At home and making money online
Posted Saturday, September 22 2012 at 01:00
- Young, educated and married women are leaving formal employment to rear their children and still earn tidy sums of money from the comfort of their sitting rooms. Billy Muiruri talks to three such women
The need to bring the bacon home and the lack of well-paying, stable jobs, as well as the responsibility of bringing up a young family, are perhaps some of the greatest challenges today’s urban woman faces.
More women are refusing to be slaves to jobs they do not like or enjoy, or that pay them at the expense of time spent with family and friends, and are looking for a work-life balance that works.
Working at home is becoming an option for more women; those who are lucky enough to have employers who let them work flexi-hours do so, but many more are quitting employment to start lucrative online ventures.
Online business or service provision is the in-thing in various industries, as the flexibility is greatly appealing; online businesses can be ran from anywhere, at any time of day or night, and do not often require too much in terms of investment in premises and staff.
Critically, they allow young mothers to spend time with family, and young women to spend their time doing what they enjoy.
The women Saturday Magazine spoke to this week dared to plunge into the unknown, financially speaking – and are now happy to be where they are.
All of them are making enough money to cater for their bills and family investments without having to step out of the house.
Njeri Mureithi, 36
Working at the Australian Embassy in Nairobi for nine years was not giving Njeri the satisfaction she so craved. But while there, she earned skills and contacts that have made her online business, www.readconsultant.co.ke, a business that can sustain her lifestyle.
Njeri offers advice on immigration matters for Australia and student recruitment for the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Canada and India. She works closely with people interested in living and working in these countries as skilled workers, and those wanting to study abroad.
The English and literature-trained graduate teacher operates from the “balcony of my house” in Kilimani, Nairobi. Sometimes, she changes the setting and uses her husband’s small office at Apple Wood Office Park.
It is now one and a half years since she quit her job and her monthly income is never less Sh140 000. 90 per cent of her work is internet-based, with most clients being referrals either by email, social media or telephone (including applications on WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger to keep in touch across borders for cheap).
The mother of three happily makes her six-digit income minus the fears she had before quitting her well-paying job.
“I was (afraid I might) fail as a parent because I would spend many hours in the office, including some weekends. I got fed up depending on a salary and never having a chance to go back to school without compromising the family,” says Njeri.
Although Njeri feels she is yet to learn “everything about time management,” she feels she will never lose focus on the reason she left a formal job, which was being there for the family. Every day, she says, she must pause and say, “I did my best for my family today.”
She is satisfied that since she quit, her relationship with her husband, a lawyer, is even warmer. “Quarrels come when one party feels unattended to. A rigorous job is not conducive to serving your spouse better,” she says.
Her husband supplements the bills, lessening her worries about where the daily bread will come from. In addition, to broaden her financial base, Njeri runs a greenhouse farm on leased land in Karen where she grows groceries.
“I have tomatoes, kales and other greens which I farm. So not only is my family very healthy, but I also get a bit of money from my sales to local homes and restaurants,” she says.