When I met my son, everything I knew changed in an instant. These real work-from-home jobs allowed me to make the leap from biologist to work-at-home mom.
Back in 2003 when I graduated from college with a biology degree my life was falling in place.
Right before graduation I was offered a job at Dartmouth College. It would take me seven hours away from home, but was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up – working in a lab performing cancer research was exactly what I wanted to do!
I wouldn’t be going alone, my then boyfriend of two years (now hubby 🙂 ) would be making the trek with me. I already knew at this point that he was the guy for me, so thoughts of marriage and family were already crossing my mind as I began narrowing down exactly what kind of occupation would be best for me.
Working in a lab, normal 9 – 5 business hours, was exactly what I was looking for. A job like that would allow me to go to work, but be able to be home with my family for dinner and bedtime.
The next few years worked out just as planned. I worked in the lab at Dartmouth for two years, then we moved back home to Pennsylvania for our wedding. We bought our home, adopted the best dog ever, I started a new job at sanofi pasteur doing vaccine research, and all was well.
After a few years we got pregnant. And that’s where life changed my plan.
How I became a work-at-home mom…
I had a wonderful pregnancy. No complications and I truly enjoyed every second of it. I watched my belly grow and reached each milestone with amazement, but the thought that soon I would have my very own baby was still surreal to me…so it was easy to go on with “the plan” during my pregnancy.
Within seconds of meeting my first-born son, my entire world changed. I held that beautiful little boy and it didn’t take long for me to start thinking about how I would ever leave him to go back to work when my maternity was over.
Suddenly nothing mattered but him.
As my joyful first weeks with him quickly went by, the thought of leaving him became almost unbearable. After my 6 weeks of paid maternity leave was over, I was lucky enough to be able to go back to work only 3 days and then use 2 FMLA days per week. In my head at least I was home with him more per week than I was away.
But those part-time weeks started flying by too. Before I knew it my leave would be completely over and I would be back to working full-time. Panic-mode began to set in.
Before holding my baby, the thought of being a stay-at-home mom had never crossed my mind. I guess it was the mix of “all moms go to work” and “it’s just not possible” thoughts that kept the idea from even entering my mind. Well that idea was front and center now!
4 Real Work-from-Home Jobs that Have Made Me Money
I started looking into working from home and was delighted by what I found.
I became a Direct Sales Consultant
The idea of direct sales came out of nowhere one afternoon while I was cuddling on the couch with my baby boy. I was still on my maternity leave when I saw a commercial to sell Avon.
Although I had never considered direct sales, it wasn’t a bad idea, and since I knew nothing about the industry I figured a well-known company like Avon would be a great place for me to start.
So I became an Avon representative to give it a try.
I immediately had much of my family and friends, along with their family and friends, as customers. While it was definitely some extra money, a few hundred dollars a month, it was not enough to make up for the money I made as a biologist…so back to work I went when my maternity leave was over.
I worked as a Customer Service Representative
Even though I couldn’t come up with a work-from-home plan before my leave ran out, I was my no means giving up on the idea. Lunch breaks and evenings were spent scouring the internet for anything I could find on real work-from-home jobs.
One day I came across a company, Alpine Access (now Sykes), that hired remote customer service agents for various programs. There were a few technical requirements, such as a landline telephone, but nothing out of the ordinary. There was a part-time position open for the GE Money Bank – Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic program. Basically I would be the 1-800 number you call with credit card issues like payments and statement questions for those stores.
Almost immediately I felt like I found what I was looking for – an employer that hired work-from-home employees.
I calculated how much I would need to make to replace my income for my current job, figured out what kind of schedule would work best for our family, and then filled out the online application.
Within a week I was given an interview over the phone and offered the position! I was excited, nervous, and terrified all at the same time.
It was time to make my move to work-at-home mom. I gave my 2-week notice and by the time my baby was 9-months-old, I was home with him.
I started a blog
Since I was now working online, I began spending more time online browsing the internet during breaks. I was also trying to really cut our expenses with coupons and live as frugally as possible since we no longer had a budget that could handle overspending. Money was tight, but I was so happy to be able to spend my days where I felt I truly belonged – with my little guy!
I can’t remember when or how I first came across it, but I began following a deal blog that completely blew my mind. This website took couponing to a whole new level!
I never followed a blog before or even knew what one was, but before too long I was hooked. I learned SO much! I began saving a ridiculous amount of money on each grocery and drug store trip, even earning money on my purchases.
Around that time Facebook came into the picture so I shared my proud frugal adventures with my friends. They wanted to know how I did it – the cliff notes version – so I created a checklist that I would email when someone asked.
Somewhere along the way someone suggested that I create a website to share my latest deals and money-saving tips. I thought that sounded like a good plan so I began googling to figure out how to create a website. I had NO IDEA what I was doing or that my “website” would quickly turn into this blog, but here we are!
So I randomly started a blog that turned out to be one of my most successful accomplishments! This blog is now my full-time income and has completely replaced the income I made as a biologist. It has allowed me to live my life to the fullest, something I didn’t even know I was missing until I began experiencing it. You can find out more about my blog story here.
I opened an Etsy shop
I have made diaper cakes for many years. Almost every time I would make one as a shower gift, the recipient would tell me that I should sell them. I was happy they liked their cake and figured they were just being nice, so I never thought to really try selling them.
Until I started the blog…
Once I had the blog, I had a platform which included social media pages to refer the now thousands of followers across the country I had.
That’s why I decided to open an Etsy shop!
Again clueless, haha, I fumbled my way through yet another online opportunity and actually made it pretty successful. With my money-saving skills I was able to find the diaper cake “ingredients” I needed at rock-bottom prices which allowed me to price my cakes below my competitors. My diaper cakes were also custom-made in a theme that the buyer chose.
I sold dozens of custom diaper cakes all across the country over a few years and still to this day get requests for them, even though I no longer make them.
The path I chose…
Although each of these jobs were successful on their own and I could have focused on any one to make a full-time living from home, I feel each one was part of my journey to find the opportunity that worked best for our family and discover what I truly loved.
For me, that ended up to be blogging. (You probably guessed that since you are reading this blog 🙂 ) There’s nothing like the freedom and the platform to help others that blogging gives me. I love helping others save money and sharing the many opportunities that exist to create a life you love.
So the next time you hear the phrase “work from home,” remember there are tons of legitimate jobs out there…one that just may be waiting for you!
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