Man, there are few things in life harder than dropping your baby off at daycare for that first day back from maternity leave. When I walked out those doors for the first time to return to my teaching job—I knew my life needed to change. And fast. I didn’t want to work a traditional job. I couldn’t not work. I needed to be a WAHM.
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But…believe it or not…legitimate opportunities to work from home aren’t just falling from the sky these days (rude, right!?).
So …what are your work from home options? For women and moms especially, there seem to be 3 main ways to be a WAHM. Let’s discuss the money, daily life, and control you might experience in each option.
But first, a personal note. People have super strong opinions about what they do to support their families. Totally get that. If you are killing it as a network marketer or VIPKid teacher—congrats! I am not here to bash any option that works for you and your family. Freelancing is what retired me from my day job and allows me to live a life I love. General experiences might not be your experience. Please don’t take this post personally!
Now, on to the good stuff!
WAHM Option 1: Network Marketing (aka MLMs)
With network marketing, also known as Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), you are established as an independent contractor, you buy into the company and earn a commission off your sales.
Network Marketing: Money
- Not all, but many MLMs require a significant upfront investment. During the height of its popularity, startup costs for Lularoe consultants ranged from $5000-6000. That’s a huge investment! And unless you are a super saver, probably not an amount most moms have lying around to invest in a company…especially after those medical bills roll in from labor and delivery!
- According to research, of the 20 million Americans who have participated in network marketing…47% lose money after joining. Another 27% make $0. Can you be successful as a network marketer? For sure. Are the odds in your favor? Definitely not.
- Let’s chat for a second about those super successful network marketers. One of the advantages of an MLM over a traditional job (aside from the flexibility to work from anywhere and set your hours) is that there isn’t usually a cap on earnings. Unlike say, a salaried job—if you sell $50,000 worth of Lipsense (not likely, but let’s go with it as an example)…you’re going to get that commission check. And you could receive another one the next month for double that. BUT it’s going to take a TON of sales—how much can you make off the commission of a lipstick? Time is money—especially when you’re a WAHM with young children.
Network Marketing: Daily Life
- You will be hustling. Constantly. At work, the playground, the gym, the grocery store. MLMs train you to look for selling opportunities everywhere you go. And it makes sense—when you don’t have a guaranteed recurring income or retainer, you will need to work super hard to meet your financial goals each month. Perhaps it’s not really a WAHM option, it’s more like a work-everywhere option.
- Selling to friends and family is hard. Either they aren’t buying your products and your feelings are hurt OR they get upset because you haven’t reached out in 6 months and now you are…to sell them something. We’ve all read the memes about the girl who hasn’t talked to us since 7th grade showing up in our FB Messenger to push Jamberry. No one wants to be that girl.
- Stigma. There is a stigma involved with MLM. If you’re nervous to talk about your job on Facebook or you’re scared to tell your mom that you just invested $3000 into your new gig, that’s your gut telling you something is off. Listen to that instinct. You should never feel weird about telling people what you do. You should want to shout your success from the rooftops!
Network Marketing: Control
- One thing all successful network marketers have in common—an incredible team. Your success in an MLM is ultimately tied to the motivation, selling potential, and desire of every person in your downline. Even if you are the hardest working Shakeology hustler in the world, if your team is uninspired…your income will suffer as well. Pssst…want to know a secret? One of the ways the top network marketers offset this is by selling their downline’s products in addition to their own so they can constantly meet their company’s team goals for the month and secure that bonus check. Do all my work + all my coworkers’ work? No, thanks. You wouldn’t accept that at your 9 to 5—don’t accept it for your actual life.
- Your clients will contact you constantly. At all hours of the night. And they will expect an answer right away because you have no contract, you have no set hours, you don’t have all the items in place to protect yourself and maintain a work/life balance. And you have goals to meet. So you will text back. And Facebook message. And never walk away from your phone. And you will be exhausted.
- You have no control over product websites, marketing materials, packaging, shipping times, inventory, anything! If they change the quality of the products…if one order gets lost and it pushes out ship time…if the website goes down. Your customers will come to you. And blame you. Even though it is 100% not your fault.
Oof..Micala. I don’t think MLMs are the right answer for me. What about that online teaching opportunity I keep hearing about? Now that’s supposed to be a great WAHM gig, right?
WAHM Option 2: VIPKid
VIPKid offers immersive one-on-one, English language instruction online. All you need is a laptop, stellar interview skills, and at least a bachelor’s degree (yep, a college degree is a must), and you could be earning income and interacting with sweet kids across the world!
- Pay to work ratio is not great. I know this might be shocking but teachers are not getting paid enough! Groundbreaking information, right? Sadly it isn’t really any better in this online space. VIPkid’s pay range is $14-22 an hour. Pre-tax. With no benefits.
- Suggested investments for the lessons can include everything from puppets to instruments to studio lighting. Now, I did say suggested. You definitely don’t have to purchase everything and you might already have a ton of props if you’re an early childhood education teacher. One thing you will have to buy—your own headset and possibly lighting.
- You have to build up to your income goal. Similar to MLMs, the pay scales as you grow and there are set pay periods. Plus, you can’t control how many bookings you actually get. You can open slots, but without many (or any) reviews in the beginning, they won’t all fill up. You can’t really start with VIPKid today and have money in the bank tomorrow.
VIPKid: Daily Life
- Combine the very set salary range with the fact that you’re likely working at odd hours in order to teach during the peak times in China (like crazy early in the morning, yaaaawn), and this means your income is severely limited by the number of hours you can realistically work each week—because you do still need to sleep.
- You need a quiet space to teach your classes. If there are sound issues on your end (baby waking up, dog barking, traffic noise, anything) you’ll get negative feedback. Negative feedback means fewer bookings. Boo!
- What happens if your child needs to go to the doctor or school is canceled for a snow day? You’re penalized for canceling classes less than 24 hours in advance. As in, you have to pay a FINE—wait, what?! And you only get a certain number of cancellations before your contract is terminated. Not very realistic when you’re a WAHM and taking care of your babies is your #1!
- To hit a higher income goal, you not only need to teach several classes in the wee hours of the morning basically every day, but you also need to be a VIPKid walking billboard and recruit other teachers. So…it comes down to selling and recruiting constantly, basically like an MLM.
- While you can be a WAHM with this, you wouldn’t be able to cut the lesson short because the baby woke up early from his nap or stop what you’re doing to help your toddler fix a snack.
- Most teachers are kind of control freaks. I can say that because I was one. Lesson plans, scripts, with VIPKid everything is pre-planned. You cannot deviate from their plans. Even if the student is struggling, you will be pressured to finish each session on time and move on to the next topic.
- Your success is dependent on your ratings—like Uber. One bad rating can overpower your 5-star (well, 5-apple) reviews…and you need those great reviews to get booked in highly competitive time slots!
I looked into both of these WAHM options before I found freelancing. In fact, I almost bought into selling Pampered Chef. But something just didn’t feel right to me. I was a mother now…I needed to set an example to my children—that you can love your life. Not just on the weekends. Every day. And that’s when I found freelancing.
WAHM Option 3: Freelancing
Businesses outsource some of their work by hiring freelancers. As a freelancer you choose which services to offer. No degree or formal training is required. Services can include email inbox management, Pinterest management, website design, copywriting, social media management, graphic design, virtual assistant services, project management services, and on and on. Everyone has something to offer as a freelancer!
- Your earning potential is unlimited. Yes, I said unlimited. Depending on services, the ladies in my program are earning anywhere from $25-$100+ an hour! And you are in complete control of setting that rate, raising it, demanding more after scope creep, and adding additional streams of income that work for you.
- You could get paid today. Like, literally. Today. The women in my program know—no signed contract + paid invoice = no work produced. With freelancing, you get paid upfront. And there are clients out there DYING to work with you. They will pay that invoice ASAP.
- If tomorrow you walked into your traditional job to find that you had been laid off, how much money are you bringing home once that final paycheck clears? $0. With freelancing, you can take on as many clients as you wish. If you decide to part ways with one client or they have budget cuts, you are still bringing in income from other business owners who need your services.
Freelancing: Daily Life
- Less hustle. You’re not going to be worried every month about meeting that MLM sales quota or booking the right number of VIPKid classes. Less hustle does not mean no hustle. You are going to have to get out there and pitch and land your clients. It’s hard work—don’t be fooled. But, if you work on a retainer package, then after that initial hustle, you’ll have that client for as long as the working relationship is positive. That’s guaranteed income you can count on. Every month.
- Freedom. Your kids run in during a conference call? No big deal. Your clients know you’re a WAHM (they may be, too)! They accept that. You will have no worries about taking the afternoon off to enjoy the zoo with your toddler or blocking out the morning to run to library storytime. Your life. Your schedule. Your terms.
- Difficult client? You can fire them. And you can pick up two more clients who NEED your services or skills. Just like that.
- You set your rates. No one is telling you how to price your services. No one dictates what your time, energy, and expertise are worth except YOU.
- You control every aspect of your business—how much you work, how many clients you have, when you want a raise, how you market yourself, what your business materials look like, if you want to build your own team. You’re not only a WAHM, you’re a business owner.
Ladies, there is a career waiting for you that will ignite your passion and revolutionize your life. And your family can have a front row seat to every.single.win.
Never choose between career and family again. We can have it all. We just have to want it and work for it.
Are you ready to get started? Are you ready to be a WAHM with all of the flexibility and control that comes with also being your own boss? Download my FREE 7 Steps to Build a Profitable Freelance Business right now!