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Entrepreneurs are ordinary people who have wilfully chosen to walk the extra mile, irrespective of its perceived reasonable outcome. They either do, or die doing it. Homepreneurs ¬are entrepreneurs who just chose to work from home, and decide to stick with the same.
Early days in 2007
I started toying with the idea of working from home somewhere in 2007. With too much time to spare, unemployable in the IT city (I am a Zoologist, with Aquatic Biology major), I took to blogging. In 10 months I was contributing to 3 niche blogs and 2 community blogs. This was also the time, blogs were gaining momentum and bloggers were getting featured all over. I was running out of topics to blog about.
It was one such Sunday afternoon in October 2007, my hubby dear handed me a recent issue of Outlook Money - Virtual assistance can rake in the moolah, big time. This got me thinking. More research into Google, the possibilities seemed immense. I was able to see a structure to things, paths to tread and dread. And then, I got to blog my findings.
I was wary of sharing my personal email on a public domain, but the need of the hour was to have some kind of a channel to allow prospective clients to connect with me, if I was to take up Virtual Assistance seriously, I opted for Zoho Creator. In less than an hour, I had a Contact Me form, up and running at the blog.
One day, there was this note form a gentleman asking, if I would be interested in managing his company blog for a fee. With scepticism running high, I tried to assess this person if he really means the job, or is it just another scammer at work? Fortunately, he turned out to be a genuine person, with a virtual staffing agency and also doing his PhD. We exchanged mails, mutually agreed on a blog-management plan, and the contract was set. My first Work from Home job.
These two events were happening simultaneously; The work from home bubble burst a little too quickly. It was not the blogging part though, instead it was the blog-management-part that got me pinned down. I was exhausted chasing deadline with the content team, docs getting lost in inbox, version control etc. By the time I got to what I wanted, valuable time was lost. Bottom line, my job as a blog-manager was getting hit. This is not what I imagined my work from home job to be. Did I make a serious error in judgement? I was doing a series of “How to” posts on Zoho creator (ZC) at my personal blog. This was my way of keeping notes of my learning experience, lest I should want them to refer for later.
Then, EUREKA hit me.
My First App
Spent a weekend setting up couple of forms in my Creator app, and educating my content team, on how to use the app to upload their document for review, track status etc. This took care of document submission and version control. All I had to do now was to review the submissions and queue it up for publishing. I was finally doing my job, and loving it!
I was not paid to develop this app, but the returns from this experience is more than just the money. This gave me an insight into taking a problem, and solving it. As simple as it is, this application enabled me to function a lot better as a blog manager, role for which I was hired for, as a virtual assistant.
This job lasted for a year, and then we parted ways. This was part of the client’s PhD research.
Now, I was looking for problems to solve, this app development community was growing slow and steady. There was enough fodder to feed my “How-to” blog posts.
Not being content with just the learning experience, I would go back to the forum and share the link to my blogpost with “how-to” instructions. That was learning, documentation, and (self) promotion rolled into one. These working demos gave me enough coverage amongst the ZC-user community.
After investing 5 hrs a day, 5 days a week, 4 months later, I was able to say with confidence that I can help with custom ZC development.
Signed up with the freelancing sites such as Elance, oDesk, Scriptlance and began bidding on ZC projects to work on. Got the opportunity to work with some really nice people, and glad to have been part of their ZC solution. These freelancing sites are no longer operational, but thanks to ZC community & ZC certified developer program I am able to get work that pays, from the comfort of my home.
Being a Homepreneur
Much like an entrepreneur, being a homeprenuer has its share of challenges. We cannot bank on a team for skills that we lack ourselves. So, we try to compensate by mastering as many tools we can, that are likely complement our chosen niche. Merely the know-how of the tools will not work.
It is one thing to know how a tool works,
But, and entirely different ball game to know
How to get a tool work for you.