21 March, 2013

Work-from-home options for new mums

Please do not regret your decision to stay home after your baby was born. It is a personal choice and is purely based on the need to experience motherhood in its entirety and to give love to the most beautiful and delicate being you will ever see in your life. It doesn’t mean that full time working moms love their little ones any less.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me what can she do while being a stay-at-home mom to a toddler. I am reproducing the piece as it is. For others, the basic thought process is the same. Look into your strengths, past experiences and interests and then accordingly plan a career move.

SK: What do I do? Kuch samajh nahin aata?

Me: Can you please tell me your niche areas. What is your qualification, past experiences and interests?

SK: I did B Com (H) and have worked as a recruitment consultant for 7 years before I got pregnant. I like reading books and making greeting cards. Have been trying to get freelance job for a while but no success. What are my options?

Me: You have done accountancy honors. And have 7 years’ experience as recruitment consultant. You love reading books. In that scenario, these work-from-home options will be best for you: (Everyday invest 3-4 hours)

1. Recruitment consultant from home:

Either start on your own or speak to all the recruitment firms in Kolkata and nearby places like Durgapur, etc. Make a few calls and tell them that you would like to freelance with them for a certain % of the fees. Initially, it will be a bit cumbersome to register at various portals as a recruiter and going through CVs and contacting prospective candidates. But once you are at it, it will gradually start paying off. Moreover, it will add on to your previous experience and if you ever decide to get back to full time work, then it will actually help you.

Also, you can scout for various companies who advertise for freelance recruiters. (Register in naukri.com, monster, Linkedin and other job portals as a freelance recruitment consultant and many might give you a call.) They need not be in Kolkata. They can be reputed names in other cities who might get into a contract with you and when you will provide them with a suitable candidate, they will pay you a certain commission.

For this you should start building your resource pool. Leverage on your past contacts as well as try and get new ones on Branchout, Linkedin, Glassdoor etc. Speak to your school/college alumni, register in online portals. Online presence and portfolio is a must.

2. Freelance accounting work:
You have done accountancy honors but if you haven’t pursued it after college then no point trying to get freelance accounting work. Any freelance work demands some sort of reference of previous work or recruiter. For e.g. content writers have to maintain a blog and show work samples. Similarly, you will get credibility in the freelance market, only if you have done some substantial work in the past. But if you have done something of this nature in the past, then this is another option. There are many online portals where you have jobs listed. You bid for it and once you get that work then you have to submit it in stipulated period of time. For eg., www.freelancer.com. www.peopleperhour.com. www.freelancejobopenings.com

You can also register at various online portals like on Facebook, Orkut, Pininterest, etc.

3. Freelance content writing:

You mentioned that you like reading. If you are an avid reader, then I am sure that you can write as well. If your writing has originality, fluidity and style then you can go for article writing. Many people want ghost writers for their blogs and websites. Many magazines look for freelance writers to contribute. First of all, identify your niche area. Are you interested to write about beauty, academics, cars, real-estate, spirituality, etc. what do you like and what can you write about? Then approach the related companies. Like, local magazines who print about beauty might get back to you to write an article for them. You will have to search for online quotes or approach experts to get their quotes. Any piece of writing is good only when it has a few references. Read a few newspaper articles to understand what I mean. But you need to have a blog to justify that you can write on that subject as well as it will be a sample of your style of writing. So, start working on a blog. Eventually, approach these magazines, website builders, etc. You can also do academic research writing on Rearcheden.com and writers.ph, etc. who pay you per assignment.

4. Sell online- ebay, OLX, Sulekha, etc.

Start your own business. Do you have a unique gift? As you mentioned you like making greeting cards, is there something exclusive about it? - like greeting cards made from handmade paper with sandalwood perfume and authentic tribal designs. Take inspiration from our vast culture. Try and see if you can make or create unique stuff. Then sell it online. It will take some time to establish your business. Some investment will be required to produce bulk material and advertisement but in the end it will give you creative satisfaction and some good pocket money. The best part is, you will have buyers from all over the world. You can start some other online business as well. My friend sells jute bags in London. Organic jute bags to save environment. ;) This is how you have to market things to get attention of customers abroad.

5. Voice over artist – freelance

If you have a good voice, which I am sure, you do. And if you can animate and modulate your voice, then you can become a freelance voice artist. eLearning companies, advertising companies, jingle singing, business presentations, corporate movies, they all want a fresh voice with crystal clear speech and enunciations. You can approach advertising companies, multimedia companies, casting directors, etc. with your voice sample.

6. Give tuitions:

If accounting has been your strong subject then go for teaching accounts. Start with school students and gradually take college kids. Brush up your own knowledge about the current curriculum. Advertise in your local and nearby area through newspaper pamphlets. Get in touch with your local newspaper distributor. Ask him to distribute the pamphlets for a nominal fee. When students start coming in, you can devote your afternoon till late evenings for tuitions. Believe me, it’s the best and the most rewarding self-employment source.

I hope these are enough options. If you have any specific questions, you can write to me.

All the best!

Parimita Chakravorty

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