If you clicked on this post waiting to find the ultimate recipe and the secret sauce to working from home with kids, well, let me tell you by now you are in for a big disappointment.
First of all, because there just isn´t such a thing and secondly, because you should probably be skeptical of any article that claims that it will teach you how to make money online and work like a badass mom boss babe or other uplifting terms that are trending these days.
I am not saying that this is not possible but the online reality you see everywhere is just the tip of the iceberg – you see stories from many successful people who already did small repetitive steps towards something that they chose (always sacrificing other things) and then build on that. And that may look simple, but it is not always that easy.
However, if you find yourself interested in the idea of working from home almost full time because a) you have kids or little kids, b) you are planning for them, c) you are in here just for the giphy jokes – then good news – you can totally work from home, spend time with your little ones, and have the life you always dreamed of. Well, sort of.
I know this because my husband and I have been working at making this possible for the last 3 and a half years and it is a great fit for us. Our incomes grew in this time of uncertainty and this comes to extra confirm that we chose well. Interested in trying this out too? Then grab a coffee or tea, things are about to get real.
First things first
The best way to land on a job that you enjoy is to start it! Seriously, you need to start doing things that will get you in that direction as soon as possible. Like, today.
New research on newborns shows that we like things because we choose them and the opposite works as well, we dislike things because we didn’t choose them.
For instance, I choose to take on a bunch of digital tasks and I try to solve them to the best of my capabilities, thinking always that it has to benefit my client. I blog and I write because I fell in love with writing when I chose to do it.
My husband is a self-taught software developer, who is currently working on a system helping optimize the delivery process for online shops in Germany and Europe. And he also develops a few private projects. All of these are things he chose by himself, so he really enjoys doing them. He does seem to dislike when I give him random tasks I chose for him, because, well, science.
Interested in other job ideas? Get here my full list of 179 work from home jobs that you can start doing now in order to make money from home too (most of them are completely online).
What do you need to get started?
Internet: is not just a place waiting to sell you something you don`t need through advertising, it also gives back a lot.
It gives us all the amazing opportunities of reaching basically anyone who is looking for a solution to a problem that we could potentially help solve.
Uninterrupted work time (flow): I plan uninterrupted blocks of time for me where my husband babysits, and then we switch and he gets his block of uninterrupted time so he can go into full focus mode – he works from home too.
You can also get a babysitter at your place for a few hours, exchange babysitting favors with other parents or get help from your family if they live close by.
Uninterrupted work hours are super important because as much as we`ve culturally pictured women as these multi-handed Indian Gods of work and motherhood, the reality is that if you are constantly juggling 4 to 7 things at once, the quality of that work just ain`t that high.
Sorry. If you have to talk to your whiny toddler, respond to an email, send an urgent supplier payment, and do some CSS on the online shop you are building, some of these will suffer. And you risk ending up tired, frustrated and snappy.
Plus, it goes completely against the famous concept of “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who basically says that you will only experience a state of flow, which is high creativity and full presence, by aiming to work in uninterrupted chunks of time, fully immersed in the activity at hand.
These blocks should be established and followed as strict as possible. And if needed, strong boundaries must be set.
For instance, prepare to communicate your boundaries when it comes to unannounced visits from people who believe that if you work from home, you are not really working and they can just pop up for a visit.
It goes the same for your partner – any non-urgent matters can wait. You will have to define urgent.
Patience: with an extra sprinkle of patience. And in this digital, modern world, the staying patient part is getting harder and harder to do.
I definitely didn`t start with 3000$ from the get-go and surely I am still learning and consolidating my skills. Here is where patience is super helpful:
- helping clients, one at a time
- breaking larger tasks into smaller chunks and doing them one by one
- learning small new things, often
- daily routines
- uncomfortable, hard work and hard conversations
- staying focused on the goals you choose
Start small: I started inserting products for online shops, getting 10 € an hour. Not extremely exciting but totally doable. My husband started doing WordPress sites for super cheap.
Like me, you probably won`t be able to support yourself from the beginning by doing just this one thing, but you can keep it as a side thing and do it in parallel with your day job if you have to. Just get that remote money coming in today.
If you start small and patiently practice something long enough, you can do anything.
Divide and conquer: split tasks by time and tackle them. For instance, if I get a block of 2 hours, I will set just one task I know will fit into this interval.
If it is something I don`t particularly like doing, I will start with it early in the morning or when my working hours start, to make sure that I give it my full brain capacity. I will also sometimes use the Pomodoro clock online, and work fully focused for 25 minutes at least.
Embrace the novelty: being open to research and taking on completely new tasks. That is basically the ability to learn by yourself and it is a skill that will always help you, but especially when working from home.
Say no to distractions: this is an obvious statement, but in order to work from home you have to be prepared to say no often to your friends, family and work colleagues if you have them when they ask you to do something.
And well, to yourself too. On a scale of 1 to 10, just how important is buying baking paper right now?
Prioritizing in order to stick to your plan is part of your self-discipline, and that is a must when working from home. I get distracting thoughts all the time and I found that opening a word document and writing down all the ideas that come up during work really helps.
Routines: consider replacing poor habits with routines, one at a time. Journal the new habit you want to implement for 30 to 60 days on a new habit with guidance from Dr. Nicole le Pera.
I personally believe it helps to start with sleep. Proper sleep and waking up at the same hour can help you fix some of your moods, which will help you stay out of your phone in bed at night, which will help you wake up less tired and ready to experiment with foods and eat healthier, have more energy to exercise, execute plans and breathe deeply, eliminate major stressors in your life and well, you get the point. The right routines ultimately lead to exceptional results.
Self-awareness: it struck me in the past years, that you will never be able to get rid of negative emotion through life and you shouldn`t even aspire to do it at all, but what you do is to get better at dealing with it.
It is frightening because you have to be able to go through your automatic patterns and responses to negative emotion and fear, your past trauma and coping mechanisms.
But self-awareness is so important because if you manage to be radically honest to yourself and if you can witness your inner talk, you will eventually be able to encourage yourself out of your irrational fear-based negative talk, but also to discourage yourself out of your borderline manic, too positive, ultimately risky perceptions of what you can actually do.
Constant communication with your partner: about your goals, plans and needs. Keeping in mind that you and your partner are a team and everything else can happen because you are supporting and cheering for each other. This way you can shop up and be of service to the world and fully present to enjoy your day.
Gratitude: if you got lucky to be here on Earth, breathing, in an honest relationship, and you get the chance to build something and share a mutual direction as a family, you have so much to be grateful for.
So count your blessings daily and share it with the people around. Gratitude is a state altering and extremely powerful emotion and it is probably the healthiest thing that you can practice daily.
Do you know yourself? It helps if you know your personality.
Do you get bored easily? In this case, taking different jobs or working on different subjects will keep you going.
Do you have a type-A personality? Then being the master of a niche is what you should aim at.
Are you open to risk or do you have low-risk tolerance? If the second option applies, then aiming for a steady main job is key.
The caveat to personality tests, just like to horoscopes, is that both put you into a box that can ultimately restrict you and keep you closed in. So it is best to try and keep that box open and you´ll get to behave in ways that can surprise you and even change you deeply.
How I make money working from home
As I mentioned, I wear a bunch of different hats at the moment. I think it is important to assess your personality time beforehand if you have not done so yet, because it is much easier to find the job that fits your than it is to fit yourself for the job.
Like, try to be really honest about the work that you enjoy doing and the one your dread and choose accordingly. Put yourself in a position where you can benefit from your traits.
In my case, I know I have the personality for diverse, new tasks and I am fairly extroverted. I am always curious to explore and test out new things and ideas.
I can and enjoy getting organized and I finish tasks fairly easy, but it still feels like a lot of work without routines in check and I will go on the occasional research spiral that distracts me from doing.
But, I am also rather impatient so I tend to ship something before it is totally ready, which leads to mistakes and having to correct them, while grinding my teeth in temporary embarrassment.
Buuuut, c’est la vie! I think learning to take such risks is super important because perfectionism has always been the enemy of getting things that you enjoy done.
Experience showed me that working consistently can get you to the key point where you gain momentum and from there on, things start rolling for you and you can start getting people on board who will help you check and execute your ideas.
1. Main job as an e-commerce manager
Well, what is that, exactly, you might ask? Good question, varying answer. E-commerce management can mean different things for different people, but I find it narrows down to the size of the company hiring you or their niche.
As an e-commerce manager in a small company, you tend to not be able to specialize to the point where you do just one thing really good, rather, you try to cover a bit of everything related to the online.
Medium or big companies on the other hand need to rely on you to deliver one thing well, in order to make it possible to follow the protocols within which they operate.
Think about the person who writes copy for Apple – it is probably strange to hear that someone writes just a bunch of text as a job, but being able to do this for Apple means you have been constantly putting in the time to get really good at a variety of things, from psychology, sociology, consumer behaviorism, statistic analysis, big data, more big data, all the big data etc. This person also almost never works alone, but in a big team where ideas are bounced back and forward.
As a work from home beginner, you will most likely work in small companies doing a little bit of everything. But this doesn’t mean you can`t end up specializing in something if you really go deeper into some topics.
E-com Manager is my favorite job so far because it pays well enough even in a small company, there is so much potential for growth and you get to experiment with marketing novelties that you can later try on your own business, should you chose to start one.
What I do exactly:
- take orders from the online shop, Amazon, eBay and other sales platforms
- send them over to the warehouse after automatically creating their shipping labels (a process I automated using tutorials)
- send over invoices to the clients
- take on communication that comes via the contact form & emails
- answer question from clients or redirect them to tech support
- save up all incoming and outgoing
invoices and arrange them to send them to the expert accounting firm
- create marketing material in Canva
- create new texts and inserting products in the online shop
- create new product bundles
- ppc advertising with google ads, managing & improving PPC account
- create a new website
- find new solutions to improve the customer journey and optimize the in-house operations
- Pinterest management
- create a blog with WordPress
- content writing
- research on competition etc.
- payment processing, refunds
Clearly, this is not your typical e-commerce management description. Observe how all of these individual items can be full work from home positions in themselves. But this is just a reality in smaller companies.
It is also a great advantage to get so much trust and as a beginner, to be able to learn all these things from and for someone who pays you.
These and many more like these are actually items on the list you will get if you subscribe and that will help you figure out what you could start working from home now.
Tools I have been learning/using in the last 4 years
- German CRM system
- Different plugins
- Creative market
- Adobe Stock
- Video editing tools
- Courses – photoshop, PPC, UI and UX, e-mail marketing, Pinterest, photo editing, writing, Copywriting, Freelancing SEO, CSS, Social Media Marketing, etc
2. Writing (Blogging included)
If there is ever something you care about personally and professionally, learning how to write and tell better stories is essential for getting your message across.
I don´t consider myself a writer per se, but the truth is I have been making money with writing ever since I moved to Germany back in 2014. I could fully support myself writing copy for different clients, or reviews about business locations I was visiting. I also wrote strategic business communication, presentations, website copy, email-marketing and probably more than I can remember now.
All of this with zero writing experience. I simply always loved English and I read most of my information in English since I was young. So if you know a language well, native level or not, writing can be leveraged in so many ways.
Then I started my own blog. Writing about things that I was researching in my own life turned out to be something I enjoyed doing a lot. You might discover you like this too. If so, my go-to girl for everything blogging is Suzi Whitford. I used her Blog by Number super easy to follow tips and I have been monetizing my blog through affiliate marketing and I am currently writing my first e-books and working on my digital products.
So long term, writing is one of the main things that will super help to add to your income. But it is so much more than that. I see writing as a really great way to monetize your choice for life on your terms, where you get to explore new and old ideas for a living. And that my friends, is beautiful.
3. Graphic Design – Logos, Branding
I started this on 99 designs, and I used a tactic that helped me get recurring clients, even if I had no practice with tools such as Illustrator and Photoshop.
I am recently working with other designers and coordinating them (turns out, it saves me time and I get to practice my project management skills).
So if you have an eye for design, just know that learning graphic design is totally doable and you can start researching clients around you and work from home with this one.
You can also join my Pinterest group for Mommy Graphic designers, where now more than 200 amazing mommy graphic designers share super useful content.
4. Web design
So far, I have built simple business description pages, blogs, my own blog and now I am building from scratch my second online shop, which is a challenge that I super enjoy doing. All of that with zero knowledge or help from my developer husband. Really. He makes me read and find solutions by myself.
Most people think that web design requires a lot of coding and programming experience, and that is just not true. You do need to go through a few courses/tutorials that will explain the basics of how to build a site using a tool such as Photoshop and a drag and drop builder of your choice and then you need to play along in a website environment.
However, it is a plus to have at least a bit of understanding of what happens under the hood of a website. And this can be acquired through reading, on youtube or just inspecting the code of a site – Ctrl + Shift + I.
And that is because as a website designer, you should avoid building something that is wow and amazing in terms of design if your client is not specifically asking for it or unless he`s got a significant developing budget.
Sure, the client will be amazed, but his developer? Not so much. Most likely your client can afford to implement just a normal site, not something that it is technically hard to code. The expectations created will make him feel less satisfied with your work.
As a beginner web designer, you will most likely not work with huge businesses that need impressive user interaction on their websites, on the contrary. You will need to build effective design for small businesses to get their messages across to their clients.
In this case, you can even move quickly from the design to the actual building part of the site. There are so many website builders out there that have drag and drop editors and businesses rarely need custom programming.
You can always purchase a ready-made theme and twitch and configure it for your client. There are numerous ways in which you can help a client get a site up and going and google is your friend when it comes to making this happen.
5. Basic bookkeeping
I started sorting out invoices, doing basic accounting that should go to the expert accountant. It is super easy to do, but the invoice sorting takes a bit of time, especially if the company has multiple accounts and operates on multiple platforms.
This is also good knowledge to have if you decide to freelance or have a small business. So if you enjoy working with documents, this is an easy way to make money from home.
6. Pinterest Marketing
I discovered Pinterest a long time ago, soon after it launched and I was immediately hooked. If you know Pinterest, you probably know why that is already. I find Pinterest has become my go-to search engine for a lot of things.
It is like Facebook and Instagram had a baby, or Google decided to launch a female-friendly search engine. I love it and believe in it so much I even bought Pinterest stocks.
Pinterest is going to be around for a long time and is an essential key aspect to every business. There is a high demand for Pinterest marketing strategies and VA services. So if you are doing marketing of any kind, a well thought Pinterest strategy for it is going to bring so much value to most of your clients.
For this, Tailwind is just the way to go. They have so many explanatory video resources, and it totally works. I managed to build an audience for my blog and my clients from zero with Tailwind. It is just magic and working with the tool will give you so much insight into how Pinterest works. I have tried marketing without it too and there was just no comparison, Tailwind wins every time.
I now make money helping people start or makeover a Pinterest strategy, with consistent branding. I help with Pinterest advertising, posting the content that is beneficial both for them and their clients, reaching out to the target audiences, using Tailwind to the maximum, drafting content plan ideas.
Once you get a hold of this, you can even start looking for a small team and train them to help with tasks, so you can take on more clients and make a full income out of it.
7. Flipping Items
I sell various items on E-bay and E-bay small announcements. I started looking out for products that I like and reselling them on E-bay in the last months and it has been profitable.
It turns out that you can totally find a product that will sell like crazy. You can start small just with one item and try to sell it on all platforms possible.
This is really great because I have days with maybe 2-3 packages to mail and I can walk to the Post office close by with the girls and enjoy a nice walk outside.
This can totally be done as a side thing to anything and you will probably transform it into a legitimate business once you find the products that you can sell well.
So this is what I currently do to make a full income from home. Here I also wrote a full post containing 26 realistic work-from-home options, out of which I have tried 14.
What is not really being said
If you can work from home as a couple with small kids, you are in a privileged position
The babies are at home, (or partially in daycare on a pandemic-free day), but you can also both work from home. I see this definitely as an arrangement that has been growing in popularity these days. And this can be an alternative lifestyle that can work for 2 people in long-term relationships with kids at home or just in the planning.
Ultimately, after gathering experience and training in the digital environment, you too can solve a lot of complex problems. Kids might or might not go to kindergarten and school. But in any case, you can either learn to plan around them or use up the time when they are away to work from home helping businesses or your own business.
The work still needs to be done
I think there are incredible benefits to working for home as a couple, and I dare to say that nailing it depends on one side on the work you can do for other people and remunerate, but on the other on the work that you are willing to undergo on yourself and ultimately your relationship with your partner/kids/work.
A lot of work, no matter how you put it. But this is what makes things fun and meaningful.
You can always have a life you designed by yourself if you work on being a lifelong learner, if you stay curious and dig deeper into topics that interest you, but also if you do the hard, uncomfortable work on yourself.
- when you are waiting for a coffee refill, you can kiss some chubby baby cheeks and get all of your oxytocins in check
- random hugs with your partner
- you get to work at things sitting on your own chair
- everything online is now Safe for Work
- don´t need to commute, hence extra work-time
- you can wash some dishes in-between strategy skype calls
- you can replace lunch with a light baby clothes folding session
- you can go throw out the stinky diaper bags while talking to a client .. now wait a minute…
It keeps both of you on your career paths
The fact that we can plan kids and we have access to education and career opportunities has not at all changed the tough call of deciding who is going to stay home with the babies.
In the classic arrangement, the mom takes the career hit, while the husband continues to work because his income is higher. In other situations, both parents have to work, so this is a tough decision any way you put it.
There is now a completely new alternative and this proved to be equally satisfying to both me and my husband. Sure, none will go full speed down a career path in the toddler years. Budgeting will be necessary. But all the downsizing that we needed to do in order to accommodate small babies was completely worth it for us.
It is very frustrating sometimes to learn new things and accept that you suck or that you just don`t understand how to make that damn Xcel sheet*pun intended* work. Yet.
Letting go of your expectations or that of others to always be perfect and do perfect work, will allow you to get started with learning by doing and failing. Again, this is mostly working on yourself and it is not easy in particular.
Most of the time if you are honest from the get-go with the people you collaborate with, they will be just fine with your mistakes. Because guess what, they will make a ton of mistakes too. And that is fine. You can only learn by suspending the fear of making mistakes.
But it is not peaches and cream all the time. My tears when I wanted to clear up space on my C partition – because why the hell did I configure it so small?? And I
accidentally DELETED ALL OF THE EMAILS from my client`s server, because of POP3? Yeah, don´t do that, save yourself the tears.
Luckily, he made 2 back-ups because this stuff happened to him previously too. So thank God for mistakes and for learning from them.
Social contact – is work from home really lonely?
Many people insisted on telling me that I should not work from home and I should go to a physical office to interact with people because this is how people do it.
Look, I understand that this can be particularly hard for people who thrive on real human interactions or just need diverse networking to advance in their careers. This is legitimate. Plus, there are many sources stating that working from home is lonely, and surely it can be.
But I believe this to be a misconception – it totally does not apply in all cases. Especially if you are both working from home. Especially if you have little kids and interact with other families all the time.
I don´t even want to say this, but at work, it can super happen that you connected through proximity, rather than preference and that all those social contacts will no longer remain active once you leave a job.
It also today doesn`t mean that you will feel less lonely in the presence of people, you feel less lonely when you are really seen or heard. In our days, this can happen online or when you go out and buy your coffee, or when you join interest groups and start practicing presence and active listening.
Passion is overrated – Focus is underrated
If you`re thinking, sure Sorina, but my problem is that I don`t know what I want to do or what I love doing, then maybe you are not paying attention enough to what you already like doing.
I know this was true for me, but it completely changed once I started testing out things I thought I will enjoy doing or sometimes even at random. Remember the new research?
There are so many more ways to work from home, but I find the list above has become the most interesting for me.
So go out there and find out the stuff you like and the direction in which you find it easier to motivate yourself to learn new things. It could be for your clients or knowledge that you can apply to your future or existing blog, your own marketing strategies, future business ideas, and so on.
Even if you will end up with a salad of everything, it`s all good, I promise. It is fairly common for people start out in a direction and stumble upon something where they can use their skills to the maximum and they narrow down from there. So just make up your own list and go test things out. You will soon figure it out.
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