Do you work from home? Or perhaps I should ask . . . have you TRIED working from home? Doesn’t it sound so amazing to get up in the morning, grab your cup of coffee or tea, throw on yesterday’s t-shirt and sweat pants, and plop down in front of the computer? Well, maybe it’s not exactly like THAT, but it is appealing to be able to set your own schedule, and not have the pressure of getting out in cold, blowy, or snowy weather, to drive to an office or a hospital or factory or bank, with all the time pressure. Working away from home is perfect for some people – I know lots of women who LOVE their jobs and somehow they make it work. It looks pretty easy the way the manage to juggle everything in life, all while holding down a really important “JOB” where they get dressed up and put on makeup and everything every day. I’m just not that girl!
Oh, yes, I’ve worked away from home, and I actually did LOVE my job for about seven years. And then we brought our girls home and I was a wreck. The whole time I was at my previously-loved “JOB,” all I could think about was my babies back at home that I really did LOVE even more than I LOVED my “JOB.” I was miserable. That’s when I first started looking at opportunities to work from home, because by then the internet had become a viable option for building an online business. I discovered eBay and then Etsy, and it was amazing to me that I could sit in my sewing room with my babies playing on the floor (well, until I tripped over one of them or they decided to argue over the dolly stroller) and make pretty little girls’ dresses and outfits and people on the other side of the country (and sometimes on the other side of the world) would pay me a lot of money for something that just seemed like an ordinary part of my life. I LOVED it!
But then I couldn’t keep up with the custom orders, so I had to stop doing that for a while. After all, little ones do take time and energy, whether mama works at home or somewhere else. But I did manage to keep my little Etsy shop going for a while when I was too busy with LIFE to make new stuff all the time – I discovered that there was a market for vintage stuff. Well, to me, that was just the stuff I lived with all the time, but if someone wanted to buy that 40 year old tea pot or the 1980s dresses still hanging in my closet, well they were welcome to those things!
After a while, just before the economy crashed in 2008-2009 I had to work away from home again. I thought, “I wonder if I can get a job in a bank . . . that should be pretty low-pressure and no stress. Right? I mean after all, you just smile and be nice to people and count their money. Wrong! My babies were now in elementary school and I worked 25 miles away from home, and I was always worried about them. I know, I’m rather over protective, but there it is. So when a bank customer came in two minutes before it was time to go home asking me why their debit card wouldn’t work (which really IS a pretty big deal!), I was completely undone. Partly because I didn’t KNOW why their debit card didn’t work and I really didn’t know how to find out – and because I really DID care about their broken debit card – it was stressful! I just wanted to go home, but I couldn’t.
That was a year and a half of misery. I would work all week at the bank, and then all weekend long I would sleep and cry. That was my life! I missed my home, my hubby, and my girls, but in order to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, we both needed to bring in a steady income so that was just the way it was going to be for a while. Then, in late 2009, the bank where I worked announced that it was closing all of the branches in our town, and we were all going to be out of a job. HOORAY! I was so happy, but also scared. So I decided I better get busy and figure out what I was going to do to try to help my family financially. That’s when I really started looking at work-from-home options.
There are a million places that will tell you it is easy, you’ll make tons of money, you can work two hours a day, blah, blah, blah. That’s not true for the most part. And if there really is an opportunity like that, please someone tell me about it. But what I’ve learned is that working from home can be rewarding, and you really can make money, but you have to work hard, long hours, and be able to invest a lot of time and energy without a regular, steady income. If you can manage to cover all your expenses for a couple of years, or more, before depending on your income from a work-at-home job, you might be able to make a go of it.
I’ve joined a few Facebook groups for Etsy sellers, and it seems that everyone and their brother is now opening an Etsy shop . . . which is GREAT for Etsy because they are making millions of dollars off of all of us who are just trying to feed our kids. But it is a difficult way to generate a steady, stable, dependable income. Partly now because so many more people are trying to get their products out in front of the eyes of potential customers. It used to be, the first few years after I opened my Etsy shop, that I could list a few things and they would sell. Now it seems that you have to buy ads and promotions, use social media promotions, and invest a ton of time and money, just to get people to know your shop exists. And then there’s no guarantee that they will actually buy anything from you.
I’ve noticed some of the newer Etsy shop owners expressing high levels of anxiety and frustration when they are in a financial pinch and they can’t figure out why no one is buying their “stuff.” I feel kind of sad for them, because I know how stressful that can be. So I don’t have any real answers if you are wanting to work from home perhaps by opening an Etsy shop or selling on Ebay or any of the million and one other places you can sell stuff online . . . but I would simply encourage you not to give up if you are following your dream. Go slow, find other means of generating income for a while until you can establish your business, and don’t put all your “eggs” into one “basket.” Because it takes time to build a business no matter what you are doing, and you don’t need the daily pressure of needing to make a LOT of money right in the beginning . . . because it is not going to happen that way.
These are just a few of the projects I’ve been working on lately. I love my little shops, but when it is no longer a source of joy, I guess I will need to try something else. But hopefully it will be something I can do here at home, because I still HATE going away from home to work. Work is not the problem! It’s going away from my little home that makes me unhappy. So as some guy used to say back in the early days of computer learning, “Buy my stuff!” Check out my shops, you might find something you like. Hope you are successful at whatever you decide to do, whether you work from home or somewhere else, always believe in yourself, follow your dreams, and never give up!