If you’re a working parent, balancing work and family can be a struggle. If you’ve taken time off from working full time after having a child or taking care of one, it can also be difficult to set a new rhythm that incorporates both your family duties and working life. Luckily there are many flexible positions available both virtual and on-site that can help to bridge this gap. Most of these roles can be done remotely, providing maximum flexibility. If you work with clients outside your time zone, you may even be able to work out of Australian business hours - say, when the kids are asleep! For all of these positions, consider that a stable internet connection is important. You may also consider creating a workspace that is ergonomically suitable for doing computer-based tasks.
Below are 5 jobs that are easy to transition into after a period of not working, and require few (if any) qualifications.
The types of tasks a Virtual Assistant (VA) performs can vary, from scheduling appointments, taking calls, writing emails, various organisational tasks - basically, any kind of admin that can be done remotely! Some VAs find it profitable to work within a smaller niche, like for example social media management. Blanket statements like “administrative duties” can have less impact on both clients and search engines than a targeted service. You may consider upskilling in basic administrative areas. Browse Office Assistant Courses in areas such as the Certificate I in Information, Digital Media and Technology or Certificate III in Business Administration as a starting point to see the kinds of skill sets you can acquire.
Copy and Content Writing
Freelance writing is a very accessible skill - if you have a computer with word processing software and an internet connection, you have all you need to launch a copy or content writing career.
Copywriting is generally sales focused, and can include elements like email marketing campaigns or homepages for online shops. Content writing might relate to guest writing blog posts or articles for online publications. Since the barrier to entry is quite low, this is a competitive field, and as with VA positions it is advised to choose a niche that you can specialise in - the narrower the better. As an example, “eco-friendly parenting” is much more niche than just “parenting” by itself - and you may already know a lot about the subject.
Online transcription can pay up to $3.45 per minute of recording - at that rate, an hour of work would translate to $207. Of course, the rate of pay will depend on the company, your typing speed and accuracy. Spend some time researching different transcription agencies - especially ones based within Australia. You may be asked to complete a typing speed test before you are admitted, but once you’ve passed that it’s an easy job you can complete from the comfort of your own home, while also having the freedom to set your own hours.
You could also look into transcription niches like medical transcription or legal transcription. This involves taking recorded files of medical or legal professionals and typing them up into the desired format of the clients. Both of these roles would require utmost confidentiality and professionalism, as well as basic knowledge of the jargon associated with these professions. Since both medical and legal services are always in demand, it may provide a more stable income than transcription services catering to other industries.
Translator / Interpreter
Speak more than one language? Then freelance translation gigs might be for you. Translation jobs vary in length and complexity, but by using a freelancing job board you can filter out roles that are not suitable for you. Keep in mind that languages with a large population of speakers are more competitive than others. In most cases, you only need a word processing software to complete these kinds of jobs.
You could also consider becoming a certified translator / interpreter with NAATI - The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. These roles are utilised in a variety of sectors, for example, the banking industry, where interpreters help customers who speak a language other than English understand conversations with bank employees. They are mostly utilised on an ad hoc basis - when they need you, they call you. Languages spoken by migrants and refugees are especially in demand.
It may surprise you to know that many customer service operators work from home. If you have a strong internet connection, you’re halfway there! As a customer service agent, you will be assisting customers in various industries with their queries or concerns. You will usually receive training and may receive equipment such as a headset to get you started as well. For these roles, you can assume that a high level of spoken English is required, as well as advanced computer literacy skills. You should also have good people skills, as well as the ability to stay cool under pressure and diffuse conflict.
These roles often work on a rotating roster, and depending on the company, you may need to work odd hours to accommodate customers in other time zones. This can be to your benefit - not needing to work to Australian business hours may mean more time for school runs and other errands - but be aware that you may be expected to work the odd red-eye shift as well. A course like the Certificate III in Business (Customer Engagement) could give you a competitive edge and hone your communication skills for a role like this.
The most important step in determining whether any of these careers is right for you is in the research. By reading a variety of job ads in the area you are interested in, you will see commonalities such as pay rate and skills required, whereas reading beyond the ads will inform you about potential downsides or other elements to consider that may not be spelled out in the job ads. There are many blogs run by stay at home mums/ freelancers that can give you an idea of what to expect in these roles. Take the time to research and decide what is right for you and your family and trust your instincts.