So many women hit a point in their lives where they feel forced to choose between motherhood and a career. According to The Mom Project, “Mothers are a major growth engine in our economy and represent a significant share of our nation’s intellectual capital — yet 43% of skilled American women leave the workplace after becoming mothers.”
Often, it’s not so much the work that makes it hard – it’s the logistics. Showing up at an office by 8 am everyday clothed and coiffed, having to work late to meet deadlines, juggling multi-day business travel itineraries, all while handling family demands – doctor’s appointments, sporting events, teacher meetings… it’s an enormous challenge for any human, even a mom human.
Rather than forgoing one for the other, many women are turning to freelance opportunities. The rise of the work-from-home culture, shared workplaces, and the gig economy has opened our minds to new ways of making work work for us.
Freelancing can allow you to put in paid hours at times that are convenient for you and your family. The work might serve as a lateral move for a temporary period or it might launch you as an entrepreneur – the founder of your own online business or consulting firm.
Either way, here are some tips and resources for how to do it.
If you’ve specialized in a field like sales, marketing, or administration for several years then chances are, you know colleagues who may need project work in one of these areas.
Mine your personal Rolodex for contacts who’ve gone on to lead departments, work at a startup, or launch their own company. Put feelers out with former bosses and people who know your work and your worth and may have temporary assignments they can send your way.
Market your skills and knowledge through LinkedIn or your own website. Set an hourly rate and look for customers in need of help in these areas.
As someone with a sales background, you might spearhead a customer call campaign, help refine a sales process or lay the groundwork for a new product rollout. With a marketing background, you could offer assistance with social media outreach, graphic design, product management, or strategy.
If you’re an administrative specialist or highly organized type you might offer virtual office services. Lauren Tharp, contributor for The Penny Hoarder outlines 8 websites that can help with finding flexible virtual assistant work.
The work needn’t be limited to these areas, it just needs to be do-able remotely and in flexible blocks of time. Focus on your specialty whether it’s sales and marketing or something more technical like engineering, software development or web design.
Mommy Blogging is a hot topic and you’ll find all kinds of articles about its perks and its pitfalls. Victoria Yore, HuffPost Contributor, and writer for www.followmeaway.com offers these 5 Tips for Starting a Successful Mom Blog.
While Mommy Blogging isn’t just about reviewing products, it’s certainly a large and lucrative piece of it. According to Mediakix, “influencer marketing” is expected to grow to a $10 billion industry by 2020. And just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you have to write about diapers and car seats. Your blog might focus on other areas of interest including politics, travel, fitness or fashion.
You might also look for contracts writing on behalf of a company or companies in any number of industries that need SEO ratings and thoughtful content for their websites.
Start with who you know, reaching out to existing contacts, then look online for third party resources that can help. There are several great suggestions in this list published by The Balance Small Business.
Use a Mom Marketplace
Thanks to women-centric marketplaces like The Mom Project, Hire My Mom, and Freelancing Mama, there is now more attention and opportunity for working mothers seeking flex work than ever before. Sites such as these are essentially job boards offering project-based work for professional women who are also raising children. Although not exclusive to mothers, Upwork is another great resource.
Amy Boyington, contributor to The Work at Home Mom blog states, “Literally, within 2 months of signing up for these freelance marketplaces, I quit my regular, 9-5 job and started my own writing and digital media business.” She talks about how to create a profile that will get you noticed.
Work from Home
You needn’t take on the responsibility of self-employment if it doesn’t appeal to you. Traditional job sites like Monster and Indeed all have filters now to help you search for companies that specifically need work-from-home employees.
According to a Forbes report on the top 100 companies for remote jobs, five of the most popular work-from-home job titles are accountant, engineer, teacher, writer and consultant. Amazon, UnitedHealth Group, Cisco, Xero, American Express and Humana were among the top 100 companies listed for offering work-from-home positions.
Define a Space
Once you have work lined up, don’t forget one last, incredibly important thing… You need a place to work where you can actually concentrate.
For a working mom, this is no small feat. Laundry looms, kids run in and out, the dog needs walking, dirty dishes start calling your name. You have to have a space that isolates you from the chaos if you’re going to be productive.
Inc. talks about this, citing the importance of your workspace and some specific techniques to maximize productivity while working from home. These tips from Startup Grind are also helpful0 and include setting ground rules for your kids and family for when you are working.
But don’t forget that convenient, affordable workplace solutions exist outside the home as well. Sure, you can hit the local coffee shop but if you really want a quiet professional environment, there are coworking offices designed just for this purpose.
Places like SharedSpace offer peaceful, uncluttered desks with free wifi and coffee around the clock for as low as $250 month. 24/7 access means you can use the space at times that work for you, even if that’s nights and weekends.
SharedSpace also offers a Mother’s Room. Plus there are other adults you can chat and network with. And then there’s the holy grail… a kitchen you can eat a meal in – uninterrupted – and don’t have to clean!!
Whether it’s in a space like this or your own dining room table, freelancing is definitely worth considering, especially if like most women you’re struggling to do it all.
Just hang in there. You got this.
SharedSpace is a regional coworking business focused on creating modern, professional, and energetic work environments to stimulate the creativity and productivity of entrepreneurial businesses and their teams! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if your business is looking for creative opportunities reinvigorate your workforce and brand with a modern coworking environment like SharedSpace. Contact us today to schedule a tour of our facilities or for a consultation on your business.