Becoming a work-at-home mom has been one of the most exciting, freeing decisions I’ve ever made. The blessing of flexibility is unmatched by any other 9-to-5 my husband and I have ever had, and I feel more empowered as a person working from home than I’ve felt in a LONG time.
But to be completely honest, it’s not all roses and rainbows as some folks would like to believe.
While working at home and spending more time with your family sounds like the dream for so many parents out there, the truth is that there are some things you might want to consider before diving into the work-at-home world if you’re a parent.
If you’re a parent who is considering starting up your own side hustle or work-at-home career, here are 4 honest things to consider before you do:
1. You will not be able to be 100% accessible to your kids 100% of the time.
Contrary to popular belief, working from home as a parent doesn’t necessarily play out like the image we have in our heads. You know the mom on the laptop snuggling with her kid on the couch all day? Yeah, not likely.
I mean, you might have moments like that, but the reality is that kids are needy. They want (and sometimes need!) your full attention. But that’s not always conducive to being successful with your work-at-home job.
(I’d like to see the parent who can give 100% of their attention to more than one thing at a time. If you know them, let me know. They’re sitting on a gold mine skill. ;-))
The truth is, working from home requires focus and dedication. So while you will probably have the flexibility to get up and take breaks with your children, eat lunch with them, and maybe go on walks and have some play time or one-on-one time, it’s not going to equate to spending endless hours bonding with your children.
Because working from home requires actual work — well, at least if you want to keep your job.
So before you jump into the work-at-home world, make sure you can carve out time in your day when you can work uninterrupted. This is especially true for jobs like transcription and scoping, but can really apply across the board.
As a full-time project manager for bloggers and digital marketers, I find it really important for me to find a place where I can work quietly and uninterrupted in order to keep my focus and not be distracted from my work.
Thankfully, my husband can stay home with our sons to provide them the attention they need while I’m working, and I can spend intentional time with them during my off hours.
But if you don’t have the luxury of having your partner stay home with you, it’s important to work around your needs and find a work-at-home niche that provides the level of flexibility you need. If you need someone to watch your child so you can work, make sure you work out those details before you dive into the work-at-home world.
When I first started working from home, I learned all of the skills I needed to get started and I started building my business during nap times and bedtimes. Use the time you have well, and yes! You can build a business even if you have little ones at home.
(My boys were 5 and 2 and my husband worked 40-60 hours per week when I started working from home and building my business. It can be done!)
One of the greatest blessings of working from home is that you can usually mold your schedule to fit your season in life! So before you get started, find your ideal times to commit to your work and use that for the basis of your availability.
2. You won’t be able to replace your full-time income tomorrow.
Or even in a month. At least, it’s not likely to happen that way. It can, but it’s not likely.
Unless you’re already trained in a highly sought-after skill and you have clients all lined up, you’re not likely to be able to step out of a full-time 9-to-5 traditional job into another work-at-home one that will meet your financial needs lickety split.
A lot of parent’s I’ve connected with who want to quit their full-time jobs to be more available to their kids have unrealistic expectations when it comes to working from home in this regard.
The honest truth is that it took me a year and a half to replace our family’s full-time income. Can it be done sooner than that? Absolutely! But it takes lots of time, focus, and dedication to achieve that.
Most of the time, replacing a full-time income unfolds like this:
- Start filling your available hours each week with your freelance work outside of your normal 9-to-5 job. It may only be 5-10 hours, but it’s something!
- Slowly build your clientele until you can now justify reducing your hours at your full-time job.
- Continue to work and increase your freelance hours until you can justify quitting your full-time job altogether.
This is a safe way to build your work-at-home income stream until you can replace your full-time job.
Note: I do not advocate quitting your secure job to jump into a work-at-home opportunity if you don’t have a solid reason to believe it will be able to actually fill the gap in your income.
3. You’ll need skills to work from home.
Or at least you do if you want to earn any kind of real money.
Skills pay bills, my friend.
And yes, sometimes learning those skills requires a little bit of investment. My work-at-home career started with an investment of $497. I enrolled in a proofreading course and that started me on a journey of learning and applying new skills until I got to where I am today.
If I could offer any advice to anyone out there who would like to work solely from home it’s this:
Snowball your skills!
Learn, master, and apply one new skill (ONE!). Let that lead you into mastering another new skill. And another. And another. And another. Until after some time and dedication, you have a rock star skill arsenal that you can use to not only replace but exceed your former income.
For me, I first learned proofreading. That snowballed into adding transcription, which snowballed into virtual assisting, which snowballed into project management!
I got to where I am today one skill at a time.
And you only need one to start! Just one.
And the good news is that you probably already have a skill you can turn into a side-hustle right now!
Snowball those skills, friend!
4. It’s 100% worth the time and effort involved.
Yes, even though I sacrificed a lot of hours, time, and a bit of my sanity in the process, I believe wholeheartedly that working from home is 100% worth the time, money, and effort I invested to get here.
No, I can’t spend 100% of my time with my kids, but my husband and I both get to be far more available to them than we were before because of the flexibility I have in my schedule!
Yes, it cost me a bit of money to invest in myself to get started, but I’ve made that back 200 times over since I made that first investment!
Yes, it took me a lot of time and courage to learn new skills, but now I have a skillset that clients want. Skills that help me rest assured that I don’t have to worry about feeding my family ever again.
Is it hard, yes. But it’s 100% worth it.
Need some help finding ways to snowball your skills? Check out these skill-based training options I talk about in this blog post!