My path to working from home started with PCS orders to Fort Hood.
At first, I thought about commuting to Austin. But that idea was scratched out when I realized that I would be spending hours in the car. Perhaps that wasn’t the way to go, especially if I could help it.
That’s when teleworking hit me.
There is no doubt that working from home is a potential solution for career-minded military spouses. You can have the job you want AND bring it wherever the military sends you. SCORE!
Are you currently wondering what you can do to score that work-from-home position?
Once I committed myself to the work-from-home hustle, I knew there would be prep work. Here are 10 steps you can take today that may lead to a work-from-home job tomorrow:
Network with Other Teleworkers
Without discussing the ups and downs with other work-from-home gurus, how will you know what to expect? There were 2 full-time freelancers working from home at my last job, so I emailed them separately and asked them about the pros and cons.
In addition, I immediately reached out to the military spouse community when I first got started because I found a lot of others that found success with teleworking. Those networks actually opened a lot of doors for me in my current work. I will never forget my friend that shared NextGen with me for the first time.
Establish a Plan
I had a PCS that nudged me along the process. Whatever it is that ignited your decision to work from home, start your timeline there and create benchmarks for you to follow.
Are you prepping while working full-time?
Or are you focusing on work-from-home prep only?
Map on a calendar where you’re hoping to be at certain dates.
For example, I was hoping to at least have one big contract going when I came back from our PCS leave. I started applying November/December and began work late January on a big contract that helped propel me to more contracts.
Create an Online Portfolio
Before applying, I created an online portfolio that featured my resume and other aspects of my professional experience that I thought would be interesting to potential clients. I purchased a domain name for myself, but there are free sites out there that I’ve seen used.
Make your personality shine on your site. I used my favorite color as the feature color (it’s green, in case you were wondering). My head shots are from a session I had outdoors (I love being outside). Remember, your potential employer or client might be Googling you, so put your best foot forward.
Spruce Up Your LinkedIn Profile
While having a online portfolio would be a unique edge, LinkedIn has become a standard for professionals. Therefore, if you don’t have one, it might not bode well with a potential client or employer.
Also, LinkedIn could be a great resource for you to reach people that might not currently be on your radar. I’ve gotten some organic attention just from my LinkedIn profile, so be sure to note that you are freelancing/teleworking because that might be an added advantage.
Network at Industry-Related Events
I was able to hit some industry events before our PCS, which was helpful. I asked questions about public relations and communications teleworking specifically, so I learned more about what is possible for myself.
If you’re worried about the location of industry events, look into online/digital conferences. I learned about digital conferences after I moved and have benefited from them greatly because as lucky as I am for being in D.C., not all events are here. Take a look at websites for online opportunities. Online is another avenue to network!
Network, Network, Network
Don’t stop connecting and networking, ever. There are so many other opportunities to network outside of reaching out to other teleworkers and industry-related professionals. For example, you can continue networking with other career-minded military spouses at Hiring Our Heroes – In Gear Career chapter events.
Build a Home Office
Before I got started working from home, I created my ideal working environment. I’m a huge proponent that having a dedicated workspace fosters productivity and overall happiness in your work.
My office is my professional haven. The walls are filled with artwork I acquired while living in New York. In fact, the image hanging right above my computer monitor is a map of the neighborhood I lived in New York for the last 5ish years.
Save Money (If You Can!)
My first year working from home was a doozy on my wallet. First off, my laptop went kaput. I had it since college (making it almost 10 years old) and it was on its last leg.
I skirted some money here and there when I knew that I would pursue working from home. Also, it was beneficial to have some surplus funds for admittance for classes or networking events. In the end, they were all career investments and deducted from my income anyway for being self-employed.
Know Your Worth
Before you start applying, have an idea of the type of compensation you are looking for. Be true to what is expected for your experience level and career field.
Also, don’t sell yourself short! I’m guilty of doing that myself, especially for opportunities that seem promising. For me, it’s a matter of gauging all the opportunities presented to me that way I have an idea of what I can take on.
Have Fun and Keep Your Head Up
Why have fun? Because if you’re not loving what you do, I feel like it might be a struggle.
I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Sometimes it takes time and sometimes it might not, but never let the time passing be indicative of doing something wrong. As long as you’re taking steps forward, it will lead you to opportunities.