My last job involved a one-hour-and-forty-five-minute commute from door to door. During the journey – a one-hour-and-10-minute bus ride, 15 minute train session and 20 minute uphill sprint – weather systems would shift around me, empires would rise and fall and I would. Still. Be. Commuting 💀
I loved my job – and tried to make it work for as long as I could – but between my spirited 5 -year-old and my parent-less office it soon became abundantly clear I was failing to tick boxes required for both. Maybe, just maybe, that 15 hours a week spent in unpaid transit had something to do with it? So I quit.
My resignation hit me like a break-up. I spent a month after my final day waking at night in a cold sweat and lamenting in the early morning that even the garbage collectors had jobs. At that time a girlfriend of mine said something I’ll never forget: “We’re mums. If you want to earn money, you have to create your own work.”
I was scared. What did I know? What could I do? I thought about what I loved about my job and there was one person who stood out — a freelance photographer who set her own time and days, who would come in when required, but mostly work from home.
I wanted to be like her.
Fast-forward two-and-a-half years and I have a thriving photography and social media business working for multiple clients — all from home. Technology is no longer a barrier. Fact. We will all soon have faster internet speeds on the NBN, and together with apps and tools such as video conferencing, cloud sharing, and group work platforms, today you’re able to forge the same collaborative, productive relationships from home that you used to in a traditional office 💪
Even more importantly, I have a second daughter who I get to spend time with up to 9am when I drop her off, and from 4:30pm when I pick her up.
Here are the 3 things that helped me do it — so you can too.
Believe In Yourself
OK, that heading might make you vomit a bit in your mouth, but there’s just no other way to say this: you can do this. Every company on earth at some point in time started with someone saying “Might as well give it a shot”. The people I used to work for? They had a crazy idea and figured it might just work. So did I. So do you.
Besides, if there’s one thing that parenting has taught me is that raising kids a hell of a lot harder than anything else. If you can survive 3am poo-namis, everything else is a walk in the park really.
TIP: Unlike full time work in an office, it’s unlikely that the working from home for yourself with one single client will match your previous income (and anyways, it’s super risky to have all your eggs in one client basket!) Consider layering your income sources to meet all your needs. That could include working for a larger employer a few days a week, managing your own clients a few days, or developing your own passive income sources like an e-commerce store.
Get Smart with Collaborative Tech
On a daily basis, I communicate with my clients, collaborators and audience via email, text, Instagram, FB instant messenger, Snapchat, Instagram messenger, Trello and occasionally phone. Contrary to being overwhelming, it’s actually awesome. These tools are free, easy and fun. Without them, I’ve found that business gets a whole lot harder. And who needs that?
Look After Your Body
When I first started working from home the dining table was my desk, our dining chair my seat. Cut to 30 days later and I found myself frozen in that position — the pain in my shoulders, hips and spine was excruciating and took multiple trips to the physio to sort out.
Do yourself a favour: invest in a quality desk and chair set up from day one. Your back is literally worth anything.
Do you work from home? Do you want to? What’s your experience of working with kids been like so far?