'Tis the season... to begin working from home so you can homeschool.
I hear from soon-to-be homeschoolers, asking about everything from how to find a curriculum to suit their children, to how to find income at home so they can homeschool their children. In many areas of the country, the job terrain is shifting faster than a building built on the beach in an earthquake and families are struggling to keep up. Many have seen pink slips recently and others know they're coming. This reality makes it difficult to gather the courage to also take on the challenge of homeschooling.
Before you panic, stop and take a breath. It really is going to be okay, things may be difficult for a while, but they'll get better. The following steps have helped me tremendously over the years when things were tight and we needed to find or bring in extra money.
Step one - Ditch extra expenses
Deal with extra expenses, ditch them if possible and scale back heavily. Get rid of cable TV and pick up a Roku box, Amazon stick, or Apple TV and just keep your internet access. This step alone can save over $100 per month for some families (mine included!). Make sure there are no water leaks on your property, and that the kids turn off the lights when they leave the room. Try to use fans instead of A/C... the list goes on and I'm sure you've seen at least some of the items already. Truth is, that until you need to save money these items are often overlooked. Once your finances are dealt with, you can focus clearly on creating income because this first step also gives you concrete numbers with which to work.
Step two - Make a list of skills
To figure out what direction you need to head, you'll need a list of every single skill you possess. Write down everything and I really do mean everything, from organizing the house to grocery shopping on a budget, to cleaning, bookkeeping and more. No matter how small the task may seem, write it down. If it's a hobby that uses skills, that counts too and so does all the volunteer work. It doesn't really matter if you have been a SAHM for a decade, you have developed skills over the years, you just need to make yourself aware of what they are.
Step 3 - Narrow it down
Once you have the gigantic list of available skills, narrow it down to the things you like or can tolerate doing. Don't pick something you hate because you won't do as good a job as you could otherwise. Choosing things you tolerate wouldn't be high on my priority list either, but you do what you have to do when money is an issue.
Step 4 - Research the possibilities
Find jobs, businesses, etc, and list jobs that use the skills you listed. Every job you can imagine should be on this list. Whether it's self-employment, working for someone, or some combination of both, list things you can do to capitalize on those skills. When something happens and you need to make some money to help the family, it's time to get serious and figure something out. You may find that working from home is but one of many available options.
Step 5 - Write a resume
Yes, you still need to do this even if you're going with the self-employment option. Why? Because it teaches you to look at yourself from a different perspective and to show your skills and abilities in a positive light. Sometimes we see only the negative in ourselves and the current situation and need a little help seeing the good. A resume that highlights all your skills and abilities can do that. It's also a crucial step if you plan on getting a job. Besides, even being self-employed, you'd be amazed at how many times I've been asked to send a resume when offering my services.
Step 6 - Make contact and continue growing
Now that you have figured out, "What you want to be when you grow up," start contacting companies and people. Start making contacts, get involved in local business networking groups and above all, learn something new every day. I spend a little time every morning networking and talking to people, I also spend time in meditation and in learning.
A few ideas on where to look for work, some of the articles are a little older, but the information and advice are sound:
The learning is the easy part, there are so many podcasts devoted to helping people find work, start businesses and improve their perspective. I like the podcasts because they're free and FULL of great information. You can also listen to audio books from the library if your budget doesn't allow for purchases at this point, but if you can invest in a book - by all means, do so!
Here are my favorite podcasts:
I barely have time to listen to these guys every week - but I really make the effort because I always walk away feeling better about things. They have a way of making me feel motivated and positive that I can achieve greatness in my life and help others do the same. I know there are situations and families for which homeschooling may not be right at this moment in time, and that's okay. By and large it can be done if you get creative in how you look at money... and schedules.
With most work at home, self-employment type things, you do have some control over when and how long you work every day. This makes it possible to schedule your family's schooling needs around the need to put food on the table. I know quite a few working single parents who have found ways to make it work because it was that important, so I'm pretty sure you also have a good chance of making it happen.
What is something that helped you when things were tough and your family need a bit of extra money? Share it in the comments!