On Working From Home

11:43 am | Business

I live a charmed life, truly. This morning I lay in bed with my two munchkins long past everyone else gets up to get ready for work and just thought how grateful I am to live this slow life. My husband and I both work from home, and our children are homeschooled.

Sure, working from home comes with it’s own set of challenges, most of them financial but we have an abundance of family time to make up for it. And, I think, when I look back over my life at the end, that is what will be important to me.

What made us work at home parents?

So for me, it was never a choice. There was no way I was ever going to put my son in daycare so that I could work out of the home and so I made a work at home job for myself. In the beginning there was a lot of floundering. I tried part time working out of the house, but I had to hire a nanny to watch my son and that cost almost the same as what I was earning. I then started an organic veg delivery service, which was so labour intensive it left little time for anything else. I have been working as a virtual assistant for over a year now, and this, coupled with web design work, suits me perfectly. I am busy enough that I can bring in a decent income and yet it doesn’t have me running with no time for my children.

My husband has had to start his own business out of necessity. The job market is not great anyway, plus we live in a small town with limited opportunities. We would prefer for him to have a stable, dependable salary, but at this time that is not an option. And so, he has started his own tree-felling and firewood business which is slowly starting to help pay the bills. And we will persevere. If you persevere, and work hard then in the end any business will work, right? I think that is mostly true (unless you’re trying to sell ice in Iceland 😀 )

How do we manage on a smaller income?

We live on a lot less than most folks because we have no child care or school costs. Very little transport costs. My two year old uses cloth nappies only, and has for her entire life. She was also exclusively breastfed (and still is), so that’s two major expenses for babies / toddlers cut right out. I am going to do another entire post on how I feed a family of five on a really small budget, because it was a learning curve for me, but I can say that we are majority plant based. Not eating meat cuts our food bill way down.

How do I get it all done?

Well I don’t, obviously. I spend about 6 hours a day solidly working, sometimes more. Two or three hours of that is done after the kids are asleep at night. Another hour or so is done when my daughter is taking her nap and my son is playing outside or quietly inside on his own (or is out with his dad). That leaves around two or three hours of work that I get done in 15 to 30 minute intervals whilst also caring for my children. It has taken practice and experience to stay on task with all these interruptions, but it is doable. For instance, whilst cooking our evening meal I often have my laptop open in the kitchen and I do small tasks in between stirring and chopping.

I am very organised. With my business at least. And time management is a specialty of mine. So even though I work very flexible hours, my clients are under the illusion that I am at their beck and call, because I know how to prioritize tasks according to importance. That is a special skill I think, and one I would try and build in myself if it didn’t come naturally to me.

As I write this my two year old is playing next to me in our open plan home office / playroom / bedroom of a loft. She plays wonderfully on her own but every five minutes of so needs me to look at something or open a container, or something. Some moms knit or fold laundry while their kids play, I work. The knitting and laundry folding rarely gets done! 😀

When I first started I used to feel flustered by a day full of distractions. I felt like I never really got anything done even though I had been in ‘work mode’ all day. I have become better at being mindful. When I am working on my laptop it is easy to concentrate on the task, but I have now learned to put work out of my mind completely when, for instance, I am sitting and eating lunch with my family. This ‘being in the moment’ really helps with keeping me sane.

How did I start a business from home, whilst being a mom too?

Step 1: Get a website! If you are going to try and start an online business, you need a website, period. Contact me for a free quote on creating a website for you, or learn to create your own with my new e-course!

Step 2: Decide what you are going to do. Write down all of your strengths, in a professional capacity. Then brainstorm on how you could use those skills to help others. That’ll get the juices flowing and pretty soon you will have a business idea.

Step 3: Start. “A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what is is built for” Albert Einstein

Christine Powell

Christine Powell

Book lover • Homeschool mom • Tea drinker • Wordpress Website designer & Virtual Assistant