Jody Allen is the founder of the website Stay At Home Mum. She is also the author of the Penguin published book Earn At Home Mum: How to boost your income or start your own business from home. Here is an extract from Jody’s latest book.
As with anything in life, there are benefits and pitfalls with working from home. I’ve experienced all of these at some stage or another since founding my business, so I know them well. Let’s lay them all out so you can get a feel for whether this is the life for you.
Pros of working from home
You can do something you really love
No one willingly goes into a business because they want to work long hours for not much money at first while sacrificing time with their family. No – the reason we want to go into business is for money, and to do something we love doing, and to be able to spend as much time with the family as we want to. When you’ve found that sweet spot that allows you to combine your passion with a way to earn a living, your whole life will change.
When you’ve been working nine-to-five for years on end, it can be hard to see the untapped potential of earning from home. You may even wonder how you can monetise your passion. Let me tell you: where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The beauty of the internet is that no two stories are ever the same. Many people have tried and failed, while others have tried and succeeded phenomenally. It’s awesome when these people share their journeys because it means others can learn what to do and what to avoid on their path to setting up a home business or side hustle. Hell, there have been so many times I’ve tried something new and fallen on my face that I’ve lost count, but this is why finding your passion is so important. Without it, you won’t get back up and try again.
If it inspires you, you will be motivated, determined and prepared to give it everything you’ve got. The best thing about doing something you really love is that you never feel like you’re working. People are willing to pay you to do something you enjoy. Wouldn’t you love a piece of that action? Many of you already know which hobbies, products or services you are passionate about. But for those who are a little unsure, all it takes is a bit of reflection. Take some time to think back to conversations you’ve had in the past. There’s always something that makes you smile from ear to ear whenever you talk about it. Something that, whenever someone asks about it, you can’t stop talking about. Something that inspires every part of you.
When you find yourself reacting in this way, you know you’re connected to it and that you’ll feel fulfilled if you could make money from selling a product or service linked to it. Now it’s time to take that passion and run with it.
Why everyone should earn at home
You can ensure financial independence
There are myriad horror stories out there about women who have supported their partners through further education, or who have stayed at home looking after the kids while their partner climbed the corporate ladder. Then one day the partner wants out or meets someone else – or perhaps even becomes ill or incapacitated through an accident. Where does that leave the woman?
This is a timely moment to also mention the gender pay gap, and how family responsibilities weigh heavier on women than men, affecting their career progression and contributing to systemic inequality. The full-time remuneration difference is a whopping 20.8% according to Workplace Gender Equality Agency data. In other words, men working full-time earn on average AU $25,679 a year more than women in the same role. And there has only been an improvement of 0.3% since November 2018.
Just to put the knife in and twist it that little bit more, women are far more likely than men to have little or no superannuation, due to years out of the workforce raising children. Women are twice as likely as men to have to sell their primary place of residence to move to a lower-cost accommodation because of tight financial circumstances. And women in their fifties and beyond are more likely to be homeless than any other age group.
Yes, the Motherhood Penalty isn’t fair – but it’s one of the strongest reasons to be the boss of your own domain.
You can set your work schedule
This means you decide if you want to stick to the traditional nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday workweek, or turn that completely on its head. You might only want to work one day a week for seven hours, or three days a week for two hours. Or one week on, one week off might be appealing. Once you know how much time you’ll need to commit each week to run your business effectively, you might choose to start the day earlier or later. You can take time to do the school run without stress, and then makeup hours later that night or the next day if you need to.
Bye-bye, travel time
With no workplace to travel to, you can kiss commuting goodbye! This means the money you would usually spend on fuel, public transport and parking can now go into your pocket. No travel to get to the office is one of my favourite aspects of working from home – I love not having to race anywhere to be at work. You will also find yourself with bonus time that you can invest wisely – finally, a chance to get some exercise in, or to build in some downtime to relax and recharge so you can operate on all cylinders all day long.
Working in pyjamas is a real thing
No corporate outfits to spend your hard-earned money on, no uniforms to prepare, no shirts to iron – what bliss! Working from home means you can embrace any style you like and, yes, trackies, pyjamas, activewear and Ugg boots are definitely all valid (and comfortable) workwear choices. A hot tip, though: have one or two professional tops ready to pop on for any online meetings you may have with clients or business associates.