Perhaps your children have flown the nest and you are your spouse are looking for a way to make the emptiness of your home less daunting. Or, having been required to work from home during the Covid pandemic, you have grown accustomed to less oversight supervision and would like to break free from the corporate mold completely. 

Whatever your reasons, a large home with only two occupants can be the perfect base for setting up a home-based business. We help you explore your options and show you how a good-sized property can lend itself to the ideal place for starting a new career. 

A Day-Care Center 

If you have empty-nest syndrome, take a bit of time to be sure that this is really what you want to do for the next twenty years of your life. Once your grandchildren start arriving, you may find that this satisfies your need to look after other people’s kids. However, if you always looked after everyone else’s children when your kids were small, you may be a natural for full-time childcare. 

This career choice will also give you the opportunity to further your studies and qualifications. With most children entering nursery school at a very young age, a home daycare center needs to be aligned with school readiness requirements. And if you are offering an after-school facility as well, you will need to understand educational programs to maximize the time these children spend with you, whether helping them with their homework and school projects or keeping young minds active.

Your next step is to contact the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to find out about licensing and other compliance issues. These may differ between states. Make sure you adhere to all these steps and are fully licensed. They may require you to attend additional courses, such as First Aid or CPR certification. Ensure that your property complies with zoning laws.

Take a good, long look at your home and garden to ensure that it is child-proof and secure. Implement strict safety rules for dropping children off at your daycare and collecting them in the evenings. This is especially important nowadays as the courts may have imposed restrictions on one parent. There is always a lurking chance of stranger danger. Have emergency contact details (fire, police, ambulance) and parents’ numbers close to hand.

Fostering Children

Fostering children can be an extremely rewarding career. These children have generally experienced trauma, such as abuse and/or neglect. You can give them a second chance in life that prepares them for when they move on to be adopted or returned to their primary families who are now better able to care for them.

Although no specific college or university studies are required, the fostering agency will provide you with training and resources to equip you for the challenges of the job. In addition to providing an allowance for childcare expenses, they will also give you an added payment every two weeks or monthly to enable one spouse to stay at home full-time with a foster child. 

Apart from the usual childproofing of your home that is needed to look after any children (including your own), foster agencies will expect you to provide a foster child with a dedicated bedroom. Allow the child to have input into the design of the allocated bedroom, such as color schemes and accessories. 

Often, foster children feel that they have no control over their lives. Allowing them to be involved in choices that concern them will empower them. They will have certain necessities. Additionally, if you can, and they are old enough, provide the child with a television and computer. If you are unsure, think back to what your children needed at different ages and if they need access to the internet for school. These children may often retreat to their rooms when overwhelmed, so making bedrooms welcoming and relaxing is essential.

Caring for the Elderly

If you have a gift for working with the elderly, a great career involves turning your home into a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE). As this will be smaller than most assisted living facilities, you will be able to give these people more unique attention according to their physical and mental states. Many elderly people start to experience problems with the activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). 

The latter, (IADLs), include money management, transportation, housekeeping and maintenance, communication, and medication management. The elderly who can cope with the ADLs but struggle with some of the IADLs may struggle to use the internet to book online doctors’ appointments, lose track of when prescriptions are due, no longer be able to drive, have difficulty preparing nutritious meals for themselves, and be unable to stand in bank queues, for example. 

Adults who have problems with the IADLs, but not with the ADLs, will have lost some independence yet can care for their more basic needs. The ADLs consist of walking, eating, grooming, toileting, bathing, and transferring. Transferring refers to the ability to move from one position or place to another, such as from a wheelchair to a bed. The elderly in this category need more physical care and are largely dependent on their caregivers. An RCFE bridges the gap between independence and full-time nursing. 

You will need to check the requirements to get an RCFE license for your state and can obtain additional qualifications to run an RCFE with employees.

Upgrading your home and turning it into an RCFE will require special beds, wheelchair ramps, safety bars by toilets and baths, nonslip mats, etc

Freelancing

Freelancing involves working from home without a boss or fixed salary. You get paid by clients for the work that you do for them. There are many freelance options to consider. 

Graphic design is a perfect job to do from home if you have the experience and tools. One of the biggest challenges these freelancers face is to keep finding new projects. It is one thing to take on a project and do an excellent job, but you cannot rely on word of mouth to keep the clients rolling in. While there is no shortage of online opportunities, deciding on the best sites without wasting too much precious work time can be stressful. This list of the ten preferred online sites for freelance graphic designers will enable you to spend less time searching for work and more time completing orders.

Interior design is another great freelance opportunity. While bigger companies with huge orders will require an agency with various specialists, such as architects and contractors, to complete their projects, individual homeowners and small businesses tend to prefer working with a freelancer as they feel they get a more personalized service, direct contact with their designer, and faster completion times. There are few barriers to entry if you have the skills for interior design.

Preparing Your House for Working as a Freelancer from Home

Regardless of what type of freelance work you do from home, there are certain commonalities in your requirements for an office. You will need a desk and a computer for performing online searches, sending invoices, submitting quotations, and email correspondence. Make sure that your desktop or laptop has all the functionality needed for your projects. For example, a graphic designer will need special software to carry out most jobs and the PC must have sufficient power to run the programs you need.

The amount of time you spend sitting at your desk will vary according to the type of work that you do. Nevertheless, it is worth investing in a swivel chair with good back support. You cannot afford downtime when you have deadlines, regardless of a pulled muscle or another injury. 

It is essential to have a proper filing system for doing your income tax reports, and keeping track of bank transactions, client files, and work portfolios. 

Make sure your office has enough natural lighting and ergonomically designed lights so that you do not strain your eyes and can perform your tasks accurately. Lightly painted walls may be better if you are working a lot with color and tone. You may need soundproofing if you are not alone at home while working to prevent being distracted. 

Ensure that you have sufficient electrical outlets conveniently located for your PC, phone charger, fridge, etc. Yes, you will need a fridge as you cannot leave your office every time you want something to drink. It is important to stay hydrated, even if you retire to the kitchen for meals or snacks at set intervals.

Pros and Cons of Using Your Home for Work

There are some downsides to working from home. You will need to find the work instead of being allocated tasks and relying on a fixed salary. You may need to hire a tax consultant unless you are one of those rare people who don’t find taxes confusing. It will cost you to redesign your space and obtain equipment.

However, working from home allows you to set your own hours and have total control over the projects you accept. It is a more pleasant environment than working at a corporate office and you can bypass all the office politics. A big bonus is that you avoid the daily commute. If your home lends itself to a day-care center, fostering children or tending to the elderly, you will reap many rewards from being at the forefront of helping others.