Maybe that hour-each-way commute, the endless overtime, and the weekend work travel didn’t seem so bad before you had kids – but now you’re dreaming of staying home while still making a little extra cash. If your company doesn’t offer the option of telecommuting, then it may be time for a job that lets you set your own hours, squeeze in conference calls during naptime, and finish projects while your kids are working on their homework. Here are five ways to turn your career, your hobby, or your personality traits into flexible jobs you can do from home.
Take advantage of the corporate contacts you’ve stayed in touch with since leaving your job to pick up freelancing or independent consulting projects in your old industry, whether it was marketing, writing, or engineering. You’ll need to do plenty of networking to get a freelance/consulting business up and running, but eventually you’ll be able to set your own hours and take on jobs that you really feel excited about.
Maybe your interests run more toward crafting, jewelry making, or sewing instead of business administration. In that case, you can avoid spending all your Saturdays on the local craft fair circuit by setting up your own shop on Etsy. Sell handmade items (from toys and clothes to patterns and prints) to bring a little extra cash home without the hefty overhead of a brick-and-mortar shop.
Petsitting will require you to leave your home, but the benefit is that the hours are often flexible – you can walk dogs while owners are at work and your kids are at school, feed cats in the evening after putting little ones to bed, or stop by and fill up water dishes when you’re running errands. If you’re an animal lover, look for a local petsitting business that may be hiring -- or consider getting insured to start your own.
Your success as a real estate agent will be partly predicated on how well the market is doing, so this isn’t always going to be a guaranteed moneymaker. But if you are familiar with your local areas and the great things to do there, can talk about school districts and commute times for hours, and are looking for a job that means you'll be getting out of the house and meeting new people, then real estate could be a good fit. (Keep in mind that you will often have to show houses when your clients aren’t working, though, which may mean lots of nights and weekends.)
Have an eye for a good bargain and a flair for thrift shopping? Then boost your savings account by scouring yard sales and antique stores for pieces in need of a little extra attention. Refinishing dressers, painting coffee tables, and reupholstering armchairs are just some of the ways you can give secondhand pieces a makeover – and make a profit by selling them for more than you initially shelled out.
HowStuffWorks learns about the free-range parenting philosophy and talks to the movement's founder Lenore Skenazy.
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- The Stress of Being a Working Mom
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