But there are challenges as well…
It’s not all fun and games. According to the survey of over 21,000 freelancers from 170 countries, most freelancers (64%) work more than 30 hours a week!
Bouchra notes that the trend towards longer hours means working from home can lead to, “Losing motivation, silly time-wasters, people who don’t take you seriously and feeling isolated,” she shares. “I’m a people person and my energy flares up when I’m out and about, so this is doubly harder for me!”
Bouchra admits that the flexibility of working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. “It’s a blessing because I can go on a road trip with my family whenever I want,” she says. “It’s a curse because I underestimate how much time I spend doing busy work instead of the most important things.”
Melissa echoes the idea that it can be hard to make time, “One thing about working from home that I found hard is making sure that I consistently ‘show up’ to the craft table and get some work done.”
Karrie agrees, “It’s hard to draw boundaries between work sometimes. Clients will have last minute projects and I truly love listening to podcasts and reading books about being an entrepreneur and productivity.”
The future of work from home opportunities
Bouchra sees augmented reality as the future for real-time coworking. She believes it will allow people to work from the comfort of their own homes while still providing that feeling of working together in a team (or as part of many teams.)
“I see the huge potential for economic and societal growth when working from home becomes a real option for women,” Bouchra shares. “Women often have to pay significant sums of money for childcare so they’re able to work. My dream is to see a world where moms are not shamed in any way for working from home or around their families’ schedules!”
“It will only continue to grow and change,” Karrie notes. “We have to be flexible and always learning because algorithms and systems are changing constantly.”
Melissa wants to expand into other businesses in the future. Perhaps catering to other WAHMs.
“I hope to cook pre-packed meals and sell them over Facebook to locals who don’t want to cook,” Melissa shares of her future plans. “People want meals that they can buy in bulk and then freeze for later use. I need to get consent from the local council before I can sell from home, but it would be very rewarding.”
Just do it!
So, are you intrigued?
“Just start,” Bouchra urges. “Before I got married and moved, I used my situation as a crutch that stopped me from moving forward much with my work. When I got pregnant, I felt like I wasted a lot of time, but when I finally gave birth I realized how much time I’d actually wasted, and started paying more attention to what I spent my time on,” Bouchra confides.
“In Arabic, there’s a proverb that translates to, ‘Ask for advice from those who have tried [something], not from doctors.’ Please take this tried and true advice seriously and get started,” Bouchra insists. “One day you won’t have as much time as you do now, and you’ll regret wasting it. Been there, done that!”
Melissa tells other Muslim women to think about what they do well and put a price on it.
“Don’t underestimate your talents. You aren’t always aware of how good you are at something you do every day, Melissa urges. “It might be in-home childcare, making sweets or soap, teaching the Quran, or giving homeschooling lessons for other people’s children.
We often disregard our own abilities until someone points them out as particularly good. Take notice of what people appreciate about you. You must focus on these talents and not be shy of selling these abilities to willing buyers. You may even be inundated, so plan ahead!”
“Do it! Step out of your comfort zone!” Karrie insists. “It’s sometimes hard to jump before you think you’re ready. We put undue pressure on ourselves but it all usually works out in the end.”
A few last words of advice…
“Get connected and stay connected for support. It can get lonely at home,” Karrie shares. “Set up coffee chats via Zoom and network with other women both on- and offline.”
Join online communities and Facebook groups supporting, Muslim Professionals and Freelancers, Muslimah Bloggers, Muslim Writers, and Muslimah Virtual Assistants to network, lament struggles, and share the best tips for working remotely. Business and marketing blogs are also great resources for freelancers and other work at home professionals looking to scale their businesses.
Melissa reminds that when it comes to growing a business or steady freelance client list, patience is key. “Managing the risk of investing what little money you have can be hard to decide on,” Melissa shares. “I’ve learned it’s best to be conservative.”
This is great advice because otherwise, you may end up with stock that isn’t selling, your customers will only want one of the many colors you have, or the market may be flooded with competition from similar businesses.
“Don’t create a stressful situation,” Melissa advises. “Be patient and test the market slowly. Remember, most small businesses take a full year until they are creating a profit, so don’t be discouraged.”
With patience, effective time management, and a willingness to put in the time and effort it will take to create an online reputation, all Muslim women – even moms of young children – can succeed as work at home freelancers, entrepreneurs, and employees.
First published: September 2019Pages: 1 2