Monday, January 11, 2010

What to do when the kids go to school...

Thinking about what I'm going to do, professionally, when the kids are both in school full-time has been on my mind for a while.

For a long time, I've wondered what I could do to bring in an extra $1000 per month to the house. I figured that, even if I was a fast-food manager, I could make around $40k per year, working 40-50 hours per week. So couldn't I make $12k per year working from home, putting in 15-20 hours per week?

But the reality is that employers want some structure to their workforce and I can't provide that. As a homemaker, what are the hours that I could put into a job?

I figure I could put in at least 1-2 hours per day in the afternoon while the kids are napping. I could get up early and put in another hour before they wake up. I could put in an hour after they go to bed. So, conservatively, that's 12-15 hours before infringing on my weekend time.

What I've learned about being a work-from-home professional is that you have to have some entrepreneurial drive. For us homemakers, that probably means a home-based business.

What about consulting? I don't have enough professional experience to be much of a consultant. I'm an expert EA Sports NHL series video game player. I've got a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in Business Administration. I've got some Spanish. My most developed non-video-game-related hobby is cooking. But I have no interest in cooking in a restaurant.

Since graduating, I've waited tables, have been a line cook, tire and wheel sales, and managed the garage at an auto service center.

But I've also done a couple of other things that have interested me. One is investing. The other is business writing.

Part of my homemaking duties is to watch the money. For our IRA & 401k accounts, we have a professional financial adviser. He is great. But I'm not the kind of person who will just hand over money and let things happen. I've educated myself on investing terminology and strategy so that I can understand why he's making certain moves.

Since then, though, I've started making some investments. Some went well, some tanked. What I have learned, though, is that I love researching companies. (It was when I didn't do the research that I got my butt handed to me.) So I'd like to learn more about investing and finance. Not only to invest for myself, but perhaps to help others do so.

Occasionally, my brother sends me letter for editing. Sometimes they deal with the hockey team he coaches, other times they are for business. I have found the I like business writing. Sales and marketing have always been interests of mine, but have not pursued them with focus. I enjoy learning about the business and the project for which it is intended. To properly write something like that, you have to do what attorneys call 'discovery'. You have to learn about the company, not just about project. It's interesting and fun.

Since I have a degree in writing, a writing career would require less training. Both writing and finance would require a great deal of entrepreneurial drive. I would be able to start writing sooner. Finance has a greater potential for income.

I'll let you know if I decide on one or the other.


  1. Do you have any training in journalism? Could you do some freelance writing for a newspaper in your community or public relations firm or some other company? Newspapers are cutting back, but some still use freelancers.
    Could you do any sort of on-line work or research for a local library?
    What about putting an ad in the newspaper and getting a job writing someone's family history in book form or doing some genealogical work for them. I'd make sure I had some sort of a contract or written agreement ahead of time.
    Just some thoughts.

  2. Way to go, dad! You are a great example to others in putting your kids first -- looking to only work when your kids are sleeping -- therefore not missing your time with them. They are only little for a short time. The time you invest in their lives is more meaningful than you know.

  3. I totally agree with Tammy on using your writing skills. You could freelance as a writer and maybe as an editor too. Publishing houses are forever looking for part-time/contract-based editors and/or top-class proofers (please don't be offended, but a great proofer is sometimes paid as well as an editor). Your experience in business writing may also get you some assignments. There is always dearth of great business writers in the market.
    Have you thought about writing CVs for others? This is a lucrative job. People would pay any thing to get a polished CV.
    All the best.

  4. I really like your blog. I just started my own, if you like it become a follower.

  5. We seem to be in the same boat Mr. Downtown Dad. I graduated with a BA in marketing & advertising in 2008 and gave birth to my son 3 months after that. I have been a stay-at-home mother since but have recently been applying to any jobs that interest me. Unfortunately this market is terrible and good jobs are few and far between. All I can say is to keep doing what you love to do. As long as you use your skills and apply them when you can, something will come up. Try networking with friends and family to see who they might know or if they need any help with side projects. Just remember, you already have the best job anyone in the world can dream of're a parent to two beautiful children who love you dearly. That's the best job in the world and pays with kisses and hugs!

  6. this is off subject but. How about the endless cycle of three blogs that i get when i click next blog. I figured since you are the third of the three and you are getting all the hits that why not make use of it lol.

  7. There are a Ton of freelance websites that charge close to nothing to be part of their network that continually churn out freelance jobs. The real negative side to that is there are are a lot of low bidders, however, find a good employer that appreciates quality over price point and he will be willing to pay you more and provide a consistent stream of work. ...oh and I LOVE finance myself but I've been so tied up in the marketing world I find it hard to ever reach in that direction... {{wondering if I'll ever make the time}}

  8. I can tell by the way u write u are quite methodical... That's a good thing... Also, u aren't like the typical stay at home person who sometimes gets at a loss of what to do... I think its great u may have found another way to make use of your time and also earn money at it...

  9. Im really happy to see that you are writing again. I hope this begins a great journey for you.

  10. I think you should do what interests you. If you're going to work, you may as well enjoy it.

  11. I think first of all, like a few followers have said, start with looking at what you really love doing and your existing skills - expert EA Sport NHL video game player not counting.

    My wife is at home right now with our 4 and 2 year old, and is working on her Teaching Credential so she can get back into teaching. Till then though she uses her time at home to run a home-based health & wellness franchise business that does bring in some money for us. Thats how we trying to make it work for us.

    Great blog by the way.

  12. I just discovered your blog, so forgive me if I am saying something you already know and do, but have you ever written for eHow. With a writing background, an obviously high intelligence level, and the drive to succeed, you could make quite a bit of money writing how-to articles on eHow. I am on there... you can see my articles here:
    There is also Bukisa and Squidoo (both of which I also use) and other sites as well, but eHow is definitely my favorite.
    I hope you find what you're looking for. :)
    Peace and Love,

  13. Hi! I just found your blog today, and really enjoyed reading through it.

    Your question on what to do strikes home with me! I have been a Stay At Home Mom for 6 years and now find myself needing to support me and my 2 boys. I found a business I love, that helps people and I can do in my own time, on my own hours.

    Have a look at my website, and let me know if you'd like more information!

    Hope you find something that fits!

  14. Thanks everyone for the wonderful suggestions and support. It's nice to know that others are not only in my boat, but have found ways to make it and are willing to share their means of success.

    The family history thing has me very interested. I have a compelling family history that I've wanted to compile; perhaps I should start there as a way to find out the ups and downs.

    Freelancing could be interesting.

    One idea I'd had was to use my poetry background and charge for writing Valentines for poor fools that can't put two sentences together. Some of your husbands, perhaps? :)
    But what to charge for that?

    Will let you know if any of this pans out!

  15. the blog is making me relax it is nice to read the blog, and I decided to make my own blog too :):):) thanks to you :)

  16. Have you considered asking your local paper if they would like to carry a column about what you do best,which is parenting and homemaking. You have some great tips and coping strategies that others would be most appreciative of.