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From the Email Bag – A Great Home-Based Business
By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
Jan. 12, 2012
Dear Rat Race Rebellion: I’d like to start a home-based business,
but I’m not sure what kind. My husband says I’m the
best-organized person he knows, and I enjoy helping people stay on
track. I did this for 10 years as an Executive Assistant. Could that be
a business? – Dawn in Springfield, Va.
Dear Dawn: Yes, it could. Given your Executive Assistant background,
you may want to consider becoming a Personal Virtual Assistant. Virtual
Assistants in general offer business support services remotely, and can
earn $20 or more per hour. However, like Executive Assistants versus
Administrative Assistants, Personal Virtual Assistants can position
themselves as providing a more “elite” service, and thus
“PVAs” can target senior executives, partners at law firms,
physicians with a busy practice (plastic surgeons, for example),
successful consultants and speakers, and so on. These clients are often
not as price-sensitive as the smaller businesses that Virtual
Assistants typically help. But they will still appreciate that your
rates as an independent contractor will be less than the cost of having
a brick-and-mortar employee – with a retirement plan, health
insurance, office space, etc. – doing the job.
To succeed as a PVA, you’ll need to project sophisticated
professionalism in all aspects of your image. These would include your
website, of course; brochures, video clips and business cards; and any
public speaking you might do.
The Virtual Assistant industry has grown from its origins in the early
1990s to include India, the Philippines, Australia and other countries.
However, the PVA field is still relatively new. Moreover, being located
in the U.S. will give you an advantage when approaching U.S. prospects.
For more on the Virtual Assistant field, see the International Virtual
Assistants Association, at IVAA.org. You can also consult our Virtual
Assistant guide, The 2-Second Commute, available at some public libraries and on Amazon.
Dear Rat Race Rebellion: I’m just starting community college and
want to major in something that will let me work at home. What would
you recommend? – Paula in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Dear Paula: First, a status recap. There is mounting chaos in the
career field as the Internet and global competition reshape and destroy
old models. The pace of this change is also accelerating. In terms of
developing skills for the future job market, the American worker has
gone from standing (the assembly-line era) to sprinting (Internet-era
work). Simultaneously, the thick fog that always obscured distant
projections steadily moves toward the present.
Before we get to skill sets, be sure to develop three habits so you can
thrive in the growing confusion. First, be willing to reinvent yourself
continuously, no matter how old you get physically. Second, embrace
technical subjects even when they’re dull, for technology will
increasingly colonize our lives. Third, hang out with supple thinkers,
and avoid willful dinosaurs.
For the moment, these fields look good for home-based work: customer
service, social-media management for corporations, freelance writing,
medical specialties (nursing, medical transcription and coding, etc.),
and technical fields such as website design, programming and the like.
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home
movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book
is Work at Home Now,
a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on
finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 BY STAFFCENTRIX, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM