Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Home businesses and earning money from home

At these times, when many find it difficult to balance their home economy, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks of ways of generating some income from home. Overall, I believe that if it comes to wives earning money, it's better to do so from home.

That said, as someone who had worked from home for periods of time in the past, I must emphasize that working from home is still working. Yes, you are physically there, but you are distracted. It's difficult to have set work hours, and so the line between "work" time and "home" time is blurred, which can add to levels of stress. Not every woman at home is supposed to feel pressured to start a home business, and indeed, in some seasons of our lives, it's better to put projects on hold.

When choosing to have a side business from home, I think it's preferable to opt for something you are already good at, or on the contrary, it can something new that you feel motivated to do. Personally, I wouldn't choose anything that requires a big initial investment, finances-wise.

The options can be many. There are families around here who sell home-baked bread and cakes, or raise goats and chickens and sell milk, cheese and eggs (that can be a full-fledged business). Others sell their handiwork, like embroidered head scarves, jewelry and hand-thrown pottery. I'm not sure how much money the local artisans actually make, but I'm fairly sure it's more of a little something on the side than something that can actually sustain a family.

We have explored other venues of making money from home, which, so far, have not worked out. What I would like best, of course, is to take my writing to a whole different level. I am working on it, but that's more of a long-term goal. It requires time, energy and inspiration. So far, to be practical, we need to keep afloat, and therefore I'm open to ideas of what we can do at home.

There is one thing, however, that almost everyone think I'm supposed to be doing, and that I, on the other hand, think would be a very bad idea for us. That is providing childcare. It's common around here for stay-at-home mothers to take a couple of other babies/little ones into their homes, and many seem to believe that is the most obvious answer for a family that is struggling financially.

However, and I know I risk sounding horribly callous here, I am not what you'd call a "baby person". I love spending time around my own child, but I don't have much patience for other people's babies and toddlers, and therefore I feel I would be doing the poor children and their parents a great disservice if I agreed to provide care for them. Not to mention that it would mean inviting pandemonium into my home while my husband needs peace and quiet to study for his work venues, which are far more important than whatever I might be doing on the side.

If we do find an idea for a home business that works anytime soon, I will, of course, write an update about it.

37 comments:

morningirl said...

I must agree with you about babysitting in your home. I totally understand what you mean about not being a "baby person" and only feeling comfortable caring for your own child. I went against my own feelings and have regretted it. You know what's best for you, and no matter what anyone else says, you should stick with what you know :) It's not callous at all; it's WISE.

Heather said...

Anna,

I hope things turn around for you soon. I couldn't watch other peoples children either, so don't feel bad.

Krysia said...

I just caught up with your blog and I'm so sorry that you're in this situation. I hope things do look up soon.

You don't sound callous about the childcare - it's only common sense to say so if you don't feel up to looking after other people's children!

I suppose you could say that I'm in the process of starting up a home business - translation. It's a difficult path, and not that much good if you need the money urgently. Getting a good client base does take time. I suppose you know this already though, as I remeber you mentioned translating in the past :)

Good luck!

Thia said...

Thank you for pointing out that just b/c you COULD take a few children in to watch doesn't mean you should! I too have been told many times that I should and frankly, I feel it would dramatically take away from my ability to parent my own children in the way I want.

Sarah R said...

I did a home based daycare for about a year, and hated it. My own children were constantly sick, I was forever making "payment arrangements" with people who still owe me money more than ten years later, and my house was a wreck. People took advantage of my kindness as well; dropping their children off early, picking them up late, not bringing diapers, bottles or wipes. I gave up. Now I work from home as a medical coder and love it. It suits my more quiet nature.

Melissa said...

What about translating? From what I can gather, you speak a couple of languages at least and that might be good for you. I live in Japan, which is not my home country, and I often that idea tossed around by my female coworkers who speak fluent Japanese and English as an option for earning money after they have children.

Joanna said...

I love this post, Anna. I'm praying for you and your family. My husband and I do not yet have children and I currently work, but I'm believing for God to provide a way for me to stay at home when we do. We're in a much more urban (or suburban) situation, so raising the goats isn't an option due to zoning ordinances, but I ADORE the idea of having my little tots behind me learning from me how to take care of the animals and garden. That's a wonderful option because the kiddos can help as well and it can be a great way for them to learn. Good luck. You are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless.

Persuaded said...

Anna my dear, if only all other women were as "callous" as you in admitting that caring for babies is not your strong suit! The pressure for mothers-at-home to provide childcare is very intense here in the states as well. As a result there are women caring for (often waaay too many children) in their homes and doing a very poor job of it indeed. I once recommended a friend of mine as a childcare provider, thinking that she would do a wonderful job since she was such a tender and nurturing mother to her own child. Unfortunately she found the child she was caring for to be little more than an annoyance and the poor little dear suffered greatly for it. Now, I know of course that you would be conscientious enough to provide wonderful care for any child in your responsibility, Anna! But so many women don't, and it is a tragedy.

For many years I provided childcare in my home. I am most definitely a baby person☺ but I'd also be the first to admit that it is often a grueling, thankless profession, and it requires much of every member of the home: the children who must share their mother, and the father who must sacrifice peace and quiet. I would not venture to provide childcare at this stage of my life as I don't have the energy and the passion for it any longer. I will not care for any child unless I can give it superlative care, and that's just not a possibility for me anymore.

I am hoping to start a sewing business, but it seems like so much is involved, and as you said there are so many distractions when one's home is also the workplace. I don't do well with distractions!:-/
I am praying for you every day during this difficult time. I just know the Lord will open a door for you to return home♥

Anonymous said...

Anna, you are so gifted with languages, would it be possible to do some translation service from your home? Perhaps it would be by phone or internet? Would there be opportunities through government agencies if they knew of your ability? Sometimes there are documents that need to be translated. Just a thought. I tried caring for young ones in my home when my own were small. In the evenings my husband needed to help me do the housework and laundry that I simply could not accomplish while watching the other children. It wasn't worth it. The hardest part was the moms who indicated that they didn't think I was treating their children as fairly as my own - What!? That was not the case.
Mrs. L.

Sara said...

I have an idea for you. I don't know just how easy it would be, but maybe...You love to cook. You are a qualified nutritionalist. Why don't you sell nutritious suppers to moms who work away from home? They are exhausted from work, you're cooking for your family anyway, just make larger batches. They come to you to pick them up on their way home. There is a mom in Colorado, USA who has done this. She has been allowed to make it into a great business. It might take some time to find out how much to charge for the meal to make it worth your time. Just an idea.

Mimi said...

I agree with the ladies that have mentioned translating...many times that can be done at your own pace and time...
I know that this is a difficult time for you...
these times come into all our lives... and they just have to be dwelt with (but God is there to see us through the difficult as well as the good times)

Kari said...

I'm definitely with you - I couldn't take in other people's kids! I love my own dearly, but I know that I would struggle with not being able to discipline the other kids in the same way that I would discipline my own. Plus where I live, childcare providers make about $25/day per child, which would be less than $3 an hour. The amount of disruption to our home would definitely not be worth that amount! :)

Lisa said...

Hi Anna,

Have you looked at elance.com? You may be able to start building a writing and/or translating client base by listing your services there. Of course, this isn't a short term solution but if you are thinking of getting paid to write in the future, you may want to begin to look at sites such as elance.

-Lisa

Thursday's Child said...

I vote for translation. But the idea on cooking for working mothers is a close second...if your kitchen is big enough.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Since several ladies mentioned translating, I'll say a few words about it.

Translating is not a bad option to earn money from home, and I have a few years of experience in it under my belt, back from the time I was in university and even before. I used to translate for my fellow students and also for other clients, and it sure helped to keep up with my own expenses.

As someone said, it takes time for you to find clients, and it takes time for clients to find you. I tried to go into translating again during the time I was pregnant with Shira, but didn't have any luck. Then, when she was born, I stopped thinking about it, until now. Perhaps I'll try again. Although, I must say, I never had a constant income with translating, even when I kept advertising. There are so many people in Israel who know several languages, and I'm not a professional, so competition is high.

I never asked for money in advance, until I was cheated by one client. She just took the work I did and disappeared, and I could never find her again. I didn't bother going to the police because the sum wasn't worth it, frankly. But I've been more cautious ever since.

Civilla said...

I'm not a baby-person, either, and avoid taking care of other peoples' children, even Sunday School unless I really have to, because I don't have much patience. I loved taking care of my own children, but when they are your own, it is different.

Yes, I don't know about making real money with home businesses, and you are right, there is the distraction factor. Don't forget, the Proverbs 31 women had some servants to help with the housework so that she could make her sashes. ('Course people say that today's servant-girls are our washing machines, dryers and dishwashers, and all of our electronic stuff to help with the housework!)

I think you'd have to be self-disciplined and organized to make real money from home. But, some women are.

Anonymous said...

The mousse cake in your previous post looks wonderful - maybe sell cakes for special occasions? I've baked bread, done housecleaning, sold knitting to contract, translated, edited, and typed for extra income when it was needed. You're correct to try for something that you can do well, and that dosen't cost anything. I hope something works out well for your family soon!

Melissa

Rose said...

Hello Anna. I understand about other people's children. When i taught I taught high school and, frankly, I preferred teaching boys of senior age. There is always an assumption that teachers and carers like to teach/care for all children of all ages which isn't the case.

I see others have mentioned translation, which is something that occurred to me yesterday. Have you looked into offering your services in book or academic fields?

Angela said...

Anna,

I don't know if you have many homeschoolers around but what I have done to bring in a little extra income is teach Spanish to homeschoolers. Since you know several languages, something like this or even tutoring students might be an option.

I kept kids in my home for one year and that was more than enough. However, teaching or tutoring for 30 mins to 1 hour is not so bad. The kids are usually excited to learn and so listen pretty well.

Anonymous said...

Translation is a good option and can be done from home.

Sorry typing with little ones in my lap...

Many Blessings: )

Ace

Leah Burks said...

Don't feel bad--I feel the same way a lot of times about others' children and would much rather spend all my efforts on my own. With number two on the way, I'm sure mine will be plenty!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

Your crochet work is so beautiful have you considered Etsy? (etsy.com) The demand for handmade things is very high. I can knit a pair of socks for $6 and sell it for $30. There is no pressure as you don't wait for orders, you just advertise what you have made.

Good luck!
Melody

Analytical Adam said...

Mrs. Anna,

To be fair very young children should not be in daycare as it is not good for the children as they do need individual attention at such a tender age. I wonder if the people who do it really love their job anyway.

This whole issue of "envy" which is one of the 10 commandments specifically of men have created women that do jobs that aren't even helpful just because they want to be like a man.

I really wonder how many women love being around so many young children who at very young ages need that bonding with their mother at young ages and also they need bonding with their father as well although the bonding may be a little different but no less important. Other relatives too can help but being with tons of other children is not good for a child at a young age both emotionally and physically. Day care is a big feminist scam and any scientists that studies it and admits that having some individual relationship is important is fired by the feminist because they claim they are "religious fanatics". Yeah, I'm sure. Young children should be in groups at such young ages that is not extreme.

Here is a link by the way of a study that studies animals that were fatherless and it did find pathologies. A mother is very important so is a father having involvement with his family which at think at least the Shabbath at minimum the father should be with his family in normal times. Anyway here is the link. I hope it is not too off topic here. I don't agree with her on everything but she posts some very good articles.

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/11109/scientific-study-this-is-your-brain-without-dad/

Maria said...

You know, my dear Anna, there are so many little things you could do to make money and God will see to it that you find what needs to be done or that your husband can find another job. In the meantime, I want to say how few modern books are out there on housekeeping for wives. I have read a few and they are not written by housewives! Your thoughts and words on housekeeping are so inspirational, I would love to learn more about how you keep your house from day-to-day, how your faith helps you in the difficult times, and the stories of everyday life as a housewife. I know this is more of a long-term thing, but is definitely a very important part of your vocation I believe. From one housekeeping apprentice to another :) -Maria

Mrs. Anna T said...

Some of the things you mention sound great, but wouldn't really work for me. For example, selling crocheted items - it's slow, contemplative work, and I'd never do it quickly enough to actually make money from it. Or cooking/baking - I have a tiny kitchen, more of a kitchenette, and my tiny toaster oven is not suited for big batches.

Tutoring is something I would love to do, and we advertised. But I guess there are many like us, because no one ever called. I suppose it also has to do with living in such a small place. There are so many offers of tutoring per child. If it does work out in the future, I would be ever so grateful.

Jo said...

Some ideas from me to you: sewing, translations, write a children book, proof reading, graphic design, website design (not sure if you would need any training).

I pray for your family that things improve financially.

Take care

Anonymous said...

There is an online language learning system called Myngle.com. It's absolutely great. You, as the teacher, are listed as a teacher and paid through myngle, so no waiting for students to pay. Your students come to you via Skype for a 45 minutes lesson in your language. I'm learning Dutch this way. Every couple of days, I schedule a meeting with my teacher; she posts times that she is available and blocks out times that she's not. Together we do things like read the newspaper, talk about grammar, and work on my pronunciation. She gives me homework, but it's very fast for her to grade; often, she looks at it while I am online with her.

This may be an option for you. I think that her start-up costs were very low -- a computer headset and a good internet connection. My teacher makes between 15-20 euros an hour.

I looked online and there are only 4 Hebrew teachers and 31 Russian teachers.

(I'm not paid to promote them; I just think that it's a great service!)

Bethany

Susan A said...

After reading all the comments here, it has occured to me that perhaps you could think of something that you can sell on the internet, something that can reproduce itself, for example, a font.

You can purchase a font program and design cute hebrew alphabet, for example, in flowering letters, dot-to-dot for teachers to print out... once you make the fonts, you can advertise them on your website and email them the font when receiving a payment, it just keeps reproducing itself without any more labour.

That's what I did with some of the fonts that I made. Something that can be electronically reproduced (not just fonts only). Just an idea here.

Sabine said...

I've read that there are ways to make money blogging (getting paid to blog and also putting ads on your site. You already have a large following. Perhaps that would be worth looking into.

The community college here is always looking for tutors. I think it pays well and I am sure you are qualified to teach many things, including basic computer skills, and how to research and help with writing papers.

Another thing to consider might be house cleaning. You would have to leave your home but you would be able to set your own hours so that Shira could be with your husband. There is always a demand for good cleaners.

I am so sorry you are in this situation, Anna. I hope that the worst is soon over and that you can focus your attention on your family full-time again.

PS: I did child care in my home and found it very tedious and difficult most of the time, although I loved the children and treated them as my own. My heart ached for the children who really wanted to be with their mothers, not me. What was even worse was when they did not want to go home. That was saddest of all.

Anonymous said...

As a stay at home mom, I completely agree with you about childcare. I have been approached by people who would like me to take care of children and I feel the way you do about it. Plus, they usually want to pay very little, which is why they are not using a regular daycare.

One thing I looked into that was home-based was being a virtual assistant or taking in dictation. There are reputable companies online for people with some office skills that will pay you answering phones and so on for companies. You may need a headset, set hours and so on, but it is still home work and you can set your hours. Taking dictation in particular can pay very well and it is not hard to learn to do. Even if this is not something you want to do now, it may be good to keep in mind for the future.

Regardless of what you do, if you are keeping your family afloat, you have a lot to be proud of! I had to go to work when my little one was just three weeks old after my husband got his hours cut. I was able to quit within the first year and have been home for nearly a decade since. This setback does not have to be the end of your dreams of being a full time stay at home mother. It just postpones it a bit.

Anonymous said...

Amen to you about not being a baby person! I ,too, was approached a while back by a friend who suggested that I should consider opening a daycare at home to help out with the household finances. I realized however that it is not my strong pursuit after having to baby sit my little siblings-in-law for a few months. I love my baby and enjoy him, but to have to look after other little ones -- I believe there are many more others who qualify more for the job than I do.

I am considering translating, but the language in which I am proficient is not a very popular language around here. But I figure I'll try anyway. Also, after reading another comment about myngle.com, I checked it out and it looks so interesting! I might go in there and enroll in some courses and perhaps apply to teach myself.

Do check out that website, Anna. You never know. Meanwhile, I'll continue praying for your family.

W

Anonymous said...

Another arguement against you providing childcare is that you feel so strongly that women should not work, so as to provide them with childcare it seems that this would be morally wrong to you as well.

Lauren said...

Have you thought about adding ads to this site? You have significant following, and you could probably make a decent amount of money. I know a lot of women use blogher. I also know that a lot of companies have affiliate programs. You could contact the places you do business with and trust and ask if they have any programs. It might be more difficult to get this up and running with American commpanies since you're in Israel, but there may be some Israeli companies you could work with.

WesternWoodburner said...

I hope you are able to return home soon. Making money from home is not easy and most of the time it is only side money, but I hope you will find a way some how.

Lillian the Ponderer said...

Anna, I am sure that the Almighty will provide the right avenues soon, though if you did find something to do from home that did not disrupt your family life too much that would be a bonus to know about should you need it in the future. I am in a position where I am currently needing to think along the same lines myself and the thing that I am thinking most strongly about is opening a business selling modest ladies clothing as there is virtually nothing available in Britain/Europe and import taxes and duty make importing so expensive - I was thinking of using ebay and just taking the baby for a walk to the postoffice when I needed to send things but my research has suggested that I would need to be more serious than that and set up a proper online shop. I like you are very weary of having a "home business" take over the home as my family and home are my priority so I still don't know what I will do however I will probably also need to supplement our family income at the latest by May or June unless something major happens first.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I think you should write a book and publish it. You are really good with words, I am quite sure it would be a success!

Ever heard of Stephenie Meyer who wrote "Twilight"? She was a housewife with 3 little children when she wrote her series which made her a millionaire ... Check out her website!

Kisses,

R.

Hearts Surrendered to our Awesome God said...

I just wanted to give some feedback here, because I am in this particular circumstance now.

My husband works very hard to support us, but because he has a large child support obligation for another child, we are unable to live solely on his income.

I worked part time evenings last year to help out with finances, but the stress involved on us as a whole-family wise was not worth the extra money. I then decided to try childcare at home, to see if that would be worth it to us.

I know this is just a season of our lives, so I am encouraged because God has used this to help us minister to other people as well as provide for our family.
Having said that, I have to say it is indeed very difficult. It is such an added stress on our home and family. I personally, am utterly exhausted-but have been so encouraged by writers such as yourself! I do it, but would rather commit all my time and efforts to caring for my family. All of this to say, I so completely understand your decision!