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My Work From Home Story – It’s a Journey

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Rebecca is a newlywed and an aspiring fiction author that got her start in content creation five years ago with her beauty and lifestyle based blog and YouTube channel.

There are so many reasons why people would want to work from home. Some people hate wearing work-appropriate clothing; others want to stay home with their children. Some people feel bogged down by cubicles, want to be their own boss, or even have a hard to deal with mental handicap that makes working from home the ideal situation. No matter your reasoning for getting into it, working from home has many advantages.

 

But for me, my work from home journey started by accident in 2010 when I was 20 years old and still completing college at Florida International University. I was feeling a little lonely and unfulfilled, as many young adults do at that age. Other than doing homework, a lot of my spare time was spent playing online Facebook games, reading Harry Potter fanfiction, and watching YouTube videos. YouTube started to replace TV for me and soon I was watching hours of homemade videos a day.

 

Inspired by many of the early vloggers on YouTube, I decided to start video blogging about beauty products. I know, a pretty random idea. I didn’t have many girly friends at the time so video blogging (AKA vlogging) seemed like a great outlet for me to express my love for all things beauty.

 

I’ve always been a planner, so after three months of deciding whether or not I should go by my real name (that was a concern many people had online in 2010, as odd as it sounds now), I started making lists of content ideas, making scripts for said ideas, creating a business email account, buying my name as a URL, and setting up a Blogger site just in case I finally got started on filming my first video.

 

Despite all of my planning and assumptions about what success I would have I still felt surprised when people actually started subscribing and commenting on my videos. Within that first year I reached 5,000 subscribers from around the world and was accepted into an early version of the YouTube partner program. Currently, anyone can become a YouTube partner and earn money from their content but in 2010 it was a huge deal to have your application accepted. I was overjoyed because now I could actually make money for doing something I had wanted to do for free to express myself.

 

There you have it. I found a community of like-minded people and was no longer feeling lonely and unfulfilled. YouTube became the only thing I spent my free-time doing.

 

During the next two years I experimented a lot with the content I was producing and started using my blog to make more detailed written accounts of the instructions and tips shown in my videos. I was also starting to sprinkle in more lifestyle content because I didn’t want to be defined just for my love of beauty and fashion. I also made more conscious efforts to diversify and even started writing blog posts that weren’t tied into videos.

 

With my degree in Marketing coming into reality, I had to start picturing what I wanted to do with my life. The big real world adults liked to talk about what was looming closer. In a scary move, I decided to pursue blogging full-time and not pursue a traditional career path. With only two semesters of school left I pushed as hard as I could into establishing my blog. Around this period of my life I was updating my site seven days a week, sometimes even multiple times per day. I was not making a living wage with my YouTube channel and blog ads, not by a long shot, but it seemed worth the try since my then-fiance (and now-husband) Chris was going to be working soon as well.

 

But then one day I got an email from an entrepreneur based in San Francisco, California named Jennifer Cain. She wanted to bounce an idea off of me and a few other bloggers to see what I thought. She told me about her idea, a site called girl-karma (now named omghow), where teens would be able to learn everything they want to learn about beauty and the world through their peers.

 

Even though I hadn’t been considering a traditional career, her website idea just clicked with me and I knew I had to be involved in some way.  So that night I took a risk and emailed her to check if she was hiring or looking for some sort of partner in this project. Go me! My life changed completely because of this brave jump in the dark.

 

Cut to July 2012, straight out of graduation I became omghow’s first virtual intern. I was excited to handle social media for the brand I was growing to love and to help test out the website and its features before it went live. About six months after that, I was promoted to their first full-time work from home employee under the job title of Media Manager.

 

From full-time blogger to Media Manager, I was now on a fun work from home career trajectory. At the time I was living with my fiance and his parents in Miami, FL so I had very few bills to take care of and was able to save most of my paycheck. With those savings, Chris and I decided to start looking for a place to buy in April of 2013. By October of that year we were moving into a foreclosed condo that was now all ours. Homeowners! At 24! I was so excited for this new journey.

 

Without that internship at omghow and the subsequent position afterwards, I’m not sure what job I would be in right now or even where I would be living. I had been content to try my hand as a full-time blogger but I don’t think I would have been able to maintain that position very long without feeling the adult strains of paying bills and creating my own nest. I owe a lot to that one email I sent in 2012.

 

But as it happens, my time with omghow was limited. Even though I got along well with the founder and had visited omghow’s headquarters in San Francisco twice over the years, a work from home employee was not what the company needed. Not every organization benefits from having its employees work from home but I’m thankful for all of the time I did have with omghow before they decided to stay with local employees.

 

Being a Media Manager was certainly interesting because I was able to try on so many different hats. In this new social media driven world I was updating status sites left and right, heading blogger relations, beta testing features, influencing design, and writing content for the site every day. It was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about who I was, what I wanted from life, and from my career. It helped me grow into my new adult life in a comfortable way.

 

So at 25 years old I found myself in the job market for the first time this past February. It was a really odd situation since I had stumbled upon my first full-time job through one brave moment rather than through many interviews. But thankfully at this point in my life I am lucky enough to have a more formed idea of what I need and want. That is something I definitely did not have in 2011.

 

So with my new criteria and skills in mind, I started signing up for job sites and searching Craigslist on the daily. I kept my options open and applied for non-remote jobs as well as telecommute opportunities but it soon became apparent that the work from home freelance jobs were the ones I felt the most passionate for.

 

Somehow along these past few years I became a writer. Who knew? Sure, in my free time I had been writing a novel (still in progress) but it wasn’t until I had to really sit down and think about what career I wanted to pursue that I came to realize this truth about myself. Content creation is what I love. Now how can I make money off of that?

 

Fast forward a few months and here I am. I’ve taken up a few different work from home opportunities like being a part-time Social Media Evaluator, part-time Blogger/Content Creator for my personal blog (still running strong!) and for a software developer, and freelance writing for multiple websites. It’s a bit more stressful to have these multiple opportunities versus just one full-time job but I’m really excited to see where this path takes me.

 

I don’t know if working from home will always be in my future, I certainly wouldn’t turn down a great opportunity just because I had to commute, but I am excited with where it has lead me so far. Being at home with my husband and pets, in a home office that makes me feel inspired, is something most people don’t get to experience. I feel quite fortunate.

 

I hope in the future to be fully sustaining myself with my writing. It’s a passion that really snuck up on me.

 

What has your work from home journey been like thus far? Where do you think it will be in the future?

 

Let’s chat about this interesting path in the comments. I’d love to know how you got started.

3 Responses to “My Work From Home Story – It’s a Journey”

  1. elna@innovativeink.ca' Elna Cain says:

    Rebecca, great story.

    For me, after I had my twins I knew I had to stay home to raise them. When my maternity ended (one year in Canada), I couldn’t fathom leaving to go to work.

    So, I decided to stay home. My husband already stays home for his business, so it wasn’t a far fetch idea for me.

    I found freelance writing to be the best fit for me and I haven’t looked back. It’s been almost a year and I’ve established myself in this niche and continue to scale my business.

    Love learning about your journey!
    Elna

  2. ardelias@yahoo.com' AE Shaw says:

    Rebecca, What a great article! I think my problem is I have way too many interest. What made you stick with beauty? I’m not sure where to start.

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