Along with the growth of the internet there has sprung up a whole new group in the work force. This is the WAHA’s, work at home agents group. The next time you call to make an order from an infomercial, call about your cell phone, call to make a contribution, among other things, you may be talking to someone working from home possibly in their pj’s. Some of us even call ourselves the ‘jammie brigade’. Due to the cost effectiveness of the practice to contract/hire work at home agents more and more companies are turning to WAHA’s.
There are many types of people that work from home. They range from stay at home moms and dads, to the disabled, to caretakers wanting to add to their income, to those with ‘regular’ jobs that want to supplement their income. Some may just be doing it to make a little pocket change and some support their families. There are a few things that these people have in common if they want to be successful and things that future WAHA’ers need to keep in mind and cultivate. You must be a self starter. From the gate, just like when you are looking for any job you have to ‘get out there’ and apply apply apply. Some companies are fairly easy to get hired on or to contract with. Others may take more than a year. For some you may have to incorporate, most pay for actual talk time, some pay by the hour (a few) and for most you contract as an independent contractor.
If ever there was an example of ‘not putting your eggs in one basket’, this type of work is it. You will be much more successful as a work at home agent if you diversify, diversify, diversify!!! A lot of these companies and the different product/service lines are seasonal and pretty much all lines have fluctuating call volume. How this affects you as a WAHA is that you, of course, want to maximize your time and make as much $$$ as possible. To do this and work at home you need a variety of ‘jobs’. Some that are good during the Christmas shopping season, some that are good on the week-ends (if you want to work weekends), some may be better during the day, some nights. Diversify to fit your life and then ‘weave extra baskets’ to protect your eggs. You need to be disciplined. If you are someone that needs a boss getting to going and in your face doing it then being a WAHA is not for you. When you commit to work a required number of hours a week and then specific hours/shifts they are depending on you to fulfill that commitment. The commute is short but you still have to get to the computer, logon, and work. Be prepared to feel like Walter Mitty. Some days you may be taking appointments for someone to get an estimate for siding on their house or broken appliances for a few hours, catching the lunch rush to take pizza orders, and rounding out the evening taking charitable donations, and even within a single call you may find yourself in the roll of salesperson, comedian (great tool to neutralize some angry customers), personal shopper, or advisor. You never know so you need to be flexible, but that is probably one reasons you are considering working from home, you like the flexibility.
When I found myself in the world of WAHA two years ago my two complaints, if you want to call them that, were both connected to the same issue, isolation. For me the isolation was bad for two reasons. I never realized how much information, on the job training and hints, I had garnished from fellow workers, something you don’t normally have when working from home. Also, just the plain isolation and feeling like you are the only one and the frustration knowing you aren’t and you don’t know how to connect to anyone that would understand your experiences, to maybe give some advice, someone to vent to, no network of support. In other words-no water cooler to gather around. Then a friend gave me a link that would change all that www.workplacelikehome.com. Work Place Like Home is like a virtual water cooler that goes beyond any physical water cooler. It is a wonderful community of WAHA’ers. A lot of the members are customer service agents and it is in their nature to want to help and help and support is what you will find there. This site and others like it will be most helpful if you decide to dive into the work at home pool.