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Ideas for jobs you can do at home ?

(10 Posts)
hangingoutattheendofmywick Sun 05-Jul-15 15:04:09

I'm asking on behalf of a good friend but I suppose on behalf of myself too. I'm sure this has been asked before! We are both mothers of 2 year olds - and I'm about to have another. She recently left her job (she is in communications) and would love a different direction / a new career / way of making money) and finding any childcare where we live is a bit of a nightmare - long waiting lists, incredibly expensive etc. I've been trying to think of ways she can work from home ... And it might be useful to think about it for me too. We both have partners who work but don't make enough for us to not work. Hope that makes sense!
I'm just looking for new ways we can make money for these years we are at home with our kids - maybe different to ones I've already thought of. Any ideas / however silly - are welcome smile

bettysviolin Sun 05-Jul-15 16:19:49

A friend of mine set up as a travel agent working from home.
Another friend teaches French and Spanish conversation classes from home. (But not ideal if DC are pre-school age as they can't demand attention while you teach.)
I do copywriting and editing from home.
Online retail business (if you have storage for products.)

hangingoutattheendofmywick Sun 05-Jul-15 17:53:47

Can I ask how you got into copy writing / editing? Are the jobs just listed in normal job sites?

bettysviolin Sun 05-Jul-15 19:59:00

Hanging decades ago I got into it when a friend recommended me as an extra pair of hands (because he knew I was a grammar geek and good at spelling etc) for a big job for a well known firm that he couldn't finish on time. From that job I made connections and it's been word of mouth a lot from then in. Though I do pick up jobs from Indeed (online jobs website) and have had cold calls from Linked In, as well as loads of jobs in the past from Guardian jobs. When I was starting out, I used to go for maternity cover or PT jobs to get as much experience as possible in different areas. Then moved to working from home once DC were born.

Never trained formally. You can pick up the copy-editing signs online. Or, more usually these days, just use track changes.

Selks Sun 05-Jul-15 20:02:30

Does it pay reasonably ok, Bettys?

bettysviolin Mon 06-Jul-15 11:11:38

Yes it does pay well. And when you take out commuting and childcare costs, and costs of buying lunch or ready meals because you have such long days, then the actual take home pay goes so much further.

Downside is that it's freelance. So you never know how much income you will have week by week, month on month or year on year. I set myself targets to reach and work very hard to ensure I have enough contracts to meet them. You do need to tout for work and of course there's a lot of job applications to fill in and CV updating, as jobs can be anything from a 1 yr contract for two hours per week, to a full on all-nighter for someone who wants something turned around in two days. (I try to avoid those now but didn't when starting out.)

My income is fairly steady annually but I put a lot of effort into ensuring that and am constantly devising new ways to get work in, and new angles to market. If you sit and wait for contracts to come to you, as a friend did, after paying a lot for a copywriting course, you'll give up in six months. I run it as a business and allocate time every week (or if I'm wanting more money, every day) to look for contracts and chase clients for work (or payment!)

I have a lot of flexibility. If I want a family holiday I take on extra work. If I want time with the kids, I say I'm booked up when I'm not.

Selks Mon 06-Jul-15 22:47:28

Thanks, that's really interesting. I would love to get into this as a sideline and see where it goes. Any tips for starting out?

bettysviolin Mon 06-Jul-15 23:07:37

To get experience, do some for free - proof read and edit dissertations, theses, draft copies of books and business web pages of friends, relatives, friends of friends. You only need to do three or four of these. Do them to a good standard, then you can use quotes from satisfied customers and advertise on Linked In, set up a website for yourself (a simple free one is fine. No need to spend £1000s.)

But most work comes by word of mouth. So tell the people you give freebies to what your going rate is going to be after your completed your trial run and ask them to spread the word. Also do a press-release style marketing blurb and send it round local businesses and to local papers. You'd be surprised how many small businesses need someone to look over their blurb or web content and correct and update it.

Work out what you want to earn per hour or page. Keep your rates competitive and as soon as you have too much work, put them up. Put your rates up every time you have more work than you can handle. Up to you if you want to create a specialism. You may choose to focus on dissertations from your local uni written by overseas students (of which there are usually many) who struggle with academic writing in a foreign language. Or, if your first degree is in science or law, you may get work as a legal copy editor or technical writer.

It might be slow to start, but over the years it builds up to a well paid part time from home job, especially once you've found your niche.

warmleatherette Wed 08-Jul-15 18:07:14

hello bettysviolin, just wanted to say thanks for your posts. freelance copywriting and editing is what i used to do pre-kids but somehow (well, after getting made redundant / losing contracts twice while on maternity leave) i have lost confidence that it is something i could still earn a living at. your posts have made me realise that this is (probably) bollocks and that i really should get back on the horse and start hustling for writing / editing work again. so yeah. no idea if you'll come back to the thread to see this but am going to save your posts for inspiration. thank you!

Selks Thu 09-Jul-15 23:54:55

Bettys, many thanks for taking the time to post this really helpful advice and info flowers

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