Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Jack-In-The-Box Is Out! What Next?

So we celebrated my personal declaration of independence on June 19th, when I submitted my letter of resignation to the tyrannical empire that had enslaved me for the past five years of my life. It was a great day of rejoicing and an immediate release of stress. I finally took the leap of faith and left the rat race, so-to-speak. So what was the plan? What lies ahead as the plan of action to allow me to become the man that I desire to be: a real father to my children, staying at home to help in their mental development, education, work ethic, and spiritual enlightenment? Well, since the corporate 'jack' is now out of the box, let me share with you the rocky road ahead...

My wife and I have been talking for several months about starting our own business as virtual assistants ... doing administrative and marketing work locally and through the Internet. This would allow us both to participate in generating income for the household, as well as give us both the opportunity to set our own schedules, have family time, and personal one-on-one time with the children. At least that's the way it was supposed to work in theory.

We got our business cards, developed and launched our website, put an advertisement in our local newspaper, and waited for the calls to come in. Below is a copy of our ad that debuted in the Business Services listings of our local newspaper:

"NEED A HAND TO GET all your work done? A Present Help can help you with your administrative and marketing needs. No job too big or small. Call today, XXX-XXX-XXXX."

It was at the end of our first week that we got our first call from the ad. A little old lady on the other end of the phone was asking if we could come over and hang a storm door for her. Not exactly what we meant when we said "no job too big or small", you know what I mean? Pretty disappointing results for our first week.

On the Internet front, I launched my professional services profile on Guru.com, hoping to glean some freelance work from that site. What I have quickly learned is that the low-bidding competition is fierce, with service providers from India and the Philippines making it hard for any American freelancer to come up with a low-ball bid price that is worth the time and effort that will be expended into the project. Again, somewhat disappointing, but I am still searching for the niche where 'English is my primary language' and 'working from the USA' mean something. Wish me luck. In addition to this outlet, I have found several freelance content sites that either sell articles for authors, or they will buy your article with various types of licenses in place. Between these sites and developing a list of freelance Christian writer's markets, I've been pretty busy.

Well, finally, last Friday we got the phone call we have been waiting for. My wife picked up a graphic layout job (graphics work is definitely her forte, not mine) that will bring in some cash. I also received payment for my first article, and payment for some online advertising space that I sell on one of my websites. All in all I would say we're off to a slow start ... but at least we are out of the starting blocks!
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