When I wrote “I’m a Jamaican Housewife“, I was protesting the disregard today’s society seems to have for the role of the homemaker. Yet, even before I detailed all the work that managing a home and family entails, I referenced my own grandmothers and their entrepreneurial ventures while they were stay-at-home-mothers (SAHMs). Today, we call them work-at-home-mothers (WAHMs) since they were actively generating an income from their homes. But, that was fifty years ago when a woman had no choice but to stay at home. The 21st century mother has had society’s expectations change completely, making a successful career her priority, while the terminally ill economy has forced even the best-intentioned of mommies to end up on the payroll.
But, technology has changed the way business is done and as such, many occupations no longer require one’s physical presence to service clients or supply goods. All we need is an internet connection to earn a living and build a career. But, before I dive into a list of income-earners that are great for mothers who want to work from home, we need to go over some of the mental preparations necessary for making this new kind of occupation a success:
a. Assess Your Skills, Qualifications and Passions. In the same way a job recruiter would go over your resume and qualifications, you need to make some objective and realistic assessments about what you are competent to do. You don’t need to have years of experience or be any kind of expert, but you should have some interest, ability and motivation for your job of choice.
b. Create a Tentative Schedule. All jobs require time! Some jobs come with their schedules, while other jobs will require you to carve out your own. Determine how much time the job requires and find a balance with managing your family life. Your loved ones will need to know your new schedule and support you by respecting this time like they would a commuted job.
c. Plot Your Transition Strategy. Once you’ve identified the job and what it requires of you, you will need to make some lifestyle changes to facilitate the new duties. This means that some of your responsibilities will need to be shared with your spouse or other loved ones, and therefore you will need to draft a plan for modifying your daily routine.
d. Tap Into Your Professional Zone. Working from home allows you to be in your comfort zone, but this does not mean you should be too relaxed and neglect the job or your clients in any way. Many WAHMs find it very helpful to get ‘dressed for work’ so they get into the mindframe for being professional and productive, while doing everything possible to manage their time efficiently.
With those preliminaries taken care of, we can look at these ten jobs out of the deluge of work opportunities that WAHMs have been diving into:
Food sales and servicing is great for you if you are keen on making cakes, natural juices or pastries. If everyone raves about your cooking, you should consider catering for events or delivering breakfast snacks or lunch to businesses.
If you have the space at home, you may receive students who need private tutoring in one or more subjects, like Math or Computing. Or, you may be able to start a homeschool co-op for other like-minded parents. Many people are also willing to attend webinars to learn skills like pastry making, make-up artistry or to study a foreign language via Skype.
If you are a great salesperson, you may want to get into social/commission-based sales (like Avon), use social media pages to retail clothing and accessories or sign up to make sales (on behalf of major companies) through drop-shipping.
4. Desktop Publishing
If you’re technically inclined, have impressive document preparation skills or know your way around photo-editing software, you may be the right person for creating flyers, brochures, t-shirt graphics, a website banner or e-book covers.
5. Product Development
If you have a creative streak and basic production know-how, you may want to launch your custom-made jewellery, haircare line or cloth diaper collection. With resources like eBay, Etsy, Pinterest and free blog spaces, your living-room could become the factory for your product line.
6. Child/Senior Care Service
You could open up your home to offer daycare and babysitting services, or you may want to run errands and be a shopping aide for the elderly in our community. Either way, you’d be putting your nurturing skills to work for you.
7. Support Service
Virtual assistants are just as popular as call centre agents, data entry clerks and social media managers. These positions allow you to provide customer support for major corporations or be the personal aide to busy executives.
8. Freelance Writing
Both students and journalists are in need of your skills in research and editing, and if you’re a gifted wordsmith, gigs as a copywriter or blogger will keep you busy. Plus, with the popularity of e-readers, ghostwriters for e-books are in demand.
9. Beauty/Wellness Practitioner
The hectic schedules and stressful lifestyles that are becoming the order of the day, make personal beauty and wellness services necessary luxuries. Whether it’s your hobby or you’re vocationally trained, the in-home services of a nail technician, reflexologist, loctician and masseuse are a special treat that many persons are willing to pay for.
The growing concerns we have about food quality, mean it’s time to put that green-thumb and extra yard space to use. You may choose to grow organic produce, raise free-range birds, build a nursery for potted herbs or design container gardens.
However, you slice it, the decision to stay-at-home doesn’t always mean living on one income or death to your career. We are mothers in the age when we have a chance to take back the reigns of home and family management. Our privilege is that we are raising children in a time when we can be there when they get home from school and still be freelancers, entrepreneurs and game-changers. Many have joined the ranks of the work-at-home-mommy. Will you?
Ladies, have you tried any of these jobs on the list? What would you add?
Didan Ashanta is a natural living enthusiast who blogs at DidanAshanta.com. A native of Jamaica, she currently lives in Tokyo with her husband and 9-month-old daughter.