Going back to work after my third delivery was the hardest for me. It was a premature one at 7 months, and it was touch and go for a while. We had to leave the baby at the hospital, and even after we’ve taken him home, we had to bring him back to ICU in his second month. A lot of complications, and I’ve been advised to personally take care of the baby for the first 2 years, at least.

So when I received a notice that I was getting a promotion to head office, it was like a physical blow. There we were, financially drained from the complicated pregnancy and subsequent delivery, and I was being moved from my comfort zone. I was really not being given much of a choice. My provincial assignment was being made redundant, and they were giving me a new position with a wider scope, bigger responsibility, and greater challenges. Another time, I would have grabbed the opportunity with both hands and jumped in with both feet. But with the new baby, there was no way I could even consider it.

So I asked to be given redundancy pay instead. I was thinking, “We’ll survive with the money while I look for work nearer our place.” That’s when I started pouring myself into internet searches. I wanted to look for something that I can do from home. I found a lot of WAHM sites that really inspired me to go ahead and not look back.  I found that medical transcription was hot. So I went around the city looking for schools or training centers that offer flexible hours. I found one that I could attend on weekends. And for a few months, I trained to become a medical transcriptionist.

The internet is a rich source of ideas and opportunities. I spent hours upon hours searching for work-at-home transcription jobs. Fortunately, it didn’t take me long. I landed a sub-contract with a US based production company, and another with a small business in Canada. So when I left my job in May 15, 2006, I was ready. I started my first project on May 29.

For those of you who are thinking of working from home, it’s important that you prepare yourself. With me, I did a lot of research, and I took every information I gathered seriously. It surprised me to learn how much it cost me to work. I’ve never given that a thought, ’til then.

While I was earning a 5-figure income monthly, a big chunk of that actually goes back to expenses that allows me to work. For me to be able to go to work, I had to pay a live-in househelp (I actually had two), which means I pay them monthly salaries, plus 13th-month pay and annual bonus, and I pay extra for water, electricity, and food. Also, I had to maintain a wardrobe for the office, plus shoes, bags, and lunches out. It was a good thing that I had a service vehicle provided by the company, but for those who have none, transportation expense would take a big chunk of takehome pay. Not to mention the guilt treats. You know, those toys that you buy to make up for the time that you missed your child’s first tummy turn, or first step, or whatever. And since you are busy with office work, and more often than not too tired to pay attention to the prices of things that you buy, you tend to spend more on your haste. And the small repairs around the house that you could actually do yourself, but because you are working, you pay someone else to do.

And so I did my own computation. From my net take-home pay (after taxes), I deducted all the expenses that I could make do without once I started working from home. And the amount I came up with became my target income for my work-at-home job.