When you have children and a career, it’s an almost never ending cycle of guilt. When you’re at the office, you wish you were home with your children. When you’re with your children, you worry about what’s not getting done at the office!

The ideal scenario is that you are earning enough that you can afford to work fewer hours, and also that you are so valuable that you are able to dictate how and when you work. That way you can choose when to be at home, and when to be working, and have more agency in planning your workloads so that you aren’t fretting about getting things done. There are a few ways to go about achieving this.

Become Highly Skilled in a Niche Area

This approach essentially means making yourself so valuable that you can call the shots regarding when and where you work, and that your employers will pay you a decent enough salary that you can work part-time.

Rather than focusing on climbing the same corporate management ladder as everyone else, and therefore competing with a lot of other people, a smarter way to go about this is to become highly skilled in a niche area. If you are the only one with knowledge on your subject, you immediately become a valuable commodity, which gives you the leverage you need to design the career that you want. When choosing your niche area, it’s important that you think with one eye on the future, considering not just what is in demand now but what might be in demand in the future.

For example, if you are working in a corporate environment then you could consider studying for an MBA in a niche area that is in high demand. Data science is an area that is getting increasing attention because of the value it adds to businesses trying to predict the patterns of their customers and markets in general, and it’s something that is likely to continue to be in demand in the future because more and more businesses are going online and are likely to want to utilize this skill set as a result. If you think an MBA is the right option for you, you can read more about choosing a specialization here.

Start an Online Business

The ideal situation for a lot of people would be to get paid, but not actually have to do any work! It might sound like a bit of a dream, but it is actually possible. You can start a lot of online businesses that after the initial work of setting them up, don’t require a great deal of input from you. Provided you do your initial research and target an area that is likely to be profitable, there is no reason why this couldn’t be the case for you.

Dropshipping. Dropshipping essentially means that you have a website with products on it, but when the customer places an order it is fulfilled by a third party. This means that you don’t have the responsibility or the expense of procuring and shipping stock yourself, so all you need to do is market your website to get customers to come to it, and choose your stock! The downside of dropshipping is that although you have no responsibility for the stock, you also have no control over it. This means that if your dropshipper is slow to ship product or there is an issue with quality, there isn’t much you can do about it which can make the management of customer queries quite difficult. For this reason, it’s important to do your research when selecting a dropshipping provider and be sure that you partner with a reputable company.

Online Courses. If you have a particular skill set, then the chances are that somebody else would value learning it! If you put together an online course where teaching is conducted using materials and videos that you have prepared earlier, then once you have completed the initial set up work you won’t need to do anything else. Your customers will simply pay for your content online, and you can earn while spending time with the family. To create a successful online course there are a few things you need to consider. It’s a competitive market and you need to convince potential customers that your course is worth their time and money. 

  • Choose a subject that you love. You’ll have to spend a lot of time researching and creating your course material, so it should be a subject that you are happy to be immersed in for long periods of time. Your enthusiasm (or lack thereof) will come across in the content you create so be sure that you love the subject and you’ll make your customers love it, too.
  • Choose a subject that is in demand. Pay close attention to what is happening in the world and what trends are emerging to ascertain what people are likely to want to pay to learn. You can do this simply by observing the behavior of your friends and family. For example, when lockdown happened more people took up crafts so setting up an online crochet course at that time would have been likely to be a successful venture.
  • Once you have your subject, you need to define learning outcomes. What are students going to gain by buying your course? You need to make this very clear in your marketing material, otherwise, people won’t want to buy it.
  • Now you’re ready to start creating content. People generally enjoy video content because it helps them to feel connected with you, but depending on the subject you may want to complement this with written materials too. Do some research on different teaching and learning methods and be mindful of this when you are compiling your materials.
  • Be sure to structure your content so that each module has its own clear outcome that feeds into the wider outcome of the course, and that allows your students to feel that they have progressed with each one.

Go Freelance

If you are already doing a job that you love and are good at, then one way to gain control of your hours, salary and workload is to go freelance! 

You’ll need to weigh the decision to go freelance carefully, of course. Employers offer multiple benefits like health insurance, holiday and sick pay, and you don’t need to worry about whether there is enough work. However, as a freelancer you have control over the work you take on, and you can react quickly to market changes to ensure your financial security. 

If it feels like a good fit for you, then take a look at this step by step guide on how to go freelance to see if it’s something that is really viable for you.