CSR Archives | The Pickled Ginger


2 Real Jobs you can work from home that make real money – And I know, I did them both!

by ColleenTags: , , , , Categories: Customer Service,Transcription,Working from Home

We all could use a little more cash at times, and some of us need more than others.

Writing, blogging, design and technical jobs are all great options for skilled and motivated individuals who wish to trade in the office grind in favor of being their own boss or bring in a little extra income.

But what if you’re not really a writer, or feel completely lost when it comes to anything technical, and you’re not feeling very entrepreneurial? Well, you’re certainly not alone, and there are still great options available for you.

The internet contains thousands of lists of jobs you can do at home. I’m sure you’ve already scanned through dozens of them and maybe determined that most weren’t a fit for you. There was a time (long before I started this blog) that I had no interest in a career or becoming a brand, and I just simply want to bring in a paycheck that allowed me to focus on being a mom.

It feels like only yesterday I was living in a tiny apartment with my husband and two small children (One of those children just graduated college – woo hoo!), stressing about how on earth we were going to pay our rent and keep the power on. My husband had a part-time teaching gig at the community college around the corner, but the money from that was so little, we had to depend a lot on family to get us by.

I remember frantically searching the internet for work-at home jobs, frustrated that everything glimmer of hope I mustered was eventually dashed at the realization that I would be expected to fork out money (that I didn’t have!) in order to qualify for whatever work was available. The scams in those days, I tell ya! Thankfully I’m a bit older and wiser now.

I did manage to navigate those days relatively unscathed, and managed to find scam-free, gainful work-at home jobs that really helped my family get through the tough times and allow me to stay home and focus on being a mom. Not surprisingly, most of the legit companies are still around today and seeking honest, self-motivated individuals – like you – to fulfill dignified essential roles in their companies. And I’m here to point you in the right direction.

1. CSR

A telephone customer service representative (CSR) was the very first work-at home (hereafter referred to as WAH) role I ever tried. After the initial relief of finding a company that provided WAH opportunities and surviving a telephone interview, I was overwhelmed with fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I had been out of the work force for a few years by then, staying home to take care of a small child and an infant, and as many women can tell you, that transition can really mess with your brain. My self-doubt and insecurity were at an all time-high. But you know what? I needn’t have worried. It was fine.

Phone calls were sent to my computer, which I answered using software from the company, which enabled me to press a button to connect the call. I then simply read from a script that appeared on my screen. Easy Peasy! I took orders for a popular shopping channel, I took orders for a popular pizza chain, and I even took calls for credit card companies, signing up new customers. Everything I needed was right there in the script in front of me. If I did on occasion have an issue that I couldn’t handle, transferring the customer to a manager was as simple as pressing a couple buttons to pass the call to someone more qualified to help. I was soon able to relax enough to have a little fun with the job and be more personable with the callers. It made for a better experience and I’ll say it, I even began to enjoy being a WAH CSR. Three companies that have been around for a long time and have good reputations are:

• www.west.com

• www.liveops.com

• www.sykes.com (formerly Alpine Access)

I personally worked for West Corporation and I had a great experience with them. My husband even did some work for them short term, which essentially doubled our income at the time. We were both making $8.00 an hour when we were with West, but admittedly, this was years ago. At the time, $8.00 was pretty good considering the lack of overhead.

Bottom Line: If you’re a people person, have a flexible schedule and love working in your PJs, WAH CSR just might be for you!

2. Transcription from Home

Eventually, my husband got a decent fulltime job which, coupled with my income as a customer service rep, enabled us to adequately sustain our household, and even a few luxuries from time to time. So, imagine my surprise when I was contacted out of the blue by a transcription company claiming that I had applied for them some time ago, and that they now had an opening for me if I was interested. Honestly, I had no recollection (I still don’t) of applying with this company, nor had I heard of them; but cautiously optimistic, I interviewed, went through the training and even received my first paycheck two weeks later.

My bank initially refused to honor the check, suspecting that it was a fraud, but after a triangle of phone calls to and from my bank, the transcription company and their bank, it was determined that it was a legitimate check, the funds were available and the company was legit after all. Boy, was I relieved!

Ten years later, I can confidently tell you that this company is huge, with big-name clients and continues to grow. And I’ve never once had an issue with payment. They faithfully make direct deposits into their contractors’ bank accounts twice a month. In fact, I still maintain one company’s required minimum of typing hours, per month, in order to keep my certification with them because these days, you just never know when you’ll need a little extra cash and it’s always good to have a backup.

The rate of pay is moderate, but the faster and more accurate you type, the more money you stand to make. When I started out, my pay worked out to $9.00 per hour, but I’ve become really fast, and an hour of typing brings me a much higher rate depending on what kind of transcription I’m doing and how my hands are feeling on any given day. HIPAA laws and just general privacy considerations prevent me from naming specifically the transcription companies I’ve worked for, but I will include them in a list below of the more reputable transcription agencies, and you can check them out yourself.

www.transcribeme.com

www.speakwrite.com

www.accutranglobal.com

The only investment needed is a foot pedal and a decent computer. Now, I managed to go through the training without a foot pedal, and it was a pain in the butt, but it is possible. However, I highly recommend the foot pedal. You can get a really nice one for $60.00. The software I used is proprietary and free to download once you’ve been set up as a contractor.

Bottom Line: If you’re not really a people person, don’t mind spending long hours at your desk, have flexibility in your working hours, and have strong work ethic and attention to detail, this job might be for you.

Not everybody is cut out to run their own business. Finding a job that pays a decent wage that you can do from home with little overhead isn’t impossible, and with a bit of determination, you can turn a good side hustle into a fulltime gig.

2 Real Jobs you can work from home that make you real money | The Pickled Ginger - You don't have to be technical, artistic, entrepreneurial, or even a writer to find lucrative work that you can do at home!

On the Road Again (to Health)

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , , , , Categories: Weight Loss Journey Progress

Happy Tuesday, everyone. How goes it?

So I returned later from my trip than I had anticipated. I miss my family. That is a strange thing for me to say, as when I did live in the same state as my extended family, we hardly saw each other. We’re all married, have our own responsibilities and struggles and finding time to get together has always been difficult. I’ve had to keep reminding myself this since I’ve returned to North Carolina. We were there for a wedding and while it was a great experience convening with my fam, it’s just not typical.

As expected, I did drink wine and eat cake. I had allowed myself that, but it was not nearly as much as I had assumed I would. Maybe it was the fact that I had gone entirely wine and sugar free the week prior, but the sweetness of the cake was overwhelming to an unpleasant degree and the wine just didn’t do it for me. So I mostly imbibed water. Lots of it.

Returning last week, I immediately spiraled into a bit of depression. As mentioned before, I was just missing the loud laughter and chaos of my family and coping with the cloudy gloom that had settled here in NC – quite a contrast from the gorgeous weather offered in Ohio for the weekend of the wedding and following days (again, not typical). I’m slowly coming out of it.

I’m not going to post a picture today, as I’m carrying an extra 5 pounds of water and so I’ve nothing to celebrate. Every time I take that 7 hour drive to Ohio from North Carolina, my body swells up. My legs take on a tree-trunk-like appearance and my feet feel like they’re going to burst out of my shoes. This was likely another reason why I didn’t indulge in the sugar and alcohol I had been looking forward to. It only lasted a couple days, but then there was the drive back home to contend with, and for some reason it seemed worse and has lasted longer than the drive up.

I do have an interesting anecdote from my trip. In one of my first blog posts I think I mentioned how my family views obesity. My mother mentioned to me the other day that had she helped Charles Manson himself dispose of his murder victims, her father (my grandfather) would forgive her if only she was trim and fit while doing it. It sounds silly, but in my family everyone has been ingrained that being overweight is the ultimate sin. Unfortunately for my mother, only myself and one of my sisters have the curse of being overweight.

I had not seen my grandfather in a little over a year. I was shocked at his appearance at the wedding. He is tiny and frail and his dementia has progressed to the point where he barely remembers anyone anymore. I approached him to say hello and give him a hug. His lip curled up in his signature sneer and he said to me, “You’ve gained a little weight haven’t you?” With my ears and face burning from the humiliation of about six of my cousins witnessing the encounter, I acknowledged that I had.

A couple days later I stopped by my grandparents’ home to visit. I literally fielded 2 ½ hours of questions from my grandfather about my weight. “Have you always been so heavy?” “Is your mother that heavy?” “Do you have plans to slim down?” and so on. In his earlier years before the dementia settled in, he never would have voiced his concerns. Not to me anyway. They would usually come by way of my grandmother, to my mother, to myself. But he can’t help it, I know. He’s just a shell of who he once was: The man who used to make me crisp waffles topped with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup; who always kept a stash of his favorite treat – maple cream sticks – to feed us grandchildren when we would visit; the same man who ran up to the store every time a grandchild visited, to pick up popsicles or soda. I often wonder how my cousins managed to maintain slim figures despite these terrible eating habits, but I digress.

I came home more determined to lose this damned weight, and now that the fog of the post-vacation blues is wearing off, I will get to it. I should mention that I’ve been eating clean since my return. The water weight is just a temporary issue that should resolve itself soon, I’m sure. I haven’t exercised since I’ve been back and I know once I jump back on that, I will get the scale moving again.

And with that, I leave you all until next week. Have a great one!


How to Work from Home as a Telephone Customer Service Rep

by ColleenTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Categories: Customer Service,Working from Home

My first experience working from home was that of a home-based telephone customer service representative.  I had done some CSR work for a brief stint in my late teens and while at that time I couldn’t get away from it fast enough; let me tell you, desperation over much-needed income with which to support my small family, coupled with the prospect of not having to give a damn about my dress and grooming (it’s a slippery slope) was all the motivation needed to change my perception of the work; and when after two telephone interviews with a reputable communications company I was hired as a home-based independent contractor, I was overjoyed!
(more…)