working for yourself

All posts tagged working for yourself

How to Spot a Scam on Facebook

Published January 9, 2020 by Maryanne

scam+alert28

Before I get into it, first I want to say that both Facebook and Craig’s List are great tools for people who work for themselves. As an author, ghost writer, blogger, editor, and public speaker, I’ve been successfully self-employed since 2008, in part thanks to Facebook and Craig’s List.

From time to time, I’ll post an ad on a Facebook community page seeking work as a ghost writer or editor. I’ve met many clients this way and it gets my name/info out there for referrals.

The other day I was thinking about posting in a local community again and I saw something suspicious. It was an ad offering a large sum of money for a simple task of posting real estate ads on to Craig’s List. After some investigation, I realized it was a scam. A person in real estate “hires” someone to do their busy work posting ads on Craig’s List. But then they don’t pay their hired help for doing the work (which is promised after a two-week period). The person makes all kinds of excuses why they can’t/won’t pay. If you Google “Craig’s List Real Estate Scam” you will find many stories about this scam.

Now, what makes victims fall prey to these scams is that the scam artist will create a beautiful Facebook page. They will steal photos of an attractive, approachable looking woman (or man) and create a fake page, with a fake name. The person will be featured in various photos taken over the years, on glamorous vacations, with a cute pet, with friends or a lover. The punchline is — LOOK CLOSER — there will only be a few “likes” for each photo and hardly any engagement with so-called friends/family. This is the dead giveaway! Do not walk away, RUN!

As we know, the majority of successful people on Facebook have reached their friend limit and engage with their friends/fans/family on a regular basis. For real accounts you’ll see hundreds of comments.

Scam artists can never have enough time to create a seemingly true picture because they are too busy scamming. This particular page I saw was one of the more elaborate ones I’ve seen. Others are the more obvious type of fake with just simply a few photos (of a very good looking female or male) with limited engagement. But those are the types that seem to want fake love and fake relationships, not necessarily money (or your time to work for them at no pay).

With what I already knew, and some further investigation, I exposed a scam artist and he/she was banned from the job hunting community!

It breaks my heart reading real stories about people in vulnerable situations (the one I read yesterday was home bound in a wheel chair) getting scammed.

If you’re self-employed, or seeking work in between jobs, or just need some extra cash, here are ways to avoid being scammed:

  1. Ask for a phone number and an email address. Do not EVER work directly from Facebook Messenger and/or Craig’s List addresses.
  2. When you get a phone number, call it at least once for any reason. Make up a dumb question. You need to make that verbal connection to know the person is real.
  3. Over the years I’ve worked with clients all over the country and in other countries. But I’d suggest if you first start working for yourself, remotely, stay as local as possible. Unless you know for sure the person you’ll be working with is honest and sincere.
  4. If you’re asked to create a fake Gmail account — DON’T DO IT! The person can use this to find out your passwords and get information to your other important stuff like bank accounts.
  5. Do not provide a social security number over the internet. Only send a W-9 form to a legitimate email address that belongs to a legitimate company/organization.

If you have anti-scam tips or stories you’d like to share, feel free to comment below! 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

Happy National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day!

Published March 29, 2015 by Maryanne

Pear tree buttons - 2My business “Pear Tree Enterprises”

Happy National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day!

Observed annually on March 29, according to National Day Calender (http://nationaldaycalendar.com/2015/03/28/march-29-2015-national-mom-and-pop-business-owners-day-national-lemon-chiffon-cake-day/), it’s a day that honors all small businesses.

The summer of 2008 I started my home-based business, Pear Tree Enterprises (www.peartreeenterprises.com). Fed up with the politics (and gossip) of working for other people, I decided to create something for myself, focusing on using my talents to the best of my ability. My ultimate goal was to work with positive people doing a variety of things I loved: freelance writing, book editing, personal assistance and marketing.

Interesting, “marketing” the skill I felt I was the least good at has opened up many doors for me. And I was able to market myself when I eventually became a public speaker (late 2013) and an author (2014).

I recently won a book on Good Reads called “The Business Romantic” by Tim Leberecht: http://www.amazon.com/The-Business-Romantic-Everything-Something/dp/0062302515

While reading this book, I was fascinated by how much in common I had with the author. My vision of romanticizing work and looking forward to tending to my business every day had come to fruition early on. I embraced the times I was high on the hog and during lean times I was still happy because I was able to successfully avoid: gossip, harassment and not being recognized for your efforts. Since being self employed I was able to take vacations when I wanted; take off for funerals without having to jump through hoops; and let go of people I didn’t want to work with, respectfully.

Each day is different. My world is a blessing of working with people I genuinely like and respect; being creative; and time flying because I’m having fun!

Currently, I offer a series of lectures to libraries, assisted living facilities, rotary clubs, senior clubs, etc.

And I am in the process of helping two people write their books.

From time to time I write for the Paterson Press online. I will always love journalism no matter what.

If I can successfully get past August, my time at Pear Tree will surpass any other job I’ve held. That shows that this is where God wants me — working for myself. Because working for myself isn’t always about me. It’s about being a better wife. Without the stress I’ve endured at previous places of employment, I am a much happier person, which makes my husband happier too. (Happy wife, happy life, right?)

Working for myself makes me a better friend and relative. I’m able to juggle my schedule around if someone needs me. No more do I have to turn down people I care about because of work and answering to an employer.

And working for myself gives me the opportunity to hire other people and pay them generously. Even though I’m far from a CEO money-making status, I’m happy to say that I can pay people who work with me what they deserve. I never wanted to be the person who keeps others beneath me. I want my colleagues to be at my side — as it should be.

Life at Pear Tree has been a very happy journey and my greatest wish is for God’s blessing to keep it going. And if that is the case, I don’t plan on retiring. Why should I? Pear Tree keeps me young and very happy!

maryanne-typingAt Pear Tree, we give you good old fashioned business!

And now a little shout out to self-employed people I’m currently working with:

Darlene Foster who did the cover of my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist: http://www.nextcenturystore.com/on-the-guest-list-adventures-of-a-music-journalist.html

View Darlene’s work here: http://www.darlenefoster.com/

Carol Erickson is currently working with me on my “Learn and Listen” series: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/ella-fitzgerald-program-learn-and-listen-series/

View Carol’s work here: http://www.carolericksonvocals.com/

Bridget Briant is currently working with me on our “Make Art Out of Recyclables” program: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/make-art-out-of-recyclables/

Bridget is a yoga teacher and has a new program called “Baby Buddhas.” Check out Bridget’s work here: http://www.yogatogonj.com/

If anyone is interested in booking the “Listen and Learn” program or “Make Art Out of Recyclables” or having their books ghost written or edited, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com
 
I’m always looking for new ideas and others to work with. Feel free to contact me with your innovative ideas. Don’t hesitate to reach out!
 

The Four Types of Clients You’ll Encounter

Published March 20, 2013 by Maryanne

home-based business

The Four Types of Clients You’ll Encounter

by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta(originally published in The Verona/Cedar Grove Patch, March 2013)

Bending over backward to keep each and every client is the biggest mistake small business owners make.

When you run your own business, having more clients doesn’t always mean more profit. In fact, some clients can be so detrimental to your business having them onboard can make you lose business.

The key to running a successful home based business is identifying which clients to keep and which to pass on. There is nothing wrong with having a “pecking order” when running your own business, putting the more desirable clients at the top.

In order to figure out which clients are worth keeping and putting before others, successful small business owners summarize their clients into four categories:
  1. High Profit/Low Maintenance. These are obviously the clients you want to keep because they pay well and are easy to work with. In other words, a small business owner’s dream! They are organized. They are easy to communicate with. They pay on time. They utilize your talents to the best ability. There is a mutual trust and respect. They may even give you a Christmas present or bonus! If you can develop a great relationship with these clients and keep them, you are so ahead of the game as you’ll be making money almost effortlessly.
  2. High Profit/High Maintenance. Whether you choose to keep these clients or not is up to you. The high profit/high maintenance client may drive you up a wall. There may be drama, unexpected phone calls when you’re on the beach vacationing, a ton of stress, disorganization and so forth. But the pay will be well worth it. To me, high maintenance can be amusing if you keep your sense of humor. Unless high maintenance goes too far by crossing the line of respect, eating up all your spare time, making you cry or reach for a glass of vodka after working with such clients, I say “go for it.” After all, sometimes big money comes with a small price.
  3. Low Profit/Low Maintenance. Sometimes a client may come along who doesn’t have a large budget or is asking for a task that doesn’t require too much skill or effort so the pay is lower than usual. But I say to keep these clients on board because it’s easy income. And you never know when you’re going to hit a slow period. Also note that sometimes a low profit/low maintenance client can eventually become a high profit/low maintenance client. That happened to me a few times. I did such a great job at a low profit level, a client willingly increased my rate!
  4. Low Profit/High Maintenance. I’m not afraid to say these clients are the worst and should definitely not to be kept. They will expect you to jump through hoops while paying you peanuts. There will always be stress, tension, misunderstandings, frustration and possibly tears. The hours will add up and you’ll have nothing to show for it but aggravation. You may find yourself passing up work from other clients because you are so wrapped up in this nightmare of a project, which isn’t fair to you, your other clients or your business. Just say “no” and move on.

By immediately recognizing a low profit/high maintenance client you can let him or her down easily by saying that you are currently over-booked and can’t take on a new client at this time.

Or just be honest and tell them their rate is too low. But try to keep the working relationship positive, as you never know what can change in the future.

And I am available for small business consulting! My rates are cheaper than competitive rates. Email me for more details at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is also available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261