Thursday, February 21, 2008

Work at home

This article was published in Sun.Star last July 27, 2006

I got an interesting e-mail recently from a friend in Davao City about possible work-at-home scheme. From personal experience and observation, there are many ways to earn and work at home. Here are some of them.

Writing. I started my freelancing career as contributor to the networking section of PC World Philippines. Afterwards, I offered my writing services to other publication and gradually found myself writing for international magazines and websites. If you are persistent enough, you'll find writing to be quite fulfilling. How do you go about it? First, you must be an avid reader of the publication you are aiming for. Think of stories or feature articles that you can confidently write about and send a pitch to the editor.

Technical consulting. If you know your stuff, you can offer your services as a consultant, research or analyst, and do most of the nitty-gritty work at home. Although, I must admit that it can be hard to concentrate at times with a very relaxing setting, especially if your workplace is your bedroom.

Online secretariat. This is especially true for organizations or companies that don't have time to read inquiries and respond to them professionally.

Event marketer. Companies that are into seminars and training but are not so tech-savvy with their marketing are potential clients. This is where your investment in putting up an online newsletter can be most strategic.
The database that you are able to build can serve as a good start in marketing them.

Internet marketing analyst. If you are knowledgeable in optimizing websites to make it search engine friendly and in performing analysis of website traffic, and capable of making recommendations for improvements, then this can be another work for you.

E-learning instructor or tutor. If you have a knack for teaching, you can also develop e-learning materials where interested parties can sign up and receive lessons or assignments through e-mail.

If you need to create a portfolio first, then this is where creating a website or blog can be most helpful for you. This is where started, in my case.

Your website or blog can help attract leads for your services. Just update it as often as possible with the most relevant stuff to increase its visibility. Make sure to have a newsletter service so you can contact them for future updates.

You can also make your website self-sustaining or even profitable by integrating passive revenue opportunities. This can be in the form of joining an advertising network like Google AdSense.

Another way is to join an affiliate program. This is where you can sell books, products, and services of other entities and earn a commission for every sale that your site generates.

With the Internet and a phone, there are many things you can do to work at home and make it a rewarding experience. Creativity, aggressiveness, patience and diligence are "musts" to succeed.

Remember, in a work at home arrangement, you set your income. How high you'll earn will all depend as to how aggressive you will be in marketing your services.

Bold Moves

This article appeared last March 20, 2006 in Manila Times.

One of the challenges that we are facing in the country is that there’s little seriousness in complying with existing laws. As soon as a law is passed, you’ll find people immediately pushing for amendments. However, what I learned from the late Sen. Raul Roco, one can’t push for an amendment to an existing law unless there’s sufficient court ruling indicating its futility or uselessness in performing its purpose.

Take the case of the e-Commerce Law. As soon it was passed, different parties were lobbying to amend or create new laws on cybercrime, electronic signature and even targeting government agency assigned to monitor it. Instead of working together to ensure that the law will work, it became sort of a trend to push for revision or new legislation to be passed.

This mentality, I believe, lead to where we are today.

Republic Act 8792 required that government agencies should be compliant to its e-government provisions (section 27) in 2002. To date, only a handful is complying with the law.

In order to make the e-Commerce Law work, it requires stakeholders to make bold moves to set the direction. Revenue-generating government agencies should take the initiative in assessing their compliance to the law. They should not wait for Congress or the Commission on Audit or the Department of Trade and Industry to knock on their doors asking about the status of their compliance. It is not a matter of funds but rather leadership decisiveness to get it done.

Section 39 of the law’s implementing rules and regulations require government to update their respective information system plan and be aligned with the intent of RA 8792. There’s much to be done in computerizing the government. However, instead of aiming for everything, our leaders should focus on areas where it matters most- first in the priority should be those who are submitting the most revenues to the National Treasury. Investing on them will make it more productive and can lead to better revenues.

Take the case of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs. Their adoption of e-Commerce and ICT allowed them to sustain or grow their current revenues. Without it, increase in their revenue would not be maintained with the same number of resources. If the revenue generating agencies are prioritized, they in turn will able to build the needed resources to fund other ICT needs of less performing or non-revenue collecting agencies.

The e-Commerce Law will be 6 years old this June 14. This law paved the way for the surge of ICT related investments in the country.

I recall before the term outsourcing or e-services became popular, call centers were referred to as business-to-business e-Commerce. As much as the law became a catalyst for so many things, there’s a lot that needs to be done in order to be fiercely competitive in the market.

Getting our act together, resolve confusing executive orders, budgetary accountability, and a vigilant private sector are all critical in making e-Commerce a reality in our country. Be bold!