two years away for our oldest son).

But I digress... This is so exciting! Finally, an opportunity to be able to stay home!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Opportunities

To work full time and be able to find an alternative is actually hard. Because for some of the time I am going to have to do full time work in addition to the alternatives I find. Which can cause a burnout of some kind.

I have discussed further with a local rep about Discovery Toys. By the sounds of it the only risk is spending the $180 to get the starter kit. Worst case scenario if it doesn't work out for me is that I simply keep the starter kit. There are no penalties. They are trying to make the process more continent wide, as currently I could sell to anyone in Canada, but not in the US.

It basically is home parties or direct people to your site to purchase the toys. I am sure I could find lots of people to look into Discovery Toys, but I am not sure how well I would be at sales. I am still deciding.

Another opportunity that has come my way is a position with Pizza 73 as a customer rep for the evenings and weekends. Best part is they allow it to be done at the comfort of your home. So I submitted my resume to them. A few days later I received a call back! I was not able to answer it, but I think they are interested! I am sure I would need to get a land line as I currently do not have one, but that is easy to do as Shaw would have a bundle for $20 a month, I'm fine with that. I called back and left a message, I should hear from them tonight *fingers crossed*.

On the home front, things are going well. It does take a lot of energy to raise a family and work full time. My body is exhausted most times, I don't even know how I keep going, but I do. I want to make my children's life the best as possible, but for me being at work the majority of my waking hours makes me feel as though I am wasting these precious first young years in their lives. I know that when baby comes, three children will be expensive to have in the day home and will take the majority of my paycheck, so it isn't worth it for the amount to bring home. We do have to consider our finances as we do have two vehicle payments. Not sure how many years are left on the car, but the van does have 4 more years. So by the time I am off maternity leave, it will be down to 3 years left. So if I do stay home, the first 3 years of not working can be a financial stress, but that is why I am looking for options to stay home.

Again, fingers crossed Pizza 73 calls back, because if I do get the job, the next step is a land line and then I have to build myself a better computer as my current laptop is just way to slow. Time to look at all the computer components I have and see what I can build from it. That or perhaps Amber and Devin might have a new computer to return the one we borrowed to them, that one will work. But unless that happens, I have to build my laptop better. I know I have a processor with HT technology... umm... for those not tech-savvy that is lingo for Hyper-Threading, before dual core ever became big. I had a Pentium 4 processor with HT, so it was a hot machine to run, literally... Now to find that other laptop and see what parts I have (I have three of the same laptop, although they vary slightly in processor and video graphics)

Peace

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Discovery Toys

Discovery Toys has been helping parents to "Teach. Play. Inspire." with our high-quality educational toys, books, games and music for over three decades

So I have come across Discovery Toys. I guess it is like Avon, Regal, Pampered Chef, Tupperware, as in there are parties you host. I know I didn't want to be involved with Avon or any of the others because I know I clearly don't have an interest in those kinds of things. I also don't purchase those kinds of products.

Although I have never bought a toy from Discovery Toys, from what I have heard by word of mouth is that the toys are a very good product. I remember being involved with a New Mom's Network group and the women were discussing Discovery toys, I believe one was a consultant. She brought in a sample toy and it looked to be of good quality.

I have expressed interest in this to a local consultant and surprisingly got a reply back right away. It is a minimal investment of $180. $40 of which is shipping costs. The starter kit includes toys for all age groups, business tools and supplies, and a free personalized website for a full three months... I assume one would need to pay for the website once the three months are over.

It is an idea that I am toying with, pardon the pun. I do know a few families with children in the age ranges, even within my own family. I think I just need to sit down with the consultant to discuss it further with her about this whole process and see if it is right for me. Who knows, I may get excited about it and maybe it is just right for me. Or perhaps it may not be, but it is too early to decide right now.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Money... Why Does it Have to be Money?

Suffice to say, it is not like we are suffering financially. We basically have enough to pay the bills, the mortgage, groceries, gas, vehicle payments, but we have nothing to live from. What I mean to say is, should we want to take a vacation somewhere, well, there simply isn’t any money for it. What money is saved is usually spent on a debt we already had, or to provide things of need we may not have had the opportunity to do so before hand.

I have been trying to find some way to stay at home, maybe make some money. I have tried setting up a website to advertise my skills as a computer technician, even put out some posters. However, didn’t get anything, not one bite. Then my search turned to the internet. Sadly, everything out there is a scam, nothing is legit. All advertise “Make $10,000 a month!” but really, that isn’t even possible. But why is it so popular? Simply put, I see it as we are money driven in our society.

We work so that we can provide for our family. But when does it end? For some, it ends up being we live to work, instead of work to live. People are slowly finding themselves working 40+ hour weeks. How much is really left for the family once you subtract your sleeping time? For me, it is not enough. When I grew up, my parents didn’t have enough money. My brother and I didn’t get all the fancy toys or brand named clothing. We didn’t go on vacations to Europe or Mexico. In fact, my parents claimed bankruptcy for as long as I can remember. So money was scarce. But there was a difference that was being made. My parents didn’t focus my brother and I on money, but on other things. With home schooling, that allowed my mom to give us the opportunities we might now have had otherwise. Our weekends were rarely spent at home because we would spend it at my grandparent’s farm, 2 ½ hours away. At times this was tiresome, but looking back on it, it was amazing. My brother and I built forts with our cousins, we’d help clean up my grandparent’s farm house and farm, we’d tag along on the quad when my parents helped fenced, was up in the grain truck during harvest time as it was being emptied, and we got to ride in the different kinds of tractors. The list could go on. But do you know what I remember most? It was our family gatherings. We had a Quonset party that I remember hanging onto my grandpa’s scooter as we went around the whole floor. Every New Year’s our whole extended family would get together for toboggan ride near the creek with a massive bonfire and fireworks at midnight. We would have dinner the next day and continue to toboggan. We gathered for every holiday there was. It was an unknowing foundation instilled in me – family is what counts.

So here I am, in a family of my own -- a wonderful loving man, two wonderful children, and a third child on the way. But what is stopping me for trying to even stay home, well, its money. Money is what our world revolves around. It is what everything is based upon. If you don’t have money you don’t excel and achieve in this world. I live in this world, but I am not of this world. I will not let money dictate the fact that family is more important than material things. I assume many might not see eye to eye on that. For some, getting their own house, to the new SUV, to the new 52in LCD flat panel, 3D TV screen is more important. Some may even defend this position. But I am not going to start a debate. If anything perhaps an eye opener for some, and for others they could care less because they simply have the money to do so. But what I am pointing out, is money is the root cause of everything we do. I hate having to live to work. And frankly, I don’t want to work anymore, for it is not appealing in any way. It is a drain on me. I waste so much energy in the workforce for an amount that my family barely makes it by on, just to come home guilty that I am too exhausted and irritated by the day’s events to even spend time with my children. In my eyes, this has to change for me, in my life. And so far, I don’t see a solution or a light at the end of the tunnel.

Life isn’t about what we gain in means of material property; it is about the relationships we make with other people, with our family. I have noticed such a falling out in our morals, which I am sure, will continue to decline. Parents are overworked and nowadays it is a two-working parent family. So what about those of us who want to stay home with our family, who know that they don’t want to be in the workforce? I’m sure we’d get looked down upon by those who think we should be the “I can do everything woman.” And listen, if you are a working parent, then that is awesome. We are each on our own life journey, a path unique to ourselves. Others will want to work and not stay home. But what about those of us who want to stay home and look after the family unit? Could not society help us out instead of continuing to make money the matter of everything?

Sadly, I don’t think society will change, but perhaps I can make a change in my own life to make the dream come true and perhaps encourage others to do the same. We can’t change anyone, only ourselves. And we can only encourage, not force, others to try the same.

I know there is no way a plan will be in place by the time this baby comes. But I hope that by the time I have to go back to work, it is then I hope that something will happen that will make the dream of staying home become a reality. It is what I long to do, I know it is something I could do so well at. It is who I feel I am to be. But again, I wish money wasn’t everything as it is today.

In Pursuit of Staying Home

I have a dream, a passion if you will. I want to stay at home with my children. To be able to get up and have breakfast ready for them, to spend time with them and take them out to places where they can learn all kinds of things, to be able to help them as they grow and not fear that they spend more time with a caregiver than with their own mom. In essence and in total, I want to be a stay at home mom/wife. This is something I simply long for.

I currently work an 8-5 day job, Monday to Friday, weekends and holidays off. I am a Technical Support Specialist for a company in Edmonton, they are known all over North America. I enjoy the work, the people and atmosphere… but something isn’t right with it, and I have been struggling for the past 4 months with these feelings.

Just some background information, I should tell you a bit more of myself in detail. I am 24 years old. I was born and raised in a small community, roughly an hour from Edmonton. I went to elementary school until the end of grade 5. Grade 6 was the first year my mom began to home school my brother and I. You see, at the end of grade 5, I had trouble reading. I didn’t know what vowels sounded like, what a long “a” was compared to a short “a”. I didn’t have many friends, was a loner I suppose. I did try to fit in with the kids, but somehow my friends would end up back-stabbing me. Grade 4 was a memorable year for that. My brother was worse off. He was literally failing, but the teachers kept passing him each grade. My mom was on the parent counsel during our last year, that was her first year being a stay at home mom/wife too. By the end of that year, she had the principal quit, but it wasn’t enough for what my brother and I were going through.

I think back on all those years I was home schooled. I was home schooled right up until graduation, and even after, I took grade 12 again just because I simply could! It wasn’t easy. I remember my brother and I often talking and wishing we were back in school, that we would have a high school dance, have friends to hang out with. But now, nearly 6 years later, I wish I took advantage of it all. I have not been influenced by my peers like those have in junior and senior high, granted I’m sure begin subjected to them could have shown me a lesson or two. But in thinking about it, I am so glad I was not in that type of atmosphere, it has given me an outlook that I know I wouldn’t have had I continued through the public school system.

In what I learned from home schooling, it wasn’t just about completing assignments and work, it was also meant to learn new things, by means I wouldn’t be able to, had I stayed in a public school. I volunteered for many things, thank my mom for that. And I learned so much from it. It even opened doors to opportunities such as singing in the 2001 IAAF Games in Edmonton. Being home schooled wasn’t just a classroom experience, it was a life experience.

I have two boys now. My oldest just turned 4 two days ago. He could start preschool this year. Next year it will be kindergarten. Graham and I are also expecting a third addition to our family at the end of this year. An event we are really looking forward to, but knowing me, I’m scared. Reason: Because now more than ever, do I not want to be in a working position. Sure, one reason is because of finances, we simply won’t be able to afford childcare for three children by the time I have to go back to work. But for me it is more than that, something so hard to put into words.

I have decided that I want to start keeping track of my journey to one day being a stay-at-home mom and wife. It is a dream, a passion which is ever so much growing. It will be an experience of ups and downs in my daily life, what my thoughts are, what I wish and long for. It will go into some philosophy and spirituality I am sure, for that is simply who I am. But for the most part, this is my journey, my pursuit in staying home.