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Since the days when I first embarked on being a work-at-home mom, I’ve heard the words “you’re so lucky.” And while I’ve certainly had my fair share of lucky breaks, the fact that I work from home with my son running around has nothing to do with luck. It’s all about hard work and planning, which you can do too.
Chances are that you’ve come across this article once you’re already a mom or are pregnant with that first little blessing. Let me just say congratulations. No matter how you do motherhood, whether you work full or part time outside the home, don’t work at all, work evenings and weekends when your husband watches the little ones, you’re an amazing mommy.
Throughout this blog I’ll walk through my tips for becoming a work-at-home mom from the early days before baby is even born to finding a way to get out of the working world even with a child to care for and a full-time job. So if you feel like the early steps don’t apply to you, just skip ahead.
Build skills to work from home
This is a big one. Not every profession lends itself to working from home. Some industries require an office, collaboration with others on a regular basis or special tools you can’t keep at home.
But I’d argue many desk jobs today can be done from home. You work in HR, finance, IT, operations, administration or education, you can move your work to your home. I won’t say it’s easy, but it’s possible.
Take a hard look at your profession. If it doesn’t lend itself to working from home, you might need to go back to school, complete an apprenticeship, do online learning or ask a friend to teach you a new skill.
Some work from home jobs just need you to have some prior experience. So set your sights on what you want to do and start building that experience level now to prepare you for success.
Start work-at-home mom planning early
From the days when I was in college I had this vision for working with my children at home. I studied journalism, which I knew could be a work-at-home job if I wanted it to be. I ended up switching over to marketing because journalism wasn’t right for me, but the overall concept was the same.
When I was young and naïve, I planned out a marketing agency with deep discounts specifically for nonprofits. Eventually, the older I got and the more a household budget became my focus, the more I realized that wasn’t possible.
When my husband and I got engaged, I started thinking about a side hustle. What could I do after hours that I would love and find engaging and fulfilling? I sent my resume to tons of local small businesses and told them I could help. I quoted insanely low prices.
Six months into it, I finally got my first bite. It was a local running and triathlon company that invited me out to a race as a test. I went, had a blast and started a relationship with them. To build my skills, I worked a couple of races doing marketing for a low rate. It was a win-win because I had fun, built my freelance experience and had something to show other businesses while they got inexpensive marketing services. This was a year and a half before we planned on having our first child and two full years before we welcomed that little bundle of joy.
Slowly, everything grew from there. Within a few months I had another client that I was writing blogs for on a monthly basis. Then another. And I started finding prospecting avenues that actually worked because I’m not a cold-calling salesperson.
Test out working from home
It isn’t for everyone. In fact, some days I’m not sure it’s for me. Working from home can be lonely. You might find it difficult to stay motivated. If you can, test out what it’s like to work from home with your current employer before you commit to being a work-at-home mom officially.
Try a weekly work from home day or if you can, work at home multiple days a week. You’ll get a good idea of whether or not work from home works for you before it’s your livelihood.
Build a side gig before baby
Going from $0 a month to a few thousand when you have a new baby at home is super tough. I highly recommend starting before you have a baby. I started planning on working from home long before I left my job. In fact, it had always been in the back of my mind from the day I graduated college.
When I chose writing as a profession, I knew I could do that from anywhere, anytime. That opened the door to making working from home a full-time gig.
Websites to find jobs
Here are some websites where you can find a gig to match your lifestyle as a parent.
- Upwork: Upwork is one of my number one places where I find work. The fees are insanely high (you pay Upwork 20% off all earnings up to $500 and then 10% up to $10,000 and good luck ever having a client reach that $10,000 threshold). Plus, you have to pay a nominal fee to quote each new project. It takes a bit of time to get established on the system and you have to do a couple projects for basically nothing to get the ratings you need to land the better business, but I’ve found it’s worth it because there are so many jobs available on Upwork.
- Fiverr: I personally never had a ton of success with Fiver, but I know you can find many gigs out there. And the gigs vary across many industries so it’s a great place to find work.
- VIP Kids: I’m not a teacher so I’ve never done VIP Kids, plus I think you have to work some odd overnight hours. But I’ve heard from other people that if you enjoy teaching this can be very fulfilling and some nice supplemental income.
- Thumbtack: Thumbtack allow you to build a profile and follow job opportunities related to your field. You can quote the business that interests you and pass on the stuff that doesn’t match your skillset.
- TranscribeMe: I used TranscribeMe for a while but with a baby it’s sort of tough. You have to be able to listen closely to the content to transcribe it, which isn’t super conducive with a baby. It’s also tough to make a ton of money there but it can be a fun way to make some supplemental income and all you have to do is pass a test to become a transcriber.
Jobs with nonconventional hours
In some cases, working the night shift or weekends while your husband stays at home with the little ones is what works best for you, and that’s OK. There are so many different ways to stay at home with your little ones and you have to find what works best for you.
- Instacart: I signed up to deliver groceries with Instacart but I never actually did it. I found doing marketing from home was more worth my time personally, but my career shifted to remote quite easily, and I know some parents don’t have that luxury. Instacart is nice because it’s completely flexible and you pick up work when you want or need it.
- Uber or Lyft: serving as an independent taxi driver can give you those few hundred dollars a month you need to make ends meet and there’s no shame in that. Signing up is easy and all you really need is a car and a smartphone to start driving for them.
Make some extra money
While it isn’t a job necessarily, you can make some extra money on the side using some platforms and taking surveys. I’ve only found one service to really be worth it, and that’s Swagbucks.
Swagbucks: there are tons of programs out there that claim to give you money for surveys and such but I’ve found Swagbucks is the best. I get a $25 gift card to Amazon each month with little effort. The nCrave Watch function plays in the background on my laptop while I work and I can get spending money for fun treats for myself.
Have additions to this list you’d like to see? Send us an email and we can add your work opportunities to our list.