Last Updated August 23rd, 2018

Can Your Family Live On A Single Income?

Can Your Family Live on a Single Income?

Many families dream of having one parent stay at home to raise the kids. The idyllic picture of having mom (or dad) home, taking care of the kids, cooking great meals, keeping a beautiful home, all on a single income, is hard to resist.

It’s also incredibly difficult financially.

If you really want to do it, it can be done. Single parent families have to get by on a single income, although there may be child support coming in as well. If you really want to have a parent home with the kids, you have to make it happen.

With practice, the sacrifices you make may not seem so bad. You will take fewer vacations, and they’ll be simpler. You will eat out less often. Shopping will be more carefully planned, and you will buy fewer things. If you and your family can live with that, you will probably be able to cope.

That’s assuming, of course, that you can make the remaining income stretch to cover your necessities. You need to look at this to make an informed decision.

Consider What Living On A Single Income Will Look Like

The first thing you need to do is figure out how practical it will be to live on a single income. That means looking at the income you expect to have and deciding if it will be enough.

1. Collect 3 months’ worth of pay stubs from the person whose income your family will be relying on. Use this to calculate your average monthly income.

2. Collect 3 months’ worth of bills. Make sure you include everything: rent/mortgage payments, water bills, electrical bills, cable, internet service, phone plans, insurance, and groceries, for example. You should also include some savings in your planning to prepare for emergencies. In any case, you need an average of what you are paying out every month.

3. Subtract your average monthly expenses from the average monthly single income. Will it work?

If not, don’t despair. There are often areas you can cut. When you have two incomes it is easy to spend more than you absolutely have to. You may need to look harder for solutions.

Don’t assume you can make on on a single income if you see that you can just barely make it. That’s asking for trouble. All it takes is one crisis to completely mess you up when you live paycheck to paycheck. It’s not ideal to live on a single income if you’re scraping by.

Consider The Expenses That Will Decrease

It’s not just your income that decreases when you go to a single income. A few of your expenses will also decrease.

Your taxes go down when you live on a single income. No more need for daycare. The parent staying at home will probably eat out less, have less need for dry cleaning and so forth.

They may drive less as well, depending on how close work was and how often the kids need to be driven anywhere. This can mean less money spent on gas and less maintenance on that car. If enough things are within walking distance, you may even be able to consider becoming a one car family.

It can also help to consider which bills you would be willing to cut in order to live on a single income. You can start with monthly bills.

Do you really need cable television? What about having both cell phones and landline phones? Perhaps your family could get by with just one or the other.

Now look at the other things you spend money on monthly, but don’t come in the form of bills. Can you eat out less? Do you tend to buy more clothing or new electronic gadgets you don’t need? What bad shopping habits do you have? Can you give up Starbucks?

dollar bills

Consider The Expenses That Will Increase

Some bills will go up when you have mom or dad stay home with the kids.

Electricity is an obvious one. There will be people home all day, turning on lights, needing air conditioning or heat, and so forth.

Having one parent at home may also mean that the kids get signed up for more activities, as there’s someone there to take them to everything.

You probably won’t have a lot of expenses increase when you go to a single income. You’re trying to cut expenses, after all.

Figure Out The Expected Single Income Budget

Try to work out a budget that will work with the money you would have as a single income family. Then, before you are actually a single income family, try living on it. Put the extra into savings. It makes a nice cushion for if things don’t work out and for when those extra bills that you really can’t plan for hit.

Even if you decide that you’re better off not becoming a single income family, living as though you are one can be a good financial habit. It gives you a lot more leeway when things go wrong. You’ll have savings built up and more money than you need coming in. That’s a good thing.

Track all your spending. You can create your own spreadsheet if you like or use one of the many apps or software out there that will help you track your spending. The more you know about where your money is going every month, the better. Here are some apps to consider:

How well is it working?

If your expected single income budget doesn’t work out, figure out what went wrong. Can it be fixed on that income or do you simply need a larger income?

Sometimes you can fix the problems. You can go as far as finding a cheaper place to live or as simple as figuring out what else can reasonably be cut.

Other times you may realize that living on a single income won’t work for your family. You don’t want to ruin your finances just to have one parent stay home with the kids. That’s not smart, and it won’t benefit your kids.

It takes time to learn to live on a single income. It is very possible for many families. You will need to plan, both in terms of finances and in terms of what is expected from each person, but it is highly doable. And having the ability to have one parent there for the kids can be amazing.

pie chart

Learn To Find Bargains

You might be surprised at the bargains you can find if you’re looking for them. I don’t just mean clipping coupons, although that doesn’t hurt. There’s a lot more you can do.

My favorite bargain source is a store called 99 Only. They’re in just a few states, but they’re a huge help when you’re on a tight budget. Fortune just listed them as a company that is helping to change the world, because they provide cheaper access to locally grown produce, often in areas that are considered food deserts. If you don’t need your produce to look quite perfect and you have a 99 Only near you, go there. I get almost all of my produce there.

Other dollar stores can have good deals as well, but most don’t have the produce selection I see at 99 Only. It’s the produce that keeps me coming back, even as I find other deals there.

Aldi is another good choice for finding grocery bargains.

If you can afford the membership and buying in bulk (challenging to impossible on some budgets), Costco is great too. The hot dogs and pizza also make for great cheap meals out when you need a treat for the kids.

I’ve shared a lot of other strategies to save money on groceries in other posts.

Saving money on children’s clothing helps a lot too. My favorite was handmedowns from family because for a long time we had clothes working their way through up to five kids. Not every piece lasted the whole time, but the chain we had going saved us a lot of money.

Be Ready For Sacrifices

Single income families usually sacrifice a lot of things to make it happen. You can still find a lot of ways to have fun as a family, but there are things you won’t be able to do.

If you like getting the latest and greatest technology, for example, you will probably have to stop that. Your current phone will need to last a lot longer.

So will your cars.

Most single income families don’t eat out a lot either. That can save a lot of money, depending on how often you eat out now. Just think how much you spend every time you take the family out to a meal. Unless you’re getting something super cheap, such as a $5 pizza, you’re probably spending quite a bit more than you would if you ate at home.

Holidays often get simplified as well. Most single income families keep holidays such as Christmas a lot simpler. That’s not a bad thing, really. Even with simplified Christmases, my kids often don’t use everything they’re given.

You may also want to cut down on your monthly bills. Many families have found that they can cut out cable television and use a few streaming subscriptions for far less.

I am also very fond of my cell phone service through Ting. I pay far less for my family’s cell phones than anyone else I know. We aren’t heavy users, but even when we use our phones more than normal, it has been a bargain.

Learn To Do It Yourself

Learning how to do basic home repairs yourself can help you save a lot of money. It’s amazing how easy some repairs are.

When we bought our house, for example, I painted the kids’ rooms myself. That includes putting stripes on my son’s wall because that was what he wanted.

I can also do basic plumbing. Clearing out basic clogs in a sink without dangerous chemicals is often not difficult. Messy, but not difficult.

You can also do your own yard work rather than pay a service. As the kids get older, they can help. I’ve discovered a fondness for irises and gladiolus in caring for my yard, as well as an enthusiasm for planting anything that attracts and feeds butterflies.

There will be a number of things that you should still hire a professional to handle for you, depending on your skills, experience and comfort level. If you’re willing to try a particular repair, however, there’s often a YouTube video showing you how.

Consider The Alternatives If Things Aren’t Working Out

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you plan, going to a single income as a family just doesn’t work out.

You get hit with an unexpected bill, such as repairs on the car or medical bills.

The spouse who is working loses their job.

Death, divorce, and disability are real possibilities too. You can’t assume that your life will run exactly as you planned it. Shit happens, to put not too fine a point on it.

This is exactly why I work at home. My husband and I wanted one of us at home, and I had the best skills to earn a living at home, first as a medical transcriptionist, then running this site. We didn’t want to take the risks of living on a single income when we had a viable alternative.

This has worked out well. There have been times when my income was the only reason we didn’t go completely broke. Sometimes I earn more than my husband, sometimes less. But my income is a vital part of our family’s income, yet I’m still able to be there for the kids when they need me.

Working parents can do that too, but it’s much harder to manage when they need you in the middle of the workday.

There are lots of ways to work at home. Some options are more flexible than others. Some will require that you put your kids in daycare while you work because you can’t have the distractions. Others will let you have the kids directly underfoot.

It’s up to you to pick what will work best.

I strongly recommend any stay at home mom or dad have some sort of income coming in. It makes a difference when you have a financial crisis. It makes a difference when the time comes to return to working outside the home, should you choose to do that. And it helps when you reach retirement age.

Of course, if your family is running into financial problems, don’t limit yourself to considering only work at home options. Sometimes returning to work outside the home will be the smart choice. Don’t refuse to consider that just because you’d rather be home with your kids. The well-being of your family comes first, and sometimes that means both parents have to work outside the home.

You can do that and still be amazing parents.

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.

Last Updated August 20th, 2018

How Can College Students Work At Home (Or Dorm)?

How Can College Students Work At Home (Or Dorm)?

One thing most college students need is a flexible job. College is expensive, and most cannot rely solely on parents, loans or scholarships. Can college students work at home or in their dorm rooms, or is that an impossible dream?

So long as students consider the limitations of their living arrangements, it should be completely possible… provided you don’t do anything against the rules of your dorm or apartment. Check the rules for your residence to ensure you won’t get into trouble.

What Makes It Difficult For College Students To Work At Home?

difficult for college student work at home

One of the biggest challenges a college student may face in looking for a work at home opportunity is their need for flexibility. Class schedules vary so much from semester to semester. One semester, all your classes might take place in the morning and early afternoon. The next, you might have one or more classes in the evening.

Finding a job or business which can cope with that isn’t always easy.

Then there are roommates.

Some roommates are great. They’re considerate, and if say you need to work, they’ll keep the noise level down and let you work. Others will be loud and distracting.

If you’re in a dorm or apartment building, it may not even be your roommates causing the problem. Sound travels well in most buildings, and if someone else if having a party, you don’t have quiet time to work.

Don’t forget your homework load. Sometimes college students have a ton of homework, and making time for your work at home job will be difficult. You’d have that same problem with an outside the home job, but being home where you could do homework sometimes makes it feel more like you should do homework rather than work on your job.

What Do College Students Need To Work At Home?

what do college students need to work at home?

The supplies that a college student needs to successfully work at home are much like what anyone else would need. Much of what you need is the same as you need for your schoolwork.

You aren’t likely to have space for a private home office, but you should do the best you can. Some work at home jobs can be done wherever you are on campus, but others will require a more private workspace.

If a job says you need a private place to work, you have to consider if you have that available when you’re a college student. You might not have a sufficiently private place to work. That means you can’t take a job where you’re handling sensitive or personal data.

You usually need a computer and internet connection, of course. Odds are you have those already.

A desk is a very good idea, both for your job and doing homework. You’ll probably work more efficiently if you have a desk with an ergonomic office chair and at least two monitors.

Trust me on the dual monitors if you haven’t used them before. They’re great. Not an absolute must, but truly wonderful if you can get them. They save a lot of going back and forth on some projects.

Most jobs these days can pay by direct deposit, but a few will send checks in the mail. Some companies will pay by Paypal as well. Pay attention to how employers say they will send payment so you’re prepared to deal with it. Don’t send banking details, however, until you’re positive it’s a legitimate opportunity.

Talk To Your Roommates

If you’re going to work at home or in your dorm while at college, you will need your roommates to understand what you’re doing. Most importantly, they need to understand when they need to let you work and when they can interrupt you.

How strict you need to be will depend on the job you get. Some are super flexible, so long as you get your work done. Others need you to adhere to a strict schedule.

But a flexible job doesn’t mean you should encourage your roommates to interrupt you freely. That’s an easy path to working too few hours. Hold yourself accountable for working a good number of hours regularly even if no one else will.

Who Hires College Students?

So long as you have an appropriate place to work, college students should be able to qualify for a variety of work at home jobs that don’t require a degree. There are even a few companies, such as Apple, that regularly hire college students for work at home jobs.

Any of the companies that I listed as work at home opportunities for teens will probably also work well for college students. Such jobs can work around school schedules and don’t require a lot of experience. The difference is that there are a lot more companies that will hire you once you’re over 18.

The big thing you need to look at when considering a work at home position is if you can set up a workspace that meets their requirements. If you have that and meet their other requirements, you should apply.

Some people will suggest GPT (Get Paid To) sites and survey sites. These are not jobs, of course, but some people do well enough with them. I’m not listing them because very few pay enough to make it worth the time.

Here are some options to consider:

Tutoring

tutoring

Tutoring is one of the classic college student jobs. It’s flexible and you can share your knowledge with other students. The pay can be pretty good too.

You can go the traditional route for tutoring jobs and look for opportunities to tutor other students on your campus or at nearby high schools. You can put flyers up advertising your tutoring specialties.

But you can also tutor online. This has the advantage of being more flexible, as you can reach a wider range of students.

In many cases, online tutoring involves teaching students in other countries. Helping people learn English is a popular option, as it often involves simple conversations following whatever rules are set up.

One of the most challenging things about being an online tutor can be knowing where to draw the line. It’s pretty easy to work with students who are simply working on conversational language skills. But if you’re tutoring a subject where students need homework help, you may find that some expect you to do their homework for them. You have to learn how to help your students without simply handing them the answers.

You will probably need a webcam and microphone for online tutoring. It’s helpful for your students to see you as you tutor them.

Here are some companies to consider. These require no teaching experience or credentials. Your current GPA may matter:

Customer Service/Tech Support

If you want to do work at home customer service as a college student, you need to be aware of the requirements. Any customer service or technical support position that requires you to talk on the phone will require a very quiet place to work. Even chat based positions where you’ll just be typing your responses will require a place where no one will distract you as you work.

If you have roommates, these can be very difficult jobs to deal with, as roommates are often distracting or loud. Don’t go for a position that requires a completely silent background unless you’re confident you have that available. In general, these aren’t the best jobs for college students who live in the dorms.

AdviseTech: AdviseTech states a preference for college students or retired people. You only need to dedicate 2-6 hours per week, so obviously this isn’t going to pay all of your bills. If you need something to fill in a financial gap, getting only a few hours isn’t a bad thing at all.

Apple: Hires college students for Apple advisor at home positions from participating universities. This is tech support for the various Apple products.

ContractWorld: Hires in the United States and Canada. Positions can be extremely flexible, but you definitely need to have a quiet workspace. You’ll take calls for a variety of companies, depending on the projects you join.

LiveOps: You must be able to have a dedicated business line for this opportunity, as well as a quiet place to work. You can schedule your work in 30 minute blocks, making this nicely flexible for college schedules so long as you can meet the other requirements.

There are a number of other companies that hire people for work at home customer service jobs. So long as their needs fit with your schedule and location, many of them will hire college students.

library

Website Testing

Website testing is rarely a consistent job, but individual tests should pay well enough to be worth the time. How much you can earn overall depends on the tests available at the time. Pay rates when listed are what I find on the sites as of this writing but are subject to change. Check with the individual sites to see what they’re paying per test when you apply.

You may be required to have a microphone for website testing jobs. They want to hear your thought processes as you go through the site, not just read whatever you type. If your computer has a built-in microphone, that is usually good enough. They may have requirements for operating systems and other features.

If you do website testing, you will probably want to sign up for multiple companies. You probably will not get enough tests to make a significant income, but it’s an easy side gig.

Website testing jobs often pay by Paypal and require that you be at least 18 years old. A few accept users as young as 16. Users under 18 may need to talk to their parents about accepting payments for them, as Paypal has discontinued their student account option, which was how people under 18 could previously get a Paypal account.

Try My UI: Pays $10 per test. Each takes about 20 minutes.

User Testing: Pays $10 per 20 minute testing video you create.

Testbirds: Pay averages about 20 Euros. Usability tests pay based on the complexity of the test, while bug tests pay based on how many bugs are found and how severe each bug is.

UserFeel: Pays $10 per 10-20 minute test.

Userlytics: Pay is mostly from $5-20, but they say some projects go up to $90. This site allows testers as young as 16 years old. Tests take 20-40 minutes on most projects.

WhatUsersDo: Pay appears a bit lower than many other testing sites – the site says it’s $5 per test right now.

MyCrowd: Another site that says users can be as young as 16 years old. MyCrowd has testers submit bugs to a list on their application and expects testers to check for duplicates so a given bug is not listed more than once. Pay comes from finding bugs, validating test scripts, or reviewing results reported by others.

Testingtime: Testingtime is a little different from some of the other testing sites. Some tests are done in person at a client’s site. Others are done while speaking with the client on Skype. Tests pay up to 50 Euros, depending on how long the test takes.

UserTest.io: Pays £8 per review. You must be at least 16 years old to sign up as a reviewer.

Intellizoom: Pay ranges from $5-10, depending on the type of study.

uTest: uTest is one of the few online website testing sites where I see reports that some people can make a full time living at it. This is true only for the best of their testers. Most people will not make anywhere near that much, and it will take time to reach that level, even if you’re good at software testing.

Validately: Tests can pay from $5-10 dollars for regular tests, or more for longer tests.

Transcription

I started working in medical transcription back when I was in college. It was a good job. Once I had my skills built up, I could earn a respectable hourly rate from most recordings, although a few doctors were incredibly difficult to understand at best.

But you don’t have to go into medical transcription. You can do general transcription, which takes much less training. Some get into it without any training at all, but I believe that getting a little helps.

The Transcribe Anywhere course is a great resource for anyone considering working as a transcriptionist. You get a free mini course first, so you can decide if it’s worth paying for the whole thing before you risk your money. It’s a good way to find out if being a transcriptionist is a good choice for you.

I have a lot of transcription companies listed in my post about finding remote entry level jobs. I won’t duplicate it here.

Mystery Shopping

While mystery shopping often involves going to a store or restaurant and evaluating their services, it is sometimes also done over the phone. Either can be good when you’re going to college, especially if there’s a lot of shopping in your area.

It is difficult to get enough work as a mystery shopper to make a decent income, but it can be a fun extra. If you do mystery shopping in person, it can be an easy way to get the occasional meal out.

Be careful of scams related to mystery shopping. One of the classics is for a company to send a cashier’s check or money order to you, tell you to cash it, keep part and send the rest to them. Trouble is, the check is fraudulent and leaves you on the hook for the entire amount. Banks and places that wire money are fairly aware of this scam these days, but you should be aware of it as well.

If you want to really get into mystery shopping, you may want to visit the MSPA website. You can access some things for free, but other features require a paid membership. You can see a list of member companies for free, which can help you find legitimate mystery shopping opportunities.

A Closer Look: Shops may be for a variety of services. They also hire schedulers and editors as independent contractors.

BestMark: Requires shoppers to be at least 19 years old. They also hire exit interviewers who talk to customers as they leave a retail establishment.

Call Center QA: Pay $5 per telephone mystery shop and likes to work with students over the age of 18. They emphasize that this is not a part or full time job, just something for a little extra money. I like that kind of honesty.

Intelli-Shop: Shops may include going to a store, calling a business or visiting a website.

MarketForce: Has opportunities for mystery shoppers and theater checkers.

Perception Strategies: Focuses on healthcare telephone mystery shopping. They list the markets they’re hiring for on the application page.

Freelance Sites

college students earn money

Depending on your skills, freelancing can be a great way to earn money from home when you’re a college student. It takes time to find enough clients to keep the money coming in, but freelancing is as flexible as you make it.

Obviously, you have to balance how many clients you take on with your course load. You don’t want to get poor grades because you spent too much time on a client project. Likewise, you don’t want unhappy clients because you needed to focus on your schoolwork.

Freelance sites can be picky about who they allow to sign up. Many will decline to add you to their site if they have too many people signed up already with the same skills. But once you’re in, you can try for projects using whichever skills you choose.

Freelance writing is one of the most popular options. You may find that some sites are overloaded on freelance writers. On the plus side, there are lots of freelance writing opportunities out there.

Fiverr: Fiverr took its name from the price people would pay freelancers on its site for projects. That’s no longer a strict limitation. Freelancers can have addons and higher priced services now on Fiverr, although you have to prove that you do high quality work to use some features. You can offer a wide range of freelance services here, from the traditional to the strange.

There are also more typical freelance job sites such as:

Virtual Assistant

Being a virtual assistant is often a type of freelancing. You usually have multiple clients. The work can range from scheduling appointments to social media management to answering phone calls or emails, and beyond.

I’ve written a post on how to become a virtual assistant, so you can check that out if this might be of interest to you. There are a lot of factors to consider in starting this kind of business.

The great part about a business like this is that you can add to your offered services as you learn more in college. It can also help you build a great resume for your future career or be something you keep doing long after college.

What About Microtask Sites?

There are a lot of websites, such as Amazon’s MTurk and Clickworker, that offer payment to people who do microtasks, that is, tasks that take a few seconds or minutes to complete. Are those worthwhile?

I’m not a fan.

While some people earn a decent hourly rate once they get going with these sites, it’s difficult to get paid that well. Tasks that pay more than a pittance aren’t always available. These sites aren’t necessarily a scam, as they pay you what they say they’ll pay you, but in many cases you’ll struggle to earn even a few dollars an hour at them.

You have better things to do with your time, even if it’s your downtime.

If you want to learn more about microtask sites, here are some review’s I’ve pulled up for you to consider:

If you’re one of the lucky ones who can make microtasks work for you, great. But if you can’t earn enough money at these, move on.

What you really need to consider along with the low pay most people get from doing microtasks is the opportunity cost. What else could you have done with that time that might have given you a greater benefit in the long run?

You could have spent that time looking for a better work at home job or starting a blog or other home business. These may not pay off as fast as microtasks can, but the income you earn in the long run will probably be greater.

Sure, a few people do well with microtasks, such as this fellow. But that’s the exception, not the rule.

If you really want to do microtasks, fine. Do them. But make sure they’re really worth your while.

Blogging

desks

While there are no guarantees that you will earn anything as a blogger, I still like it as a work at home option. It can always be a side gig while you do more reliable things. Then, when/if you build your blog up into a profitable business, you can spend more time on it.

The great thing about a blogging business is that the costs are low and you can do it entirely on your own schedule.

Don’t go for a free blog. The limitations often come back to bite you later.

Paying for your domain name and hosting is quite affordable. I use A2 Hosting, which starts as low as about $4 a month. I don’t use the lowest level of hosting but I still get a really good deal from them.

The great thing about blogging is that you have so many options. You can blog about almost anything that interests you.

The hard part for some is monetizing. A blog isn’t a business if you don’t make money from it.

You have a lot of options to make money from your blog, however. Consider these:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Adsense
  • Selling ads
  • Working with brands
  • Selling ebooks
  • Selling physical products

What will work for you depends on what you’re blogging about and what you’re comfortable doing. Some things will come more naturally to you than others.

Don’t assume you will have huge success as a blogger, no matter how many ebooks you see trumpeting how this blogger or that makes six figures or more annually. They’re the exception. Take what advice from them that works for you but don’t assume you will get the same results.

Beware Of Scams

You’ll probably be very eager to find a way to earn money from your home or dorm room when you’re in college. Don’t be so eager that you’re an easy target for scams.

The basic rule of thumb is “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” This won’t keep you from falling for all of the scams, but it will help.

Even with opportunities you believe to be legitimate, be careful. Some work at home scams steal the name of a legitimate opportunity and set up their own, very similar website. These can be very difficult to spot, but if you’re careful, you can find the right one in most cases.

When in doubt, ask around. There are a lot of places where you can ask the opinions of other people to work at home if you aren’t getting enough information from your own searches.

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.

Last Updated August 13th, 2018

What Does “Find Your Passion” Really Mean?

find your passion

One of the most common pieces of advice you hear when thinking about starting your own home business is to find your passion. It sounds like great advice, but how much thought do you really give to what that means? Is passion for your home business your ultimate goal?

Having a passion for your business means you have an emotional involvement. You have great enthusiasm for the project. The idea is that this will help you to succeed in a home business, as it means more to you.

But is that really how it all works out?

Not necessarily.

Can You Find Your Passion For A Home Business?

Finding your passion may not be as simple as “I love cats. I want my home business to have to do with cats.” That’s great, but is it something you can build a business around? You have to balance the practical with the passion.

Start out by thinking about why you really want to start a home business. There are all kinds of reasons, from wanting more time for your family to needing the additional income and so forth. However, keep in mind that your home business will likely take a lot of time and is a financial risk, so keep your expectations realistic, particularly in the challenging early days.

Don’t just go with the first business idea you have. Start brainstorming and write a variety of ideas down.

Some will appeal to you quite a bit and may be worth further development. Others won’t appeal at all as you give it more thought.

This brainstorming session may come up with some surprises for you. As you think of all kinds of ideas, both wild and serious, you’ll realize how many of your skills and interests could be marketable.

Where Are The Ideas?

You may have difficulty in coming up with ideas at first. Many people feel for a time as though they don’t have any good home business ideas.

You’re probably wrong about that.

There are lots of places you can get ideas from, ones that you can worth with and enjoy using. Here are a few:

  • Magazines you read.
  • Websites you visit.
  • Things you do for fun.
  • Things you keep doing.
  • Stuff you wish you could do but haven’t started doing yet.

For each potential business that appeals to you, make a list of ways you could make it into a business. Not all your ideas will be practical, and you want to weed the impractical out. Some may make great online businesses while others would do better offline.

This is one of the first steps to take in starting your own home business. It’s a wonderful challenge with a lot of hard work. If you don’t accept that challenge, the business probably won’t work.

If you don't accept that challenge, the business probably won't work.

Here’s where many people go wrong in this process: They expect that there will be passion for their home business. It will be fun all the time.

They don’t expect it to be work.

Any home business will be work at times, even if you mostly adore what you’re doing. There will be days that you’re slogging through it all, just getting things done because they have to get done.

No passion. No fun.

That doesn’t mean you’ve chosen the wrong home business, not at all. It might mean that you need to remind yourself that hard work is a part of the process.

Do You HAVE To Find Your Passion?

There is no rule saying you must find your passion before you start your home business. It may even be a bad idea. Passion doesn’t always outlast the challenges you’re likely to face when starting a home business. Sometimes going more toward the practical makes more sense.

The problem with relying on finding your passion is that it assumes you have that one thing that you will love doing. It can be a fixed mindset. A growth mindset, on the other hand, can be better for running a home business. That says you can develop a passion for what you do, even if you didn’t have one at first.

This is something they teach at my kids’ school. The teachers don’t assume that the child who struggles in a particular subject will eternally be bad at that subject. Instead, they spend more time teaching the things the kids have trouble learning.

The idea is that eventually, all of the kids in the class will learn to do well in all of their subjects.

This is why the students may be broken up into groups at times so that the ones that need help in a particular area can get it, while the ones who are ready to forge ahead may do so.

A growth mindset gives you much more flexibility as you grow your business. You take something that you’re willing to learn, regardless of previous interest or ability, and you do it. Passion develops over time this way.

Passion for your work doesn’t have to be inherent in you. What you need is a willingness to work hard.

What you need is a willingness to work hard.

Don’t Limit Yourself

One of the great things about running a home business is that there’s no rule saying you can only have one at a time. While you need to be realistic about how much time each business needs and how much time you can spend on each, it makes a lot of sense to do more than one thing at a time.

For one, you never know which home business will really succeed. Sometimes the idea you thought wouldn’t work out succeeds wildly. The idea you thought would be an easy money maker fails miserably.

In the long run, most people will take earning a good living over passion. If they combine, that’s wonderful. You’re fortunate. But that will not work out for everyone. So long as you are willing to do the work, you’ll be fine.

Here’s the thing: You can always work on your passion project as a side gig or even a hobby. It doesn’t have to be your main thing.

Of course, you can only take on so much at once. Don’t do so many projects at once that you fail at all of them. Start with one, then add things on as you figure out how much time each takes and how much time you are able to give them.

What If You Lose Your Passion For Your Home Business?

Losing your passion for your home business is one of the worst things that can happen in many ways. It becomes so much harder to work on a project that relied on passion, and then you lose that.

How does that happen?

It’s pretty simple.

The day to day slogging through, trying to earn a living from something can take a lot out of you. It really isn’t easy.

There are also some things that are fun to do just because they’re fun, but really hard to do as a business. Consider the following scenario:

You love to knit, so you start a home business selling things you’ve knitted. It gives you the perfect excuse to buy all the knitting supplies you’ve ever wanted. You make all kinds of beautiful projects to get started.

Then the problems start. Disappointed customers whose orders weren’t exactly as they pictured it. Other customers try to negotiate your prices to ridiculous lows considering the effort you put into your products. People demand custom orders faster than you can usually make things. Mistakes happen.

Now your favorite hobby is nothing but stress, stress, stress.

Some people can maintain their passion for their business despite the stress. Others come to realize that the thing they love to do for themselves or their loved ones really doesn’t make a great business.

Your interests will grow and change as you get older no matter what you do. What you love as a young adult may not be what you love later in life.

The real question you need to ask yourself if you lose your passion for your home business is “Can I keep doing this anyhow?”

Hopefully, the answer is “yes.”

That’s especially true if you have generally been having success with your business, but your passion for it has flagged. It’s a terrible thing to have a successful home business that you give up just because you’ve lost your passion for it.

The loss may be temporary anyhow. Don’t confuse temporary frustration with your business for a lack of passion or even interest in your business. Your love for it can come back with time and effort.

Give yourself that time. Figure out why you’re frustrated and what can be done about it. Solve the frustration, and the interest may come back.

Having a passion doesn’t mean you have unlimited motivation to work on that thing. If you assume that your motivation will never decrease, you’ll be incredibly frustrated when you go through hard times or find something difficult.

Avoid that trap. Understand that a change in how you feel doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.

a change in how you feel doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.

Don’t Confuse A Hobby With A Home Business

While it’s true that many people have turned hobbies into amazing home businesses, that doesn’t mean that will be the right choice for you. Consider what it takes to run a successful business as well as work on your hobby when you consider this.

Using the knitting example from above, you might decide to run an online store of some sort. That may not be too hard if you sign up with a site such as Etsy, although you will still need to learn to work with their interface and how to market your shop successfully.

You’ll  also have to:

  • Find your target market.
  • Learn which designs sell best.
  • Learn to track the costs of making your product.
  • Figure out prices people will pay which are still fair to you as a creator.
  • Figure out how to ship your product out efficiently and at a good price.

And that’s just the beginning.

It’s entirely possible that your favorite interest won’t suit you as a home business. There’s nothing wrong with that. There are a ton of things you can do for a business while still enjoying your hobby as a hobby.

Work On Your Growth Mindset

The more you live your life with a growth mindset, the easier it should be to work on your home business, whatever you decide it should be.

Know that your interests can be changed.

Know that if you decide to learn something, you can do it.

Be ready to work hard on whatever it is you decide to do in life.

If you do this, you’ll find your passion develops for the things you decide to focus on. It may evolve over time, but it won’t depend upon a fixed idea of what you want from life.

You might surprise yourself with the things you can do if you don’t rely solely on passion. Plan instead on doing the work it takes to make the life you want with the business you choose.

Do the work it takes to make the life you want with the business you choose.

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.

Last Updated August 3rd, 2018

Murphy’s Laws of Parenting You Can’t Escape

Murphy's Laws of Parenting You Can't Escape

Raising a family is a lot of work. Fun, but lots and lots of work. So many things go wrong no matter how carefully you try to make them go right. With the right attitude, it can be funny at times. You can certainly argue that there are Murphy’s laws of parenting.

These are the things that make your day to day life as a parent more difficult. Some of them also make for great stories when talking to other parents, because they all get it. They’ve been there too. And so…

Murphy’s Laws of Parenting

1. Never claim to be done with the laundry. Your children will generate more dirty clothes spontaneously.

2. Your child will outgrow that perfect outfit right before you want them to wear it. This is one of the few rules that applies as well to infants as to teens.

3. You will find that box of handmedown clothes after your child has outgrown that size.

4. Teaching your child to help around the house is harder than doing it yourself. It will pay off eventually, but not as soon as you would like.

5. No, your child doesn’t like their favorite food today. Unless you’re eating it. Then they’ll snag all of it from your plate.

6. That food they tried for the first time off your plate and loved it? They’re never eating that one again.

legos

7. A clean floor will spontaneously generate Legos or other small toys to step on.

8. Your child will discover the magic that is scissors and hair the day before school or family pictures are taken.

9. The length of your child’s nap is inversely proportional to how long you need them to nap.

10. Glitter is forever…. forever in your hair, forever on the floor, the counters….

11. The more important the phone call, the less important the thing your child insists on telling you in the middle of the call will be.

painting

12. Messy crafts are more appealing than ones that are easy to clean up after. Some kids can make any craft messy.

13. Silence is suspicious. They ARE up to something.

14. Your bathroom is no longer a private place. It doesn’t matter who else is around, your kids will want YOU when you’re in the bathroom.

15. The messier your clothes are, the more likely you are to run into someone you know when running errands.

16. That thing you swore your kids would never do back before you had kids? Yeah. They’re going to do it.

17. If you throw away toys they no longer play with, they will want them the next day.

18. The cuter the outfit, the bigger the diaper blowout.

19. Babies will always soil a fresh diaper. Especially when you’re in a hurry.

20. The more diapers you pack for an outing, the more changes your child will need. Usually at least one more change than you brought diapers.

21. The thing you forget to pack will be the thing your child needs most.

22. A diaper will always leak on freshly washed bedding.

23. The box is more interesting than the toy that came in it.

24. The more your child wanted the toy, the faster it will break or lose a piece.

sleeping child

25. A  child who naps in the car will not continue that nap at home, no matter how badly needed.

26. The sicker the child, the more they will want to snuggle with you.

27. A clean floor attracts spilled food and drink.

28. The more tired you are, the less tired they are.

29. A sick child will appear healthy at the pediatrician’s office, then be sick again at home.

30. Your child will tell people exactly what you don’t want them to say. Even if that person is a stranger.

Most of these relate to when your kids are small, no doubt because that’s when they have the least control over themselves. Many of these challenges go away as kids get older.

That doesn’t mean you get a break. Older kids mean new challenges.

frustration

Teens, in particular, can catch you off guard. They’re testing limits and getting ready for adulthood, but they still need you so much. And the more they need you, the less some of them want to admit it. Which is why they have their own, separate section here. It’s harder to come up with generalized laws for parenting teens because they vary so much!

1. The more supplies a school project needs, the closer to the due date they will inform you.

2. They will make the same mistakes you did, even if you try to help them avoid the mistakes.

3. Plus new mistakes that weren’t even possible when you were young.

4. Their biggest problems come when you are busiest.

5. Even more than when they were little, they notice when you do things you told them not to do.

6. Teens can sleep better than babies.

7. All that time you spent teaching your kids to dress appropriately for the weather when they were younger won’t matter when they’re teens. They’ll wear shorts all winter or a jacket all summer.

8. Some days everything you say to a teen will be the wrong thing to say. Even “Good morning.”

Fortunately, teens can also be a lot of fun to talk with, as they develop opinions of their own. They may challenge your rules, but they’re also learning to face the world on their own.

So many of the little frustrations that come with being a parent of kids at any age will be things you look back on fondly later. Enjoy what you can and don’t let the challenging parts get you too far down.

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.

Last Updated July 31st, 2018

How To Work At Home For Apple

How To Work At Home For Apple

One of the hardest parts of any work at home job search is finding reputable companies that offer home based jobs. It’s not easy at times. That’s why people are so enthusiastic when companies such as Apple offer remote chat jobs. Wouldn’t it be nice to work at home for Apple?

What Kind Of Work At Home Jobs Does Apple Offer?

Most of the work at home jobs for Apple are customer service related. Some positions are entirely chat based, but others can be both chat and phone customer service jobs.

Apple hires home based employees for both full and part time positions, but full time is more common, except for college students.

These are generally employee positions, not independent contractor. Apple provides some benefits even to part time employees.

Your training lasts about five to seven weeks and is done through an online program with a live instructor. You’ll learn about Apple products and how to do the required troubleshooting.

Does Apple Hire College Students To Work At Home?

If you’re a college student attending a participating college, you may qualify for the AppleCare College Program. This is a part time position available only to qualified college students attending participating colleges.

As of this writing, most of the AppleCare at home jobs were for college students, with only a few positions listed for non-students. This is subject to change.

Aside from being a qualified college student, you must also have a quiet workspace, which can be challenging if you have roommates.

Training for college students runs 6-9 weeks, either 24 or 40 hours a week, depending on when your training class starts. Fortunately, your regular work hours will be part time in the evenings and on weekends, so it is likely to be compatible with your class schedule. Apple may offer more hours or cut your hours as business needs dictate.

Apple offers tuition reimbursement. This can be a huge help to college students. You may need to check with them to see if there are any restrictions on the tuition reimbursement program.

work at home for Apple

What Are The Requirements?

As a popular work at home employer, Apple can be strict about their qualifications. They aren’t unreasonable, however. The exact qualifications may vary by the position you apply for. Most work at home for Apple jobs are some kind of customer support. Supervisory positions for the jobs may also be home based.

You have a better chance of getting a support position if you have at least two years experience in customer support. You must also be able to tailor your communication to your audience, as Apple users range from people who mostly know what they’re doing to people who find the whole thing overwhelming and incomprehensible.

You will be expected to share your expertise and feedback as necessary with coworkers.

Many times, you will need to use more than one tool at a time to resolve the customer’s problem. You must be able to handle multiple tasks at the same time, all while talking or chatting with the customer.

You must be able to type at least 40 wpm while dealing with customers.

Obviously, if a particular position expects you to be fluent in a particular language, they will have high expectations in that area. Verbal and written fluency are expected if you’re supporting a particular language.

Qualifications

Applicants must have some experience in supporting customers by phone, internet or in person. They must be enthusiastic about solving problems.

As you will be dealing with technology, you must show that you are comfortable with technology. Consider what you know about computers, smartphones and tablets as you prepare for your interview. If you don’t know much about them, this will be a difficult job for you.

As a work at home job, the ability to work independently is a necessity. There’s no one right there with you. You must be able to work your assigned shifts.

Multi tasking may be required.

You must be able to use multiple tools to research and solve problems for customers. Problems may require you to use more than one system at a time.

You must have a home office space with a door you can close, a desk and ergonomic desk chair. You may be required to submit photos of your home office to prove that it is suitable.

There will be a background check performed.

Technical Requirements

You must have high speed internet of at least 5 megabits download and 1 megabit upload. Apple provides an iMac and headset.

Does Your Location Matter?

For many work at home positions for Apple, your location doesn’t matter, so long as you are in the United States. Don’t focus on what city the position is listed under – check any work at home job listing and see if it says that you can be in any city in the US. If it does, you’re fine.

These are generally not international positions.

For college students, what matters is that you’re a student at a participating college. If you attend a participating college, don’t worry about which college is in the title of the listing, you can probably apply for the position anyhow.

Apple work at home office

Is The Work Flexible?

From everything I’ve read, work at home jobs for Apple are flexible in Apple’s favor, but not always in the employee’s favor. This may depend on your supervisor. I saw complaints from full time employees about an excess of overtime required. Many other reviewers loved the work and were happy with their hours and their ability to get time off when needed.

You may have to bid for the shifts you want well in advance. This can be nice if you know when you need time off. Holidays, however, are difficult to get off, as that’s a high demand time.

Most positions require at least some weekend work. Overnight shifts are a possibility.

In other words, the flexibility is much like any call center job. You probably won’t get every day off that you hope for. There will be times when it interferes with your ability to do things with your family. That’s typical of many jobs, work at home or otherwise.

What Are The Benefits?

One of the great things about working for Apple is that even part timers get some benefits. These include product discounts and paid time off. You can also participate in the company stock plan.

Your pay depends in part on your experience, but the numbers I’ve seen are quite respectable for this kind of work. Employees sign an NDA, so there are few instances where the pay rate is discussed, other than to say that the number is in the teens.

They’re also interested in helping your career grow. Stick around and you might go from At Home Advisor to At Home Team Manager or even to At Home Area Manager.

How To Apply To Work At Home For Apple

You can apply for work at home jobs for Apple on their jobs site. They have a special section for potential At Home Advisors. This includes the area where college students may apply for jobs.

The application process takes time. Don’t expect to go through the process in just a week or two – two to three months is not unheard of. Be patient. Sometimes it goes fast, but other times it’s slow.

Some interviews will be via FaceTime or Skype. Others will be over the phone.

Be enthusiastic. All employers love it when applicants show enthusiasm for the job they want. This is especially true with companies such as Apple where they have such a reputation of having extremely enthusiastic employees available to help their loyal customers.

If you’re ready to apply, go check their At Home Advisor job listings and see if there are any positions that you qualify for. If it doesn’t work out, consider these other ideas for working at home and keep searching.

Good luck!

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.

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Pinterest Feedly
Home With the Kids on LinkedIn

Are you ready to work at home? Subscribe to learn about blogging and other ways to earn money from home.

Email:



Ads

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.