Freelancing – the best way to get started as a work at home mum?

Helen_and_tabletWere the first ideas you had about being a mum with a business all about inventing a product or maybe a party plan?

If so it’s not that surprising because newspapers and websites love the ‘mum invents new product’ story and party planners are actively out there recruiting. For these reasons, these business types tend to pop up on our radar faster than other possibilities.

But there are plenty of mums quietly freelancing away too. Some pick up a few odd jobs in nap-times, others turn it into full-time self-employment. I was a freelance trainer for about 6 years in my LBK (life before kids) and I picked up a few freelance jobs when my kids were tiny, too. But my main focus has been on creating information products and promoting other people’s products as an affiliate.

Just lately a few things have happened, though. My kids have got a little older so I’m no longer working in a half-hour I can grab here and there (except for now when it’s the summer holidays), I’ve made a lot more video training and enjoyed it and I miss working together with a client to produce a satisfying piece of work. Yes, information products can get a bit lonely and isolating.

So I’ve decided to dip my toe in the freelancing world once more and I’ve posted my first ‘hourlie’ on People Per Hour. The idea of an hourlie is that it’s a short, well-defined job that doesn’t cost too much. It gives a clients a low-risk taster your services, which is great of you’re just starting out.

Tons of the services people search for on People Per hour can be done from home, such as writing, design and admin. I’m offering my voice-over services!

I’ve found the signing-up process is very straightforward, so it’s definitely worth a go (click here for more info).

(Photo – me with my tablet – we’re an Android family!)

Quick money vs long term business: Which is right?

When I first started looking for business ideas, my plan was to build a long term business. Something that would grow as my children grew; I never wanted to have to go back to a job.

Almost four years down the line, I’d still agree with that. But (you knew there was a but, didn’t you? 🙂 ) it’s not as simple as it sounds.

The problem with growing a long-term solid business is that it takes time. Lots of time. And time is one thing you don’t have with young children around. There’s a big learning curve for starters, then there’s market research, getting the product or service right, marketing and finally after that you might make some money.

Many mums with young kids get stuck in a trap where they can’t afford childcare because they haven’t made enough money yet, but they don’t have the time to build their business without the childcare. That can lead to an agonisingly slow and frustrating start-up period.

Whether you can free up time to get your business off the ground or not varies. If you’ve got just one pre-school child, you may be able to pay for a little childcare a week (I found this harder as my children are just over a year apart in age and that meant childcare was seriously expensive for a couple of years). If you have a relative or close friend nearby that can look after your child for one day a week, that can make a huge difference. Or if Dad can look after the little ones all day Saturday, that’s a big plus, too.

Throughout this start-up period, there’s a good chance that you’ll be making very little money. Some families may be able to tighten their belts for long enough to get through this  but what if you really do need cash, and fast? Continue reading “Quick money vs long term business: Which is right?”