Towards Localisation: Work Opportunities From Home
By Anthea Hudson
A focus on localisation- carrying out much of our lives within our local area- is sure to be a large part of the future for many people. Our work life is one area in which we can re-localise and make large savings in both money and our ecological footprint. Long commutes will not be practical because of the cost of fuel to do so. The less we have to travel, the more benefit for us and the planet, and work related travel is often a significant part of a household's travel miles.
Many people may choose to try to find employment in local businesses, while as others may be able to make arrangements with their current employer to work from home and "telecommute" for much of their time, or simply carry out their jobs from home, reporting in to a central location only when needed.
Others may decide they would like to create their own businesses which can be operated out of their home, either completely, or at least as a base to service your local area, preferably.
Working from home on your own business does take a certain amount of motivation, commitment and get-up-and-go attitude, or it is easy to get side tracked or procrastinate. You also need to be the type of person who doesn't need constant company of other people (other than any family members) and someone who can follow through on what needs to be done, without orders or reminders from someone else.
Think about what there is a lack of in your local community... what might become important to be available locally in the future. How can you create a mutually beneficial service for your community? And what might not be good future-proof type situations, and therefore best avoided. For example, it might not be a sound plan to start a business which heavily relies on petro-chemicals, when they are going to become increasingly more expensive, and in time, harder to get.
Make sure you familiarise yourself of any legal, zoning, tax, insurance, health regulations etc. before embarking on any venture.
There are many possibilities for a resourceful, motivated person, or family, to create an income from their home or within their local community, either as a main income, or supplementary. Naturally, your interests and skills need to be taken into account. Some may also require you to partake in additional study and gain qualifications. And of course, many require certain facilities and equipment, to carry out successfully.
The following are some ideas to get you thinking about what might be a good fit for you.
- Offer "green" parties or other events.
- Offer environmental themed activities for school groups, scouts, clubs, holiday programmes etc.
- Home maintenance, installation, retrofitting.
- Bike or vehicle repairer.
- Computer and other technology repairer. Software installation.
- Create a website and monetise it with advertising (Google Adsense, affiliates, direct advertising), or sell products online.
- Article writing, transcription, typing etc.
- Offer a consignment service where people can sell anything appropriate, that they no longer want.
- Hairdresser and other personal services.
- Workshops, courses or individual training in all kinds of things, especially skills that may be needed in the future. Permaculture, composting, vermiculture, sewing, knitting, weaving, cooking, food preservation, jam making, peak oil prep, woodworking, using tools, home maintenance, herbal medicine, yoga... the list is virtually endless!
- "Green" advisor- Help local people to create more eco-friendly homes and lifestyles, by going through their homes and gardens and advising how they can reduce their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment... and save money doing so!
- Counsellor- In times of hardship or change many people will feel overwhelmed with what is happening and fearful of what is to come. Personal acceptance and adjustment counselling, marriage and relationship counselling, personal growth and mentoring could all be possibilities.
- Business advisor, accountant, tax agent.
- Save other people from having to make journeys by offering an errand and delivery service.
- Offer transport to groups of people to local shops or other facilities to save individual trips e.g. senior citizens to shops or local seniors centre, taking children to school, mum's groups shopping etc. Taking and collecting animals to the vet or groomers.
- "Green" laundry services.
- "Green" house cleaning services.
- "Green" garden maintenance services.
- Dog walking, "green" dog bathing and grooming, obedience training, pet sitting.
- Child minding, elder minding.
- Sewing, dressmaking and repairs.
- Spin and sell hand-spun wool.
- Making jams, preserved foods, chocolates, baked goods etc.
- Making craft items, furniture, household items.
- Create beautiful handmade soft toys or wooden toys.
- Get into the business of giving- make gifts such as pot pourri, candles, soaps.
- Offer a personalised design service for things like business cards, brochures, wedding invitations and personal stationery.
- Creating environmentally friendly, natural fragrances, personal care products and cleaners.
- Grow fruits and vegetables to sell.
- Sell fresh or dried herbs, or living herb pots.
- Sell seeds or seedlings.
- Create and sell compost, potting mix or manures.
- Sell worms... and even home built worm farms.
- Keep chickens and sell their eggs.
- Sell beautiful, scented floral arrangements from your own garden.
- Hire out tools and other equipment, or even household items.
Working from home, or within walking distance, has more benefits than only the fuel use reduction.
With no or little travel time, families get more time to spend together. One, or both parents don't miss as many milestones in their children's lives, and can often work around special events and opportunities, so that they can take part.
Families can eat together, which not only probably provides far more nutritious meals than something grabbed from a snack bar or cafeteria, but saves money, packaging, and enables more relaxed eating, and time to connect and talk about what's happening in their lives.
Without long, often heavy peak hour commutes, or workplace politics, stress levels can be reduced.
Those who walk or cycle to work get exercise and the health benefits that come with that. Those that work at home have time available to make a decision to exercise if they choose, even if it's just a daily wander to the local park or shops.
Carrying out our lives locally tends to give more opportunities to get to know others who live and work in the area and help create community spirit. A strong, cohesive community is going to be very important to our resilience in times to come.
Localisation can make a tremendous difference to our personal lives, our community and the world at large. Play your part in making it happen... be it by working from home, or the many other aspects of creating a truly localised community.
For ideas on how you can help create a vibrant, resilient community, see our article
'Creating Community: What YOU Can Do'