The Work From Home Chronicles: Episode 2

More Good Jobs To Check Out!

Hi, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. This week we are going to look at five more Work From Home (WFH) Jobs that you may be interested in. There is a tutoring job, an audio transcription job, a blog content job, and two others that are hard to describe.

The last time I wrote a WFH article I listed four good jobs and one clunker, so you could recognize the good ones. This brings me to some additional points. You have to be very careful when it comes to signing up for WFH Jobs. There are a number of jobs out there that are nothing more than scams to get you to cough up your personal info.

I believe I fell prey to one of these scams when I started looking into WFH Jobs. I signed up with a company to take surveys to make some cash. I never got around to taking any surveys, but I did get a deluge of telemarketing calls on my cell phone as well as junk emails filling up my email box.

Many of these companies may seem to be legit and even if they are, they still sell your personal info to other companies that will barrage you with “Special Offer” phone calls and emails. That is the last thing you want when you are trying to make money. Spending all your time blocking phone numbers and emails!

That said, let’s look at this weeks’ selections. To appeal to as many readers as possible, I am trying to create some variety with these jobs. I’ll try to continue doing that with my future articles as well.

Rev: This is an audio transcription job. I had to transcribe an interview once for this blog and I determined that I do NOT have the patience for this type of work! However, it may be for you. It pays $.35 – $.65 per audio minute and you are paid through PayPal. From the company website: Aside from the extra income paid out weekly via PayPal, the best part of freelancing jobs with Rev is the flexibility. You can work as much or as little as you’d like, from wherever you please. A wide range of people, from stay-at-home moms to college students and retirees, work from home with Rev.

Easy Shift: This is one of two “Onsite Shopper” jobs. It assigns you specific tasks that need to be done at a store. It’s as easy as taking pictures of the store, checking product endcaps, checking pricing, etc. It runs from an app on your smartphone and unless I am mistaken, you can do it from almost anywhere. Wouldn’t it be great to earn some money while you’re grocery shopping on vacation? You are paid through PayPal but the pay scale is a little unclear. The next job I review is similar and it pays between $3-$12 per task. So, I assume Easy Shift pay is comparable.

Field Agent: This is the other Onsite Shopper job I mentioned. From the company website: Our agents use their smartphones to collect photos, video, and information from stores and many other locations. You are paid through PayPal and it pays between $3-$12 per task. Like Easy Shift, you can do this from virtually anywhere.

InstaEdu: This is an Online Tutor job that earns you up to $20/hr., paid via PayPal. Not a bad gig if you have an education background. They must have been bought out because when you click on the link it comes up as the popular Chegg Tutors. Still, nice pay if you can get it!

Triple Curve: This is a Freelance Writer gig that pays between $8-$15 per article. The main focus of the company is the creation of quality content instead of lengthy articles. Explains the low pay. This appears to be for experienced, professional writers, but hey give it a shot! You never know! Like InstaEdu, when you click on the link for Triple Curve, it comes up with Zen Content, so they must have been bought out as well. It appears that Zen Content has medium and longer length documents as well, so it’s possible that this has expanded into more of a full-service content job.

That’s the list of jobs for this week. I think they all look pretty good, especially the Onsite Shopper jobs that appear to be very simple and you can do them anywhere!

This will be the part of each article where I detail my results with trying some of these jobs from previous weeks. I chose to try out 2 jobs from the last time I wrote this article. The first one was Content Gather, a website where you can post articles for purchase by their clients. The second one was User Testing, where you test websites and apps and record your feedback. I wrote one article for CG and posted it. I have not had any nibbles yet. I tried to do the “Test Recording” for User Testing. However, it wasn’t accepted because I narrated the instructions during the recording, which is apparently a no-no.

Now for my warning. Be VERY CAREFUL of any software that you install on your PC or Phone! Make sure you do some research online to see if other people have had problems with the software! After installing the User Testing software on my PC, it triggered a Boot Scan from my antivirus software. That can be very scary since the PC won’t boot up until the Scan finishes successfully. Ironically, the only malware it found was from a competing antivirus program. Funny how that works. The point is to be careful, as always, whenever installing any software to your PC or Phone.

Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully, you have found a job or two that have piqued your interest. Remember, none of these jobs are meant to be income replacement by themselves. You’ll have to do two or more if you hope to replace a chunk of your previous income. I know that’s not a very comforting thought, but what are you gonna do?

Disclaimer. I am not affiliated with, or compensated by, any of these companies I have mentioned. They just looked promising to me and I thought I would pass them along. That’s all.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Discipline

Why It’s One Of The Most Important Traits To Have!

Hi and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. Last week’s article was all about dealing with Procrastination, eating frogs and other fun stuff. I apologize if it seemed a little rambling, but I am fighting off a horrible cold/flu and I think it is affecting my writing.

Anyway, today’s topic is Discipline. I’m not talking about the type that leather-clad Mistress Helga dishes out! Although, if you’re into that sort of thing, I don’t judge. What I’m talking about is the type of discipline that can help you to achieve your dreams and goals.

As young children, we’re taught self-discipline by our parents. We, in turn, teach it to our children. It has been said that the one quality all successful business people have is self-discipline. Elbert Hubbard said, “Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” It’s cutting the lawn before heading over to your buddy’s house to watch the game. It’s clearing the table and loading the dishwasher after dinner, before playing the latest Call of Duty game on the Xbox. It’s basically doing the unpleasant stuff before the fun stuff!

That Hubbard quote is from another great book by Brian Tracy. “No Excuses!” is a book that really makes you examine your life. It’s not so much about a character trait you need to acquire, but about the type of person you need to become. The book illustrates the differences between disciplined and undisciplined people. Unfortunately, most people fall into the “undisciplined” category. In a nutshell, being a disciplined person means being someone that people can count on. Someone who does the hard stuff.

However, there’s more to being disciplined than just making sure you work out every day (although that’s a good start). It is about being a person of integrity. I don’t throw that word around lightly. There are far too many people in this world who lack integrity. Webster’s Dictionary defines integrity as a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values”.

In this day and age, having a code of morals and values makes you someone special. How sad is that? I don’t want to turn this into a big ethical discussion, but I want to illustrate what being a person of integrity and discipline means. It means you are someone who can be counted on to do the right thing, every time.

My friend Steve and I have an ongoing discussion about integrity. We are tired of seeing news stories about someone “doing the right thing”, when they find a purse, wallet, or a bag of cash, by turning it into the proper authorities. Our viewpoint is that there’s nothing special about doing the right thing. One day, Steve found a bank deposit bag at work with over $1,200 inside, which he turned into Security. I said, “I’m not going to congratulate you for doing the right thing.” At which, Steve replied, “Understood”.

Getting back to self-discipline, imagine if your doctor told you that you had to lose 25 pounds or you were going to die in 21 days! You can bet you would spend every second of those 21 days trying to find every way possible to lose that weight! You would make all the necessary changes to your diet and exercise program to make sure that you lost the weight, so you didn’t drop dead! Applying that kind of urgency in non-life-threatening situations is what self-discipline is all about.

The reason I chose 21 days in the previous example is that it has been established that anything you do consistently for 21 days becomes a Habit. Discipline is the trait that will get you through those 21 days. Developing good habits is essential to becoming a better person.

Discipline is the ability to give up short term pleasure for long term gains. Having discipline ties in very well with having Goals. Goals are “long term gains”. Having Goals causes you to have discipline. Is your Goal to show up at your class reunion 30 pounds lighter? Then maybe it would be a good idea to grab a salad, instead of that piece of cake! And hit the gym tomorrow!

With all the distractions that college life has to offer, it takes an incredible amount of discipline for a student to make it through all four years of college. My oldest son received two four-year degrees in the same four-year period. I still don’t know how he did it. Oh wait, yes I do, massive amounts of drive and discipline!

Personally, I have found that having a checklist to stay disciplined is a lifesaver. We are all so busy with our day-to-day lives, it’s very easy to lose track of what’s most important to you. That’s where an excellent Goal Tracker like Todoist comes in. Todoist is primarily designed as the ultimate to-do-list. You can access it from your phone, tablet, or computer. It can also be used as an excellent Goal Tracker, that allows you to set up Goals, Habits, and Tasks. You can also schedule reminders for each of those using the handy calendar feature.

To me, the ultimate form of discipline is going on vacation and STILL working on the items on your Todoist checklist. I wish I could say that I always succeed in that, however, I do make every effort to stick to my checklist while I’m on vacation. However, that’s the beauty of vacation. When you get back, you jump right back into your Projects, Goals, and Habits. Sometimes taking a break from them gives you a fresh perspective and new ideas.

For me, what all of this comes down to is a long-term view vs short-term pleasure. Would it be more fun to watch the Harry Potter Marathon on FreeForm, than to get my latest blog written? Sure it would. But I have made a commitment to myself and to you, my readers. I will write an article each week, that you will hopefully find interesting and helpful.

That said, hand me the remote! Hogwarts Awaits!!!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

 

Procrastination

Don’t Let It Get The Best Of You!

Hello and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. This week I want to talk to you about a topic I have put off writing about for a long time: Procrastination. Ba-dump-bump! Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! I’ll be here all week, don’t forget to tip your waitresses!

Seriously though, there is no subject that will derail your dreams and goals faster than Procrastination. Not knowing where to begin and putting off projects, can lead to getting nowhere fast, but it can also lead to severe psychological problems.

I was inspired to do this article because of a “Hoarders” episode I saw recently. Watching this show makes me feel like Adrian Monk by comparison. This particular episode was about a guy who had tons of junk on his property outside (not to mention the colossal mess on the inside). The city was getting on him to clean it all up. Something he said struck me. He said the reason he had all this junk was because he had “projects” for all of it.

How many of us can relate to this guy? Not the hoarding, but the fact that many of our projects never get past the planning stage and move into the action stage. Many of us go through life this way. We are struck by Divine Inspiration, but the project never gets off the ground, because we just don’t know where to begin. Or, we are drowned by the responsibilities of day-to-day life and never to get to the stuff we really need to work on.

For people who are still working the 9-to-5 grind, this can be especially distracting. You ask yourself, “Why is it I don’t get ahead in this job?” Maybe you’re doing too much of the stuff that doesn’t matter and you don’t have the guts to go after the really tough stuff! I know I have been guilty of this.

We’ve all been there. How can you get ahead, when you feel you are constantly spinning your wheels? Wikipedia defines Procrastination this way: “Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. This subject is addressed in the Time Management classic, “Eat That Frog!” I know, it’s a weird title, but it makes sense when you hear it in context. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

That’s the premise of Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. It’s a book that introduces a list of Time Management principles that will help you Eat That Frog, and finally, get somewhere with your projects! Click on his name above for a short YouTube video where he explains the concept and how it can help to change your life! (Skip the initial ad.)

Tracy states that the three biggest principles of ETF are:

#1: Eat your frog first thing in the morning.

#2: If you have more than one frog, eat the biggest and ugliest frog first.

#3: It doesn’t pay to sit there looking at it, gulp it down!

The whole book is pretty much summed up in those three statements. The rest of the book goes into greater detail about why you should follow these three principles and introduces the ABCDE concept as well as other ideas that will help you, in your quest to become an experienced “Frog-Eater”.

For me, procrastination comes down to two things: lack of knowledge and the inability to make a decision. There is a third factor, the pain-in-the-butt factor. However, if you manage the first two items, the third one becomes a non-issue.

In this day and age, lack of knowledge about a particular problem is no longer an adequate excuse. Hell, you can practically learn how to do open heart surgery on YouTube, although I wouldn’t recommend it!

This blog is an example of gaining knowledge, in order to eat a frog. I knew that I wanted to create a website with WordPress, but all I had done before on WP was to create a simple blog. I put off getting this website off the ground for quite a while because I didn’t know where to begin. I bought a book on WordPress, learned what I needed to know, and now I am thinking about creating another website as well. All because I gained the knowledge necessary to get the job done!

Once you have gained sufficient knowledge or skill in a certain area, making a decision is much easier. The important thing is to decide to decide. Even if your choice isn’t perfect, many people are paralyzed into inaction because they want the end result to be perfect. If you make a decision and it doesn’t work out, simply make another decision! Once you have gained the knowledge and made the decision, you’re 90% of the way there. The other 10% are tweaks that may need to be done, but then you’re done with that project and it’s time to move on to the next frog!

Brian Tracy describes the endorphin rush that you get by eating an ugly frog. You know that feeling when you finally finish a project that you have been putting off for a very long time! Doesn’t it feel great when you finally have it done?! That’s the rush he’s talking about! That feeling can become addictive, in a very good way.

Although this article has focused on dealing with Procrastination, the other side of that coin is Discipline. Discipline is the character trait that will enable you to go after your ugly frogs and KEEP going after your ugly frogs, day after day after day. My next article will go into that topic in greater detail.

I hope that this article has inspired you to go after the ugly frogs in your life. Don’t be a “Mental Hoarder” of a bunch of great ideas that never get off the ground, simply because your life is cluttered up with too many tadpoles!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

The Work From Home Chronicles: Episode 1

Can You Earn Decent Money From Home?

Hello again, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. Well, here it is, as promised. My first list of WFH Jobs that don’t suck. Hopefully. I have decided to turn this into a featured part of my website, hence “The Work from Home Chronicles” title. I’ll probably turn this into a page of its own, depending on how it goes.

Anyway, I have researched several WFH opportunities for you to have a look at. I admit that I haven’t signed up for any of them yet, but I am leaning towards a couple of them pretty hard and I’ll let you know which ones they are.

Most of these jobs I found reviewed on the Dream Home Based Work website. This is a terrific website run by Lashay H. She has done much of the hard work for you, by researching and recommending companies that she trusts.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but if I have, it bears repeating. You have to be extremely careful when signing up with a work from home company. Since you will be working for them, they will more than likely want some of your personal information. I can only imagine the number of scams that are out there, trying to collect your information so they can suck your savings account dry and run up huge credit card charges in your name!

I signed up for LifeLock a few years ago and I don’t regret it. It gives you peace of mind, and that is hard to come by these days. Plus, if you are signing up for WFH Jobs, this gives you a layer of protection you wouldn’t have otherwise. If you sign up for LifeLock, use the promo code 10Now to save 10%. If this code has expired, just click on this link for current LifeLock promo codes.

Just one more thing. All of the jobs that I will be listing will be using PayPal to pay you. That means that many of these jobs will pay you almost instantly, which is a very nice perk. Some of the jobs I looked at take up to 4-6 weeks to pay you. The heck with that! There are plenty of jobs that payout using PayPal within 24-48 hours. You can’t beat that! Click here to get your own Personal PayPal account! The only drawback is that PayPal will take a small cut out of each payment you get. That is the price you pay for safety since you probably don’t want to give these companies your bank account number, even if it’s just for deposits.

Enough of that, you say, what about the jobs? I have looked at a wide variety of jobs. Two of them are phone-related. Since I spent the last 3 years on my previous job fielding calls in Technical Support, that is the LAST thing I want to do. However, these jobs seem like a good way to earn some extra income, without having to sell anyone anything. That’s hard to beat. Here are the jobs.

Intelichek: This phone job is what is considered a “Mystery Shopper”. What the job entails is providing quality assurance checks for automotive suppliers. You call a company and ask for a price on a specific part or parts. That’s it. It pays .90 per call. That doesn’t seem like much, but when the average call takes no more than 5 minutes, that translates to $10.80 per hour. Not bad. However, this job has a 10 hour per week work minimum, so keep that in mind. You can set your own hours between 8 am and 7 pm. You get paid bi-weekly by check, as opposed to the PayPal option. It’s worth checking out if you don’t mind being on the phone for a few hours each day.

Call Center QA: Another phone job in the “Mystery Shopper” category. This looks like a good opportunity to make some decent money. You get paid $5 per call. If each call and survey take about 15 minutes, that’s $20/hour!!! Plus, you get paid via PayPal within 7 business days, so that’s cool! There is no minimum number of hours, but you do have to make your calls during business hours.

Humanatic: This is a Call Reviewer job. You know, when you hear the message, “This call is being recorded for quality assurance”? You’re the one reviewing the call! This seemed interesting. You listen to recorded quality calls and answer some questions based on the call. Plus, they have a link to PayPal to sign up for an account!!! However, I just checked and it looks like this only pays between $1 and $4.50 per hour! You probably want to skip this one! I included it here so you have an example of doing your homework before signing up with one of these companies!

UserTesting: I know what you’re thinking, “What gives? Where are the good jobs?” This might be a good one! This is a quote from their website. “How it works. Get $10 via PayPal for every 20-minute video you complete. UserTesting pays you to visit websites or apps, complete a set of tasks, and speak your thoughts aloud.” I’m no math whiz, but I think that translates to $30/hour! Now there may be downtime in between, but this seems promising and appeals to my IT background. I am definitely going to check this one out!

Clickworker: For those of you with an office / clerical background, Clickworker might be for you. They help companies by breaking down large projects into bite-sized pieces. How much you get paid varies on the job being done and how quickly and accurately you get it done. You are paid via PayPal, though the time period seems a little fuzzy. It starts at 7 days but can go up to 21 days. However, if this is the sort of work you are used to doing, it might be right up your alley.

Well, I think that’s enough for this week. Hopefully, I’ve given you one or two jobs you will want to check out! I plan on making this a regular feature. I will continue to write articles on Side Hustles (not necessarily Working from Home), Productivity, and Lifestyle.

Disclaimer. I am not affiliated with, or compensated by, any of the companies I have mentioned. They just looked promising to me and I thought I would pass them along. That’s all.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Active vs Passive Income

What’s The Difference?

During your search for ways to earn extra (any) income, you may have come across the terms Active and Passive Income. I will try to explain the difference between the two in this article and why it’s important to know the difference.

I have to admit, I went down many paths that turned into nothing, pursuing the elusive “Passive Income Stream”. Otherwise known as, “Make Money While You Sleep!” The pitch sounds great, “Earn $5000 per week from home, doing nothing!” This definitely appealed to my lazy streak. However, the promise and the reality don’t really cross paths.

From personal experience, many of these “opportunities” turn out to be a way to suck what little money you have into their “System”. I also fell for “This one sucks, but maybe the next one will be better”. Nope.

The one overriding pitch seems to be, “Make Money Online!” What this comes down to more often than not is what is known as “Affiliate Marketing”. This is an industry that has sprung up as a way to run ads on websites. The theory is that if your website is popular enough, you will be able to make money from it by running ads.

If you are reading this article on a tablet or phone, you may be seeing one of these ads. Let’s face it, they’re everywhere. They are counting on the age-old sales formula that 1%-3% of visitors to your website will click on these ads and earn you some money.

The problem with that theory is that you need a website, like TBPC. However, if you don’t have a website, you may have to pay to “rent space” on somebody else’s website to run your ads. I looked into this whole process and it gets very confusing, not to mention expensive. And let’s face it, you want to make money, not spend more money you don’t have. However, the old business adage is true, “You have to spend money to make money!” Not too encouraging if you don’t have any money in the first place.

I did sign up for a couple of programs that promised all sorts of passive income if I would only cough up a small amount of money. What they don’t tell you is that once you sign up, you will be approached by someone offering to “coach” you in your new online business venture. When you finally nail them down to the costs, you’ll find out that this “coaching” will cost you over $1000! Thanks, but no thanks.

Based on my experience, people are out there selling “air”. They approach you with a solid sounding “System” that will enable you to make money online running ads. However, the only money that is being made is by the people selling you the “System”.

Now don’t get me wrong, all you have to do is visit any website and you will see tons of ads for everything under the sun. So SOMEBODY is making money doing this. I’m sure there are people pumping hundreds of dollars or more into ads. Not a lot of people have that kind of money lying around to blow on advertising.

“Ok”, you say, “I just have to make sure it’s not a scam”. The “Scam” come-on is the oldest trick in the book. Say you want to learn about ABC-123-XYZ-LMNOP Online Marketing* and you do a search to find out if it’s legit, or a scam. You will see a bunch of results that say something like, “Is ABC-123-XYZ-LMNOP Online Marketing a Scam?” If you’re lucky, you’ll click on a link that will be a genuine review of the system. However, more than likely, it’s just a ruse to take you to their website, where they can sell you their own system!!! It goes around and around and around! *(There are so many of these companies that I had to come up with that ridiculous company name just to make sure I didn’t accidentally mention a real one!)

If you do feel compelled to try out one of these systems, don’t accept the offer right away. More than likely there will be a video telling you about all the money you can expect to earn by using their system. Once the video finishes playing, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the window for more information about how much the system costs. Then hit the “X” to close the window. Attempting to close the window will launch a barrage of, “Wait, there’s more!” windows that will gradually reduce the price down to almost nothing. I was going to sign up for a system once that started at around $50 and it eventually went down to $7! I guess they figure $7 is better than nothing.

I have talked a lot about Passive Income in this article because I want you to be careful when you look into buying a system that may cost you a lot of time, money, and energy. The flip side of Passive Income is Active Income. Active Income is, “get off your butt and earn some money”, income. Admittedly, this income is a lot less sexy than supposedly logging into your checking account every day and seeing money being deposited, but that’s not reality.

As I mentioned in my last article, now that my full-time Uber & Lyft career is over, I am really focusing on Work from Home income. I have come across some very promising income streams that I will be covering in the upcoming weeks. As I mentioned in last week’s article, my goal is to get 2 or 3 of these WFH jobs to replace, and hopefully exceed, my driving income. I hope to do just that with some of the jobs I have found. I am going to evaluate them over the next couple of weeks and I’ll report back with what I find out.

None of these jobs are going to pay you $5000 per week for sitting on the couch binge-watching Stranger Things! However, they are jobs that companies need done, and they are willing to hire you to work from home to do them! If these jobs pan out, all I can think about is how much my buddies down at the oil change shop are going to miss me! Please come back next week and I’ll have some WFH jobs for you to check out!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Working From Home or Flexible Hours?

Is It Possible To Have Both?

Hi, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. I have a confession to make. I have been settling. I have been settling by driving for Uber and Lyft as my primary source of income. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I have been driving for both of them since November 2015 and I am ready for a change.

So far, my only adventure with a different side hustle has been signing up for Shipt, and I told you how that turned out. So, I am making a belated resolution for 2017. Effective today, I am retiring as a full-time driver for Uber and Lyft. I may occasionally pick up some fares when my funds are running low, but the morning and evening shifts are over for me.

Now that I have that out of the way, what the heck do I do now? I made it a goal earlier this year to find a job (or jobs) that would get me back to roughly half of my previous full-time income. This will be a large achievement if I can pull it off. I am going to be completely honest. I have become addicted to the semi-retired lifestyle. Being able to determine what days and times I choose to work is a major benefit, one that I am not willing to give up.

That said, I now have to come up with a Driving Income Replacement Plan or DIRP. It sounds like a government program. Anyway, I have decided to pursue a career in the “Work from Home” field. Uh-huh, you say, just how do you plan to do that? I have no freakin’ idea! I am going to pursue this new position (or positions) with the same drive and effort I used to find a job when I first was laid off. That job turned out to be in a Call Center and I quit in two weeks. Hopefully, this time I’ll have better results!

If you do an Internet search for “Work from Home & Flexible Hours”, you will come up with no end of leads to do just that. However, from experience, many of these offers are scams that are just trying to bilk desperate people out of whatever money they have left. Pretty sick. Upon further research, I hope to find at least one legitimate Work from Home (WFH) job per day. I will employ this plan Monday through Friday until I find the job or jobs (hopefully no more than three) that will get me to my goal of DIRP.

Now, I am finally getting to the title of this article. Work from Home or Flexible Hours? Are they mutually exclusive, or can you have both? Most of the WFH results I see on the Internet have Flexible Hours as part of the summary. However, I believe that you can have one without the other. Being a Virtual Assistant for instance. In the article I wrote about this side hustle, you can work from home, but your hours may be determined by your client. This will give you the flexibility of working from home, but not the freedom of setting your own hours. Trust me, after a year of setting my own hours, having a “Boss” tell me when I have to work is not what I am looking for!

If you type in “work from home vs flexible hours”, a quick search of the web brings back a range of results. Two of the results piqued my interest. The first is the job search site Indeed. I remember liking their website quite a bit, back when I was job hunting full time. They seem to take a “No BS” approach that is quite refreshing, compared to other job search giants like Monster and Career Builder. However, when I just searched for “work from home”, I came up with results for all three headhunters. But, I digress. Getting back to the original search I did, “work from home vs flexible hours”. Indeed came back with a list of 4,897 jobs!!!! WOW! I like those odds! Plus, since these jobs are WFH, it doesn’t matter if they are from Chicago, New York, Boston, etc.

I also noticed another item that came up in my search. There is a company called Flexjobs that appears to specialize in exactly what I am looking for. Legit jobs, by legit companies that will enable me to hit my DIRP goal. However, it looks like this is not a free website ($14.95 / month). I generally avoid pay websites like the plague, since I subscribe to the early opinion that most of us tech weenies had. Everything on the Internet should be free! However, sometimes you’ve got to pony up some cash to get some good results. I will see what kind of results I get with Indeed first, but it’s good to know that Flexjobs is there as a viable alternative.

Well, I’m glad I came clean! Putting this out there will help keep me accountable to myself and you, my much-appreciated reader. I plan on putting my hits and misses on this website every week, so you’ll know which jobs may be worth looking into and which ones you should skip. Hopefully, I’ll have some promising hits to share with you next week!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Organized Home

Start The New Year Organized!

Hello and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. Since this is the time of year when people start to think about getting organized, I thought this would be a good time to talk to you about a website I discovered a few years ago. The name of the website is Organized Home. I discovered this website while looking for a Christmas Countdown Checklist. The website had a countdown checklist and so much more.

The website is the brainchild of Cynthia Ewer. According to her Pinterest page, she has been “Helping folks get organized online since 1995”. That’s quite a track record in my book. I have always considered myself a pretty organized person, but I’ve got nothing on this lady.

Her website is broken down into seven different categories. I’ll cover each one individually. Plus, two bonus categories that are just priceless, Organized Christmas & Christmas Countdown Checklist.

Clean House: I know what you’re thinking, yuck. However she breaks it down by season, so it seems much more logical, at least to me. She even goes into getting your kids or grandkids involved. Plus, how to tackle cleaning out the refrigerator. Yuck, again!

Cut Clutter: This is something we all need to learn how to do. It covers everything from de-cluttering your closet, holiday clutter, room-by-room, creating a storage plan and much more. I know at our house, any flat surface can become “Clutter-Central”.

Getting Organized: Seems redundant to me, but whatever. Anyway, this is an excellent area that has articles on starting the New Year organized, kids rooms, yard sales, getting organized on a budget, moving, paper management (Thank God!), plus a lot more.

Kitchen Tips: Boy, do I need this one! This area covers all things kitchen. Party planning, setting up and organizing a pantry, menu planning, school lunches, organizing your refrigerator, and much more.

Family Ties: This section mainly deals with preparing for back-to-school and the routine of getting your kids out the door, fully prepared to take on the day. Since my sons are 27 and 24, this is not an issue for me anymore. However, some of you may be in charge of getting your grandkids moving in the morning. Lots of good advice here.

Seasonal Spin: This area groups together many of the previous articles by season. It’s easy to see all of the articles about New Year organization, spring cleaning, daylight savings time, back-to-school, family vacations and so on.

Printables: This category has calendars, meal planners, events and travel, health and safety, crafts and hobbies and so on. Each section has multiple documents that can be printed out and added to your to-do list. An excellent resource.

And last, but by no means least, Organized Christmas and Christmas Countdown Checklist! These sections are so big, they have their own websites. These are indispensable tools in preparing for Christmas. This past Christmas, I resolved to dig into the Organized Christmas website and implement the Christmas Countdown. There are so many terrific ideas and articles, it can become a little overwhelming. Tabs on the website include Christmas Countdown, Holiday Plans, Simplify Your Holidays, Gifts / Crafts, and (even more) Printables.

By following the Countdown Checklist, I was able to complete the majority of my Christmas Planning early and I enjoyed a RELAXED Christmas. I know what you’re thinking, “There is no such thing!” I beg to differ!

There are 2 Christmas Countdown plans. Regular and Crazy! Regular (Organized Christmas) starts on October 23rd and finishes up well before Christmas, so you can actually ENJOY the holiday, which is the whole point! Crazy is the Christmas Countdown Checklist. This one starts on September 15th! I told you, CRAZY!! However, Christmas Eve is at our house this year, so I plan on going with CRAZY. 101 Days to Christmas has a Daily Message Index and Christmas Planner. I’ll wait until after Halloween to put up my Christmas Lights, I promise!

Unfortunately, I recently read that Cynthia Ewer is retiring from running the websites. Hopefully, she will hand over the reins to someone who has the same passion for organization that she does! If you want your personal copy of the Organized Home website, get it in book form. Cut The Clutter is available on Amazon. I will definitely be ordering a copy.

I hope this article has inspired you to tackle your own “Mountain of Disorganization”. I know going over these websites in such great detail has inspired me to get my butt into gear! Happy Organizing and De-Cluttering!!!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Side Hustle: Becoming a Tutor

Make Some Extra Money By Sharing Your Skills!

Welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. This week I thought I would look into the Side Hustle: Becoming a Tutor. For those of you who have skills in the area of art, music, science, math, foreign language, etcetera, this could prove to be a lucrative sideline for you.

When I think of tutors, I immediately think about high school or college kids, getting help in subjects they are having difficulty with. Many of the tutors helping them are fellow students or teacher’s aides. However, there’s no reason why you can’t help out these kids, if you have the skills in those areas of study.

I admit that I have not tutored anyone as of yet. However, I may have skills in some areas that may translate into a tutoring gig. I’ll have to find out. In the meantime, I thought I would bring this Side Hustle to your attention.

WikiHow has a couple of excellent step by step articles on how to get started as a tutor. Some of the items mentioned are things that I had not thought of. For instance, consulting an attorney if you are going to be working with children. This strikes me as kind of creepy, but these are the times we live in.

There are many professional tutoring companies out there that you can choose to work for, or you can go it alone. Starting small in your town may get you some gigs that will build your confidence, reputation, and help you develop your tutoring business. This article from Consumer Affairs has a breakdown of some of the best companies to work with, or for.

I also found a great career resource website I had overlooked before. Learn How to Become is an amazing site that helps you to determine your new career path. The section on becoming a tutor is amazing and there is even a whole section called THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CAREER CHANGE AFTER 50. Honestly, how did I miss this before? Maybe I am getting too old to hire!

I hope this brief article has helped point out some areas for you to look at regarding starting your own tutoring business.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

My Shipt Experience

My Review On Becoming A Shipt Shopper

Welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. A while ago, I tried my hand at the Side Hustle: Shipt. I promised to write my impressions of Shipt, and here they are.

In theory, it seems like a good idea. Get pinged to pick up groceries and deliver them, just like Uber or Lyft, but substituting groceries for people. Yeah, not so much. I have several beefs with Shipt.

Before I get into them, let me start by saying that Shipt, and other food delivery services like Shipt, provide a valuable service to their customers. Based on my discussion with Bryn, my Shipt Orientation Specialist, most of the customers are older folks or young moms who have a hard time getting out of the house (though I am sure they would love to, sans kids!).

As I mentioned in my previous article about becoming a Shipt Shopper, the online application process moves along quickly. However, there is a video part of the application, where you will have to record your responses to specific questions. That was a little nerve-wracking, but it’s only about a third of the application process and the rest of the questions are pretty much common sense.

Once you’re approved, you can start making money by scheduling your availability to accept orders. This is a very squirrely process. Since you can schedule up to 7 days in advance, it is not an “on-demand” type of position. Instead, you make yourself available for “Delivery Windows”, which means that all of your shopping needs to be done before the window begins.

This also means that you have to be able to shop the whole order, go through checkout, load up your car, and get to the customer by the beginning of the Delivery Window. Shipt expects its drivers to hit the beginning of the Delivery Window every time. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen! At least initially.

Another beef I have is with the estimated shopping time listed for each order. This time estimate appears to be for an experienced shopper, who can whiz through the store on Rollerblades and have all of the items magically jump into his or her shopping cart! For beginning shoppers, the accuracy of this time estimate, in my experience, is closer to double the time listed. Not only does this make hitting your Delivery Window almost impossible, it also cuts your hourly wage in half!!

You can choose to shop at the store closest to you. That’s a bonus. Not many jobs let you pick a location close to home to work from. In a related story, the Meijer that I chose to work from is just down the road from the recently re-opened Fraser, Michigan Sinkhole! A story that just made national news for the third time!! A nice feature of Shipt is that you can easily change your store if your selected store happens to be on the edge of a sinkhole (that swallowed up one house and damaged many others)!

I get it, you say, “But what about the actual shopping?” The app has 2 ways to shop for the items. In a list, or by flipping through each item, one by one. Let me say this to be fair. This Meijer is not where I do my grocery shopping, so I don’t know the store layout as well as the Kroger where I normally do my shopping. That said, I had a very tough time with the shopping process. Between substitutions, where you have to get in touch the customer (about eight times on my first order), and racing around the store trying to find that elusive last item, I started to feel like a game show contestant on the worst game show ever!

Ok, you say, “But I bet you made some good money!” Uh, no. I only shopped two orders. The first order paid me a whopping $15 and it took over two hours to shop and deliver the order, so I was late. On the second order, I did better. It took me only one hour and forty-five minutes to shop and deliver the order to a very pregnant young mom. That paid me a massive $12! All I could think of was how much money I could have made driving for Uber or Lyft, during the same time!

To be fair to Shipt, they are a great company, that is providing a valuable service to their customers. However, in my case, I found that I would have a hard time replacing my driving income by only shopping for Shipt. Also, since it took such a large chunk of time just to shop one order, it would cut into any other money-making Side Hustle I might be working as well. I’m sure I would be able to speed up and make more money by becoming more familiar with the store. However, the prospect of shopping an order of $200 or more (I did orders of $70+ and $50+) was terrifying! It would probably take me five hours or more to shop it!!

All in all, I decided that Shipt was not for me. And that was before the sinkhole opened up down the street. I just couldn’t see how I could earn enough money. Plus, filling a huge shopping order would require a lot more work than a smaller order. Driving someone to the airport requires that I hang onto the steering wheel and keep my foot on the gas. In other words, no additional effort. I am not afraid of hard work, but I think that spending endless hours in a grocery store would be my version of Hell!

I hope this review of becoming a Shipt Shopper has given you some insight into how it all works. It appears to be a young person’s game since I did notice many young women shopping orders. Unfortunately, since nobody is going to confuse me with a 20-year-old, I have decided to look elsewhere for another income stream.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Side Hustle: Virtual Assistant

Use Your Skills To Stick It To Your Old Boss!

Hello again and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club! I hope you had a terrific holiday season and are rested and refreshed. Yeah, right! Anyway, this week I thought I would discuss a Side Hustle that many of you may be interested in. Becoming a Virtual Assistant.

I have decided, at least for the first few postings of this year, to focus entirely on Side Hustle jobs. We all need to generate some extra income to pay off those Christmas bills. When I first started looking into Side Hustle jobs, I was surprised to find the position of Virtual Assistant.

I’m going to be honest. I don’t come from a Secretarial, pardon me, Administrative Assistant background. Gotta be PC. When I was moved onto the Tech Support Desk, I was terrified. I had to try to help the Secretaries who would call with fubared legal documents. Needless to say, I had a pretty steep learning curve before I became relatively competent in my job.

That said, I was surprised to find out the Virtual Assistant position was a “thing”. Since this is not my area of expertise, I have decided to defer to Joanne Munro, who has an excellent website with a complete rundown on how to become a Virtual Assistant.

The VA Handbook takes you through how to set up your business, create your website (for FREE at Wix.com), and take care of all of the legal stuff needed to get your VA business off the ground. It’s an excellent resource and I highly recommend that you check it out. However, keep in mind that Joanne is in the UK, so some of the information may be related to that region.

However, if you are someone like me who was downsized, becoming a VA might be a great way to start a new career and flip the bird to your old company at the same time!

Joanne does mention that Networking is the key to building your VA business. I would think that Social Media would be an excellent way to spread the word about your budding Side Hustle. Spreading the word on Facebook about your VA business could net you some solid leads.

Also, I would reach out to your friends at your old job. See if they have heard about anyone who needs additional secretarial help outside of the office or after hours. Catching up with them over lunch might be your key to future clients! Also, getting in touch with contacts you may have with your old company’s clients is a good way to capitalize on your time there.

Don’t forget about LinkedIn. I know that you probably blitzed all of your LinkedIn contacts after you were let go from your previous job. Do it again, but this time keep in mind your new objective. Promoting your fledgling business and mining for prospective new clients.

I know that our firm had one secretary who worked the afternoon shift. She was there to help attorneys who had after-hours work that needed to be done. You may want to consider specializing in after-hours availability. I would think if you get contracted by a couple of companies as an after-hours Virtual Assistant, you can pretty much write your own ticket. Again, not speaking from experience, but I would think that it would make a lot of sense.

That said, keep in mind what you may be letting yourself in for as an after-hours VA. When the law firm I worked for had a “Closing”, it could run all night. That may be a can of worms you do not want to open. However, if you can find a company that needs after-hours support, it might be steady work without the threat of an “all-nighter”.

I hope this article has encouraged you to venture out on your own as a successful Virtual Assistant. After all, what better way to stick it to your old employer than by using the skills you perfected to become a successful VA?!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!