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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Working From Home

This is a guest post by Gabrielle Green of TipsOnHowToSaveMoney.

laptop and books
image via Mukumbura/Flickr

Okay, so here’s the thing: if you work from home in any medium, you are most likely nagged by everyone you know how to start a blog or how to get in with the company you telecommute for. Compound that with everyone sending you every email (aka spam) about a blog or job opportunity to ask you if it’s “legit.” Surely this doesn’t just happen to me?

Working From Home — Blogging and Websites

It’s not rocket science to build a blog, but it does take hard work. No one can simply tell you what to do without you applying your own time and research. There are hundreds of ways to make money online, but you have to find which ways will work for you. Nothing is more frustrating than someone expecting you to just show them how to do something so they don’t have to put in any effort. How successful will that venture be in the long run? Not very.

Starting a blog (WordPress is free) has low overhead costs — a domain name, hosting, and possibly a virtual terminal are needed (if you’re selling your own items.) The rest is going to cost you in the forms of blood, sweat, and possibly tears. There are millions of websites on any given topic, but you can stand out above the rest if you take the time to do so. “Build it and they will come” is a good starting point, but not nearly enough.

Working From Home — Telecommuting

There are legitimate companies that hire remote workers, but as you might imagine, they are in high demand. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Most importantly, be diligent in your research. If it reads something like, “Work 4 hours a week and make $4000 doing nothing,” no questions asked, it’s spam; keep looking. Logically, there will be times that you are required to have specific software or equipment, such as a headset, but that is a different scenario. A real job should be FREE.

The best advice I can give you is simply this: if you are unsure, seek out information about the job opportunity online (the name of the company followed by the word “scam” in an internet search can most often bring up any red flags you should be aware of before moving forward.) You can also join a forum for people who work from home and read through the threads; sites such as WAHM.com have been around a long time and can serve as a learning opportunity for you. Then, when you have your own experiences, pay it forward and share your own stories with the group. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your decisions; don’t be duped due to lack of diligent research.

So here is the ugly truth in a nutshell: it’s going to be frustrating. You are going to want to pull your hair out because the server goes down or someone curses you out for no reason. You can bet the code will break a few times. You will want to give up and you will find yourself with a complete block on what to do or say.

But, the other side to that is, you can’t give up. Treat it like you would your own children; always love it but don’t always like it. If you are frustrated, walk away. If it breaks, again, walk away. If you have no idea what you are doing, don’t touch it, ask for help. If you don’t think you can afford help, barter with other bloggers, moms, or small businesses. Be creative, but most importantly, stick it through–it is simply the only option.

The best part of working from home is just that–you are in the comfort of your own home and making money while doing so. Websites aren’t great overnight. They take time, patience, and persistence. But it is proof positive that it works with hard work.

Mother’s Day 2011 Sweepstakes, Freebies and Deals

This is a guest post by Coupon Sherpa, a simple and easy to use, all inclusive coupon site with deals on online, grocery, mobile and printable coupons.

family dinner

My mother was the best. She was loving, thoughtful, attentive, a great cook, dressed age appropriately, entertained effortlessly, raised six kids of which she was proud… the list goes on and on. (That’s mother in the photo above.)

There wasn’t much I wouldn’t have done for my mother, but often a lack of money kept me from doing everything I wanted. To help you give your mother everything she deserves, I’ve been together this list of sweepstakes, freebies and deals to help you celebrate together.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

Sweepstakes

Hallmark Caribbean Cruise and Other Prizes
The gift card company’s “Mother Is A Special Occasion Sweepstakes” includes prizes of a Caribbean cruise or daily prizes of an Apple iPad, Wii Fit game system, salon makeovers, brunch with friends and cold, hard cash. Deadline to enter is May 8.

My Lifetime Diamond Earrings
My Lifetime’s “Moms Are Rock Stars Sweepstakes” includes a weekly prize of diamond solitaire earrings worth roughly $1,300 to $17,000. The contest ends May 9.

American Greetings $10,000 and Other Instant Prizes
Enter the “Match and Win Mother’s Day Sweepstakes” to win a $10,000 spa vacation or more than 10 such instant prizes as an Apple iPad and gift cards for Sephora, iTunes, and Bath & Body Works. The contest ends May 10.

Wimgo Broadmoor Hotel Weekend
The “Show Your Mom Some Love” sweepstakes includes airfare for two to Colorado Springs, Colo., where you’ll stay for three nights at the exclusive Broadmoor Hotel, receive $2,500 in cash and a $400 spa package.

Diet Pepsi SpaFinder
Help your mom win a spa day for two by “liking” Diet Pepsi on Facebook before May 11.

Freebies

TCBY Free Yogurt
For the fourth year in a row, TCBY will offer free frozen yogurt to moms on Mother’s Day. Moms will have the choice of their favorite flavors, such as white chocolate mousse, strawberry or watermelon sorbet.

123 Print Cards Printable eCards
123 Print Cards is a great place to find free Mother’s Day card templates, funny cards, cute cards and photo cover cards. Just add your own personalized message and print it out.

Lowe’s Heart Flower Vase
Bring your child to Lowe’s on May 7 and they can build a flower vase during one of the merchant’s regular Build and Grow Clinics. The flower is not included in this free offer.

Moms Rising – MOM Bumper Sticker
On Mother’s Day 2010, over a million moms received a Mother of the Decade Award from Moms Rising. Since then, the non-profit organization working to change the world has received thank-you notes from moms all over the country. In appreciation, Moms Rising is offering a free “MOM” bumper sticker for all who sign up.

Macy’s – $5 Donation
Macy’s will donate $5 in your mom’s honor, up to a total of $400,000 when you send a free, personalized Facebook message to your mom at Facebook.com/Macys. Proceeds will be donated to Futures Without Violence, Make-A-Wish Foundation, National Park Foundation, Reading Is Fundamental and the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement.

Jo-ann – Crafts For Kids
The fabric and craft store is hosting a free Make-It-Take-It event in every store from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 7. Children can make a painted garden stake and a Mother’s Day card and envelop with papercrafting supplies from Martha Stewart Crafts.

Deals

Restaurant.com – 80% Gift Certificate Discount
Restaurant.com is offering 80% off $25 gift certificates. In other words, you’ll get a $25 gift certificate for just $3 to use at any of their 18,000 restaurants nationwide. Use the coupon code “BONUS” at checkout.

Boston Market – Dessert
Every mom gets a free family-size dessert with a purchase of any family meal from May 6 to 8. You must download this coupon to receive the offer.

ProFlowers – Free Bonus Items
Order 15 assorted tulips and you’ll qualify for an elegant, free glass vase.
Order the Mom’s Delight bouquet and get a free glass vase and chocolates.
Order 24 long-stemmed assortment roses and get ProFlowers’ free glass vase with a Spa Trio.

Shutterfly – Greeting Card
For just 99 cents, you can order a free 5×7 folded photo greeting card or flat stationary card from Shutterfly with the coupon code “MOMCARD”. Sign up for an account and you’ll also receive 50 free prints.

Champps Americana – $10 Off
Moms get $10 off with any $25 purchase from May 6 to 8 at participating Champps Americana, located in 20 states.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse – $25 Gift Card
The steakhouse and wine bar is offering a $25 dining card for a future purchase when you treat your mom for brunch or dinner. On May 8, Fleming’s brunch menu will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Photo by KateForgach