“How can I work from home?” Right behind “How do you pronounce your first name?” this is one of the most common questions I receive from readers. (And if you’re curious, Shari is pronounced the same as Sherry.) Now back to the original question. “How can I work from home?” When I made the decision over twelve years ago to quit my job and stay at home with the kids, I knew I needed to find work I could do at home that would not only provide an income for our family, but more importantly, it needed to be a work-from-home job that would give me a sense of self. I enjoy working and being productive. I wasn’t ready to give up that part of me. That’s the beauty of working from home. Parents don’t have to sacrifice their mental health or personal dreams and desires. We can develop a secure, well-balanced environment that will foster great relationships and positive attitudes. I’ve always thought of the ‘wife of noble character’ in Proverbs 31:10 as the original work-at-home mom. Not only was she domestic and taught her children, it also says she made a living, provided for her family and was generous with others.  Although family is more important than any promotion or recognition, I wanted to demonstrate to my children it’s possible to be successful and self-fulfilled while raising a family. Yes, like the noble wife, I believe we can have it all.

Working From Home: The Myth

Before we look at how to work from home, we need to discuss what working from home isn’t. It isn’t glamorous, it isn’t always well paying and it isn’t easy. At least not to begin with, it isn’t any of those things. I don’t know of any parent successfully working from home that never leaves their pajamas, plays video games with the kids and watches television all day. Forget the part about the PJs. That should go under the reality category, not the myth.

Working From Home: The Reality

Working from home isn’t for everyone. Starting a home business or working a job from home takes great initiative and determination. The sheer desire to leave an office job is often not enough incentive. Starting a home business, or beginning a work-at-home job, may take time to build and become profitable. Certain work-at-home jobs never provide steady, reliable income. Long hours, hard work and very little return on investment are realities–forgetting to shower and get out of those pajamas are too. There’s also a transition period before the family learns to balance the new working environment with the distractions of daily home life. While working from home isn’t right for some, it’s perfect for families wanting to spend more time together. When one parent works from home while the other works away, it can alleviate the financial stress of starting a new venture. Not only is an extra income is being generated by the stay-at-home parent, but he or she is also creating a sense of security for the children. If after prayerful consideration you’re still interested in working from home, I suggest starting by deciding what kind of work at home job or home business is right for you and your family. Determine existing skills you can capitalize on and which additional skills may be needed. Do the research and create a plan.

Work At Home Ideas

My first reply when asked, “How can I work from home?” is what do you do now? It’s much easier to start a home business doing something you already know how to do. Use your expertise, background or even hobby as a starting place when searching work at home ideas.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)
Here are some other areas to consider when choosing a work-at-home job:
  • Can you write about or teach others what you know?
  • Can you design, create or develop a product from what you already do?
  • Do you have a unique talent or gift that would be of interest to others?
  • Do you know of a need that can be filled by what you know?
  • If you’re already employed, can you work your current job from home?
  • Has God called you for a specific purpose?
One of the most important tasks before transitioning from working outside the home to working at home is to reduce your household’s living expenses. It’s true, quitting a job can save money on some expenses like daycare, take-out lunches, transportation and even clothing but it could take months (or even years) before your new home business has you making the equivalent of your former salary. When we first began discussing the possibility becoming a one-income family, there were many emotions and concerns. I was determined to make it work because I felt it was the right thing our family. I made my husband a promise that within one year I would be generating my old income. Looking back, it was probably a bit presumptuous but I had a goal, the motivation and the support of everyone involved. Fortunately, it was a promise I proudly kept.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
Are you considering working from home? What concerns or dilemmas are you facing? If you already work from home, what was your biggest challenge? Use the comment form below to share with others.

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