Ever wonder what it’s like to work online from home full-time? We interviewed Patricia, a web marketing assistant with a year of ‘at home’ experience to find out for you – here’s her story:
What is your job title? How many years of experience do you have in that field?
I am a Web Marketing Assistant. I’ve been working in this field for a little over a year.
Would you describe what you do on a typical day?
Typically I look for websites that have content that is relevant to the website I’m working on that particular month. Once I find them, I try to build a relationship with them: I contact them with information about the company and website so that they know more about us. If they become interested, and if it is convenient for both parts, they place a link to us. Sometimes, we place a link to their website too. In addition, my duties also include promoting our websites. I am in charge of writing Press Releases, posting articles and posting information on relevant forums and directories.
What is your ethnicity? What kinds of discrimination have you experienced?
Mixed (white/Hispanic). I have never experienced discrimination based on my ethnicity.
Where you work, how well does your company do ‘equal opportunity’? Is management white and male? How are minorities perceived and treated?
The company that I work for embraces diversity. In fact, there are many Hispanics working for the company. Minorities are valued and it is clear that diversity is seen as strength, not a weakness. I have never felt like we all have to be the same!
What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?
They should teach people how to evaluate themselves during a job search process. People often don’t know what went wrong during a job interview, so they can’t learn from it… they tend to make the same mistake again and again. And the answer is not even that simple because interviewers often refuse to give feedback, even when candidates actively ask for it.
How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
I was looking for a job that matched my skills (I was a recent graduate back then). I had been working for a few months as an anti-spam consultant so I had basic knowledge on how to find –and build- links without being flagged as spam. When I found this job opportunity I just knew I had to apply! I wouldn’t do anything differently because past experiences (including mistakes) are what make us what we are today. It might sound as a cliché, but it is true!
On a good day, when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?
Getting a link that I didn’t think I could get! Sometimes, I just think that I won’t get the link but try to contact them anyway (even when I feel it won’t work). Finding out the next morning that they did reply is great!
When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?
Sometimes, article-submission websites change their criteria to accept an article. Normally, they don’t announce the changes. Submitting an article –that would have been accepted a week ago- and finding out later that I have to edit it or it won’t go live makes me feel like I wasted time!
How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?
There is a deadline! But at the same time, there is normally enough time to get it all done. Working at home is also a plus because I don’t have to face the traffic every morning.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to increase that rating?
The only thing that would increase the rating would be to be able to learn more technical stuff about the factors that help websites have a more prominent presence on the internet. But at the same time, I know that nobody really knows that much about those factors; companies that have to do with it try to keep it a secret!
What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?
It varies! A lot of people that work in this position are freelance workers or independent consultants, so it depends on the project and the time they spend on it! Yes, I think that I am paid enough.
What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?
Reaching a goal is always rewarding! I am proud of my work for each domain that has reached the goal. Getting links that I thought would be difficult feels great as well!
What’s the most challenging moment you’ve experienced? What would you prefer to forget?
Someone at home got sick so I had to take care of them for a few weeks. I had to combine work with all domestic obligations, and even though I was really tired I couldn’t give up. I wouldn’t want to forget it because even though it was a difficult time, it helped me prove myself that I could do it.
What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
I’d say that a degree is important. University/college teaches people how to work in an independent environment where onsite supervision is not necessary. Some important skills are: being a team player, initiative, creativity and being responsible and capable of organizing and managing your own time. Being capable of doing your own research is also very important; there are many things that you will need to find out and internet is constantly changing and evolving so people in this field need to adapt and find the best way to do things each week and month. Last but not least, foreign languages are not basic, but they help!
What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
I would tell them that this line of work is very exciting. That they are going to learn a lot of things about the internet and websites! Things that they don’t teach in school. I would also emphasize that the internet is evolving and moving all the time, so they will need to move fast too!
How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I took 10 days last January! I think it is enough, but it also depends on the person and the situation. Taking ten days in a row is an option, but for others, taking two or three days every 3 or 4 months could work better.
Are there any common myths you want to correct about what you do?
Some people think that all we do is spend the day on twitter and Facebook. Social networking is a good tool, especially for companies that want to reach young people. But the time that professionals in this field spend on those tools varies. For some, it might be most of their time, but it is not even 20% of their time for many others.
Does this job move your heart? If not, what does?
Yes, it does. Especially when I’m working on websites that are oriented to help certain kinds of professionals find job opportunities. For example, anything related to environmental, sustainability, bilingual, LGBT and diversity. Personally speaking, I am worried about the way human activity is affecting our planet. On the other hand, I have a few gay friends and I know that there is still discrimination against them. So working on those kinds of websites is a great way to combine my professional activities with my personal interests!
If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
I would like to continue with my work as an internet marketer. If this is a possibility, I would like to participate in an expansion. I think that the possibilities are endless; foreign markets, different languages, etcetera. I would like to enroll into a half-time master’s program. I would consider a Business Administration or Marketing program. I think that such programs would not only help me acquire new knowledge, but they would also help me find new ideas and apply them to my job.
Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
I enjoy working with people from different backgrounds and cultures. This is one of the main reasons why I really enjoy my job. I have had the chance to work closely with people from the United States and Latin America and I appreciate having the chance to learn from the positive aspects of each culture!