10 Tips to Help You Transition from Corporate to Work-At-Home

9119039841_86f6cc5d01This is a guest post by contributor Marge Aberasturi of VA Support Pro.

I’ve been a WAHM for 7 years, and I’d be the first to admit that the journey has not been easy.  I didn’t get much time to prepare myself for the transition.  The shift was so sudden, it was like driving on a highway on cruise, confident that you’ll be reaching your destination in the next exit, and then, whoa, another vehicle comes out of nowhere and threatens to hit you head-on that you have to swerve as quickly as you can or you’ll be dead meat.

Twelve years of slacks, blazers and high heels, and all of a sudden I was wearing torn shorts and tees to work.  Twelve years of working in air-conditioned rooms, meeting with guys in ties, and all of a sudden I was working with a baby on my lap, and the burp cloth, my scarf.

Switching careers, like resigning from one job in one company and securing another position in another company, can be difficult enough.  Imagine how harder it is to be leaving a 15th and 30th of the month payroll, for something that you are not even sure will pay.

But it can be done.

I did it, and you definitely can, too.

As a WAHMeo who has gone through the transition without much ado, I’d like to share with you a few tips that I’m sure will take you off a lot of the stress I had to go through.

1. Take care of your financials first.  

While still gainfully employed, start building your nest egg.  You should have at least 6 to10 months of your present monthly income stashed somewhere.  Six months is the average time to find another employment if ever your work-at-home venture doesn’t pan out.  So knowing that you will survive the period getting back to the mainstream will assure you of sound sleep, somehow.

2. Identify your niche.  

I’ve seen so many moms who have decided to work from home without even knowing what kind work from home venture she’s going to do.  It’s like going to a battle with a gun but forgetting to bring ammunition.  It’s not really as simple as okay, I’m going to work from home, so bring it on.  What will you work on?  Is it going to be a service?   What will it be?  Maybe a product?  Whether it’s going to be a service or a product, it has to be something that answers three questions:  a) Are you good at doing it?; b)  Are you going to be happy doing it?; and c) Is it going to be profitable?

3. Have a plan.  

It doesn’t have to be a perfect plan with all the T’s crossed and the I’s dotted, but at least have something that will serve as your guide in preparing for the switch.  My version of a plan was one Word document with a photo of my son, at that time still intubated, smack right at top center.  And below that photo were my options listed down in bullets, with corresponding pros and cons, skills and tools needed, and my existing skills and tools to match the need.  And then one Excel file where I was monitoring the amount we have so far saved (our nest egg) versus the amount we need, projected expenses and expenses we can do without once I start working from home.  Each day, those two files were updated.  I would think of something, and I just have to put it there.  Lest I forget.

4. Write your schedule.  Bear in mind, you are still gainfully employed.  How much time will you be spending getting into the groove of working from home?  While on transition period, will you be spending weekends on your work at home prospects?  Maybe two hours after office?   Whatever is the case, you have to keep a schedule.  Set a time you can be consistent on.  That way, you already are instilling the discipline that you need once you begin working from home.  And believe you me, discipline is what you will need a lot of.

5. Set a timeline.  Have a goal on when to let go of your corporate life.  Otherwise, you will be forever in transition.  Going back to your financials, how long do you think you can build that nest egg?  Having a timeline will also propel you to be more diligent in your preparation.

6. Equip yourself.  With skills and tools.  If you have decided you want to be a VA, then find out what tools are mostly used by VAs and learn how to use them.  Attend workshops.  It would also be good to go into internship with seasoned WAHMs who are already doing what you are planning on doing.  At the time that I was taking the plunge from corporate to WAHM, I was not even confident in navigating the web.  After due diligence, I decided I could not do any of the things I was reading about except for transcription.  So I went ahead and enrolled in a medical transcription course.  I was more than willing to invest on the tuition and materials that would make me a capable transcriptionist.

7. Research.  This is one thing that I really did a lot of.  I downloaded materials from the web.  I followed successful WAHM blogs.  I joined WAHM forums to find out the best practices, most particularly on pricing services.  I asked questions.  Never mind that I was in a forum of Canadian or American WAHMS.  I needed information, so I asked.

8. Create your portfolio.  In this age of technology, submitting a resume as an attachment is becoming the thing of the past.  What works now is an online page where you can showcase your professional persona.  It is free to create a page on https://about.me.  Or if you are up to it, set up a blog page that has something to do with the niche you want to venture into.  Write a compelling About Me page that will tell your prospective clients why they should take a chance on you.  Or you can be ambitious, audacious and adventurous just as I was, and build your own website.

9. Go on soft launch.  Get out there.  Craigslist was, and still is, my go-to site for client prospecting.  Some would recommend oDesk or Elance.  I never had an experience with those platforms as I was, as earlier mentioned, audacious enough to just decide that I want to get hired directly by a client, not by a middleman. But whatever route you decide to take in as far as client prospecting is concerned, just do yourself this one big favor: do not shortchange yourself by accepting peanuts for projects.

10. Tweak as you go.  I was getting my desired income from my transcription gigs, but I was also getting bored with it and wanted to do other things.  So I tweaked my goals and started learning new skills.  Being out there will actually gain you more confidence to try out new things.  Listen to your instinct.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Transitioning today is a lot easier than when I started.  There’s a lot of support that you can get if you know how to network.  And yes, attending workshops is the best venue for networking.  You’ll get a lot of your questions answered firsthand, too.

So, when do you actually let go of your corporate job?

When your income from your work-at-home gig has been stable for at least 6 months, then you can actually submit that resignation letter with your head held high and dance your way home.

Of course, everything I wrote here are not carved on stone.  There are no hard and fast rules that can encompass each individual’s needs.  But these are the things that I did in the very short time that I was given to make my own transition.  And I’m still tweaking as I go.

Marge Aberasturi a.k.a. The Happy WAHM

Photo Credit: TempusVolat via Compfight cc

Comments

  1. Arvee Cruz says:

    This is very helpful and answered a lot of my questions. Thank you. :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] plan, that you do things right, that you follow every piece of advice that The Happy WAHM shared in this post. But if life hands you lemons, like it did me, don’t panic. Squeeze those babies out, make […]

Speak Your Mind

*