Archive for September, 2007

Customer Service

Many corporations are now outsourcing their customer service jobs to home-based workers.  In fact, there has been national news coverage of this trend.  American corporations are able to keep costs down, yet still employ American workers; they no longer have to outsource these jobs to foreign countries.  This alleviates any cultural or language barriers that have almost become a clichй in the customer service industry.

Customer service is actually an industry upon itself and there are many types of jobs that fall under this umbrella.  As a customer service agent you may accept inbound calls for a company from your home.   You may be processing orders, providing technical support to a company’s existing customers, or answering general inquiry calls.

If you do not like speaking on the phone, don’t worry.  There are also jobs within the customer service industry that do not involve the phone at all.  A prime example would be a help desk representative.  You may have noticed that many websites feature the opportunity to chat with a live agent.  These agents provide all types of assistance, from technical support to general information about a company and its products.  In many cases, these jobs are performed by people from their own homes.

Opportunities in customer service do not end there.  There are also opportunities for people to return phone calls, answer email, and any other “support function” you can imagine.

Since there are so many types of customer service jobs available, there is one suited to most any type of personality.  Generally speaking, customer service agents need to have a “thick skin” as you may come into contact with some irritated customers every now and then.  When that happens, it is important to remember that they are not upset at you personally; they are upset with the company you represent, and you are the only person that they have to communicate their upset feelings to.

You shouldn’t let that prospect scare you away, as there are also many people who will be very pleasant and give you many compliments on the great job you are doing for them.  They will be grateful for the help and support you are providing.

Finding these types of jobs may be a bit tricky, but it can be done.  When you visit a job board, read each listing very carefully to make sure it is not a scam.  Entering quotation marks around your search term will also help narrow your results.  Try to locate a website that specializes in telecommuting, as they may post fresh job leads in the customer service field.

In most cases, you will need to provide your own computer, high speed internet service and phone line.  You will not be reimbursed for these expenses.  If a company needs you to have a certain type of software to work for them, they should provide that to you at no cost. The pay rate for these types of jobs can vary greatly, depending on what type of duties you perform.

If you feel that you would make a great customer service agent, don’t hesitate to research this field further.  There are many new opportunities opening up, and one could be a great fit for you.

September 28th, 2007

Gift Baskets

Have you ever tried to find the perfect gift for someone who has everything?  Most of us have been down that road and know how frustrating it can be.  Gift baskets are a creative solution to this problem.  They also provide the home-based entrepreneur with a fun and profitable business opportunity.

Gift baskets have become quite popular due to their versatility and beauty.  Gift baskets come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be filled with anything and everything.  There is a big market for premade baskets, but more and more gift givers are opting for custom baskets.  Making gift baskets from your home allows you to take advantage of the need for either or both.

Getting Started

To get started in a gift basket business, you will need some supplies.  You will need baskets and things to fill them with.  And to make your baskets beautiful you will need ribbons, bows, cellophane for wrapping, and filler material such as raffia.  Buying baskets and other items in bulk will save you money.

If you are selling premade baskets, you will need to find an outlet from which to sell them.  Small local store owners might be willing to let you place some baskets in their store to sell through a consignment type arrangement.  Flea markets are also a good option.  If you don’t mind traveling on occasion, festivals are a good environment in which to sell gift items.

Pricing Your Baskets

When pricing your baskets, you’ll need to make sure you’re making a profit.  Add up the prices of everything used in the basket to determine its cost.  Then determine how much profit would make it worth your while for making it.  Add it all together for the total price.  If you need guidelines to go by, there are many gift basket providers online that you can check prices with.

Promoting Your Gift Basket Business

Gift baskets can be advertised in local publications or through fliers.  You could place an advertisement in the yellow pages.  Donating your creations as prizes in local giveaways can get exposure for your business for the cost of one basket.

You can even take your business online if you choose.  This works well for premade or custom baskets.  You could take orders online and ship the baskets directly to the recipient.  Adding a personalized card gives your baskets a nice finishing touch.

A gift basket business allows you to let your creativity shine while making a gift that the recipient is sure to love.  You can sell through a variety of outlets and your market includes anyone who buys gifts for any occasion.  If you have a flair for making beautiful and thoughtful gifts, a gift basket business might be a good home business opportunity for you.

September 9th, 2007

Proofreading/Editing

Are you the type of person who notices typos or grammatical errors every time you pick up a book or magazine?  Do you cringe when you see mistakes all over a web page? If so, you may want to consider starting a business in proofreading or editing.

In order to attract search engines and visitors, smart website owners and bloggers fill their sites with informative articles and other content.  They may do the writing themselves, hire ghostwriters, or purchase the articles through a private label rights service. 

If they are doing the writing themselves or hiring a ghostwriter, the articles may not be proofread or edited before they are published.  Even great writers can make grammatical errors.  Unfortunately, many private labels rights services that offer cheap articles hire writers who do not speak English as a first language; these articles are often poorly written and need lots of editing.

This is why website owners and bloggers are in need of proofreaders and editors.  As more and more people turn to the internet for business, more websites will be created.  More jobs for proofreaders and editors will be created.  This opens up a lot of opportunity for people interested in this type of career.

Someone interested in seeking work as a proofreader or editor will need to have a love for reading, as that is a primary job function.  It is also helpful to have a good understanding of language and vocabulary. Proofreaders use special symbols, and if you don’t already know them, you should be willing to learn them.  You may find entry level jobs that do not require much experience, and they can be a great training ground for you to learn these skills.

When it comes to your home office set-up, you’ll need a computer and high speed internet access.  You’ll be sending files back and forth to clients and that can be a slow process if you only have dial-up internet.  You will definitely want good word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, as well as a plain text editor such as word pad or note pad.  One of those programs came standard on your computer.  If you have never noticed it, just click on your start button, then click on “accessories” and you should see one of them listed.

There are many ways to locate online proofreading jobs.  You could seek out telecommuting job boards as well as traditional online job boards such as monster.com.  There are many websites dedicated to helping people in freelance writing, and those could also be a source of job leads.  Another option is to work with an online staffing agency.  You may also want to consider contacting a website that publishes a lot of content directly and offering your services.

Proofreading and editing can be a great career for people that love words and want to work from home.

September 9th, 2007

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