WAHM: The Pros and Cons of Working from Home
BabyZone co-founder Jeanine Cox on her experience as a work-at-home mom (WAHM). Could it be right for you?
In the wireless world, employers are beginning to see the advantages of letting trustworthy employees work from home. Depending on the responsibilities and constraints of your job, you might be able to negotiate a stay-at-home position from your employer who values your contribution. Of course if your job requires meetings and human interaction, telecommuting may be challenging. In such a case, one solution might be to schedule regular on-site hours for meetings and other office functions.
Still, your employer may have concerns. Analyze your company’s needs as well as your own and present your case to your employer with confidence. Here are some issues that might need to be discussed:
- How your change in status will affect corporate culture. If you can telecommute, will others demand the same privilege?
- How will you ensure you remain motivated and continue to deliver?
- How will the logistics play out? Will the company have to outfit your home office? Who will cover the cost of your computer, fax, and Internet service?
- How will your relocation to a home-office affect communication? Will your managers and co-workers be able to reach you in an emergency?
Freelancing or Starting Your Own Company
If telecommuting isn’t an option, you might consider freelancing or starting your own business. Whether your specialty is secretarial services or party planning, cell phones, email, social networking applications, and the Internet make networking easier than ever. Evaluate your skills, decide which path you want to take, and then take the time to write a detailed business plan. You can find out more about starting small businesses and putting together business plans at the Web sites listed in conjunction with this piece. Even if your endeavor doesn’t become the next Amazon or Starbucks, it’s important to set goals and deadlines for yourself.
In your search for the right work, be wary of “opportunities” which offer huge reimbursements and require a sign-up fee. These are likely scams and often have vague job descriptions and require no previous experience. A legitimate employer will write out a detailed job description when seeking to hire. If you’re suspicious of a posting, you can research the company by asking for references and checking with the Better Business Bureau. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Making It All Work
To succeed as a WAHM you need to prioritize and self-motivate while remaining focused on your goals. Of course, you need to balance this work with caring for your adorable baby. Your baby will be, and should be, your first priority. Be prepared to go with the flow. What doesn’t get done during the day might be accomplished after your baby goes to sleep. You might also consider removing all other chores from your responsibility list. Only in Martha Stewart’s world can a human being successfully run her own business, be a mother, gardener, and housekeeper, and cater a dinner party for 75. In the real world, you’re a mother and a professional with responsibilities; what isn’t a necessity should be removed from your task list. Remember that as your business grows, so will your work obligations, and it will become more and more difficult to manage without childcare or office help. As your budget allows, hire the help that enables you to be an effective WAHM.
Check out these helpful resources:
- WAHM: The Online Magazine for Work at Home Moms
- INC.com: The Daily Resource for Entrepreneurs
- Businesstown.com: Writing a Business Plan
- Home Based Working Moms
- Power-Based Home Biz Guide
- Sparkplugging: Work at Home Resources and Community
- International Homeworker’s Association
- The Entrepreneurial Parent
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