Category: Social Media

"You're hired!" key on keyboard
April 13th, 2015 by Kimberly Ben

"You're hired!" key on keyboardThis morning I took a look at the Work-at-Home poll results on the top right-hand of the site. It’s been a while since I’ve checked, and so far more than 200 people have cast votes for their preferred work-at-home situation. The last time I checked, more people were in favor of starting/running their own online or home-based business, with finding a company that hires people to work from home and freelancing trailing close behind.

I must say, I was rather surprised to see the jump in people favoring work-at-home jobs/employment over self-employment. As I write this post, 52-percent of voters prefer working for someone else, 37-percent want to run their own business, and a scant 11-percent would consider freelancing.

I really shouldn’t be surprised though; there are some definite benefits to securing a telecommuting employed position, or working in a long-term contractor role.

  • You don’t have to deal with the financial “ups and downs” that can occur during the first few years of launching and building a new business or freelance career.
  • If you land a position as a telecommuting employee, you may be entitled to the same perks as the company’s brick and mortar employees – paid vacations, sick days, medical and retirement benefits, etc.
  • If the company and industry are secure, you have a good chance of enjoying a steady income for the long-term.

While I hate to be a wet blanket, I’m obligated to be truthful with you. Work-at-home jobs like this are not easy to get. Heck, not many jobs are easily gotten right now-the job market is quite competitive with many qualified candidates and a limited number of jobs available. So while the number of well-paying work-at-home jobs is growing, there are still nowhere near as many of these opportunities as there are candidates hoping to secure one.

Every now and then I get a PM on Facebook or an email asking for help finding a job working from home. This blog has been around since May 2010, and I’ve started to notice a  pattern. If you’ve been trying to find a work-at-home job for months or years and nothing’s panning out, one or more of the following issues may be to blame:

#1 You have no idea what you want to do.

The key to any job search, work-at-home or not, is knowing what you want to do and have the skills to do. It’s a key starting point. You’ll spend a significant amount of time doing the work you’re paid to do, so it should be something that compliments your personality, skills and interests.

I caution anyone unsure about what they want to do against spending too much time job searching without conducting some sort of self-evaluation because your search could become unfocused and leave you frustrated.

 

#2 Your job search is inconsistent.

As a job search coach, I repeatedly remind my clients that consistency is important when job hunting. I’d say it’s doubly so for those seeking work-at-home/telecommuting jobs. You have to incorporate it into your daily routine and stick with it.

 

#3 You have no action plan or strategy.

Do you have a professional resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile ready for potential employers should they request a copy/link? What’s your job search strategy – job boards? Social media? Craigs List? Contacting companies directly? You need a plan, and more importantly you need to WORK the plan.

 

#4 You’re wasting time applying for jobs you’re unqualified for.

This happens more often than you might think. Sometimes a person stumbles across her dream job and she know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she’s perfect for the position! Sure the employer is looking for someone with 3 years of IT managerial experience, and a B.S. degree in Information Technology; and even though she doesn’t meet those requisites, this job is everything she dreams about so she applies anyway…

Look, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, and sometimes taking a big chance pays off; but be realistic about your skill set and experience so that you don’t become frustrated and discouraged.

#5 You’re impatient.

Years ago, when I was searching for a work-at-home job, I put in time every day searching for the right job. Thankfully I also joined a work-at-home forum where the more experience work-at-home community members helped prepare us newbies about what to expect on this journey. Long wait times between applying and hearing back from the companies I applied to was just one example.

My financial situation at the time was not the greatest; but what choice did I have but to be patient? I prayed each day for Allah to grant me sabr as I searched. There were days I grew frustrated and wanted to give up. Of course Allah is the best of planners, and before long, I received my first offer – along with several others in succession that I’d also applied for!

#6 You’re not networking.

Networking is the best way to find a job. Most job seekers will secure positions through someone they know. I still have relationships with some of the companies I’ve worked for, and I recommend qualified people for open positions when I can.

The great thing about networking is you can do it in person or online. Back in the day when I was a busy mother with a newborn and three kids five years old and younger, networking online is all I could manage. Thankfully it was more than enough. Today my kids are older and in school during the day; being the true introvert that I am, I still prefer to network online more than offline. Leverage email, social media, forums, master mind groups and other online platforms – just do it!

Job hunting is hard work, it’s a job in itself. If you’re serious, you’ll have to be motivated and stay determined to meet the goal.

Posted in Productivity Tips, Social Media, Uncategorized, Work at Home Jobs Tagged with:

MWAH LinkedIn Cover
January 2nd, 2015 by Kimberly Ben

MWAH LinkedIn CoverI hate to say it, but a lot of freelancers and other online business owners still aren’t utilizing their professional networks as effectively as they could. I know that time is a big challenge. I’m a busy wife and mother of four running this blog and my own home-based business so I get it. Thankfully networking online – through forums, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other sites – helps you stay in the loop. When utilized, it can be just as effective as face-to-face networking. Don’t believe me?

It Started with an Opportunity I Didn’t Even Know I Wanted…

Last week I accepted a freelance consulting role with an exclusive Canadian-based executive career firm. I’ll be working with this firm on a part-time basis (as an independent contractor) while continuing to grow and operate my own U.S-based resume writing and career marketing business. Getting the consulting gig is exciting, but it’s not the focus of this post – it’s HOW I got the opportunity that really matters.

While working as a sub-contracting resume writer for another firm two years ago, I acquired a new professional contact. Company protocol required all contracting writers to forward all completed documents to the company-hired proofreader to ensure that clients received error-free drafts. This often required constant back and forth email communication. My upbringing, along with the years spent in corporate America, have taught me the benefit of extending gratitude and appreciation to others when collaborating on projects. I didn’t do anything “extra.” I just made an effort to be friendly and appreciative of her services and skills whenever we communicated.

Many of my colleagues, including the proofreader, also connected with one another on LinkedIn. As my own resume home business began gaining steam, I reduced the number of clients I worked with for the firm. I make much more working for myself, so eventually I decided to resign from the subcontracting role. I hadn’t spoken to anyone other than my husband about my decision.

Imagine my surprise when I received a LinkedIn message from a Canadian executive career marketing firm looking to hire a certified professional resume writer. He explain that his contact (the proofreader) highly recommended me as an experienced career consultant to join their team. Although I was initially hesitant and somewhat resistant join another firm, they were persuasive and the pay and scheduling flexibility eventually won me over.

And This is the Takeaway…

Now there are two important things I sincerely hope you take away from this: 1) I was NOT actively looking for this opportunity. 2) This opportunity was NOT advertised publically. In fact, this company relies on internal recommendations/referrals when recruiting talent to work with their exclusive clientele; 3) I don’t think my skills alone moved that proofreader to recommend me for the consultation role. I truly believe my taking the time to build a rapport through simple expressions of kindness and gratitude in our correspondence affected her and I’m grateful for that, alhamdullilah.

This is all a part of networking, sisters. You don’t have to be in constant communication with others, but make an effort to connect with and communicate with others genuinely, masha’Allah. In this world today, there are people who truly appreciate small and random acts of kindness; and as you can see, you NEVER know how someone will reciprocate.

Friday evening I was emailing a sister some possible client leads, and I explained to her that the majority of jobs and business opportunities are never publicly posted. Most people get leads on business and jobs through someone in their network. If like you’re unable to attend many in-person events, take advantage of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Use the 20/80 rule when interacting on these platforms: talk about yourself 20-percent of the time and share information that’s useful to others 80-percent of the time. This is an easy formula to follow and people seem to respond to it positively.

I’ll admit to not putting as much effort into networking on LinkedIn in 2014 as I should have; and I still earned 35% of my income from connections made there. Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn when it comes to building your client base.  My new book can help you get started.

How much effort do you put into networking? Which do you prefer: networking online or offline?

 

Posted in Business Planning, Home-Based Business, Marketing, Social Media, Work at Home Jobs Tagged with:

Social Media Icons
October 8th, 2014 by Kimberly Ben

Social Media Icons

Should you still be doing your own social media marketing, or is it time to hand it off to someone else? There are many factors that go into whether or not you can hand off your social media. Here are some of the things to consider when you’re weighing your decision.

Is Your Social Marketing Personality Driven or Process Driven?

Is your social media primarily driven by you and your personality, or is it primarily driven by processes?

One example of personality-driven social media marketing is a comedian. In his case, it’d be very hard to outsource his social media, because he has such a unique voice. Finding someone who could emulate his voice enough to still build an audience would be very tough.

An example of process-driven social media marketing might be an artist or band. The primary jobs in managing their social media is responding to friend requests, deciding which gigs to take and updating the event listings. This is something that could easily be handed off to someone else.

When you’re deciding whether or not it’s time to hand off your social marketing, one crucial question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you can hand it off without losing your voice.

How Much Time Is It Taking?

If social media marketing is sucking up all your time and detracting from other areas of business that actually generate income, then it may be time to seriously start looking for ways to outsource it.

If you’re constantly checking Twitter, Facebook and MySpace for updates, chances are it’s becoming more of a distraction than a profitable business activity. In fact, if you spend more than ninety minutes on it per day, you should really think about getting that activity off your plate.

Who Can You Outsource To?

This is really the all-important question. If you’re not doing your social media marketing, who is?

Do you hand it off to someone in India for $3 an hour? Or do you hand it off to someone on your staff who really understands the spirit of your company?

Again, the issue really comes down to how important the voice is. If people come to your social network pages expecting to get constant updates from your unique voice, then you really need to carefully select your social media managers.

If managing your social media is mostly technical, then you can hire anyone with the capability to do it.

In short, it is absolutely worth thinking about outsourcing your social media marketing when it gets to the point that it’s distracting from other more productive activities. Put special attention on what your visitors expect when they visit your pages and who can actually replace you from a voice and brand perspective.

photos by: &

Posted in Business Planning, Home-Based Business, Social Media Tagged with: , ,

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January 24th, 2012 by Kimberly Ben

There’s a brand new social media website in town that’s targeting the Muslim community’s unique networking needs. UmmahLinked is specifically aimed at helping individuals and businesses make meaningful connections within the ummah (Muslim community). Their simple tag line “Care. Share. Grow.” Really appeals to me.
I’m still pretty new to the site (I just signed up today), but I find it easy to navigate and full of good information. There is a business directory, a blog full of informative, business-related articles, IM chat features and more. You can share various formats of content easily. It’s free to join (although certain aspects of the site may be fee-based according to the FAQs. I encourage you to consider joining this social media website and start networking and connecting with others within the Muslim community today.

Posted in Social Media Tagged with: ,

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October 7th, 2011 by Kimberly Ben

I had some really great conversations with a few different sisters this week, each on the cusp of embarking on some very exciting projects. Although each sister is engaged in a an entrepreneurial pursuit completely different from the other, they shared a similar concern:  a hesitancy to join what has become the social media revolution to spread the word about her biz.

Interestingly, I encountered this type of apprehension among Muslim business women frequently. So much so that when I established my Twitter account for Muslimahs Working at Home, I was pretty shocked to see just how many sisters were actively utilizing this powerful networking platform. I find sisters who are hesitant to participate in social media site avoid it for one or more of the following reasons:

1. They have no idea of how to get started and find the concept intimidating.
2. They feel they don’t have the time to spend on social media.
3. They think it could lead to exposure to haram (impermissible) situations, or unlawful mixing of the sexes.

It’s true, social media can be a bit intimidating at first; it can become a time consuming activity, and you can open yourself up to some pretty deviant people and situations; but it doesn’t have to be that way. You have quite a bit of control over how you utilize social media, who you connect with, and how you choose to interact. Here are some tips to help you promote your business effectively:

Create a social media strategy

Ask yourself: what do I want to accomplish? Are you looking to make more people aware of the products or services you provide? Do you want to drive more visitors to your blog? Are you looking to “meet” and build relationships with others within your niche/industry? Each of these objectives can be met through social media. Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can plan a strategy to keep you focused and help you meet that goal.

Focus on building meaningful connections with others

Social media is about engaging in the social aspects of the Internet and getting to know others. Take time to start and join in conversations with others and let them see a bit of the real you. Being personable and approachable makes a big impact on the web.

Don’t over promote your business

One of the biggest mistakes some business owners make when they first begin using social media sites like LinkedInFacebook and Twitter is to constantly post updates about themselves and what they’re doing or selling. Put yourself in your follower’s shoes – how do you feel about receiving constant posts from someone who only seems to think of herself?

Spend some time sharing interesting links to other blog posts and websites, repost updates from your followers, and if you can try answering questions posted by the people you’re connected to. Helping others is a big part of socializing and networking online.

Keep things businesslike

If the primary purpose of your account is to bring attention to your business, be careful not to post too much of your personal information and opinions. When others Google you, your updates will show up in the search results. It’s okay to share some personal information, because it adds an important personal touch to the brand you’re building; but you don’t want to go overboard. This is also a good way for sisters to keep “unwanted attention” at arm’s length.

Post updates regularly

I hate it when I get really interested in a blog, or any other social media account, only to find that the person no longer posts the content I’ve come to eagerly look forward to reading. Real life situations are sure to come up from time to time, but it’s still important to post as regularly as possible to maintain a presence and establish a strong brand identity.

Have you gotten business through social media? If so, please share!

Posted in Marketing, Social Media Tagged with:

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September 19th, 2011 by Kimberly Ben

I owe a lot to Twitter for helping me secure two of my steadiest clients. Wait, that didn’t come out right – let me try again: I owe my time spent networking on Twitter, and building genuine relationships with others in my industry, with helping me secure two of my steadiest clients.

Do you see the difference in those two statements? The first might have lead you to believe marketing my business on Twitter is what brought me more business. The second statement correctly reveals that the process of getting to know others in my industry and allowing them to get to know me in return led to those colleagues sharing business leads with me, which I followed up on and am happy to report have become a steady source of my income.

Where exactly am I going with this? I realize that many entrepreneurs are still under the impression that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are vehicles for marketing their products and services. And they’re wrong. I used to think that way too. Then I started getting followed by a mass of self-proclaimed Internet marketing experts which led to being bombarded by streams of sales pitches and ads. And I didn’t like it. Not one bit. I noticed no one else seemed to like it much either. Then I started paying attention to a few noted social media experts who were constantly saying that social media is simply about being social – networking and building relationships. Starting conversations, joining conversations, answering questions, helping others and, well, socializing.

I didn’t get it at first. I was there trying to earn a living and attract business. I didn’t see where socializing fit into my plans. I had no idea what I was doing, but eventually I started regularly interacting with other freelance writers and copywriters and before you know it I really began to appreciate the camaraderie and information I received from the links they shared.

One day a writer friend sent me a DM (Twitter speak for Direct Message) explaining that she had a regular client with a project he needed completed, but she was too busy to take it on. She trusted me to handle the client for her. I was stunned at her generosity. I expected freelancing to be cutthroat. I was also very greatful because I really needed the money.

The same thing happened again. Another writer friend had a client searching for another resume writer to contract overflow work to. Although I had no previous experience writing resumes professionally, the client took a chance on me because of my writer friends kind words; and I still write for that client today. It wasn’t Twitter that brought me the business; it was the relationships I’d developed with these writers that led me to these opportunities. I finally understood.

Social media is a big part of how we use the Internet now. Unfortunately, a lot of us are still confused about how to use it for business. Here are f0ur tips to help you build your business and your network:

Don’t get caught up in quantity over quality

There are lots of people on Twitter and Facebook obsessed with getting the most followers or sending out massive numbers of Tweets and updates. Social media works better when you focus on quality first. Choose to connect with people who can teach you something or provide valuable information.

Remember people do business with people they know, like and trust

I know I do, especially when making purchases over the Internet. Social media can help you build a loyal  customer base by providing a platform for you to demonstrate your intentions, ideas and expertise.

Network effectively in less than 15 minutes a day

I tip my hat to those who seemingly spend all day on Twitter and Facebook. Granted, some of those people have automated updates posting periodically throughout the day, but there are others who are constantly connected. I admit that sometimes I’m on more than I should be – after all, I do have client projects, kids, my mother, my husband, and other responsibilities that require me to tear myself away from the web throughout the day.

Don’t feel avoid social media because you only having a few minutes a day to spend networking. And don’t feel guilty thinking you should be putting in more time. If you can’t, you just can’t. Thankfully, you can show up a few minutes a day and still reap the benefits. You can even use social media tools like Hootsuite to post simultaneously to multiple social media sites all at once.

Keep it simple

The “social media gurus” can make social media seem so intimidating, but it isn’t really – or maybe it’s as complicated as you make it. I say keep it simple: Sign up, create an interesting profile, follow/friend people that interest you or have the same things in common as you do, and engage them in conversation. Lather, rinse and repeat.

Posted in Marketing, Social Media

American-Muslim-Mom-Ramadan-Meetup-Day-Button
August 19th, 2011 by Kimberly Ben

Ever heard of Meetup.com? Meetup.com is an online resource that helps you find others who share your interests (E.g. small business, marketing, cooking, sewing, etc.) in your community. You can then plan real life, in-person meetings and get together regularly. Well, Meetup.com recently joined forces with American Muslim Mom and created the American Muslim Mom Meetup Page and established World Wide Ramadhan Meetup Day. It’s a great opportunity for Muslim women to locate one another and come together to share the last few days of this blessed month.

You can start a Meetup group in your city and from there decide how you and the other sisters you connect with would like to cometogether. You can Meetup weekly at a local park where the kids can play together, at the masjid,  or a favorite restaurant –The scheduled date for this Meetup is for August 23 so all you have to do is choose the time and place. This is a great opportunity to meet come together with other Muslims in your community. Reach out to your friends through email, Facebook and Twitter to spread the word!

Posted in Social Media Tagged with: ,

Muslimah-Logo
June 16th, 2011 by Kimberly Ben

It’s beyond exciting for me to let you know that Muslimahs Working at Home now has a Facebook page! I’m looking forward to connecting with other bloggers and Muslimahs who are looking to start or grow their own home-based businesses and establish more balance in their lives.

When you visit the new Facebook page, you’ll see our new logo (which , by the way, is also displayed in this post) design courtesy of Paramaya Web Consulting. I have truly enjoyed working with them, and look forward to launching the new site design next month, insha’Allah.

Please stop by and visit us at our new page and show us that you like us and the information we share about earning a living working at home. And if you see something you don’t like, by all means  please send an email letting us know what we can do to improve. Jazak Allah khair!

Muslimahs Working at Home was created to provide women with an alternative to earning an income outside of the home. Our objective is to share resources and tools necessary to operate a successful, profitable, home-based business.

Posted in Home-Based Business, Social Media Tagged with: ,

April 29th, 2011 by Kimberly Ben

Jummauh mubarak everyone!

 

Insha’Allah you will all enjoy the blessings of this day. It’s Follow Friday again over at Twitter. I’m always excited to share information about the people I’m following. I checked my email this morning to find lots of new people following me. Please be patient with me – I’m a little slow to respond because this week’s been quite hectic, but I will follow you back. Enjoy the day!

@starupamerica

I’ve been following the website stratupamericapartnership.org since I stumbled into working for myself.  @startupamerica’s tweets provide a valuable resource of information for new biz owners.

@organicconnect

I love all things organic, and organicconnect keeps me well informed and educated. I enjoy receiving tweets about food, o environment sustainable living.

@cnnbrk

I’m a self-confessed news junkie, and for the past 24 hours I’ve been closely monitoring @cnnbrk’s tweets to find out all I can about the devastation the tornadoes that tore through Alabama and Georgia left behind.  My mom and several family members still live there, so I appreciate any bit of information I receive.

@thepinkboss

As if the name alone didn’t grab my attention (“the pink boss” – what’s not to love?), I adore the fact that this business focuses solely on developing female-owned businesses! The fact that she’s also located in Atlanta, GA is just icing on the cake. @thepinkboss sends out inspirational tweets and great advice to empower your own female owned and operated empire.

Muslimahs Working at Home was created to provide women with a financial alternative to earning an income outside of the home. Our objective is to share resources and tools needed to operate a successful, home-based business.

Posted in Social Media Tagged with:

April 17th, 2011 by Kimberly Ben

Yesterday I decided to take the day off. I’d spent Wednesday and Thursday nurturing one sick child, and by Friday another of my little ones was also sick. Sleep deprivation was getting to me, so I took time out to get some much needed rest and plan ahead for the following work week and my scheduled trip out of town next Wednesday.
I didn’t spend much time on Twitter, but I still wanted to take time out to note my #FF favs for the week:

@AtweetForAllah

@AtweetForAllah sends out inspirational tweet based on the book The Ideal Muslim. There’s nothing more uplifting than finding inspirational ahadith in your tweet stream throughout the day!

@ponnsabra

@ponnsbra is the founder of an amazing lifestyle blog for Muslim women called American Muslim Mom. She covers everything from homeschooling tome and garden tips.

@greenhijabi

@greenhijabi’s website www.greenhijabi.com  a site dedicated to mental, physical, spiritual balance and green living. She shares lots of helpful tips and sobering statistics to drive home the point that protecting the earth’s resources is everyone’s responsibility.

@paramaya

On Thursday I had the pleasure of speaking with Laura Sultan, owner of www.paramaya.net. I was so impressed with her client list, creativity and professionalism that I’ve decided to hire her firm to redesign Muslimahs Working at Home. I’ve followed her tweets for some time. She always posts excellent tips and advice for online marketing and SEO.

Muslimahs Working at Home was created to provide women with a financial alternative to earning an income outside of the home. Our objective is to share resources and tools needed to operate a successful, home-based business.

 

 

Posted in Social Media Tagged with: ,