Monday, September 22, 2014

Sensibly Earning -- and a life update

The past two months have been a complete whirlwind for my family and me, so I had to take an unexpected break from blogging.

My husband got two job offers in August, and after much stress and an almost relocation, he accepted a position with a company an hour and a half commute from home.

After the job offer situation was settled, we spent nearly two weeks traveling as a family, enjoying the last bits of summer.

And this month, we've been all about getting settled into our new weekday routine.  My husband started work after Labor Day and things are well, but him being gone 12 hours (or more) a day has been a major adjustment for our family!

Adding to the chaos, I also accepted a great opportunity in late July.  I now work from home, part-time, making my own hours.  Can it get any better?  I'm all about sensibly earning just as much as I am saving, so I wanted to share this with you!

Now, I know what you're thinking.  Am I selling something?  Because honestly, in my experience, it seems that about 90% of work-at-home moms are doing direct sales for some sort of product.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it's just not my thing.  I'm not a sales girl.  But I am a tech girl, and that's why I jumped on the opportunity to get involved with search engine evaluation.

Ever wonder how search engines can have such good results?  A lot of it is a smart algorithm, but some things just need human context.  That's where raters come in.  Personally I'm an ads assessor -- I review the pages that come up when you click on one of the sponsored links you see at the top of the results.  I look at what you searched for and determine how relevant that content is to what you wanted.

I work for Lionbridge, who contracts me out to one of the major search engines.  I'm an independent contractor, so I am responsible for withholding my own taxes.  But I can work whenever I'd like, in the range of 10-20 hours a week, so I can work when my daughter is napping or sleeping.  The pay is decent too -- far better than minimum wage.

The process to get the position is a little different than your typical job.  There is no interview.  Once they accept your online application, they provide you with access to a portal where you get the rating guidelines manual and some additional material to help you learn what you'd be doing.  After working through a series of 100 practice questions, you take a final exam using examples very similar to what you'd be judging.  It's open book, so you can look at your guidelines as much as you'd like.  So long as you pass, you're invited to begin work.

To remain in the program, there are some quality metrics that you have to maintain.  There's a target rate of judgments per hour, but it's totally attainable, especially once you get used to it.  There are random audits to help evaluate you, but there is a lot of feedback and plenty of opportunity to improve.  They also have weekly webinars you can attend where they talk about common areas of confusion.

Payment is a little different than your typical job as well, as it's only once a month.  It could be as long as 60 days before you see your first payment, depending on when you start, thanks to processing.  Payment is done via an international wire transfer into your bank account.  I know "international wire transfer" sounds like some crazy scam, but I assure you it's not -- Lionbridge's headquarters is just outside of the US, and it's basically like getting a direct deposit.  You'll just want to check into whether or not your bank may charge any fees.  Mine does not.

After doing this for nearly two months, I'm so thankful to have found such a perfect opportunity.  I'm providing some extra income for our family while also getting to stay home with my daughter.  If you factor in the amount we'd be paying for daycare if I was working a more traditional job, I'm really bringing in a lot!  It is sometimes a bit stressful for me because nearly all of my downtime is spent working, but it's worth the effort.  The job itself is fairly easy, and I love that there is zero work stress.

If you're interested in looking into it more, you can check out Lionbridge's job posting for Ads Assessor.  They also have other opportunities you can look into.

There are also other companies that conduct similar work.  I obviously don't have any personal experience with them, but you can find a lot of info with some Google searching.  So if Lionbridge doesn't work out for you, you could also search for opportunities from ZeroChaos, Appen Butler Hill, and iSoftStone.

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