Today’s gig economy offers numerous opportunities for people to make additional money or craft a flexible career path. Single parents may be hesitant to embark on freelancing work, fearing that the responsibilities of a side career might interfere with family time. While that is always a possibility, there are many ways to manage a side gig and strike a healthy balance between work and home. Because of the flexibility side gigs offer, allowing parents to simultaneously raise children and earn a living, parents now make up a large percentage of freelancers.
Start with a plan
Before you embark on any type of freelance gig, you should know that the amount of available work can be overwhelming. Despite its flexibility and being able to work from home, freelancing isn’t for everyone. Beyond specific marketable skills, success in the gig economy requires strong self-management, organization, resilience, and confidence. Time management can be especially difficult with the demands of single parenting. Take the time to assess your skills and whether you can thrive in an unsupervised setting. If you are up for the task, you can turn your hard work into a lucrative career that can benefit you and your family.
The types of skills in demand include:
- Coding. Computer programming skills have long been in demand for contract and remote work.
- Writing and editing. Businesses need content to fuel their online presence and look to freelancers to do the writing and editing necessary for blogs, websites, and marketing material.
- Customer support. Some companies, such as Amazon, fill customer support positions with remote employees. This arrangement differs slightly from freelancing in that you report to a supervisor and have less schedule flexibility.
- Website design. A lot of small businesses have rudimentary web presences but lack the time and skill to retool their websites. As a bonus, freelancers can often turn a web design job into recurring income from a client who will need occasional updates and editing of social media posts.
- Online tutoring. If you are good with kids or have a background in teaching or tutoring, share your skill online and get paid handsomely.
Organize your day and set up your space
If you want to work from home, your plan should include a clear visualization of how your work-from-home life will unfold in practice. Although you will have flexibility to care for your children when necessary, you will potentially have a lot of work on your plate that can get out of control if not managed well. On the other hand, the flexible schedule provides a priceless opportunity to handle the full-time-plus job of being a single parent while still earning an income.
Increase your productivity by creating a work routine. Treat your gig like a regular full-time job. Don’t spend hours fiddling on your laptop in your pajamas. Instead, wake up and get ready like you were going to drive into an office somewhere. Try to escape the house at least once a week by looking into flexible co-working spaces in your area.
When you are working from home, create a separate space in a good location. Ideally, your office should be away from any commotion in your house but also not located in a dark, windowless closet. You will be spending a great deal of time in this space, and your productivity will be impacted by its appearance and functionality.
Natural light is important, so try to position a work area near a window. And do not forget ergonomics. Some workers will spend thousands on an MacBook without investing in a comfortable desk chair.
With a proper planning that focuses on finding a gig and organizing your work-life balance, single parents can earn additional money while being able to maximize family time. Remember that freelancing is hard work, but the challenge can pay off in income and tremendous flexibility that will benefit your family.