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WORK AT HOME: Computer ace has it down to just eight days a month

Macy McFarland created a working retirement from her home-based business.

Macy McFarland began her Assisted Data  business from home in 1990 when she discovered computers.

McFarland, who has a master's degree in clinical psychology, said she loves that she was ultimately able to create a working retirement for herself and now works only eight days a month.

A one-person operation, McFarland loves the freedom to work from home and also to speak with clients at their offices. She specializes in website design, desktop publishing, bookkeeping and database management.

In the same year she began her business, she was also a marketing director for winery at where they put her in front of a computer which she had never seen before.

“I needed to learn how to use the computer, so I proceeded to take many courses at Santa Rosa Junior College and decided to show people in their offices how to work a computer,” said McFarland. “I then went on to do computer on-site training for many years.”

Because IT evolved so fast, she discovered she could not keep up, so she decided to specialize in office functionality software. Thus, she said, she became extremely efficient in spreadsheets, database management, bookkeeping and desktop publishing, which she continues today.

“I just had a natural affinity for computers, like Beethoven had for the piano, and all else is history,” McFarland continued. “I felt very blessed to have found something I loved doing, and could make a living doing it.”

Asked why she started a home-based business, McFarland spoke of her son.

“I started working at home in 1990 because my son was in junior high and I wanted to be home for him,” she said. “My son is now 30, and has 11 years in the Army and will probably retire about the same time I do!”

When the discussion turned to the constantly changing computer world and how McFarland keeps up with it, she was firm that it was not an issue.

“Over the years there have been a few problems -- mainly scheduling and being prepared for the task I was being asked to perform,” McFarland said. “However, at this stage of my business operations, I am seldom asked to do something which is new and foreign to me.”

While problems like isolation are often common to others in home based business, McFarland does not feel it applies to her very much.

“Because I have so many clients, I am never isolated,” she said. “However, like many small business people, I do find myself in the kitchen a bit more than is good for me when I am home alone.”

In terms of what it takes to be so proficient with computers, McFarland simply thinks that way and loves the teaching aspect too.

“Because I have a logical mind, I can usually figure out new software very quickly,” she said. “I still love computers, and will gladly jump into hardware problems.

And because I love training and teaching, I enjoy helping show people how to use the computer themselves, and not be intimidated.”

McFarland loves her free time too and talked about her hobbies.

“Believe it or not, us nerdy types do computer things for hobbies even thought we do them for our avocation,” she said. “I learn new software, I research things on the Internet, and even help my boyfriend publish his newspaper just for fun.”

McFarland's clients seem to not only love her work, they trust her implicitly, which is critical in any business.

One of McFarland’s clients, who has been with her a long time, finds her efficient and trustworthy.

“Macy has been an inspiration to both my office and my emotional space,” said Christie Geernaert, d.b.a Geernaert Properties.

“Nothing rattles her and she is willing to do most any task I ask of her, always with a smile,“ Gerrnaert continued. “I trust Macy with everything that is near and dear to me, including money.”

McFarland concluded the interview sharing with others why working at home is so achievable.

“I think anyone can work at home, and set a pace in their life they are comfortable with,” she said. “It took me a couple of years before I had anything like a living wage but I was willing to do lots of cold calls, lots of jobs I had no interest in, and to go places to meet people just to promote myself.

“And I had a dream. Believe in yourself and follow your dream,” McFarland advises.

You may reach Assisted Data via their website.

Rika Meyer February 16, 2011 at 08:23 AM
Hi Pat, the link to Assisted Data's website has a typo and didn't work. It should be www.assisteddata.com.
Jacqueline Sloboda February 16, 2011 at 04:34 PM
I like the term "working retirement" in your home. Since Early Boomers (age 56-62) have a 47 % chance of not having enough money to pay basic retirement costs, uninsured medical expenses and basic living expense, it is going to be the norm. Workers are emptying retirement plans to stay afloat , so most of us can't plan on retiring like our parents did. Jacqueline http://www.FlexHourJobs.com
Pat Wyman February 17, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Saying goodbye from Pat Wyman - Hello Patch Readers, Effective 2-17-2011, I resigned from Patch.com and have loved featuring so many stories on all your good works and businesses in Healdsburg. I'll dearly miss all of you! Looks like you have lots of great new content and contests to read about - enjoy! Warmly, Pat Wyman.

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