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Working from home/telecommuting to homestead  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 1295
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I know I've talked about this before, but in light of Paul's deals on his Deep Roots packages, I thought I'd bring it to the front of the discussion again - working from home online.

I started working online at the end of my pregnancy - 2 days before my due date as a matter of fact I took a job as a ghost writer for an internet security blog, and was paid by the word at first, then on an hourly basis.

Initially I only worked maybe 10 hours a week - having a newborn limited my availability some. But pretty soon I managed to double those hours, and was earning more than I was before, working outside the home. I've been doing it ever since, and of course, now work for Paul over here at Permies and Richsoil.com - all from home, all while earning real money to keep the lights on, and all while I take care of our young son.

So it's totally not impossible, it's definitely not a scam - there are LOADS of legitimate work opportunities that you can literally do with just a computer and an internet connection.


It's not always pretty, and sometimes it is DAMNED stressful working where you live, but I'm so grateful for the ability to do so. Up until two months ago, I worked everyday, about 3-5 hours a day, with this little guy sleeping in my lap.

I taught a workshop on this to prepare folks for the workforce, and managed to get a good friend of mine on the road to some major success as a writer - he's since left me in the dust and is making a killing, just writing content for blogs.

I got my start on upwork.com - it's a site for freelancers, and is free, aside from the commission they take from your pay (hint hint - get paid through Paypal if you can get your employer to agree to it). That and these days they're charging you 'connects' as a beginner to contact employers, but getting interviews and gigs gives you heaps of these for free, so it's really no sweat. I've worked at least half a dozen jobs via upwork, and I've never paid anything to them other than that pesky 10%.

The modern age is taking a lot from us as a society, but it's also giving us the ability to make that challenging transition from the 9-5 to full time homesteading. This is something you can do anywhere - I literally take my computer with me on trips and errands, squeezing in work during nap times and road trips.

If you're thinking about making the leap into a program like Deep Roots, or just want to get started on your dream of living off the land, this is a great way to make the transition financially feasible.

 
steward
Posts: 2004
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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I started my journey toward being a freelance graphic designer about 5 or 6 years ago. After working as a designer in an office situation for 15+ years, I wanted to have more freedom in my life, and more variety in my work. I started with Upwork.com as well, only it was called oDesk then. It's changed a little over the years, but it's still a fantastic site, and I also encourage anyone who wants to work from home to check it out. As Destiny says, it's totally legit - not a scam or a scheme - it's just clients looking for freelancers to do work from them. You bid on the job, along with other freelancers, and the client picks the freelancer they want to work with. Pretty simple. (They now have "Packages" you can purchase that give you some perks that you don't get with a Free Membership - but I find the Free membership is just fine.) Some jobs are fixed-price, and some are hourly. And I do the same as Destiny - eventually suggesting that we take our work relationship off of Upwork, and I simply send a Paypal invoice. This gets you paid faster, as well as not losing that 10%. (Of course, Upwork frowns upon that - but c'est la vie! All's fair in love and work. ) I also get lots of work from referrals from clients. So, you can grow your business that way, once you get a start with some good clients on Upwork.

And there is more on Upwork than just writing or graphic design. There is everything from simple data entry to major research, project management, voice-over and video work, personal assistant, illustration, and loads more. I encourage everyone to check it out. You will LOVE the freedom of being a freelancer.

I imagine between Destiny and I, we can answer any questions you might have.

Imagine the freedom of working from home, and keeping your own hours! Right now I'm sitting outside in my little grape covered 'office', smelling the freshly mowed grass, and enjoying the view. Life is good.    
 
pollinator
Posts: 10282
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I also work at home and have done so for decades, making stuff for showbiz.  And nowhere near Hollywood.

 
pollinator
Posts: 289
Location: Whitefish, Montana
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Working remotely is a big part of the new paradigm.

I say this not to brag or boast,

but my company did 6 figures in revenue last year helping smart education entrepreneurs sell their courses online.

If you are looking to earn income based on your experience, check out https://lifterlms.com

Cheers,'

Chris
 
Posts: 13
Location: Ames, IA
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Companies are opening up more and more to the idea of letting employees telecommute, especially employees who are primarily doing work on a computer. Practically, there is no reason why computer work has to be done in a specific location. Communication tools make it easy for chatting and conferencing with fellow employees at a distance from the workplace when needed.

I will address specifically the situation where you currently work for a company, and would like to telecommute with that same company.

If you are currently working for a company, and your job responsibilities can be performed through telecommuting, you might first check to see if your company has a policy in place for telecommuting employees. Many large companies have established policies for this work arrangement, although many employees inside the company might not know about it if it's not advertised. If the company does have a policy, check the policy to find out how you might be able to request this type work arrangement. The company I work for has this information on a website. Most likely, if there is a policy, the company is going to leave it up to your local supervisor and management to make a determination to allow you to telecommute. Your job is to convince them that you have personal traits that are conducive to telecommuting. You must be able to work independently and productively without much supervision. They have to trust you. If you have a lot of distractions at home, which would interfere with your productivity, then you might not function well as a telecommuter. So, put together a sales pitch on why you should be allowed to telecommute, and talk to your supervisor or manager.

If the company you work for does not have a policy on telecommuting, then find out if there are any employees currently telecommuting for the company. Speak with them, if you can, to find out how they initiated this arrangement. If that fails, then approach your management with the idea, and sell them on it. But first, get all your facts together. Sell them on why this will benefit both you and the company. The good companies will want to keep the good employees, and they are concerned about "quality of life" for their employees. This makes good business sense if they want to attract and retain the best talent.

Here is my story:

I currently work as an engineer for a large corporation. I own undeveloped land that is located a long way from the office. I work in Iowa, and the land is located in Tennessee. During this next year, I intend to approach the company about telecommuting so that I can move close to my land and begin developing my homestead.

I would have done this sooner, but I sold management on funding me for a year to work on a technology development project, which has the promise to save the company millions of dollars and deliver a higher quality product to the customer. For part of this project, I have to do field testing at a specific location in Iowa, which cannot be done anywhere else. Once the project is finished, I'm good to go. I am currently on track to be successful with this project. The important point here is that I have built trust with the company, and objectively demonstrated my value to the company; therefore, they are more likely to be open to my request for telecommuting.

There are no jobs for the type of engineering I do near where my land is located, so it makes sense to stay employed by this company if possible. Fortunately, the company has a policy on telecommuting, and it has employees working for our office who are located in far away places. As a matter of fact, I know a manger who lives in Texas on his family farm, and is managing employees at our location in Iowa. He shows up at the office every now and then so his employees can see his face.  

Recently a young engineer in our group told our supervisor that his wife was putting pressure on him to move back to Minnesota so that they could be close to family, and their kids could grow up around the grandparents. The management allowed him to move and telecommute. This is extremely important to me because it sets a precedent in our group. Therefore, management will not be able to logically deny this old experienced engineer the ability to telecommute, when they trusted a much less experienced person in my group to do so.

In addition, I have already proven that I can work independently and productively, and our management is already allowing me to work two days per week from home. So, it's not a big step to stretch two days to five days at home. As a matter of fact, I am much more productive working from home than at the office, because I have absolutely no distractions. The management has also witnessed this increase in productivity, which further builds my credibility.

So, here is the bottom line. If you are currently working for a company, and you desire to telecommute with that same company, it will be easier to convince them to allow this work arrangement provided you have first demonstrated that you are a valuable employee and that you can work independently and productively. If you need to build this credibility, and your management is somewhat resistant, ask if they would consider allowing you to work from home maybe just one day per week. If that goes well, and they become comfortable that you can perform well in a telecommuting arrangement, then later ask for more days. Eventually, you might be able to telecommute full time.

I suspect it is much harder to gain new employment full time with a company directly into a telecommuting position (that pays decent money), unless you are a salesman, or some other specialists where the job itself naturally fits the telecommuting paradigm. I'll leave it to others to answer that question.
 
master steward
Posts: 5180
Location: Missoula, MT
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Cool to hear about Destiny, Tracy, Tyler and Chris' experiences working from home! I really like working from home, too, though it does at time present some challenges.

Dan Robinson wrote:I currently work as an engineer for a large corporation. I own undeveloped land that is located a long way from the office. I work in Iowa, and the land is located in Tennessee. During this next year, I intend to approach the company about telecommuting so that I can move close to my land and begin developing my homestead.  



Dan Robinson wrote:There are no jobs for the type of engineering I do near where my land is located, so it makes sense to stay employed by this company if possible. Fortunately, the company has a policy on telecommuting, and it has employees working for our office who are located in far away places. As a matter of fact, I know a manger who lives in Texas on his family farm, and is managing employees at our location in Iowa. He shows up at the office every now and then so his employees can see his face.  :)


Dan, has working from your land in Tennessee worked out as you hoped?

I've worked with a company that wrote in provisions for telecommuting in their employee handbook or manual. Even for part-time employees. They included an 'office hours' stipulation that was really wise, I thought. A lot of their staff being part-time, and allowed to work from home, they outlined normal office hours as something like 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

As for me, I'm struggling to get back to getting more exercise. The below picture is the commute, in steps (or lack thereof) from my bed to my desk (which are in the same room). Uff. This is affecting my waistline!!

So now, Paul and I have scheduled "project time" twice daily. Once for any project he wants. Once for any project I want. The goal is for outside projects. Since we live on acreage, and it's 1/8th of a mile just to walk to the shop and back for tools, let alone taking care of various projects around the place, my steps counter has been having MUCH higher averages lately! Yay!

What do you all build in for movement when you work at home?

zero-steps-in-my-commute.png
[Thumbnail for zero-steps-in-my-commute.png]
zero steps in my commute
 
Dan Robinson
Posts: 13
Location: Ames, IA
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Jocelyn,

I'm jealous of your job! You have an enviable position.

Moving hasn't worked out yet, because I have a number of other issues outside of work to solve. One of those is how to transport my significant other, such that she also has employment. She is a business woman, so it's doable. But, she would be starting a business from scratch in a new location.

The way I handle the exercise issue when working at home is by working out in a gym. I enjoy (more or less) doing weight training. I also, during the summer, make time on weekends for cycling, and long walks.

I use vacations to travel down to my property. I've gotten to know a few of the neighbors. One thing I've discovered, when you move to the country, is to get to know the neighbors. If they like you, they tend to keep an eye on things for you.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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I need to disclose that I no longer make my living from home!  I now have to commute 40 miles to my new job as caregiver for my dad with Alzheimer's....I spend part of the week at his house and part of the week at home.  Though I work with my husband for his home business, I don't get paid for the sculpting I do for him.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
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Location: Missoula, MT
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Dan Robinson wrote:Jocelyn,

I'm jealous of your job! You have an enviable position.


Actually, and I'm not totally sure you implied I work for a company, but I have my own business and work for myself! The employee handbook I mentioned is for a client of mine. I'm not always my own best boss.

Dan Robinson wrote:The way I handle the exercise issue when working at home is by working out in a gym. I enjoy (more or less) doing weight training. I also, during the summer, make time on weekends for cycling, and long walks.


Some times, I wish! The nearest gym (or yoga class, etc.) is a 40 minute drive away for me...not realistic for my schedule right now. Trying to build in more walks when I can.

Dan Robinson wrote:I use vacations to travel down to my property. I've gotten to know a few of the neighbors. One thing I've discovered, when you move to the country, is to get to know the neighbors. If they like you, they tend to keep an eye on things for you.


Nice! And so true.

Tyler Ludens wrote:I need to disclose that I no longer make my living from home!  I now have to commute 40 miles to my new job as caregiver for my dad with Alzheimer's....I spend part of the week at his house and part of the week at home.  Though I work with my husband for his home business, I don't get paid for the sculpting I do for him.


Ah, that sounds like a big shift Tyler. I'm sure your dad is so lucky to have your care. And, yes, some times we do things for our partners that we don't get paid for. I know that one quite well!

Speaking of unreimbursed time, I think the self-employed, or those working from home might really need to read this little bit and his distinction between "managers" and "makers."

To Everyone Who Asks For ‘Just A Little’ Of Your Time: Here’s What It Costs To Say Yes

In this article, Holiday writes:

I have a form of anorexia.

Don’t be alarmed. It’s not serious, though I take it quite seriously. Because it’s probably the only form that’s healthy. In fact, I think it’s the secret to my success.

I have calendar anorexia.

I want as absolutely little in my calendar as possible. I’m meticulous about it. Whatever the least amount possible I can have in my calendar without killing my career — that’s what I want.


He goes on to explain that as a writer, he is a "maker" and needs uninterrupted blocks of time for writing. "Managers," on the other hand, tend to have busy, chopped up schedules with meetings, calls, and administrative tasks. I'm definitely in the "manager" category these days.


 
pollinator
Posts: 136
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I also work from home, and do rather well (if I say so myself). To be fair my homestead is urban, but considering how often I step off of it it could very well be remote.

I translate, write, and edit in science full time, and the question about movement is so relevant. I've tried nearly everything but what I have now is probably the way I'm going to keep it for a while- I have a treadmill desk I built.  
(I should mention that I used to run kinda seriously but got hurt, and I need to limit my sun exposure, which also limits running time. I bought the treadmill to get back into running, on my own time in the shade, but I was starting to lose my interest and too afraid of getting hurt again after a year or two. Probably no need to mention I'm not getting any younger and everything is starting to fall apart.)

I work on a laptop that sits on a dock and plugs into extra monitors, etc. and a wireless keyboard and mouse.
When I'm doing something "fluffy" (research, email) I take the laptop and move over to the treadmill desk, which is next to my sitting desk. I set it really slow and can walk for an hour or so. Treadmill desk has a shelf on the wall that keeps the laptop screen at my eye level, and a shelf that goes over the rails of the treadmill that holds the keyboard and mouse at elbow level.
When I get tired of that, or when I have to do something persnickety (or when I need to use multiple screens for a certain task) I bring the machine back and plug it into the dock and resume work sitting.

I'll be really honest and say that there are days (especially crazy mondays) when I just entirely forget and am closing up at 7 and say "crap, I didn't walk at all" and there are other days when I walk nearly the entire day.
I'd take a pic but I just got back from a months' vacation and it looks like a cyclone came through the office. mmm, maybe tomorrow.
But seriously, after trying standing desks, and scheduled exercise, etc, this is so much better.
 
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