Most of us SAHMs will hit this mom career dilemma: should you go back to work or start an at-home business? Let’s think through the major deciding points!
Hey, mama! Is it time for you to go back to work? Whether you still have littles at home and need that second income, or your babies have grown and left the nest and you need something productive to do with your time, most of us Stay-at-Home Moms will face the returning-to-work dilemma at some point.
It’s an extremely common situation, and there isn’t one right solution that fits everyone.
Many moms don’t know if they’re really ready to go back to a job outside the home or can’t imagine how it could work for their families. So, they explore the option of starting an at-home business to help bring in income AND be able to stay home with their babies.
On the flip side, some moms cannot imagine any other option than to go back to an outside-the-home job. The predictability, stability, and adult interactions that come with a job out in “the real world” sound like JUST what they need.
Which option sounds best for YOU?
Let’s take a closer look at three of the biggest deciding factors for moms as they consider returning to work…
1) Availability for Kids
Let’s talk about schedules, mama. If you look at your life right now, how busy are you? Are you running hither and yon all day, every day with activities and obligations? Or do you suddenly find yourself with more time on your hands than you’re used to?
Are your babies still little and need you nearly 24/7? Are they in school during the day? Or are your kids grown and off on their own?
For most of us moms, our availability to work depends mostly on how much our kids need us to be available for them. I’ve talked with several moms of special needs kids lately who simply do not have the option of working outside the home at this point in their lives. I’ve talked with other moms whose kids have flown the nest, and they have more time on their hands than they know what to do with.
So, think about how much your kids need you. Do you have regular hours throughout the day or week when you could work outside the home? Or does your schedule require something more flexible?Most SAHMs will face this mom career dilemma at some point: should you go back to work? Or should you start an at-home business? Here are a few points to help you decide... Click To Tweet
2) Education & Skills
Before you were “Mama,” what did you do for a living? Do you have a degree or training in a specific field that you’d love to go back to? Or are you working on gaining skills that will open up NEW career fields for you?
Many careers today can be translated into an online space — at least short-term or in some capacity. Sales, customer service, teaching, nursing, engineering, law, and many more fields are all possible with a little creativity and willingness to try something new!
However, there are some career fields that really do require you to be on-site and working in a specific building or location to do the tasks required. There are definitely fewer of these fields than there used to be, but they do still exist.
So, what skills do you have from your previous experience (no matter how long ago it may have been!) that you’d like to put to use as you transition back to the working world? And are those skills and experiences better suited to an outside-the-home job? Or could you see creatively using those skills and experiences in the at-home or online worlds?
3) Income Stability
This one tends to be a kicker for most mamas, as well: How stable do you need your income to be? And how quickly do you need to get paid?
Let’s break those two questions down…
How Quickly Do You Need an Income?
Building an at-home business takes time. Even if you get great support and set systems up quickly, it can still take a few months before you’re able to make a significant income. So, this route works best if you have A) a commitment to diving in and getting your business up & running QUICKLY and B) have a bit of a financial cushion to get you started.
If, however, you need to be making money YESTERDAY, it may be best for you to find an outside the home job instead of trying to build an at-home business.
Here’s my one big exception to this advice: If your kids need you at home or you, for whatever reason, CANNOT work outside the home AND still need an income ASAP, do NOT make yourself crazy believing you are out of options. Think about remote positions!
More and more companies are opening positions that can be done from home, so you have the stability and predictability of a regular paycheck with the flexibility of working from home. Some still require you to live in the same city as the company headquarters or come into the office for training or important meetings, but the demands on your time and work location are significantly reduced. Remote positions really can be a great middle-ground option if you need to be home AND generate an income quickly.Whether you go back to work or start an at-home business will depend greatly on your unique priorities. What is most important to YOU? Click To Tweet
How Stable an Income Do You Need?
This question has less to do with how quickly you need an income and more to do with how comfortable you are with the ebbs and flows of generating income through your own business.
If you cannot budget to save your life, running your own business and figuring out how to juggle your fluctuating income is going to be a struggle for you. (And if budgeting is not your strong suit, I have JUST the trick to help you! Read this post for more info. I used to be TERRIBLE at budgeting, but it is SO much easier now!!)
When you run your own business, there won’t be a regular paycheck coming every two weeks or every month. Your income depends on the availability of customers or clients and how good you are at finding them. Until you get some great systems in place to help generate leads and produce a bit of passive income, it’s going to be a bit of feast or famine for a while.
BUT, once you get things rolling, working for yourself can create a great income for you and your family.
Are you okay with that delay?
If not, definitely consider finding a job — either outside the home or remotely, as we discussed earlier.
(Remember, however, if there are other more pressing reasons you NEED to work from home, there ARE options! Or, if the budgeting piece is the ONLY thing holding you back, find a friend or family member to help get you to the point that you CAN be okay with it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!)
If the concept of budgeting your money to cover lean times doesn’t phase you and you know you’re really good at stretching a dollar, running your own business may be your best bet. It’s not a guarantee of success, but knowing how to handle self-employment finances can make starting and running your own business a LOT easier!
Could You Use Some Help Deciding?
As you can probably tell, there are a lot of factors to consider when you’re thinking about whether to go back to work or start an at-home business. In fact, I cover SEVEN MORE questions to consider in my free quiz! The quiz is designed to help you consider all of the major pieces of the SAHM return-to-work puzzle, and it’s a great place to start if you need a little guidance through the process.
And, as always, if you’re drowning in all the various factors to consider, PLEASE sign up for a free call with me! I know how overwhelming it can be to make this type of decision, particularly if you don’t have much support. But, you don’t have to make the decision alone! We can hop on a call, and I can help you put together your unique career puzzle to make the decision that is right for YOU.
Scheduling a call with me is fast and easy. All the times I have available are right there on my calendar page. All you have to do is select the time that works best for you and you’re on the books!
Which career route is best for you?
Ultimately, the decision to go back to work or start your own business comes down to YOUR priorities and reasons for leaning one way or the other. Each of us is different, and it’s my job — and my great joy! — to help you figure out which option is best for YOU.
I hope to talk with you soon!
As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.