Getting Started as a Work-at-Home Mom
If you're considering trying to join the ranks of successful work-at-home moms who make money while staying home, you probably have some questions. You might be wondering where to find work-at-home jobs that pay well and how to avoid work-at-home scams. You may even be wondering if you would like being a work-at-home mom.
The first step to joining the ranks of successful work-at-home moms is not finding a job or starting a business. It is taking a long, hard look at yourself, your family, and your resume, and deciding whether being a work-at-home mom is what you want.
You'll need to take into consideration whether you have the personality traits to work from home, what you will gain from it, and what you might have to give up. Below are four steps to help you get started on your journey to becoming a successful work-at-home mom.
What's the Right Career Path for You?
There are many careers paths for work-at-home moms. These include:
- Telecommute the job you already have
- Become a consultant or freelancer
- Start your own business
- Find a new telecommuting job in your field of expertise
- Dive into something entirely different
Whether you're in the workplace now or you're already a stay-at-home mom, the best place to start is with your own resume. If you are currently employed, can you negotiate a flexible work schedule that includes working from home?
If you've already left the workforce, look back at your last job. Network with your former co-workers. They may know of openings or freelance work that could be done from home. Search national job listings for that type of work with "telecommute," "remote," or "work at home" as additional keywords.
If your skill set or current career is not a good match for working at home, consider breaking out into a new field. Online learning is one approach. Starting a home business is another. If you do opt for a new career, keep in mind that you may need to hone your skills in a traditional workplace before becoming a home-based worker.
Prioritize Your Needs
You've probably figured out by now that no work/home situation is perfect. To get as close as possible to your own ideal, you and your family must set priorities. For potential work-at-home moms, it is a good idea to break down the reasons into two groups: reasons to work and reasons to work from home. Here is what your lists might look like:
Reasons to Work:
- Financial need/security
- Career advancement
- Save for retirement/college
- Personal fulfillment
- Pay down debt
Reasons to Work From Home:
- Spend more time with kids
- Eliminate commute
- Save money on childcare
- Leave unpleasant work environment
- Reduce stress
Once you have your lists, you'll want to rank the items. Then, as you look at job possibilities, think about how they fit with these priorities.
Plan the Practical Aspects
Most work-at-home moms don't start out with a full-time telecommuting position right away. The work-at-home lifestyle is usually something you build over time. In fact, you may need to build up your savings first.
Plan to start small. If you're moving from the office to telecommuting, try a couple days a week at first to see how it works for you and your employer. If you're building a business, that also takes time.
Here are a few things to take into consideration:
- Child Care - Figure out how much and what kind of childcare you'll need.
- Ground Rules - Adjusting to working from home can be a difficult transition for you and your family. Clear rules and expectations can ease the way.
- Home Office - You'll need to find a place of your own within your house where you can set up a home office and work with minimal distractions.
- Organization - You'll need to have systems in place for organizing your home life and your work life to make things go as smoothly as possible.
- Building a Nest Egg - Starting small can mean a reduction in income in the short term, so you must plan for this.
Find a Work-at-Home Job
If, after mulling your options, you've decided to start looking for a work-at-home job, here are some useful links for work-at-home moms:
- Companies Hiring for Work-at-Home Jobs - An alphabetical directory lists companies hiring people to work from home in fields ranging from customer service and data entry to PR and travel.
- Top Telecommuting Companies - If you prefer to work for a major company, one of these firms may be the place for you.
- List of Work-at-Home Call Center Jobs - These companies hire home-based call center agents.
Be sure to determine if a work-at-home job is legit before applying. Many work-at-home job postings are scams. Luckily, there are a number of sites dedicated to helping moms look for remote jobs or other types of flexible work.