February 12th, 2018

Great Alternatives to Data Entry Work at Home Jobs

Great Alternatives to Data Entry Work at Home Jobs

One thing I’ve noticed in running this site is that many people who want to work at home start their search with something like data entry. It’s easy to understand why. Data entry work at home jobs sound easy, can be done on the computer by just about anyone, at any time of day, and with kids around. You don’t have to worry about noise.

No doubt the high appeal of data entry work at home jobs is why there are so many scams in that area. It’s easy to fall for things that are too good to be true when you’re looking for the easy solution.

There’s a simple truth about legitimate work at home opportunities. They’re work. It may come easier for some than for others, but it’s still work.

Pick right and you’ll enjoy your work more, but an effort on your part is still required.

So what can you do aside from data entry if you don’t think you have any work at home skills, need a flexible schedule and can’t count on a quiet household? Are you just out of luck?

Fortunately, no.

You Can Do More Than You Think

Mostly that’s because most people don’t realize how many skills they do have. If you have office skills, for example, you may be able to find work as a virtual assistant. If you have transportation you might try mystery shopping, although it can be hard to earn a good living until you have a lot of experience in that field.

You might find a job where you can do research online, or where you can look up court documents in your area. There are writing jobs for those with excellent writing skills. There are lots of freelance writing jobs out there.

If typing is what you really want to do, go learn general transcription. It will take some time to find a general transcription job that pays well enough to be worthwhile, but it has fewer training requirements than medical or legal transcription.

Beware The Work At Home Scams

In all cases, you want to watch out for work at home scams. They’re out there in spades. This is especially true if you are looking for something as popular as data entry work at home jobs.

If any job sounds good to you, check out the company. Ask on forums about them. Search the company name on your favorite search engine with the word “scam” and see what comes up. Take some time to think about it. Really understand what it is you are getting paid for.

And learn what the common scams are in different work at home industries. There are common signs that will help you to keep on the right path.

For data entry work at home jobs, one common scam is to try to get you into affiliate marketing. But not the honest kind of affiliate marketing. The scammers want you to post ads about how you can make money posting ads on forums, blogs, and social media. Never mind that these are places that ads are rarely welcome and most of you posts will be deleted. Or that the ads will be selling the same information about ad posting that you got from the ad you followed.

There are ways to make money as an affiliate posting on certain kinds of sites. These ads usually give you the wrong way. The very wrong way.

In general, anything that promises easy money is lying to you. Most ways that you can easily make money don’t work for more than a few people. Even in the areas where some people legitimately do make big bucks online, such as blogging or making YouTube videos, most people won’t make much at all. The ones that make a lot have worked hard at it, even when it looks easy from the outside. Just something to be aware of, even if you don’t let it stop you.

Learn New Skills

Let’s say there’s a work at home job opportunity that has caught your eye, but you don’t have the skills for it. What do you do then?

My simple answer: Go get the skills!

There are lots of opportunities to learn new skills that will allow you to work at home successfully. Some options are free, while others cost quite a bit of money. Whether you can do it depends on what you want to do and how much you can afford to spend.

Take medical coding, for example. Solid training for that through Career Step will cost you a few thousand dollars. But, their training is highly reputable, and it’s a job that has fair demand.

If you want to become a virtual assistant, the Horkey Handbook is a good choice, and costs $247 as of this writing. The course provides a ton of information, including 58 lessons and more than two hours of video. It also offers a full refund for if you aren’t satisfied.

A virtual assistant will sometimes do some data entry work, but much of the work is much more interesting than that. And it’s usually flexible.

You Don’t Want To Limit Yourself To Just Work At Home Jobs.

That’s not quite true. You might want to limit yourself to work at home jobs. Many people simply cannot picture themselves running a home business. You’re limiting your options when you do that, but that’s a choice you make.

But thinking about a home business means opening your options up tremendously. It’s not all direct sales and daycare… although those aren’t bad options at all if they’re what you will enjoy doing!

Considering a home business means opening yourself up to risk. You might fail. You might lose money.

Then again, you might make more money than you would have with a job. You might end up doing something you really, really love.

In a home business, you have the control. You decide what you do and learn how to do it. You decide when you work on it.

If you don’t work hard at a business, of course, it probably won’t go anywhere and won’t be more than a hobby.

But consider! You can start a blog about your life. Start an affiliate site about your favorite hobby. Sell crafts you make. Work as a website designer or other professional.

None of these will guarantee you an income, big or small. But it’s a lot of fun to try. Love what you write about, and you’ll give yourself a better chance than blogging about something that bores you. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll have fun trying.

While you still have to learn about scams when you start a home business, especially if you join an opportunity, you have much more control over what happens.

Much of my own online success has come from continuing hard work. Shortcuts have nothing to do with it. Low standards have nothing to do with it. Demanding a lot from myself does. When I’ve let work slide, my business has slid. And it’s hard bringing it back up.

You can do likewise when you decide to work from home, especially if you don’t limit yourself by thinking you don’t have the skills to succeed. These can be learned, even if you don’t get them on the first try. Keep working at what you’ve chosen to have your best chance at success.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

February 8th, 2018

How To Hold A (Relatively) Peaceful Slumber Party For Your Kids

How To Hold A (Relatively) Peaceful Slumber Party For Your Kids

When kids reach a certain age, they start begging to have friends over for sleepovers or to sleep at a friend’s house. While some families aren’t comfortable letting their kids sleep over at a friend’s house, it’s a pretty safe thing for them to do. When you and enough other parents are ready, it’s time to let someone be the first to host. If you know what you’re doing, you can make even this first one a relatively peaceful slumber party.

Don’t Invite More Than You’re Willing To Handle

The right number of kids is very important to a good slumber party. You don’t want more kids sleeping over than you’re comfortable with.

Because my youngest daughter’s recent slumber party was the first that any of her friends had had, I let her invite all the girls in her class. To keep the number who actually slept over down, however, I gave the parents an easy out by noting that the kids were just as welcome to come for a few hours as they were for overnight.

We had 10 guests for the party, but only three slept over.

Next year, we won’t invite nearly as many because I expect that more will be allowed to sleep over. I had several parents comment that now their kids wanted to do a slumber birthday party. I expect these are about to become common with her friends. We invited a lot because I knew for certain that not all would be allowed to stay.

Sugar Early

If you want the kids to sleep at all, get through the sugary parts of the party early on. Serve birthday cake and ice cream as soon as possible. It’s a party, so if you want to serve dessert before dinner, do it. No one will tell you you’re wrong.

The only sugar you want the kids to have later in the evening is in hot chocolate. Make hot chocolate with warm milk, not water, as a late treat for the kids. Warm milk is supposed to make people tired, after all. The hot chocolate makes it sound enough like a treat that most kids will be happy to drink it.

At my youngest daughter’s recent slumber birthday party, the kids were talking about grabbing the goodie bags in the evening, as the kids who couldn’t sleep over left. I didn’t allow that. Extra sugar at a time that you want the kids to start getting tired is not a good plan.

If the kids really need a snack, popcorn is a good choice. You’ll probably have to vacuum up the mess in the morning, but it won’t get the kids too wound up.

Keep Them Active At First

While having a bunch of kids running all around and being noisy is tiring for the parents, it’s also the best way to tire them enough that they might sleep later. Even if they don’t sleep, they might be tired enough to be quiet when you’re ready to sleep.

We’re lucky enough to have a large garage that has been set up as a playroom for the kids. Kids can get pretty wild in there. The backyard is usually fair game too. Don’t let the kids get too wild outside too late, or you’ll bother your neighbors, but otherwise, it’s a very good idea to get them running around.

Kids at a slumber party always want to stay up super late, if not all night. The more active you keep them early on, the better chance you have that they’ll either fall asleep or be content to play quietly.

Set Limits

What activities are you and the other parents okay with at a slumber party. Can the kids put on makeup? What shows or movies can they watch? When do things need to quiet down?

At my daughter’s recent slumber party, which movie to watch was a huge discussion among the girls because one family had very strict rules. She could only watch things her parents had previously approved.

Fortunately, that included a lot of Disney movies. They settled on Brave. Some of them started yelling at the screen when Merida got her first bow as a little girl and she wasn’t shooting it right. Archery is popular in our area, and some of the kids know full well how it should be done. It was kind of hilarious watching them yell about it.

Set aside places where the kids can’t go. My bedroom and any sibling bedrooms are off limits during slumber parties without specific permission. So is my home office. I now have a “Beware of Dragon” sign on my home office door. It fit with my daughter’s party theme, and I keep my fireplace dragon in my office for safekeeping during parties anyhow.

Have Parent Contact Information

You probably won’t need to contact any parents, but have contact information for them anyhow. I save all of them on my cell phone as they RSVP, but some parents also like to write it down at drop off.

Some kids will bring cell phones and be able to call their parents themselves, but I still like to have a number for my own use.

The younger the kids are, the more likely you are to need to call a parent. Minor injuries are common when they’re playing, and little kids can be very sensitive about what would be a minor disagreement to older kids. Sometimes a child who thinks they’re ready to sleep over at a friend’s house discovers late at night that they really aren’t ready for that.

Be Ready For Minor Accidents

Stuff happens when kids get together for a party. They play a little rough and bump heads. Someone trips and falls.

For these kinds of accidents, make sure your basic first aid kit is available. You don’t need anything fancy most of the time, but you should be ready. Excited kids get rough with each other sometimes.

You should also be ready for the kinds of accidents that involve spilling food or drink all over the place. Slumber parties can be messy. If there’s a place in your house where you can’t have that kind of a mess, don’t let them bring food or drink there.

And yes, be ready for bathroom accidents if the kids are younger. I’ve had to loan out clothing at sleepovers when a child got too busy playing to go to the bathroom on time. I kept things very matter of fact and found something for the child to wear. No need to embarrass them or let any of the other kids know what happened.

Keep the bathroom light on at night. Somebody will probably need it, and you want them to find it without any trouble at all.

The #1 Rule For A Peaceful Slumber Party

There is one rule my mother taught me about hosting a peaceful slumber party for kids. It strikes fear into the hearts of the children sleeping over, and they will try very hard to keep you from invoking the rule.

If you wake a parent, they get to join the party.

Trust me. Kids don’t want mom or dad joining the party. I’ve seen eyes go big at the mere mention of this rule.

You don’t have to explain what you’ll do if you have to join the party. The kids’ imaginations will usually do plenty. If they ask, I give an evil smile and tell them to wait and see. So far, that has always been enough.

When the kids are little, they get one reminder if they wake me. That’s the most I’ve ever had to do. I’ll sometimes hear kids shushing each other if things start to get a little loud, because while some kids might be willing to risk the consequences of having an adult join the party, most really, really don’t want that. So long as the noise gets under control quickly, I don’t actually join the party.

Do have a plan for if you have to join the party. My husband says he will make the kids watch nature documentaries. I don’t actually have a plan for what I would do (don’t tell my kids!), aside from trying to bore the kids, but I have no doubt that I could make them regret waking me – without so much as raising my voice.

We also have a rule that I’m the parent who will join the party if it’s girls sleeping over, while my husband would handle it for boys. I don’t expect any problems with either of us handling things, but some families are very sensitive about that.

Nine times out of ten, this rule will give parents a good night’s sleep without demanding that the kids go to sleep at a particular time. Anyone who has ever been to or hosted a slumber party knows how reluctant kids are to go to sleep at anything resembling a decent hour.

Do you have any tips for hosting a peaceful slumber party that doesn’t wear parents out? What do your kids like to do when they have friends sleep over?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

February 7th, 2018

Why “Easy Work At Home” Is The Wrong Choice For Your Job Search

Why "Easy Work At Home" Is The Wrong Choice For Your Job Search

One of the big questions I get sometimes is how to find “easy work at home jobs.” The appeal of an easy work at home job is quite clear – easier to deal with the kids, low stress, but still bringing some money in. The problem is that “easy” isn’t really a good criterion when looking for work, especially from home.

“Easy Work At Home Jobs” Rarely Pays Well

Easy jobs of any sort rarely pay well at all. The more skill a job takes, the better the odds are that it will pay well.

If you want to try an easy job, try using a microtask site such as Amazon Turk. You won’t earn a lot of money doing most microtasks, but it is easy and flexible work. It can be difficult, however, to even reach minimum wage with microtasks.

Fiverr can also be easy, depending on what you offer there, but making sure that you’re getting paid adequately for the time you spend on it isn’t always easy. You have to find something that you can offer that only takes a little time but people will pay you to do. Then you need to show up well enough on Fiverr that people find your listing and choose you. Some do very well on Fiverr, but the learning curve is not easy for most. On the plus side, you can charge more than the original $5 that the site started out with.

There’s no reason for employers to pay well when a job is so easy that anyone can do it. If anyone can do it, there’s no shortage of people able to do the job. You may have a lot of competition for the easy jobs.

“Easy” Is Usually Dull

Usually when someone asks me about easy work at home jobs, they ask about data entry and such. That’s very repetitive work, generally not interesting at all. It’s very difficult to keep interested in a really boring job, which means it’s hard to work long enough to earn enough money with it.

If you’ve ever had an easy job, odds are that it was also mind-numbingly boring. A little mental or physical challenge makes any job more interesting.

“Easy” Is Vague

One person’s “easy” may not be so easy for someone else. What you find easy, someone else may find challenging. Asking for help finding “easy” work isn’t going to get you a very clear answer.

Sometimes that’s a good thing. If you find writing easy, blogging or freelance writing may appeal to you. Be prepared for writer’s block and other issues making your job more difficult… and most writing jobs still don’t pay all that well. There are writers who do quite well, but they’re in the minority. They also write the more interesting stuff, rather than merely trying to meet a word count for a short article on a subject they don’t care at all about.

“Easy” Often Leads To Scams

Many jobs that claim to be easy are in fact scams. There’s the classic mystery shopping scam where they offer you a cashier’s check to “shop” a particular bank – you keep a couple hundred for yourself, and wire the rest to the scammer. The problem is that the check is fake and now you’re on the hook for the money you sent them. Suddenly you’re in a mess that isn’t all that easy to deal with.

Scammers love the lazy. If you want easy money, you’re more likely to believe their claims when they offer it to you.

So What Should You Look For?

When you’re looking for a way to work at home, consider your skills and interests. Sure, you may want something really flexible, something easy, something you can do without paying for childcare, etc., but that shouldn’t necessarily be your first consideration. Find jobs that are a good match for your skills and interests first, then consider if they’re a match in other ways.

You can also look for work at home jobs that are flexible. If you wanted an easy job because you have small children or other obligations that may interrupt your day, flexible is probably what you were really after anyhow. I have a quick list of sites with flexible work at home jobs, and I’m sure there are many more companies out there.

If you aren’t certain whether a job is flexible, apply anyhow and ask at an appropriate point of the interview process. You might land a job that meets your needs even though the job ad didn’t emphasize that it was flexible.

Never assume that all work at home jobs are easy. They aren’t. People work at home in very technical jobs as well. One of my sisters did software development from home for a time, before deciding that working at home wasn’t for her.

There are work at home jobs that require advanced degrees, and ones that don’t care about your education. There are work at home jobs that require significant experience, and work at home jobs that require no experience. With today’s technology, just about any job that doesn’t require your physical presence in a particular space has the potential to be done at home.

How Do I Find A Work At Home Job?

To get started looking for a work at home job when you don’t know where to start, check out my post about getting started working from home. It has a lot of tips that might help you get things moving with a more realistic view of what to expect.

If you still go for an easy work at home job, consider it a stepping stone to better work, especially if it doesn’t pay well. Much as I discourage anyone from accepting less than minimum wage as a pay rate, I can understand why it’s sometimes necessary to do something so easy that the pay is absurdly low, just to get any money coming it. Just don’t accept it in the long run.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

February 6th, 2018

Powerful Ways To Improve Your Social Media Strategy

Powerful Ways To Improve Your Social Media Strategy

Having a social media strategy is a huge help in building your social media presence. The better job you do thinking out your plans, the better you’re likely to do when you take action. If your social media isn’t doing much for your blog, you need to look at ways to improve your social media strategy.

Plan Your Social Media Strategy

A really solid social media strategy requires planning. This helps you know how often to post on each social media platform.

Different social media platforms do well with different numbers of posts per day. Many people say that you should post no more than 1-2 times a day on Instagram, for example, but some accounts do very well posting quite a bit more than that. Pinterest and Twitter, on the other hand, generally need quite a few more posts per day.

Do not treat each platform as though it’s the same. Not only do the best posting times vary quite a bit, so do the best image sizes, writing style, and the best post length.

LinkedIn, for example, is a very professional site, and your posts should reflect that. Facebook, on the other hand, can have a much more personal feel to it. Instagram requires an excellent visual presentation for a post to succeed, and what you write there will only get attention if the visuals are good enough.

Make Your Content Shareable

Whatever else you do, be sure your content is easily shared. If people share your content on their social media, they’re doing some of your social media marketing for you. You want that.

There are several plugins available to make this easier, both free and paid. I use Shareaholic, which has lots of really useful free options. The paid options can be useful as well, but you don’t have to use them to have a good experience.

Shareable content is also right for the social media platform you’re sharing it on. Pinterest, for example, does better with tall images. Instagram prefers squares. Other platforms prefer images that are wider than they are tall.

This means you may need to make several versions of your images to use on social media. Use the right tools to make images for your social media, and this won’t be terribly difficult.

Build Your Social Media Reputation

Your reputation on social media means a lot to your success. People need to know what to expect from your business.

For most, this means avoiding controversial subjects, unless that’s what your blog is about. Getting controversial for most blogs is a way to alienate potential readers.

Beyond that, you also need a reputation of providing great information in your niche, even if you didn’t create it yourself. Share posts by other blogs and websites in your niche that people will find useful.

Don’t just stick to your own posts. Sure, you work hard on your blog, but other sites have great things to offer your followers as well. Take advantage of that fact. It will make you look better too.

Choose Your Social Media Platforms Wisely

You do not need a presence on every social media platform out there. Trying to use every site out there is a very poor social media strategy. It spreads your efforts out too thin.

Start out with the social media platforms your target market uses most. This may take some research. Also take into consideration which platforms you will feel the most comfortable using, especially when you’re just getting started. You may not feel ready to do live video on Facebook when you first start out, for example, but later on, you might choose to try it.

Pay Attention To Analytics

Social media analytics can be extremely helpful to your social media strategy. They’ll help you learn what’s working and what isn’t.

Each platform gives you information in its own way. In most cases, you’re best off signing up for a business account. That will give you the best analytics that platform has to offer.

You can also see where your traffic is coming from by using Google Analytics. Sign up and add it to your blog if you haven’t already. A good social following is nice, after all, but it doesn’t mean anything without traffic and income.

You can add campaign tracking to your links easily. This makes it easier to know at a glance where your traffic is coming from. The Google Analytics URL Builder makes this a painless process. If you really want to know how your traffic is converting from different sources, you need to do this.

It’s not necessary to look at your analytics daily, but you should look at them at least once or twice a month. Keep track so that you can see how interactions, number of followers, likes, shares and so forth go over a long period.

Make Sure Your Content Is Mobile Friendly

You may know by now that mobile is huge. It’s a major source of traffic for most websites.

If your blog theme isn’t responsive, it’s time to change to one that is. I know enough CSS and HTML to do it myself, but most people are better off finding a theme that does this for them.

If you want a fast solution, there are WordPress plugins that will make a mobile version of your WordPress blog. I don’t consider it an ideal solution (the results can be on the ugly side in my opinion), but it’s better than not being responsive at all.

If you want a really nice job done, pay a developer to design a responsive template for your site. The money spent will be worth it if it increases traffic to your website.

Be Responsive

Just as your blog needs to respond to the screen size it’s being viewed on, you need to respond to the people who visit your site or follow your social media.

If someone asks you a question, take some time and answer it. Some of my favorite blog posts have come from questions people have emailed me.

Making a blog post out of common questions makes being responsive to your followers easier. You can refer them to the answer you’ve already posted.

These answers can also be great social media posts. If someone is taking the time to ask you a question, odds are good that others have the same question.

You can also respond to other people’s social media posts. Ask questions. Give compliments. Add a little information of your own. Remember the social part of social media.

Try New Things

Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again all of the time. Try new things. It’s the only way to learn what really works.

Change the style of your images occasionally to see if a new style does better. Different fonts, different font colors, and new kinds of images may result in very different responses. If it’s better than your old style, make a change. If not, go back to your old style.

Also, try posting at different times, test new hashtags, post more, post less, and so forth. There’s a lot of advice out there for the best posting times on different social media platforms, but that doesn’t mean those will be the best time for you. Test to be sure.

Use The Right Tools

You don’t want social media to take up your entire workday. For much of your social media use, scheduling tools such as Hootsuite are worth the cost. They’ll let you schedule out the basic posting side of things in large chunks, so that part of the job can be taken care of once a week or so.

Don’t schedule everything. You can’t automate direct interactions on social media. You have to see what’s going on to respond appropriately.

Hootsuite allows you to see responses to your posts on several different platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can handle much of your posting and interaction through Hootsuite, which is faster than going to the various platforms.

Remember That Social Media Shouldn’t Be Your Only Marketing Strategy

Social media is a wonderful marketing tool, and it can be an extremely effective strategy to use it. But you should do more than that. Try guest posting, blog syndication, commenting on other blogs, answering questions on HARO, and so forth.

A broad marketing strategy gives you more protection from problems than a narrow one. Make time to do different things so that you get results from many places. You’ll improve your chance of success if you do so.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

February 5th, 2018

How Do You Get Time To Run Your Home Business?

How Do You Get Time To Run Your Home Business?

Running a home business can be one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do for yourself and your family. Being there for your family while dealing with the demands of a business is complicated. Getting time to run your home business can be difficult. There are a number of things you can do to get more time to really focus on your work.

Set Up A Daily Routine

Have a daily routine that gets you moving. Start your day taking care of all the personal care things that need to get done, as well as any childcare issues that must be handled, and any chores you prefer to get done first thing. This keeps you from thinking all day about the things you need to get done that aren’t your home business.

For example, if I need to go grocery shopping, I do that right after dropping the kids off at school. I’m already out and about anyhow. Taking care of it first thing means I don’t have to think about it the rest of the day.

Have a daily routine for your home business as well. Set times to check your social media and email, and don’t let them eat up an excessive amount of time each day. Give yourself time each day for your routine business tasks.

Many people find it helpful to outline their tasks for each day. This can be easiest to do at the end of your workday for the next day. You’ve been working on stuff all day, and you probably know exactly what you need to work on next. Write that task list while your needs are fresh in your mind so that you don’t delay later.

Squeeze In A Little Work Where You Can

Running a home business often isn’t a strict 8-5 kind of thing. Many successful home business owners break up their workday to suit the needs of their family.

Make a list of all the little jobs you can do for your home business that only take up a little of your day. When you find time to work on them, do so. These should be things that you won’t mind so much when someone interrupts you. It’s better to get a small amount of work done than to do none at all.

Have Your Spouse Help

If you’re married or living with someone, you can ask them to be in charge of the kids when you need to work. It can be hard to get the kids to quit asking you for things if they have a habit of asking you first, but it’s good to get them used to the idea that either parent can care for them.

Depending on what your spouse does, they may not always be able to care for the kids right when you need them. I don’t mean that you should let them give any old excuse to not help – being tired from their own day at work or wanting to do something else is not always enough reason to refuse to do their share of the parenting. Other times they will have a good reason why they can’t care for the kids right when you need them to.

If your spouse is sometimes reluctant to help out, talk about where the problem is. Both parents have to shoulder their part of the parenting burden to make these things work. If your spouse truly supports the work you’re doing on your home business, they’ll help you get time to run your home business, even if that means they have to do work around the house or be the main parent while you get some business work done.

Have Family Help

Other family members can be extremely helpful as well. When we lived close enough, my inlaws took my kids overnight most weekends. We no longer live close enough for that to be practical now, but it was quite nice back then.

If you have a sibling with children close enough in age to your own, trading childcare can be nice all around. You get time to run your home business while the kids get time with their cousins. Once the kids are out of diapers, extra kids may not be that much more work for the parent in charge of them at the time. Sometimes it’s even less work, as the kids entertain each other, rather than relying on adults to play with them.

Trade Childcare

You can also trade childcare with friends. This can be done informally by taking turns, or you can use a babysitting co-op app or website to keep track of who has done how much babysitting. There are quite a few available, some free, some paid, such as:

Sit4sit
BabysittingCoop 
SittingAround
BabysitterExchange
Care.com co-ops

You can also set up your own co-op with a group of friends. Agree on some rules and set up a place where you can ask for babysitting time or tell someone you’re available. A secret Facebook group is an easy way to do this without having all your information out where just anyone can see it.

Of course, you will want to make sure you know the other families well. It is best if you all take a look at each others’ homes, so you know how child safe the home is, if guns are kept, what pets are there, and so forth. Most co-ops, once established, require a member’s recommendation for new members to join, and then they must be approved by an additional member. Some have slight fees to pay for basic supplies.

You will want to have your rules spelled out to keep members from feeling as though they are being taken advantage of by others. Sometimes one member won’t be good at reciprocating, which annoys the other parents as they feel that they’re being taken advantage of. It can also damage friendships.

This is why a co-op needs written rules and a way to track hours. It’s too easy to take advantage if others can’t directly point out where the problem is. Having clear rules and tracking can make it a little less personal.

Pay For Childcare

There are times when you will have to pay for childcare. Sometimes the free and cheap options just don’t work out with the time you need to run your home business.

For example, you may need a regular daycare situation for your kids because you work a lot of hours on your home business and can’t be distracted by kids. In that case, a more traditional style of daycare can be more practical than relying on family or friends.

You can look for local daycares on your own or use a service such as Care.com or SitterCity.com. These may be able to help you find a babysitter or daycare whether you need one daily or just once in a while.

Work While Others Sleep

If you’re a night owl or an early bird, you may be able to work while other members of your family sleep.

This won’t work for everyone, of course. The kind of work you do may not be suited to working nontraditional hours. Such hours may also not work for you personally. If you’re too tired at those times to work, working late nights or early morning is probably not for you.

Ignore Household Chores During Work Hours

One of the big ways work at home parents lose time to run their home businesses is by doing too much around the house when they should be working.

It’s not all about the kids. It’s the laundry and the dishes. Cooking dinner. Cleaning up stuff that really doesn’t have to be cleaned right now, but you decide to do it anyhow.

Don’t let the household chores get in the way of running your home business. Save it for outside your work hours.

I like to be efficient when it comes to making dinner. It’s not always possible, but using my crock pot, Instant Pot and planning ahead makes my days go better.

Some people like to set a day aside to prep freezer meals, for example. I very rarely do that. Instead, I try to make two meals while prepping one. The extra goes into the freezer rather than be cooked. It’s almost as easy to make two meatloaves as it is to make one, for example. Doing it while cooking another meal means that I don’t lose a whole day to meal prep, yet I often have an easy dinner in the freezer.

Don’t Turn On The TV

It can be tempting to binge watch your favorite show while you work on your home business. Don’t. Just don’t.

Having the television on is a huge distraction, and it will cut down on your productivity. At some point, you are going to start watching rather than working, more likely than not.

Save the TV time for when you aren’t working. You’ll enjoy the shows you watch more because your work won’t distract you from them.

If you want background noise, play some music from your collection or use a service such as Spotify. Many people feel they are more productive with at least a little background noise rather than complete silence. Music is generally far less distracting than a television show.

Set Aside Time For Reading Online And Social Media

While you should read relevant blogs and participate professionally on social media, there’s only so much of that you should do during your regular working hours. You need to set aside an appropriate amount of time for these things that won’t eat into your day.

Separate out your personal use of social media from your professional side. Don’t get into chats with family or friends when you should be working. Do share your latest blog posts or work on some social media marketing in appropriate places. Don’t get sucked into the unproductive parts of your social media presence.

It’s Up To You To Make Time To Run Your Home Business

You have to do what it takes to make time to run your home business. Others may help by taking care of distracting children and household chores, but if you don’t take your work hours seriously, you’ll always feel as if you don’t have enough time for your business.

Whenever you feel as though you’re running low on work time, take a look at where the hours are going each day. The odds are good that you’ll find places where you can squeeze in a little more work. It’s amazing how productive you can be in a short time if you’re really determined.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.