Have you looked into work from home options and come away confused and skeptical? I was too when I first started out. In this ultimate guide to being a work from home mom, I’ll walk you through the advantages and disadvantages, the different types of work from home jobs available, and more.By the time you reach the end of this guide, I hope you will have all the information you need to make an informed decision on working from home yourself.
Note: One of your favorite ways to get started working from home is to create an online course and teach something you know about and enjoy doing! This free online webinar coming up this week (the week of [insert_php]echo date(“F d, Y”);[/insert_php]) from Teachable.com will go over the “7 Steps to Launch Your Own Profitable Online Course”.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
While working from home was the best choice for me, it may not be for someone else. Before you look too much into working from home, you should first decide if it’s for you at all. To do this, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of the work at home life. For your convenience, we’ve cut this into a couple of subsections.
Working from home may just be your dream come true, and the best thing that has ever happened to your family. A number of advantages come with working from home, such as
- Flexibility – you are often in charge of your own schedule, which may benefit a busy life, or a special needs family.
- Never miss a thing – by working from home, you will have the advantage of being there for baby’s firsts, for your older child’s school functions, and so much more without worry.
- The potential to grow yourself as a person – many work at home moms find their organizational skills and ability to handle challenges improves while working from home.
While the advantages of working at home seem too good to be true, there are the disadvantages to consider. Not everything is roses and sunshine in the life of a work at home mom, after all.
You may find that you have absolutely no life outside your home, and therefore no adult interaction.
You may also find that you struggle to get started. When you’re not on a specific clock, the motivation to begin work may not be there. Once you find your motivation, you might end your day and realize you haven’t been very productive, struggling to focus through your day.
Productivity, motivation, and isolation aside, working from home still sounds like a good idea. It may be. However, there are still a few “ugly” truths about working from home that you should be aware of before you begin.
- Your health – working from home may affect your mental and physical health through the aforementioned isolation, and even bad posture.
- Lack of space – your home may not be set up or even suited for the space you need to do your work, which may make it more difficult to do so, and might even cost you money you don’t have to fix.
- Benefits? What benefits? Many (but not all!) work from home opportunities do not come with benefits such as healthcare, 401k, and other benefits a regular job provides.
There you have it: the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of being a work at home mom.
How To Cure the At-Home Blues
Those negatives we discussed above can be hard to overcome, but not impossible. Let’s talk about some of the ways you can cure the at home blues and other issues that arise while working from home.
Find a Space
Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean you must have an office, per say. You simply need a dedicated area in which you can work, preferably with little to no interruption. If you already have a desk, you can designate that to be your work space, or even install a wide shelf on brackets at a low enough spot to work as a desk.
Dress in Office Attire
As much fun as it sounds to work from home in your pajamas (a caveat advertised by numerous “from home” opportunities), it might actually be detrimental to your motivation. Who wants to do anything when they’re still comfortably dressed in the clothes they wore to sleep in? It can also serve as a signal to your kids and hubby that “Mommy is working; now is the time to behave and leave Mommy alone.”
Get Out of the House Daily
When you work from home, you may find yourself feeling isolated as you spend more time in your house and less time interacting with other adults. Intentionally setting aside time to go outside may make you feel less isolated. Something as simple as getting a coffee or taking your children to the park and chatting with the other parents may leave you feeling more connected and refreshed, which can lead to better productivity.
Set (and Stick to) a Schedule
While flexibility with your work at home job is a huge bonus, and a big reason that many women take this route, it can make accountability and motivation more difficult. Creating a work schedule for yourself at home can make the rest of your day, and your work, go smoothly.
Use an Accountant
One of the drawbacks of working at home, for me and many others, is that your checks may not have your taxes taken out of them. If you’re not very good at math, or if you simply find taxes to be overwhelming, you should consider hiring an accountant to make sure your taxes, and possibly other monetary issues dealing with your work, are handled properly.
We talked about how working from home may harm your physical health. When you work from home, you lead a more sedentary life – you don’t have to walk up stairs several times a day, or from the car to the building, or any other number of small exercises you do each day at an office job without realizing it, which may leave you out of shape. A lack of proper office space may also leave your posture lacking. Incorporating an exercise routine into your daily schedule may help with these issues and others.
Scheduling and Priorities: How to Make Your Day Run Smoothly
Earlier, we talked about how setting a schedule can help you with your productivity and accountability. If you’re anything like me, the days tend to run together without a set schedule. This can be made even worse when you work from home and don’t “have” to get up and get going as you would if you worked in an office, particularly if you have young children or school is out. Setting and maintaining a schedule can help with all these issues. The only question is, how do you set up a schedule that works for you? Let’s go over some ways to make the most productive use of your day that you can.
Make Set Office Hours
Even if you don’t have an actual office, it’s important that you set and maintain office hours. If your kids are school aged, try to make your hours while they are at school. If your kids are not school aged or are home schooled, you can either try to get in that routine now, or you could work sporadically. Perhaps an hour here, followed by an hour or two with the kids and then back to work, would be a more realistic approach for you. Whatever your hours end up being, write them down, post them, and stick to them!
Create a To-Do List
One of the best things you can do, I believe, as a work from home mom is to create a to-do list. Make a list of the things you need accomplished throughout the week – make two lists, if you need to, for both personal and work. Pick a few things to focus on each day, and make it a priority to get those items checked off your list.
Just as you should use a to-do list to stay organized, you may also wish to prioritize such things as email responses, phone calls, and other little things which must be done each day but probably don’t make it onto the “master to-do list” from earlier. Knowing who needs to be responded to as soon as possible and who can wait until you have a spare moment is essential to a successful work from home career.
Meal Prep Is Essential
So, you’ve scheduled. You’ve made to-do lists, and you’ve prioritized. You may have noticed that your day is a bit full now. Remember when we talked about scheduling a day or two off a week? During that time off from work, you might want to consider doing some meal prep for the rest of the week. This will help keep your family fed and healthy without tempting you to call the Chinese take-out place down the street five nights a week (although those egg rolls are tempting!). You also won’t feel quite so pressed for time, because you simply need to thaw and heat, and maybe add a side dish.
Come Up With a System
As important as scheduling your work day is, it’s also important to come up with a system for things that don’t necessarily need to be done each day, but must be done at some point. Whether it’s grocery shopping, bills, or various non-daily household chores, set a specific day each week (or month, in the case of bills) for these to be taken care of.
Schedule Off Time
Just as it’s important to schedule time to work, it’s vital that you schedule time off as well. Make sure you have a set end time to your work day, and maybe prioritize a day or two a week (weekends are good, but if you need to work on a weekend, pick a couple of week days) where you kick back, relax, and revitalize.
What’s Out There? The A-Z of Work at Home Jobs
“This is all great information, but how do I even find a work at home job?” you say as you scroll through this guide. It’s a lot easier than you might think, and there are more jobs out there than just the sales opportunities you may hear a lot about on social media. Here, we’ll go over some of the different types of jobs available, and where you can find applications or information to send your resume.
Employee positions usually mean, in the work at home world, that you are being paid to do at home what you would also do in an office. Most people who work employee positions only work through one employer, and many also offer benefits.
Call Center/Customer Service
We live in the age of the call center-based customer service, and many of these folks work from their own homes. Typically, employees with this type of job make an hourly wage based upon their experience and federal laws, and need a quiet space dedicated to their work for the set hours agreed upon in their contract. Many well-known businesses offer this type of employment:
Essentially, a data entry worker inputs information into certain computer programs for the companies who employ them. Pay varies based on the company and your agreement with them – it could be hourly, salaried, or by project. Though the pay is often low, all you need for this is an internet connection, a computer, and the ability to type quickly, which might fit better if you have rowdy young children.
If you have a decent amount of knowledge in certain subject areas, or better yet (and often expected) a degree in an area, online tutoring might be the job for you. As with many at home jobs, the pay varies based on experience and employer agreements, but all you need is a computer and an internet connection to get started.
Freelancing may be the most well-known at home job opportunity. You can turn almost any skill you possess into a freelancing opportunity. However, you are considered an independent contractor and will receive no benefits, and you will need to file your own taxes, as they will not be withheld from your payment. On the plus side, because you set your own rates, you stand to make a substantial amount of money if you play your cards right.
While writing jobs are by far the most popular freelance gigs, a copy writer sets themselves apart from your bloggers and magazine writers by focusing on driving sales for their clients. You may have to hunt through multiple websites and boards to find copy writing opportunities, but they are definitely out there.
A virtual assistant, simply put, is a personal assistant who works from home. Duties vary based on the business your client is in, but usually include things like social media management, emailing, editing, and scheduling. Pay varies, and your best bet is to simply send out emails to potential clients. These boards are also a good starting point to find clients if cold emailing isn’t your forte:
Being a creative person with internet skills might make you the perfect candidate to become a web designer. Highlight your abilities by designing your own web page to advertise your services. You can also search for companies or individuals looking to hire a web designer.
Many people today are jumping at the opportunity to run their own business from home, but remain hesitant to try the wildly popular direct sales jobs advertised all over social media. While there’s nothing wrong with those jobs (and we will discuss some of the less well-known opportunities), they are definitely not the only small business opportunities available for work at home moms to try.
Are you good with numbers? Are your organizational skills out of this world? If so, congratulations! Bookkeeping may be the best job you’ll ever have! You can learn to do this on your own time, or you can learn as you go if you’re not already experienced.
Thrift stores no longer need to be confined to a building with a small base of local customers – you can now use your savvy reselling abilities by opening an online store, as well.
Many of my friends on social media have turned to direct sales as a means of supporting their families. Others are more skeptical, or afraid that they won’t be able to succeed in the venture because so many others on their friends list are already selling. If you have strong sales skills and a drive to succeed, don’t let those thoughts stop you! Check out some of the less well-known direct sales opportunities instead:
Resources for Work at Home Moms
Now that you know how to succeed at your work from home job, and where to find one, you should also know that resources do exist to make your life just a little bit easier.
There are tips on how to afford to be a work at home mom if money is what’s holding you back.
You can find resources on how to grow a retirement package and other financial information, since many work from home moms do not get these types of benefits from an employer.
Being a work at home mom has been the joy of my life, and you could experience the same joy. Never miss another first, another school event, or anything else because you can’t leave work. Take your work with you and live your life while enjoying your children and earning an income. Personally, I’ve found the advantages of working from home as a mother have far outweighed the inconveniences or disadvantages.