Is Working From Home Right For You As A Parent?
The Need to Earn Extra Cash and How to Go About It
Working from home can be challenging for a mum or dad but it can also provide a lifeline for those who want to make some extra money to pay the bills. Better still, it can often be easily slotted into the daily routine. All it takes is a little planning and organisation.
If you are a parent, you will most definitely be used to routines already. Waking up, getting the kids dressed and fed, making sure they go to school or, if they are still very young, sticking to specific nap times.
Look at your daily routine and identify the times where you would be able to do some work. Schedule this time for yourself as 'work time' and put it to good use.
Types of Jobs Available
The internet provides some great opportunities for those who find themselves with time on their hands between the morning and afternoon school run or when babies and toddlers are asleep.
There are many paid survey sites available. Sign up to as many as you like. That way, if one company has no surveys on that particular day, another is sure to have some. Certain sites offer vouchers instead of cash but it's all a bonus when you have a family to clothe and feed.
Trusted survey sites include Europinions, Irish Opinions, Red C Live Surveys, Palm Research, Surveyhead, Global Test Market and Toluna. Most surveys can pay anywhere from one to five euros. However, bear in mind that in most cases you will need to reach a certain amount of money before you can cash it in, usually around ten or twenty euros.
Companies such as Lionsbridge offer many tasks from data entry to assessing adverts.
Product Testing, Freebies and Affiliate Marketing
Sites like Freebiejeebies and Xpango offer free products for referring friends, talking about their products on social networking sites or blogs, or linking your website to theirs. Sites such as buyersclub.ie give you the opportunity to test products which you can then keep.
You can earn extra cash by reviewing music at slicethepie.com. You will get paid in US dollars and it can take a lot of time to get to the ten dollar withdrawal limit, but it's fun and the better you get, the more they will pay you to review a song. They also ask you to review clothing from time to time.
If you are good at writing, then textbroker is a good place to sign up to. It takes a while to get job offers but after you have completed a few assignments, they will become more regular.
Generic Freelance Work
Sites like elance.com offer a breadth of work from writing to data entry.
A Word Of Warning
When you choose companies to work for, please remember you should by no means ever have to pay them a registration fee. Such a request on their part usually indicates a scam. If you are unsure, type the company name and the word 'review' into Google and, if they are not legitimate, they will usually be exposed in an online forum. Any websites claiming to make you very rich are lying. If it were true, we'd all be living a life of luxury right now!
Set up a PayPal account as most of your employers will pay this way. It is perfectly safe.
Working from Home with Children Around: The Pros
The best part about working from home with children is that you are your own boss. Nobody is watching you and expecting you to do anything that you simply don't have time to do. You will have total control over the hours you work and amount of work you want to do.
Most working parents are under a lot of pressure with school runs and attending events such as school plays and parents evenings. You won't feel that pressure.
You will still get to spend time with your children as you'll be at home during their formative years and will be a presence in their lives that will be valuable and cherished. Even if you are working in another room whilst they are watching television, you are still there. If they need anything or have any questions, you are easily accessible.
When working from home you have the luxury of not having to commute anywhere and so added pressures of travel costs and traffic congestion won't be an issue. Nobody will be judging you on your appearance so you can wear whatever you want. You don't have to buy work clothes.
Working from Home with Children Around: The Cons
Distractions are the main obstacle to home working so it definitely helps to build the work into a time in your schedule where distractions are minimal.
You might end up associating your kitchen or living room with being your place of work, so try your best not to do that. When you are not working, pack away the laptop or have a separate room in your house as an office.
It takes concentration and dedication so this can be difficult if you have children to attend to. You might also feel isolated. The one thing that home workers miss the most is the interaction with colleagues and the opportunity to speak to someone other than children one normally gets with an outside job. (However, if you're generally happy with your own company and that of your children, this can also prove a plus.)
If you do feel housebound and you are alone, take your laptop to a coffee shop or find a friend who also works from home and alternate at whose house you'll work from.
The Importance of a Work/Life Balance
Working from home can do wonders for your self esteem. You can feel like you have 'something for yourself' and are making a difference to someone, somewhere in the world.
Of course, working from home won't be ideal 100% of the time, so it is important to take it for what it is. You are in control, you are your own boss and any work that you manage to complete is a bonus - as is is money that you make. You will never earn the amount of money that a full time employee will, but that is not the point. It is something for you, to occupy your mind and time - and every little bit of extra money always helps. So enjoy your time at work without trying to overdo it at the expensive of the kids - and enjoy your free time too.