Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Making money?

I've been thinking lately about making some money. It feels like we need it, and in doing our taxes I realized that our income has fallen in the last few years because I've been working and earning less, while our expenditures have definitely risen due to the house and the kids. When I had one kid I worked a fair amount from home as a technical writer. With two kids I still worked some. I worked on a book about Microsoft Access when the kids were one and three. I had a nanny one day a week (who fabulously did all my laundry), and a sitter two afternoons a week, and worked during naps as well. That seemed to work. That was my last big project. I have another project coming online now (revising the same book).

To do technical writing work I need to have a sitter and some uninterrupted time. Although I've had regular teenage sitters for years, I don't have one right now, which turns out to be a problem. I get stressed looking for babysitting options. It's mostly about me -- the kids are almost always fine with whatever I find for them. This week they've been out two days, once with grandma (who I paid for sitting, for the first time ever) and once with a friend (I had her kids the next day).

I've also thought about doing work that I can do around my kids. I've made and sold a few mei tai baby carriers. This week I dyed about 70 playsilks for friends and acquaintances. One thing I've learned is that the prices people charge for both of these items are, in fact, about right. I can undercut them, sure, but I wouldn't want to for the long haul. I've never sold anything before, and there's a lot involved in finding the seller and following through with the deal, not to mention having any necessary documentation or whatever is needed. I've also been thinking about what it would be like to do baby care for someone who was working part-time, and how much I could expect to get for that (and if I could ask for payment in cash).

My ideal job is technical writing (or editing), at my fair but relatively modest consulting rate for about five hours a week. Seriously. But finding that amount of work is somewhat challenging! Ah well, put it out there, and who know what will happen . . . .


Joe said...

I'm curious what you consider a reasonable consulting rate for technical writing or editing? How does one get into that type of work? I'm looking for ways to supplement my income as a state employee...not a lot of advance ment with a government job like that. I have experience in air pollution studies,reading technical manuals for various types of calibration equipment, pollution monitoring equipment. I have an MBA. So, I'm wondering what would be a reasonable rate to charge per hour?

Alison said...

If you drop me an email, I'll answer you privately: everydaybest at mail dot com.