“Stay-at-home mom” is a title that has significantly evolved in the past decade — in large part because “stay at home,” thanks to the digital revolution, no longer means “non-working.” A home computer with an internet connection is the portal to innumerable flexible options, and if you’re a stay-at-homer looking to add part- or full-time work to your home-based schedule, there are many paths you can pursue. Earning an income for your family while simultaneously caring for your family (and being present) has recently become much easier — you just have to determine what type of work is best for you.
Know Thyself, Skillset and Schedule
First, you must ask yourself these questions: What are you looking to get out of home-based employment? Would you sacrifice a higher salary for something personally rewarding? Or would you rather be earning at a higher rate for work that isn’t necessarily fulfilling? Whatever your goals, keep in mind the schedule in which you can achieve them. Do you have a solid seven hours of time when your children are at school, or is your free time scattered throughout the day as you tend to a toddler, or your home? And does your environment allow for the quiet necessary for phone-heavy jobs, or is it louder and more chaotic — requiring most communication to occur via email? Know the answers to these questions, and you’re on your way to exploring the following employment options.
Learn a High-Demand Skill
If decent pay is high on your list of priorities, it wouldn’t hurt to invest your time or money in learning a high-demand skill. Computer coders and programmers, for instance, are often needed across all industries. On a small scale, any company that maintains a functioning website requires an employee with some degree of code familiarity. On a large scale, startups and digitally-based companies are always often in search of reliable programmers and developers to add to their team. These opportunities are both freelance and permanent hires that work remotely, so you’d be able to fit your own work schedule around your established lifestyle.
Similarly, many companies (particularly smaller companies) hire freelance clients to do web-design — the actual site graphics — that has nothing to do with coding. Learning Photoshop skills or taking a graphic design class could be a fantastic investment that will allow you to start freelancing on your own as a visual designer.
Follow Your Passions
If the search for a home-based job is centered more around self-fulfillment than finance, the first thing to ask yourself is: “What do I love to do?” If your passion is making art or crafting, check out sites like Etsy.com. Individuals can set up their own digital store and sell their unique homemade products. If you’ve wanted to make and sell your own ceramics for years but have put it on hold as a stay-at-home-mom, you should know that there are many ways to sell your products online from your own living room.
If you’re passionate about teaching, you can start your own tutoring business from home. Or, if you’d like to stay digital, you can seek out jobs on sites like TutorVista.com that hire individuals to tutor students online.
And if you’re passionate about an organization or charity, seek out jobs in their marketing department that can be performed remotely. Many smaller organizations may not even have a centralized office, but rather hire individuals who can work from home. Charities and non-profits are often in need of marketing employees, and while the pay may not be the highest, knowing you’re helping spread the word about your passion can be incredibly rewarding.
Know Where You’re Needed
If you can’t find a field that appeals to you and are more concerned with a consistent paycheck, look for positions that aren’t necessarily glamorous, but are necessary. Data entry, for example, exists throughout all industries and can often be operated remotely. Companies will hire employees to manage their databases and upkeep their systems. And although tedious, these types of jobs allow you assignments that are finite and accomplishable so you can go on to do other things at home. Learn software like Excel, Oracle, SQL Server, and Amazon’s SimpleDB. Data management isn’t going away anytime soon. Just be careful—there are a lot of ads out there that promote home-based jobs, and they are often scams. Before you sign up or submit anything, be sure to do your research.
Writing content for websites is also a niche position that many people making a living off of. If you’re better with words than number data, you might want to consider checking out freelancing sites like upwork.com. Oftentimes you’ll start with very low rates, but after gaining some experience you can charge higher numbers in exchange for guaranteed quality content. In addition, learn how SEO works; much of the content purchased by companies for their digital sites take SEO into consideration when publishing.
There are also phone-based positions offered by many companies. Think telemarketing, but the caller calls you. This can include IT help, sales, and customer service lines. And many of these jobs are also shifting to home-based work — the image you might have of a large call center is becoming less and less accurate as corporations save office lease costs by keeping their employees at home.
No matter what job you decide to pursue, don’t be discouraged by the vastness of choice. Sometimes jobs will be right in front of your nose, and other times you’ll feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark. Keep looking, pursuing leads, and evaluating what it is exactly that you’d like to get out of home-based employment, and how you can achieve these goals.