Working from home can seem like a daunting idea, especially when you’re a mom. You may love the idea of being able to earn from home, but then the inevitable questions always arise — “How can I do this while my kids are home?” “How will I have time to get anything done?”
I can completely relate to this feeling. I’ve been working from home for the past 11 years, and in that time I’ve also been raising and homeschooling my four children.
Working from home isn’t necessarily always easy, but it is worthwhile. Bringing in an income while you’re home with your children and working a schedule that you dictate is one of the best feelings out there.
Follow these steps if you’re ready to take the plunge and become a work at home mom.
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Step 1: Figure Out Your “Why” for Working at Home
Working from home isn’t always easy, and there are going to be a lot of times you’re going to ask yourself why you signed up for this crazy life in the first place. This is why it’s so important to know your reasons before you get started.
Ask yourself why you want to work from home. Is it because you are tired of a long commute and a mean boss? Do you hate putting your kids in daycare? Maybe you’re just done with missing school performances and soccer games because it’s impossible to get away from the office.
Whatever your reasons are, write them down. Then, put the list where you can see it regularly. I have mine hanging up on a bulletin board right above my desk. These reasons serve as a powerful visual reminder when you’re struggling with trying to manage everything.
No matter how excited or willing you are to start working from home, you’ll undoubtedly have struggles along the way. Writing down your reasons for working from home will help give you the motivation to keep going when you’re having a bad day.
Step 2: Decide What You’re Going to Do
This sounds easy, but it’s a big step. As a work at home mom, you’re going to need a job that’s flexible enough so that you can be there for your kids. In many cases, this might mean you need to forgo traditional jobs that simply allow you to remotely work from home.
Unless your kids are old enough to care for themselves or you have regular childcare help, it’s unrealistic to expect to be available without interruption the same hours each and every day.
Many moms find that instead, they prefer freelance work. Freelancing is nice because you’re your own boss. This means you set your own hours and you work when you’re able. You also have complete control over your income.
Here are some of the top freelancing positions that work great for moms:
You can also choose an area that jives with your current career path, and branch out as a freelance specialist in that field. For instance, I’ve interviewed a successful mom who left her job as a teacher and now works from home as an online educator.
There are also lots of other freelancing jobs that allow for extra money. These typically won’t bring in a full salary, but if you only need a part-time income, you might consider one of the following:
- Voice-over work
- Data entry
- Selling handmade items online
There are also other job options available for moms who want to work from home, like opening up an in-home daycare, or offering music lessons from your home. These and other ideas are explored more in my post, Home Business Ideas for Moms.
How to Figure Out the Best Work at Home Job for You
While it’s easy to know what kind of jobs are out there, it’s more difficult to know exactly what you should do. As you’re trying to decide, ask yourself these questions:
What are my strengths? I was always a fairly good writer in school which is one of the main reasons I initially decided to pursue a freelance writing career. If you’re good at explaining things to others or are very motivational, maybe you could be a tutor or a coach. If you love graphic design, maybe that is your calling. Whatever you are good at doing, see if you can turn it into a job.
What makes me happiest? Do you thrive when helping people? Or maybe you’re happiest behind the screen, where you don’t have to have a lot of face-to-face interaction. This is an important thing to consider when you’re choosing a work at home career. No matter how lucrative a potential job is, you will have a very hard time succeeding if you don’t actually like the work it entails.
How much time do I have? Take a look at your day and figure out when you’re going to be able to work. I’ll bet that initially, it might not seem like you have any free time. Think about adjusting your bedtime and look for cracks in the day where you could be a bit more productive. Then, consider what a work schedule would look like. If you pursue a job with a fixed set of hours, like tutoring, you’ll need to have more free chunks available during your day, while a more flexible schedule like freelance writing allows you to work when YOU have the time.
How much money do I have to get started? In many cases, you’ll have to pay a bit of money to get your home business off the ground. Things like training, tools, a laptop, and website hosting could cost a lot more in one industry than in another. Consider the costs before choosing what to do.
Step 3: Set Yourself Up for Success
If you want to successfully work from home, you need to start off on the right foot.
If you’re a freelancer, this might mean setting up a website for yourself, putting together a portfolio, and putting yourself out there on social media. In fact, Facebook and LinkedIn are two of the best places for fledgling freelancers to find new clients. You can find lots more tips about getting started in this article.
Additionally, you’ll need to consider any training you might need. This is common in any field. If you want to break into a totally new industry, like working as a virtual assistant, it makes sense to get some guidance.
Depending on what you choose to do, there’s probably a course available that can help you get started. Here are some of my favorites:
- Virtual Assistant – The Savvy System Course
- Proofreading – Becoming a Proofreader by Proofreading Academy
- Transcription – Transcribe Anywhere Course
Finally, you’ll need to get your physical space ready for work.
You don’t necessarily need a home office – I certainly don’t have space for one – but you do need to set up a work spot somewhere in your home. While this might seem unnecessary, it’s really crucial for productivity.
Choose a spot in the home where you can put a small desk or workstation, and try to keep it clear of household clutter. This helps establish a work mindset, which is really important as you prepare to make money from home.
Step 4: Create a Work From Home Routine
While being a work-at-home mom has a lot of perks, it’s often challenging because you’re now trying to balance both running your business and watching your kids. While in the past you probably dropped the kids off somewhere and went to an office that offered an environment conducive to work, you might be trying to hack it all on your own now.
A good routine is essential to keeping it all together and not losing your mind. A lot of your routine will depend on the age of your kids and your current life situation.
For instance, since I have four children (including a toddler) and I’m homeschooling, I know that I will get little to no work done between about 8a – 1p. So, I get up at 5:30 and work for at least an hour before my children get up. I then focus on the kids and household stuff, and work again in the afternoon when my little guy naps.
Admittedly, I’m only working part-time right now, but as a freelancer that works out great for me. I’m able to fit my work in on my own schedule. Using a routine and figuring out what really works best for your own situation can help you if you’re unsure of which career path to follow.
Tips to Be a Successful Work at Home Mom
It will probably take you a little bit to find your groove as a work at home mom. Here are some tips to help ease the process:
1) Stay on schedule. While of course life will be unpredictable when you’re caring for children, try to stay on schedule as much as possible. If you just try and “fit work in,” chances are you’ll never have the time to work. You need to make work time a priority and stick to that time as much as humanely possible.
2) Make a designated work area for yourself. Again, it helps both you and the kids if you have a place in the house where you always sit down to do work. This puts your brain in “work” mode and it also shows the kids that mom is working. It will take time to establish this as a routine, but it’s worth it.
3) Make time to shut down the work. Try to keep a separation of work-life and family life as much as possible. Otherwise, you run the real risk of trying to fit work in all of the time, which can actually be counter-productive. Instead of trying to constantly work, designate times when you’re all-in for working and all-in for spending time with the kids.
4) Ask for help. You might be working from home to spend more time with your kids, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire a babysitter or send the kids to Grandma’s so you can get work done! As a busy work at home mom, you’re going to need help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. This might mean sitting down with your spouse and establishing set times where you’ll work and he’ll watch the kids. Or maybe it means you set aside a stipend in the budget for a babysitter each month. This could even mean you start paying for a housekeeper! Whatever it is, don’t feel you have to shoulder this big responsibility all on your own.
5) Ditch the distractions. Many people think they simply don’t have time to work from home. If you’re truly serious about becoming a work-at-home mom, you probably have more time than you think, but you might have to make a few sacrifices along the way.
Did you know that the average person watches 5 hours of TV per day! If you’re one of these people, ditching that habit will free up a lot of time to work. Examine your life and look at what you can change or rearrange to make more time for productivity.
Becoming a work-at-home mom requires careful planning, a lot of hard work, and dedication. It isn’t always easy, but it is definitely worth it. I love that I am here for my children and even able to homeschool them, while I’m still making an income for our family.
If you’re interested in learning about more job options for becoming a work at home mom, check out these posts: