Work from Home, Part 3: Using Existing Talent

Working from home

Welcome to my office

So Mary Kay was a flop, pottery was out of my league, and I had a little baby boy to take care of.  I needed to find a way to make extra cash from home, pronto.  So I took inventory of my possible talents.

1. Direct salesperson.

2. Potter.

3. Seamstress/crafter.

4. Virtual librarian.

5. Musician.

6. Writer.

I gave making leather baby shoes a shot.  It about killed my non-industrial Singer sewing machine. I looked at Virtual librarian jobs, and they were all full-time. I was a bass player without a band (well, I did have a band but they were all six hours away HOLLA MUSICSMYTHE!) so it all came down to writer.

This is how it happened.

During graduate school I had to do a tedious exercise in volunteerism working for Internet Public Library 2. I answered questions submitted by users with the thoroughness of a researcher, even though they were things like “How do you change a diaper?”  My editor had buns of steel, apparently, and sent back my submissions multiple times.

What I didn’t know was that this was valuable, resume enhancing experience.

Two months after I graduated, I applied as a content writer for a popular question database website.  I sent in writing samples, including a question I answered from the Internet Public Library 2, and immediately received an invitation to test with them–an invitation 60% of their applicants did not receive. I passed the testing phase and was hired as a writer.

For a year, I worked as a content writer and made several hundred dollars a month.  No, it did not replace the income of a full-time job BUT….

1. I didn’t have to spend money on gas.

2. I didn’t have to buy a “professional” wardrobe.

3. I didn’t have to pay for childcare.

And I got the job using my existing talents–not talents that I wished I had (le sigh. pottery.) It also didn’t hurt that I pursued something related to my graduate field of library science–research.

Next up, Work from Home, Part 4: Being Let Go


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