Working At Home

Despite the fact that the New Zealand economy slipped into recession before the financial crisis hit the rest of the world, following a range of aggressive interest rate cuts, the country had recovered by late 2009 and has since achieved a respectable growth of 2% annually.

However, many families are still finding day to day budgeting difficult with the country paying some of the highest prices globally for basic staples such as milk, eggs and chicken. With a takeaway burger costing over $5, milk at $5.49 for 3 litres and a size 14 frozen chicken coming in at $10.49, it is no wonder that many stay at home parents are considering working from home to earn a few extra dollars to supplement the family income and to help pay for some of life's little extras.

Tutoring at home

Government statistics predict that by 2031, the number of families in the country will rise by 288,000 to 1.46 million, while one parent families are forecast to hit 267,000, an increase of 48,000 in the same period. With 61,178 new births reported in 2012 this makes for a lot of new mums facing the challenges of paying the household bills and a lot of young citizens who will eventually be joining the 2.402 million workforce, but hopefully not as one of the 6.5% unemployed!

So for those who may be considering using their time at home to generate some extra income, what are the things to consider and how do you know if it would be a good move for you?

Do You Have What it Takes?

For the 75% of Christchurch's working population who commute to the office each day, the thought of working from home may seem like a far off dream: no more early starts and late evenings, no more traffic jams, being able to work in your PJs, the chance to watch Ellen, Shortland Street or Dr Phil whenever you want... However, in reality, if you want to be a successful home worker, you will need to have a whole range of skills to make it work for you.

Do you have self motivation and self sufficiency? Can you organise a daily schedule and stick with it despite the demands of a three year old toddler or a crying baby? Are you a good organiser, communicator and how are your time management skills? You will need all of these and more if you are about to take on home working either as an employee for another company, or the driving force behind your own enterprise.

Before you start you will need to think about what your own particular skills are and how you could use them to earn those dollars. We are not born with talents and skills, we collect them as we go through life, whether it's the ability to make a great cake or design a website, compose a waita or use your charm to sell products to your friends and neighbours.

So What Could You Do?

There are some obvious jobs which are better suited to home working than others; telesales and marketing, customer services, professional services and consultancy such as HR (human resources) admin or accountancy, research and translation, writing, editing and administration. Think about how you could your personal skills to tick one of those boxes and you could be on your way to a profitable job.

Could you turn your creative talents to designing or writing articles, web content or short stories? Could you organise schedules and resources and deal with tasks carefully, quickly and accurately? You may have left High School with your NCEAs (National Certificate of Educational Achievement), progressed to Poly and gained a Graduate or Masters degree or a University Certificate or Doctorate, or perhaps academics weren't your thing and you have developed more hands on skills. Whichever your background, there will be a suitable job out there which will earn you a few extra dollars to help ends meet and keep the brain cells ticking over!

IT and Web Design

If you have a background in IT, or even if you simply enjoy the technology, you could earn an income as a Web Guru by offering your services to small local businesses who may be interested in re-establishing their brand with a new website design or revitalising their online traffic through SEO (search engine optimisation). Auckland based Search Masters provide SEO training and seminars from $393.75 which should help you to get to grips with the basics, with additional support from their team of professionals for prices from $100 +GST.

Virtual Assistants

For those who have great organisational and communication skills (and let's be honest, if you are a mum you will already be well qualified!) there are earning opportunities by becoming a Virtual Assistant. Many small businesses do not have the resources to employ full time on-site PAs so will outsource their admin to a reliable home worker who will be responsible for tasks such as making airline, hire-car and accommodation reservations for business trips, updating the electronic diary and dealing with incoming emails and telephone calls.

Home Catering

If you have a skill which you are passionate about, turn it into a money making opportunity! If you fancy yourself as a contestant for New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker, how about spending your free time during the week filling the freezer with scrummy cakes and luscious loaves of bread then taking them to the local Farmers Market at the weekend to sell? This makes a fun day out for the rest of the family and you may be able to pick up some freelance work or commissions for wedding cakes or party catering. Just make sure that you comply with any local government legislation covering the selling of home baked produce.

Online Surveys

Websites such as Great Sites NZ and The Survey Pro offer the opportunity to earn $10 in 30 minutes by signing up to complete their online market research surveys. All you have to do is complete your details and you will be asked to offer your opinion on a range of products and services from coffee to breakfast cereal, home insurance to mobile phones. Rewards are paid in points which can be converted to cash or gifts. It won't make you a fortune but you should earn a few welcome dollars.

Sell Your Unwanted Goods

If all else fails, how about a good old garage or yard sale? We all have far too much clutter around us and, in this the age of recycling, it may well be that your trash could be someone else's treasure!