Checklist for the Working Mother at Home


Working at home can be a very pleasant experience—but you need to take certain precautions:

—Check on local licensing laws. Many local governments require licenses, especially for selling, cooking, and teaching.

—Check on other legal requirements. If you plan to sell what you bake, the local health department may require you to have separate cooking facilities and a separate entrance. If you plan to operate a nursery school, you may be required to meet certain safety standards.

—Is there a union? If you plan to work as a beautician or a typesetter, or in many other trades, there may be a union you would need to be aware of.

—Can you earn enough? Take into account the going price for what you produce, how long it takes you to do it, and how much it costs. If you find out that you would only make fifty cents an hour, you may change your mind about it!

—Can you do it well enough? Compare your work with similar things in stores: if yours looks rough in comparison, you may want to perfect your skills before you start trying to make money at it.

—Consider carefully before making an investment. For many selling jobs you have to buy a franchise or invest a fairly large sum in order to start. Can you sell enough to make your money back? Will you enjoy it enough to keep doing it until you have made a profit? Is the franchise legitimate or a racket? The purchase of franchises is one of the greatest areas of fraud in the United States. Check with the Better Business Bureau or its local equivalent.

—Don’t spend money advertising until you’re sure you’ll need it. Of all the sisters we talked to who had been successful in working at home, only one advertised. If you do well and have satisfied customers, you’ll soon have as much business as you can handle. And if you don’t do well—then advertising won’t help that much!

—Keep careful records. Everything you earn is taxable! You may need to pay sales tax, too. And your records will tell you how much you’re really earning so you can decide whether it’s worth it.

—Make sure you enjoy the work. Just because it pays doesn’t mean you’ll like doing it. And if you’re selling, make sure you really feel good about the product.

—There is no such thing as a job you can do “in your spare time”—when you have children at home, there is no spare time! You’ll have to schedule carefully. Weigh carefully the potential effect on your family. The assumption of the companion article to this is that you have determined that you are in need of additional income. That question, of course, is one that only you and the Lord can answer.