Being a parent is one of the most challenging and simultaneously rewarding careers out there. While it’s almost more than full time because you have to put your heart and soul into every minute of raising kids, it also unfortunately doesn’t pay (well aside from the all too short maternity/paternity leave some parents can earn after giving birth). While raising kids is a lot of work, you might find yourself either needing money or craving some aspect of work that you miss. Sometimes, alternative careers are a great option for moms and dads who want or need to be at home.
Think about what you have enjoyed about past jobs. Since your life is probably pretty crazy right now, jumping into a career that you don’t enjoy can make you feel less compelled to keep working. If you want to be a work from home parent, you will benefit from choosing a path that you actually enjoy. Now is a good time to think about what aspects of work you find rewarding and find work from home options that fall in those categories. While no one enjoys 100% of the work they do all of the time, now is the time to explore positive options.
Make a list of things you’re good at doing. This is hard for everyone, so ask around. Your friends and family are bound to have good ideas of skills you have that they envy or have been impressed by in the past. Getting an idea of your skills will help you match what you can do with what you like to do. Anything in the middle of that Venn Diagram could potentially be your new career!
Consider What You Enjoy
Sometimes, skills you never thought were marketable can help you find work from home opportunities. Are you known for multitasking and never missing a beat? Then becoming a virtual assistant might be a good career path for you. Countless executives and entrepreneurs are looking for freelance virtual assistants to help them stay on top of their schedule and more. You might be asked to do data entry, reach out to potential clients, or field phone calls. This career path can be a great long-term opportunity that can grow with you. If you’re a new parent or if your kids have hectic schedules, you might want to consider that before signing up as you’ll be expected to work regular business hours.
If you are into programming, you might want to look into companies that need part-time programmers. This type of project work is usually deadline-oriented and can keep you engaged while working from home. Graphic design is another great career you can do from home, but might involve some face-to-face client meetings to ensure you get a good sense of a client’s needs. Still, these meetings can be conducted via video chat. If you have a great portfolio and a drive to ensure customer satisfaction, most clients won’t be too worried about where you are getting the work done.
Do you love updating friends and family on Twitter? You might be a perfect social media consultant! This field is rapidly expanding and will give you more flexibility than being a virtual assistant. If you know the latest trends and how to drive customer engagement and interaction, then you’re going to be a perfect fit! Freelance social media consulting will give you the opportunity to work from home while still being a member of a team and thinking critically about what customers want to see. It’ll keep your skills sharp and give you an excellent skill set that will come in handy in any field you want to explore.
Think Outside of the Box
There are probably skills you brush off as unimportant that can be a career. If you have a good clear speaking voice and a decent microphone, you can do video voiceover work. If you can type quickly, try transcribing audio or video files. There are so many things you can do from home with just an internet connection and a flexible schedule.
Be Your Own Boss
Craving something a bit more concrete? Starting your own company or business is always a possibility. While a lot more involved than some other freelance options, becoming your own boss could mean you decide never to go back to a full time office job. A lot of people think of at-home businesses as craft oriented, and they certainly can be if you are an artisan. But there is also a myriad of other fulfilling career opportunities that you can do yourself.
If you know how to write a fantastic resume or give good job search advice, being a career advisor might be the right job for you. Scanning freelance boards will show you just how in demand these skills are right now. A lot of people have the skills needed to do a job well, but are seriously lacking in the communication skills to get their foot in the door. Building a home business around a skill like career advising can mean you take on everything from creating a brand to developing a solid reputation. It’ll put you in charge and give you the option of becoming your own boss.
It’s going to be tough to balance parenting and working from home at times. It’s hard to focus sometimes when you’re surrounded by the distractions in your home. Giving yourself and your family time to adjust to the fact that you may be home but you aren’t constantly available is important. Eventually, you will all learn to adapt to the schedule. Until then, taking a test contract or two is the best way to sort of the kinks before you take on too much.
When you’re a parent, there is a lot of pressure to do it all. But having a standard office job can make you feel pulled in many different directions. Working from home gives you the opportunity to be present in two fulfilling components of your life. While work/life balance is hard for everyone, it’s most challenging for people raising families. My best advice is to remember to be kind to yourself while being a working parent, it takes a lot of energy and focus!
As a working parent, or someone who used to be, what were your biggest obstacles? Why did you choose to work from home? Give other parents advice on how to stay in the work world while raising kids in the comments below!