Monday, November 29, 2010

6 crazy job search tactics

(CareerBuilder.com) -- Taking a non-traditional approach to a job search can be a good thing.

Take the case of Alec Brownstein, an advertising professional who found himself looking for a new job last summer. Fed up with the traditional job search, he decided to try an unprecedented tactic.

Banking on the fact that "everyone Googles themselves," he bought sponsored links attached to the names of top-advertising directors. So, when the directors Googled themselves, Brownstein's ads would appear at the top of the results page.

The ads reportedly said "Hey, [creative director's name]: Goooogling [sic] yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too" -- and then provided a link to Bronstein's website. A few months (and only $6) later, Brownstein was employed by top-advertising firm Young & Rubicam.

But, for every unconventional job search strategy that works, there is another that not only doesn't lead to a job, but is just downright ridiculous. Below, job seekers and hiring managers tell us about the strangest job search tactics they've come across.

CareerBuilder.com: How to build your personal brand

1. "One of my clients received the following advice from a previous career coach: Never send a résumé when applying for a job, even when it is requested in the advertisement. Just send a pitch letter requesting a meeting with a company executive."
-- Lavie Margolin, job search advisor, Lion Cub Job Search

2. "I think this may be the craziest one I have ever heard. When I was looking for my first full time job, a friend's then-girlfriend (now ex-wife) told me, quite seriously, that I could assure myself a job by participating in a magical ritual involving crystals and mystical incantations. I asked her if I needed to sacrifice a chicken as well and she was offended, explaining that it was not the correct type of 'Magick' [sic]."
-- Eli Lehrer, national director, Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate, The Heartland Institute

3. "I think the worst advice I ever saw was in a LinkedIn group. Someone suggested that, in order to be able to get a chance to speak to someone at the recruiting company, you should [mail] a cover letter saying you have enclosed your CV -- but don't enclose the CV, and leave the envelope open so that it looks like it fell out in the post. The logic was that they'd then call you up to let you know, and you could have a dialogue. I personally would just think 'That person can't even seal an envelope, I wouldn't want to recruit them.'"
-- Antony, marketing manager

Tips 4 - 6

Friday, November 19, 2010

10 LinkedIn Tips For Job Seekers And Career Shifters

1. Stop focussing on the numbers

Networking is not a numbers game, but a relationships game.

It's not about ‘how many’ LinkedIn connections you have. But instead, the quality of the relationships and the level of interaction you have with people in your LinkedIn network that counts.

Plus, of course, the size and relevance of the network that those people are in turn connected to. Which means that someone with 50 highly relevant contacts (who they interact with frequently), will often be much more successful whilst using LinkedIn than someone with 500+ connections to people they hardly know or ever interact with.

2. Remember the 5 second rule

When most people visit your LinkedIn profile for the first time, on average, they’ll scan it for 5 seconds before choosing to take a closer read or simply click away.

So your profile needs to be clear, succinct and unique so as to make the right impression and make visitors read the profile.

Take a quick glance at your own profile – do you pass the 5 second rule?

3. Be careful about the headline title

Your headline title on LinkedIn is one of the most important parts of your profile.

The headline title must convey 3 things:

- What you do

- What you want

- What you want to be known for

I appreciate that if you're currently employed and passively looking for work, not all of these are possible.

But if you are not working then your headline title should make it clear that you're in the market for new opportunities ("Financial Controller seeking fresh opportunities in XYZ")

4. Avoid having a half empty LinkedIn profile

When people Google your name to “check you out” and come across a half completed LinkedIn profile – you’ve just missed a golden opportunity to give them a good first impression of you.

So regardless of whether you’re working, job searching or taking a career break – update that profile now!

5. Be different

"Passionate, innovative, hard working etc ....”

Many profiles start with this type of generic , cliché packed sentence without any kind of back up.

It sounds good at first – but when everyone is saying similar things, you’re unlikely to stand out.

So ask yourself: - What unique skills or experience do I have? What results do I have a track record of delivering? What is my value proposition? Who or what am I targeting right now?

Now incorporate some of your answers into your profile so as to make you a little different from the standard profiles which most people use.

Tips 6 -10 and Complete Article

Thursday, November 18, 2010

6 Ways to Boost Your Job Search on LinkedIn

By Lindsay Olson Lindsay Olson – Thu Nov 18, 10:44 am ET

Networking and job hunting have come a long way in the last 20 years. New research tools and the immediacy of the Internet bring job seekers directly in contact with companies and employers, allowing us to build networks that our counterparts of the past would only envy.

LinkedIn continues to be the most direct and powerful online tool, one that's certainly worth the energy if you're job hunting. But be sure you don't make one of the most common LinkedIn mistakes: being passive about your search. Setting up a profile and adding connections is a good start--but it's just the beginning. To get the most benefit from LinkedIn, you have to become a proactive user, reaching out to others, participating in the community, and continuously working to build your network.

Here are six proactive ways to boost your job search on LinkedIn:

1. Complete your profile--and then some. Add more than just your company and title. Think of LinkedIn as a resume with a personality. Use the summary section not only to show who you are as a professional, but as a person. Play around with the applications to present your work and interests in interesting ways.

Keep in mind as you work on your profile that other LinkedIn users, including hiring managers, recruiters and your fellow job seekers, use keywords to find people with certain skills and interests. What words might a recruiter use to find people with your talent or skill set? Be sure to incorporate those keywords into your profile.


2. Add as many connections as possible. When you add connections, your network grows exponentially, thanks to one of LinkedIn's best features, the third-degree connections. These include not only who you know, but who your connections know. This makes each connection you add even more valuable. In addition to having more helpful contacts for your job search, being connected with more people helps you appear as a third-degree connection for other LinkedIn users.

If you're just getting started, re-connect with old colleagues, friends, and family members. Connect with people in your e-mail address book, and then branch out from there. Once you've added your closest connections, think about how you can reach out even more. When you meet new people at in-person networking events or through work, make a note to connect with them on LinkedIn. Building your network takes time and consistent effort.

3. Personalize your invitations. LinkedIn offers a standard greeting when you look to make a new connection, but it's much more effective to send a personal message. Remind the person where you've met and why you would like to connect.

Tips 4 - 6 & Original Article

Twitter Personal Branding Checklist

by Pete Kistler


You have a Twitter profile that strengthens your personal brand. And your bio and background image exude your core values and align with your career goals. You’re growing your Twitter network – but how do you turn followers into evangelists for your personal brand?

One of the documents we pass around the office is our Twitter Engagement Checklist. It’s a set of actions that ensures our management team and interns are effectively engaging with relevant people on Twitter, growing their personal networks and building brand awareness. You may benefit from the streamlined process we’ve come to rely on. I’d like to share it with you.

Why a checklist?

Twitter is a global networking party, and you should approach it like one – with a goal and a strategy. Your overarching strategy should be to give before you even think about receiving. People are not interested in what you ate for lunch. They are interested in tweets that yield a positive impact on their day. Here’s how we do it at @brandyourself.

Twice a day…

Tweet a blog post relevant to your field. Our followers want to know about the latest trends, controversies and ideas in our space. We keep them in the loop so they know what’s going on. If you aren’t following blogs in your field, find them by searching for industry keywords on top tier blog directories like Technorati and Alltop. Tweet posts that catch your eye to establish yourself as a source of knowledge for your followers.

Once a day…

Tweet a news article about your field. We do a Google News and New York Times search for keywords in our industry. Scan headlines of online industry publications and tweet out news relevant to your followers to become a trusted source of news and updates.

Tweet a tip based on your experience in your field. We tweet personal branding, online reputation management, career development and job search tips based on real experiences we’ve had hiring, finding jobs and building our own brands. What can you tweet about based on personal experience? For example, if you’re in graphic design, tweet a daily Photoshop tip. You’ll soon build your credibility in your field.

Tweet an inspirational quote. We love bite-sized sayings that impact how we think about life and work. Head over to a directory of quotes like BrainyQuote and tweet a quote that might resonate with your followers to become a source of happiness.

Tweet something personal. We try to keep things as human (read: non-spammy) as possible. Tweet stuff related to your life: let people know that you’re planning on going to a big concert next week. Since strictly following a checklist may decrease your tweeting creativity (I recommend a mix of checklist plus your own strategy), I require a certain number of “personal” tweets from my team. Do this on a regular basis to connect on a deeper level with your followers.

Answer a question related to your field. Use Twitter search or a Twitter management app like TweetDeckor Hootsuite to search for people asking questions about your area of expertise. Type a keyword followed by a question mark to filter results, such as “graphic design?” or “civil engineer?” Answers questions and lead people back to your blog (you have one, right?) if your posts have more detailed answers. This is a great way to attract more followers, and establish yourself as an authority in your line of work.

Once a week…

Read the rest of the Brand-Yourself Article

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tips for getting - and keeping - a holiday job

by Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer


With 15 million Americans looking for a job, standing out from the crowd can be a challenge. We talked to some hiring experts to get some last-minute tips for getting - and keeping - a job this holiday season.

Get social: The days of walking into a store and filling out an application are virtually over. Many companies require jobseekers to fill out those forms online. UPS workforce planning manager Matt Lavery said 95 percent of the company's ads for its 50,000 job openings this holiday season will appear on the Internet. UPS is on all of the major jobs sites, but it also has begun getting the word out through social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Know the company's value and messages: Once you get an interview, K.C. Blonski, a director at workforce consulting firm AchieveGlobal, says showing you researched the company's background and history can help you stand out. Even though you might not know how things work on the inside, understanding corporate philosophy can help you decide whether the job is a good fit.

Ask questions: The work doesn't end once you've landed a job. Experts said the best employees don't just do what they're told. They want to understand why and look for ways to improve on processes and add value. That extra step makes them more valuable to employees and more likely to stay on after the holiday rush is over.

Tell them what you want: Lisa Bordinat, senior vice president at consulting firm Aon Hewitt, said you shouldn't be shy about letting your bosses know you want to be considered for permanent work. Ask them what skills you'll need to keep the job and how you can develop them.
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Be patient: Don't despair if your temporary position doesn't become permanent. Lavery of UPS said often the problem is simply that there are no open positions, not that the employee didn't do a good job. As slots become available, Lavery said managers will often turn to stellar holiday workers first. And don't forget: There's always next holiday season.

Original Washington Post Article

Top 10 Career Moves Even The Happily Employed Should Make

Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine

People who seek out career advice are probably dissatisfied with some area of their current job. But even if you’re content with your job, not interested in a promotion, totally satisfied with your pay and 100% secure nothing will change, here are 10 career moves you should make anyway to maintain your blissful situation:

Set aside your lunch hours. Take your 2011 calendar and block out one lunch hour per week. At the very least, you build in a reserve of time for emergencies. Ideally, you use these to catch up with people you normally don’t – think old friends, former colleagues, people outside your immediate department.

Return recruiter phone calls. You’re not looking for a job so these calls don’t seem important. It’s always good to hear what’s on the market – you confirm your value, and you may be able to help a friend who is looking. Recruiters love candidates who aren’t looking but return calls anyway.

Find a mentee. You must be doing the right things to be in your situation. Sharing what you know is a great way to reinforce all these good habits.

Find a mentor. There is always more to learn. While you may not feel the urgency for a formal class, you can learn on your next break. Seek out people you admire (not just for professional reasons, but maybe it’s the colleague with an amazing sense of humor). Hang out with them even occasionally. You take on the habits of people around you, so surround yourself with successful people.

Review your company perks. I worked at a company that was part of a program to get free or dramatically reduced admission to almost all of the museums and cultural venues in the area. A separate program gave over 50% off movie tickets and free popcorn. These benefits may not be life-changing, but they certainly are quality-of-life changing, and they might mean dollars saved.

Review your org chart. If your company has an internal phone directory, how many people do you know? If you work for a very large company, it might be a small fraction but you should at least know people in the departments that impact your job. Roles turn over frequently, and if you don’t pay attention there could be more and more people you should know but don’t. Get to know your coworkers. At the very least, you may find new lunch partners.

Review your resume. No, you don’t need to send your resume anywhere – you’re not looking for a job. But your resume is a great audit tool for your career. Do you have anything to add from the last six months? If not, this could be a sign of stagnation. At the very least, you’d rather update your resume every few months when you’re relaxed and happy, rather than have to cram several years of job memories when the need to job search is urgent.

Review your online brand. Same reasons as above, except that your online profile is separate from your resume. Your online profile is even more important for the content employee than for the active jobseeker because it is your gateway to passive opportunities.

Get some exercise. Career bliss doesn’t last forever. There will be crunch times ahead – it doesn’t have to be a major restructuring but it could be a project with a tight deadline or a difficult client. Being fit gives you the energy to power through these difficult times. While you’re in a stable career phase, build in good exercise and self-care habits now.

Go public. Get quoted in the press about your expertise. Contribute to your local newspaper or your industry trade journal. Speak at a conference or even your alma mater. Media mentions and public speaking are helpful with any career. While you’re feeling good and confident about your career, step out and get noticed.

Full Forbes Blog

Monday, November 15, 2010

Emprove Performance Group, LLC helps 750 Professionals Land Jobs with Cutting-Edge Job Search Tools

Career Search Strategies 2.0 Seminar/Webinar is Creating Raving Fans!

11.12.2010– In March of this year, Emprove Performance Group, LLC, a Seattle-based, corporate learning and development platform set out on a mission to give back to the professional community with the establishment and launch of Career Search Strategies 2.0 (CSS 2.0), a free job search strategy program offered weekly via the web, along with special live sessions in metropolitan areas. The mission was simple: to offer this program to further promote their very unique brand, but to also give back to the professional community by assisting 1000 displaced professionals get back to work!

Since the program's launch in March of this year, the program has assisted close to 800 professionals successfully land jobs through this unique and comprehensive program.

Career Search Strategies 2.0 is a seminar/webinar program that offers job seekers cutting-edge training, tools and resources related to personal branding and social media strategies to gain a competitive advantage over the vast pool of highly-qualified candidates in today's highly-competitive job market. The program offers practical training on how to develop a unique personal brand, a comprehensive professional career marketing website and how to maximize time and effectiveness when using social networking platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. Furthermore, the program shows participants how to build and design powerful interviewing tools, presentations and other unique marketing pieces to ensure success in each and every stage of the job search/hiring process.

The program also offers weekly group Q&A and coaching sessions along with additional webinar programs and events on topics related to resume writing, interviewing skills, candidate video introductions and more. Once participants go through the program, VIP access to a comprehensive Resource/Multimedia Training Library and other tools are offered to augment and guide members through each step of the process.

In addition to the training and support program, Emprove also maintains one of the fastest-growing professional job seeker groups on LinkedIn, Career Search Strategies 2.0. Whether one has attended the program or not, any and all job seekers are welcome to attend this phenomenal support and strategy group. With close to 600 members, participants offer support, leads and success stories to other members. "Many have found this group to be of tremendous support during a very difficult time to overcome the stress and depressive nature of the job search and being unemployed," says Dieter Hertling, Emprove's co-founder and CEO. "People refer to it as the CSS Family, and are out in the group discussions daily, if not hourly."

With close to 800 professionals landing jobs this year as a result of the Emprove mission, Emprove is looking to expand the program even further by offering regularly-scheduled live sessions in major metro areas starting in January of 2011.

"Job search programs these days are a dime a dozen," says Hertling, "It saddens me to see so many people/companies taking advantage of desperate job seekers out there. We are humbled and honored to be able to make such a huge impact on peoples' lives. We don't promise a magic pill or promise the world to anyone. If our clients are willing to embrace our tools and work harder than they did, even when they had a job, they will achieve their desired level of success. It's our little way of helping put this nation back together, one job, one resume, one person, at a time."

You can learn more about this free program and register for their next event via their company website or email them directly. Emprove Performance Group, LLC - Work hard. Work smart. Play later.

Original Article

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don’t Be a LinkedIn “Collector” or “User”

By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Dawn Rasmussen

One of the most valuable career assets any of us can possess is a high quality business and professional network composed of people we’ve worked/collaborated with (or connected to) at some point in our careers.

By taking this approach, there’s something at stake with this LinkedIn approach: the people we choose to connect with have integrity and quality, we know them and they know us, and we feel comfortable helping them out if they ask for assistance.

Let’s take this one level deeper: these people are also the ones with whom we have meaningful relationships and a general level of mutual respect from personal knowledge/connection.

One of my biggest personal pet peeves includes receiving a request from a random person I don’t know…and especially when this person doesn’t even bother to take a moment to let me know why they would like to connect.

You know the types…they cruise LinkedIn looking for people to add. Frequent criteria for these folks include looking for potential connections who have a lot of contacts in their network…or are a mover and shaker with whom they would like to be associated. So the LinkedIn cruiser sends a request to connect…with nary a courtesy introduction as to why they would like to do so in hopes that the recipient just simply clicks “accept invitation.”

Bingo! “Another connection added,” thinks the LinkedIn cruiser. Then they move on to the next contact target.

I call these people “collectors” – it seems their request is all about the number count and getting another notch on their belt to boost their network size.

But what they are actually doing is creating a pretty flimsily-assembled group of people with whom they have no real meaningful connection.

Fortunately, most of us don’t operate that way. And we don’t like being someone else’s statistic, either, if you know what I mean.

Most business people are probably actually quite open to connecting to new contacts, but if a unknown person wants to be a part of your network, having a basis for which to establish a relationship is critical to establishing a meaningful connection.

And when someone doesn’t even take the time to write a short introductory note, then this kind of request screams: “Collector!”

And the sad part is anytime someone sends a request, they are actually missing a true opportunity. A short note explaining how they found you or the reason why they would like to connect is a genuine basis to start a conversation and business relationship. The personalized note acts to authenticate the connection request.

And these days, it’s not so much about the quantity as much as it is totally about quality.

But even after that point, some people simply don’t get it.

An example just from today: I received an e-mail from a stranger without any mutual connections that was nothing more than the basic:

“I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn.”

Sigh.

So, I emailed back:

“Thanks for your request to connect- I only accept invitations with people I know…can you help me by providing some information on where we might have met before? Thanks for understanding!”

This person then e-mailed back and told me to go visit their company website which should be a compelling enough reason for us to connect. Additionally, they mentioned their company has had a ‘surge in clients worldwide’…yet at the same time they told me they had ‘decided to use LinkedIn as a means to find and connect with potential associates around the world who might be able to help me service their requirements.’

Yeah, right.

How motivated would I be to help this person? I basically got hit up with first an anonymous request, then a follow-up one asking me to help someone I don’t know find people to help them with their marketing efforts…and the kicker was this person was too lazy to even make a compelling reason in the personal message to me why I should help them…they simply told me to go to their website!

Ouch. Way off the mark, and totally ineffective.

We all gain something from cultivating strong relationships with our colleagues, co-workers, and professional contacts. Maintaining a quality and personal connection to each one of these people is critical to our mutual success and builds the synergy that composes the give-and-take cycles of healthy relationships.

But when it comes to adding meaningless connections just to ‘get numbers,’ strangers can’t simply just show up to take, and even more so when they offer to give nothing in return. This isn’t an effective use of one’s time nor effort, and ends up missing the critical benefit of LinkedIn.

Simply put: We do business with people we know and trust.

There is no ‘easy’ button in establishing relationships, but an effort needs to be made to personalize a request. It takes time and social skill to define and develop those relationships, and by being a collector or user, you are cutting yourself out of working with a beneficial tool that could make the difference in your career advancement through people motivated to help you by virtual of personal association and knowledge of who you are.

Choose your connections carefully- and when they connect, that means that they have chosen you, and there is weight in their trust of your integrity and personal relationship…and that they have voted ’yes’ by connecting to you.

Original Careerealism Article

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 Ways To Find A Job In 60 Days Or Less

Today the blog features a guest post by Ryon Harms who writes The Social Executive.

find a job, finding a job, 60 days, career strategy, job searchThey say luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. Without the years of networking, personal branding and a voracious consumption of career related blogs like this one, the learning curve of a recently out of work executive would have added three to six months to my unemployment. And while many of you may be out of work for the first time in a long time, there are still some essential lessons I’ve successfully implemented that I believe can get you back to gainful employment within the next 60 days.

Here are the 10 ways to find a job in 60 days or less:

1. Be Together. The first thing I did was organize a team of executives going through the same challenges. I read Keith Ferrazzi’s book, Who’s Got Your Back, and used those principals to recruit five peers from various industries to help vet my transition strategy and keep me on track despite my excuses. Being unemployed can be lonely. Finding the right support group makes a measurable difference, both tactically and emotionally.

2. Be Networking. I didn’t write a single cover letter unless I could get at least one introduction into the hiring company. I refused to waste time sending my carefully written resume and cover letter into the black hole of HR. It’s not HR’s fault, they’re just inundated. Focus your efforts on companies where you’ve got a human connection and you’ll get a human response.

3. Be LinkedIn. LinkedIn isn’t just a place to collect contacts. While most job seekers are on LinkedIn, a tiny minority is actually maximizing it. If you want to master LinkedIn, read blogs like Windmill Networking by my friend Neal Schaffer. The first thing I did was create a list of 100 people from my LinkedIn contacts that I knew had my back. I scheduled a meeting with everybody on that list first, and then I moved on to the rest.

4. Be Relentless. However much work you think it’ll take to find a job, double it. Then double the amount of time. The only way not to underestimate just how much effort it takes is to work harder than you did working full time. That means sacrifices, like not spending a bunch of extra time with your family just because you’re out of work. There were times when my wife got frustrated because I didn’t have a job and still couldn’t help out around the house. I told her that I actually had less time and more pressure than before, and she understood.

5. Be Specific. I can’t tell you how many people I met networking that couldn’t give me a clear answer on what they sought. Sometimes months or years after leaving their last jobs. If you are not crystal clear about what you want, and I mean laser targeted, people won’t know how to help you, even when they really want to. I knew what I wanted and only communicated my experiences that supported that goal. Start with your dream job description and be like a dog with a bone.

6. Be Positive. Even in my lowest moments, I let very few people feel my pain. When I met with a connection or potential employer, my attitude was that I didn’t need a job, but that I would take one if I found one I couldn’t live without. And mostly that was true. There’s no bigger turn off than the smell of desperation. There’s a visceral response to people that are either very optimistic or depressed. The former elicits the response you need to get hired.

7. Be Open. For job search, I highly recommend the shotgun approach. That means reaching out to everybody you’ve ever met, no matter what their industry or background. And since you’re working overtime, you’ll have time to meet them all. It helps to aim generally towards the executive level and at those currently working, but the truth is you never know where the final introduction will originate.

8. Be Blogging. If you don’t have an online presence, you don’t exist. Plain and simple. Your resume can only take you so far. Even well written resumes aren’t much better than a self-written obituary. A blog allows employers to dig deeper for a broader understanding of what you can offer. They also allow you to talk about the present and future of your industry, rather than the past. If you want to live in the past, stick with your resume. If you want to show a company where you’ll take them in the future, write a blog.

9. Be Nostalgic. You don’t always have to be expanding your network with new relationships. There’s a time to meet with new people, but I found my current position by reigniting relationships from transitions past. That meant reaching out to all of my connections on LinkedIn that I made more than two years ago. I spent the vast majority of my time meeting old connections for coffee and whatever was left meeting with new people.

10. Be Giving. Last, but certainly not least, you should be spending 80 percent of your time giving to others, and just 20 percent asking for something in return. Most people flip that equation because they can’t handle taking on the risk of helping others without a guaranteed return. However, the truth is that not helping others is the much bigger risk. Risk isn’t really a good description at that point, because you are almost guaranteed not achieve your goals without first paying it forward.

The story of how I landed my job was unique. I was able to ask and get two warm introductions into my employer. Despite being told by HR that I would be getting a second interview with the hiring manager, one never materialized. Luckily I had met with another executive in the company through an introduction, in a totally unrelated department, and he was able to figure out why my interview process had stalled. Turned out that they had me down as already having been hired somewhere else and so my resume was taken out of circulation. That’s just another example of why you can never rest and why you must take advantage of every possible angle.

Ryon Harms (@thesocialexec) writes about networking, careers and social media for executives at TheSocialExec.com.

Original Article

The true cost of being your own boss

By Amelia Ross, producer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Millions of Americans are out of work despite a long, dedicated job search. And some of those job hunters are choosing to go freelance -- essentially becoming their own bosses. About one in nine American workers are self-employed, according to Bureau of Labor statistics from 2009 and the trend is rising.

In taking that first step to go out on their own, many choose to start their businesses in their own home. But "free office space," has costs -- often hidden -- and it's important to understand these costs before you decide to start out on your own.

Some of the obvious costs of working from home include:

* Longer hours. If your home is your office, you never really leave work.
* No paid vacation days.
* No paid sick days.
* Paying for your own health insurance.
* Funding your retirement plan.
* Paying the half of the Social Security tax that your employer paid for.
* Paying for office equipment, perhaps upgrading your computer, printer and smartphone.
* Buying office supplies.
* Membership in industry organizations.

"The biggest costs are personal. It's very difficult to separate your life especially if you are working from home. Every minute you are not working you could be," said Carmen Wong Ulrich, author of "The Real Cost of Living," to be published in December. "You need to make 20% more, if not more than that, to have the same comfort level you had when on a salary."

And you will have marketing expenses beyond the cost of printing business cards and setting up your website.

One of hardest choices is determining where to put your energy.

"Learn how to price yourself. Know that you have to both do the work and develop the work. Honor your energy stream but never rest on your laurels," said David Holloway, career development coach. "Over time, costs steady and drop a bit. You learn what you need to do. You may not need to belong to all the organizations you need to. But education expenses are ongoing. A freelancer by definition is an expert and you need to maintain your expertise."

You won't have an infrastructure of support personnel and you just might need someone else to fix broken technology. You will need to do your own bill collection, which can be difficult. Your utility bills might increase; certainly look into calling plans. If you are selling goods, and not services, you will need to build inventory.

"Do a constant analysis of where you're at in the short term and keeping cash flow up. Use your contacts to find out what are the new markets, demographics, segments, products," said Tim Haft, president of Punk Rope.

And once you've landed the assignment, don't take a breather. "Go to three to four coffees or lunches a week. If you aren't, you are not creating a pipeline," said Beth Temple, digital business consultant freelancer since 1998. If you don't know who you should be asking to meet you for coffee, ask your existing contacts 'who I should talk to get to know me.'

"If you make it through the first two years, you can make it full time," Temple added.

Tips on starting your own business:

* The best way to develop your own business is to do it while you still have a job.
* Build up as much as you can in cash savings.
* Live below your means -- you will have good months and bad months.
* Always get deals in writing -- contracts are better. Include a payment schedule and try to get an upfront payment to start the project.
* Remember, to maintain the same lifestyle as you had with your last salary you will need to earn 33% more.
* Get medical coverage ASAP. The national option doesn't go into effect until 2013.
* Don't go longer than six months without starting your retirement benefits.
* Hire a lawyer to look into a LLC, S-Corp or a sole proprietorship to protect your personal assets.
* Hire an accountant.
* Keep track of your customer contact with a spreadsheet.
* Use LinkedIn actively for marketing. Get past testimonials on your LinkedIn profile.

Original Money CNN article