Quitting Your Job to Stay Home with Your Kids – Part 2 of 3

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In my last post, I wrote about how I left my full-time teaching position to stay home with my daughter, but still needed—and wanted—to contribute financially to my family’s income.

Now that I’ve been managing this work-at-home-mom gig for four years, I’ve acquired valuable resources and knowledge about what it takes to make it work. If you’re considering doing the same but aren’t sure where to begin, here are some practical ideas to help you get started.

Start With Where You Work NOW
Whether you’re looking to power down to part-time hours or work from home as a remote employee, the best place to start is with the job you already have. It’s obvious that for some professions, working from home is not an option. However, if you work in an office setting, try easing into the idea. Start by asking your boss if he or she would be willing to let you work from home one or two days a week. Perhaps you’re at the end of your pregnancy, and not having to commute to and from the office will make you MORE productive. Or, perhaps you’ve already given birth and, like me, are struggling with the idea of returning to work full-time. Either way, if your situation allows, talk to your current boss. You may be able to arrange a beneficial flexible option that benefits the both of you.

Network, Network, Network
I found one of my most consistent clients through a friend and former colleague who had already made the transition from FT employee to work-at-home mom long before I even entertained the possibility. I reached out to her when I was considering leaving my teaching position, and she connected me with a local magazine that needed more writers. Maybe you have a friend who’s launched a successful business and could use your skills, or maybe you know of a coworker who’s walked the path before you and could help. The point is—use your network. Update your LinkedIn profile, and start connecting with former colleagues and with others in your field who might be able to help. You may be surprised that your network is much larger than you think.

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Harness the Power of the Web Search
Plenty of career-finding websites exist, but one of the most invaluable resources I’ve found is the website Flexjobs.com, a career site that is particularly geared toward people who are looking for flexibility in a job– and no, I’m not being paid to say this. The site has a massive database of prescreened full-time and part-time telecommuting jobs, as well as freelance jobs and jobs with flexible schedules. At last count, the site has more than 24,000 jobs posted in every industry imaginable. You do have to pay a subscription fee to access the full site, but it has paid for itself many times over. Also, if your work can be done on a computer—i.e., if you’re a writer, graphic designer, or programmer–you can also find jobs through sites like Upwork.com, an online workplace that connects clients with freelancers. Simply searching “work-at-home jobs” will amass thousands of hits—just be careful that the companies you’re applying to work with are legitimate ones with a proven track record of success.

Consider Direct Sales
Of course, one of the most popular ways to earn money while working from home is through direct sales. There are approximately 16 million direct sales consultants working in the U.S., according to Direct Sales Aid; companies like LuLaRoe, Thirty-One and Pampered Chef are always looking for consultants to sell their products. Can you make money in direct sales? Of course. In fact, a friend of mine has created a very successful Jamberry business and has risen to the role of senior lead consultant. She’s consistently in the top 5 of her team of 400 consultants nationwide, and is planning on reaching the company’s executive level. The secret to her success? She says that while some of these products will sell themselves, you still have to be willing to work hard. Sounds obvious, but a lack of motivation (and a lack of consistency in pay) is what causes many consultants to quit the business.

Overall, it’s important to remember that today’s working moms have plenty of options. After all, telecommuters and freelancers are the fastest-growing segment of the workforce, with nearly half of all workers working from home at least part of the time. With persistence and determination, you’ll find a career that enhances your work-life balance.

photo credit: Woman and young girl in kitchen with laptop and paperwork smiling via photopin (license)

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