Many women are forced to get creative about their careers by leveraging their talents, interests, knowledge and experiences into remote positions, freelance work and small business ownership. Many find that what starts as a part-time opportunity to supplement their income becomes a lucrative and fulfilling profession, all done from the comfort of their home. Some women need to work from home because of issues with childcare, mobility, transportation or finances. Others just want the freedom. The good news is that it is possible. The following are five ways to work from home that work.
Become an Etsy Seller
Angela Michelle Loeffler, the creator behind the Etsy shop Spring Home Printables, channels her passion for organization, home management and budgeting into printables that help women manage their busy schedules. “I sell printables to help people organize and balance their lives, tasks, budgeting, cleaning, shopping, goal planning, exercise routine, school calendars, et cetera, “ said Loeffler. “I think my products caught on because they make planning fun,” she added, describing her aesthetic as Charleston-charm-inspired.
Another Etsy seller Alyssa Wheeler started creating pet-themed artwork that would bring back the fondest memories of her time together with her beloved dog who passed away suddenly in 2022. Soon thereafter, Wheeler established her Etsy shop, Pet Art by Alyssa, offering unique, artistic gifts to individuals walking through the grief of pet loss.
“I love the flexibility that comes with owning an Etsy shop,” said Wheeler. “I can work on my own schedule and travel while still earning an income. Etsy is also a great way to reach an audience outside your local community. Connecting with individuals across the country or the globe who appreciate your artwork is so special.”
As Etsy sellers with thousands of sales and many years between them, Loeffler and Wheeler recognize the power of online marketplaces. Loeffler believes that creativity and hard work go a long way online and encourages others to use their passion and expertise to fill a void in the digital marketplace.
Adriana Roman, owner and baker at Make It Sweet by Ana in West Ashley, started baking sugar cookies as a hobby. “Seeing the joy on people’s faces when they tasted my cookies, I knew I had something special,” she said. “I started getting requests from friends and family to make cookies for special occasions. Before I knew it, I was running my own sugar cookie business.”
The business side of cookie design wasn’t always easy for Roman. She had to figure out how to price her cookies, market them locally and balance her time between baking and running a business. “One of the secrets to my success,” she explained, “was working with good equipment, using high-quality ingredients and paying attention to detail. I also created unique and eye-catching designs that would set my cookies apart from the competition.”
Get Familiar with Search Engine Optimization
Kylee Della Volpe is a Columbia-based senior SEO specialist. She has seen many women successfully start home-based careers in search engine optimization (SEO). SEO refers to maximizing a website’s rank in search engine results. SEOs help website owners reach more customers, users or readers.
Because there is no specific certification required to work in SEO, Volpe has seen women enter the industry from different backgrounds, career pivots and education levels. “Skills necessary to get into the SEO field include cross-functionally working with various disciplines and a willingness to stay abreast of developments,” said Volpe. “Content writing and web development skills are also helpful.”
Those looking to get into search engine optimization can find reputable courses online. They can expect to earn approximately $35 an hour depending on the industry and scope of work. Volpe recommends joining some of the many women-focused SEO communities on Facebook to learn more. “It can seem really intimidating, but once you get in there and have curiosity and persistence, you can do it. Don’t be deterred by lack of experience,” she urged.
Become a Virtual Assistant
Caroline Murray, the owner of Virtually Possible, hires virtual assistants, many of which are stay-at-home moms. Virtually Possible is a Charleston-based virtual assistant agency that offers customized work based on its clients’ needs. Virtual assistants, also known as VAs, perform administrative tasks such as answering emails, making phone calls, and scheduling appointments from home. They work with an array of clientele ranging from executives, business owners and corporations to nonprofit organizations.
Murray explained that virtual assistants’ work hours depend on project scope and client preference. Virtual assistants can make $25 to $45 an hour based on their skills and qualifications. “I advise those looking for virtual assistant positions to focus on their strengths and what they are good at. Their knowledge, abilities and experience will help them stand out,” she added.
Freelance writers can work from anywhere. Writing allows for flexibility, creativity and connection with others. Freelance writers usually accept the work they can manage and are paid per the amount of words they write. Writing for magazines and newspapers allows writers to explore a wide variety of topics, expand their knowledge, interview interesting people and discover fascinating places.
Charleston Women is currently hiring writers. The magazine showcases the stories of savvy women. From business owners and physicians, to community leaders and politicians, this magazine shares how impactful women became who they are and what they had to overcome to reach their potential. Those interested should send samples and resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration. Put FREELANCE WRITER in the subject line.
For many, working from home isn’t a want, it’s a must. With creativity and gumption, forging a nontraditional work path is possible. Tuning into one’s strengths, developing new skills and being flexible can result in a newfound dream job — one that can be done around school drop-off and pick-up or whatever other responsibilities stand between a woman and a full-time career.
By Isabel Alvarez Arata