Yes, it’s possible to work from home!
Are you dreading Mondays? Wishing away your work days planning your next holidays? Looking for a way you can stay home when your kids are young and still make an income?
Whether you’re looking to make a full time income, or just add a side-hustle to make some extra cash, there’s an idea for everyone… Career expert, Tanya Abdul Jalil from Employment Avenues, is a writer and busy mother of three. She is passionate about helping mothers achieve their career-change dreams and has put together the following extensive advice to help Mums of the Shire community members find ways they can work from home, make a decent income, and achieve work / life balance.
Who’s the boss
Firstly, you may need to decide if you would prefer to work for yourself, someone else, or a mixture of both. If you are already employed, you may be able to do parts of your current role from home, or move into a new company in your field that allows you to work from home.
Employers may be able to give you time to work from home to complete set projects. Alternatively, you may be able to work as a freelancer on the side of your day job until your business takes off.
If starting up your own business from scratch feels too daunting, you could consider opening a franchise, or going into a partnership with someone who has complementary skills to yours.
The main downfall of working from home is the temptation to do anything except sit down and work. The washing, kids, dinner, shopping and cleaning will all call your name all day long, so you’ll need strong willpower to ignore it all and knuckle down to work each day.
Setting regular office hours for yourself will help stop family and friends dropping in for a “quick chat” each day and help you stay on task.
The most important factor to consider before you start, is what type of work you’d like to do. Whether you’re an outdoors type, love to create, cook, clean or can whip up a mean spreadsheet, there’s a business idea for you.
Got tech, use it!
The most common work from home roles are desk based roles. Working as a freelancer allows you to take on multiple clients, and usually set your own work hours.
Desk-based jobs, such as working as a virtual assistant, social media support and bookkeeper are easy to learn, require little set up except for a computer and good internet access, and organisational skills. If you’re wondering what sort of services you can do as a virtual assistant, Employment Avenues has a summary of everything you need to do to set yourself up as a VA. Freelance copywriting and design can also be great low-cost start-up businesses that allow you to work to your own hours and use your skills.
Data entry jobs are desk-based and typically allow people to work from home, such as transcriptionists, insurance claims processors, and design roles. Although all jobs will have some aspects of administration to them, if it’s not your thing, then keep reading for more options.
Get social and sell
These days, there are a large number of businesses that need sales people to work from home, and it’s not all Tupperware and candles.
Selling consumable items like skincare and cleaning products, are just some of the opportunities that could give you a social outlet, as well as an additional income. Ask around your friends and see if anyone has a referral deal or codes that will give you a head start and you might find they become a business buddy too.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with smart marketing, and pushed to sign up because the sales kits are usually great deals compared to the regular priced products. Key things to look for with a sales role:
- Make sure the products are things you would actually use yourself
- Try before you buy – go to a few parties, even online. Use them for yourself before you sign up.
- Ask your friends who have been in them for while about their experiences – are they pushed to make sales? Are they supported? How many hours are realistic to make the income claimed?
- Look beyond the sales and marketing pitch – are people actually making money or just getting lots of free products? Are people sticking with the products long term?
- Have a chat with a sales consultant for the business which is of interest to you to try to get some candid feedback about what it is like.
- Check the investment costs and compare starter kits – you don’t want to be stuck with thousands of dollars of tester products you wouldn’t use yourself.
Help in the home
If you’re renowned for your perfectly crisp shirts, or home-cooked meals, you might have already thought of offering it as a service to others. With more and more families being time-poor and willing to outsource the more menial tasks – there is a perfect opportunity to step in and help. A simple letterbox drop in your local area or a social media post on a local facebook group advertising your services might be all you need to start.
The downside of some home help businesses is that it can be hard to take time off when people come to rely on you. Given that most of the roles are fairly easy to learn, you can always train up a friend or neighbour to help, or why not start up with a friend and share the load?
You might also consider:
- Seamstress work
- Home organising/decluttering services
- Helping elderly with home or garden chores
- Family day care
Working from home, out-of-home
When people say they work from home, they usually just think of home based businesses. But thinking outside the house can lead to opportunities too. Personal training, gardening, dog walking, being a school drop-off nanny, or even starting an outdoor furniture hire company for weddings and parties will all keep you active and out of the house while bringing in money.
Start with what you know
We’ve all got a special talent that we’re known for. If there’s something you love doing, and are passionate about sharing with others, you could make it into a business.
- Maybe you’re fantastic at throwing birthday parties that are the envy of your mother’s group, or your birthday cakes that have people constantly asking you to make one for them.
- If you love to get crafty you could start designing and selling your wares on Etsy, or at local markets.
- Maybe you’re a really great driver, so could start up giving people lessons, or even hire yourself out as an Uberor sheba
- You might also consider using your talents to teach others how to cook, sew, play an instrument, learn a language, organise their home, or plan beautiful gardens.
The options for working from home are endless, and although each has their positive and negative aspects, there really is something for everyone. Don’t fall into the trap of doing what everyone else seems to be doing, find an idea that is perfect for you. The beauty of working for yourself is if you don’t like the work, or want a change, it’s reasonably easy to move onto the next big idea when inspiration strikes.
Tips for starting your perfect business
- Think medium to long term, and find something that will keep your interest. For example, would you still find a baby products business interesting when your kids are all at school all day?
- Research competitors, and what the market in your area needs first.
- Create a business plan. It might seem like overkill, but having a plan will help you work out if your idea will be profitable once you factor in your costs, your time and what people are willing to pay for your product or service. There are great free business planning templates and resources like this one and this one, so you can access to plan out your ideas before you start.
- Look into government and community grants to help with start-up costs. Most states have a business incubator program or similar and can provide free advice sessions and go over your business plan before you start
- Upgrade your skills. No matter how tech savvy you are, there are a million new things to learn when it comes to starting your own business. Skillshare, Udemy have lots of short courses, or for something more formal, Open Colleges brings together a range of TAFE’s offering online study as well.
- Find a mentor. This could be a friend, or someone from your local business network. By having someone who has been there, done that, it can be a wealth of information and help sort issues before they happen.
- Join your local business networks, and online support groups. Starting a business can be a lonely process, but it doesn’t have to be. Get all the support you can.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re feeling inspired, there is no time like the present to start your own business? If you’re bursting with ideas, our free guide to setting up your home business is the perfect place to start planning out your dreams.
About the author:
Tanya is a mother of three children under 6, and blogs about career change and finding flexible jobs and study for mums at Employment Avenues, and supports mums starting their own business at Your Business Wife. She loves to help women reshape their career and business dreams after having children and helping them create meaningful work that works with their family.