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Pregnant and Preparing to Work at Home

Q: I recently discovered I am pregnant. Right now I am in management, but when I have the baby, I want to be able to work from home. Please give me some suggestions on where to look for jobs that are home-based.  Computer literacy and communication skills are my strengths. Any ideas?

A: Fortunately, there are now many more opportunities to work at home than ever before. Without knowing your industry or career, I can't give you a specific direction. However, I can offer a variety of options that are often home-based. Perhaps one of these will work for you.

Selling or answering customer questions over the phone is a great way to generate income. Since the client can't see you, it doesn't matter if you are in a call center or at a desk in the back bedroom.

Setting up bookkeeping and other types of accounting activities away from your company's location is another common practice. You can use Peachtree or Quickbooks to write up financial transactions; then, either email or print out the reports and deliver them.

Writing projects lend themselves to working at home. Proposals, newsletters, brochures, direct mail pieces, books and articles, seminar materials and editing can also move easily back and electronically.

You might also consider computer-based jobs that require spreadsheets, databases, or graphic design. The right software makes it possible to maintain database fields and email pictures, pages with columns or boxes and artwork to a variety of people quickly.

Many individuals are achieving excellent incomes doing research on the internet for companies, writers or consultants. If you know good query techniques, you can find just about anything online while wearing your bunny slippers and sipping your favorite mug of coffee. 

If you are willing to start your own business, the opportunities are endless. Most of the independent consultants I know work out of their homes. They conduct meetings at the customer's office because it's more convenient. There's no need for an imposing conference room. Other viable home-based businesses may include any of the above options, plus multi-level marketing, personal shopping, customized baskets, advertising and PR, dog sitting and errand running, or whatever your creativity and business acumen can imagine.

You should also research hot trends in our economy. For instance, social networking is becoming more and more important to doing business. Companies must have a well conceived website or they arenít considered to be serious contenders. Most people look for products and services online. When was the last time you used the yellow pages to find a business? If you listen to the experts, blogs, Facebook, Linked-in, YouTube, Twitter, search engine optimization, mass emails, mutual links with others, etc. should all be part of an organizationís marketing efforts.

Many companies are overwhelmed by the thought of developing and keeping up with these new networking initiatives. If you are willing to takeover these tasks, there are lots or organizations which will be happy to make you their online expert.

A computer, fast internet connection, smart phone, copier/printer/scanner, voice mail, letterhead, business cards, a checking account and a phone line are all you need to appear quite professional. One other thing: always have a few clean cloth diapers to drape over your shoulder or lap when you are holding your little one. Slobber or spit-up on your silk blouse diminishes your business persona. I know this from my own unfortunate experience.

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