Connecting Moms with Jobs

Connecting Moms with Jobs

New online service designed to help stay-at-home moms find work.

When Kelly McLaughlan decided she wanted to get back into the work force she tried a lot of different things, but nothing seemed to be the proper fit. With four kids, the South Riding resident wanted to find something she could do at home that would still allow her to use the skills she acquired while in the outside work force, including her 10 years as a consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers.

"There are a lot of things you can do at home, but some of them require you to be on the phone all day," she said. "It’s hard to find something that fits your lifestyle."

McLaughlan eventually went back to her roots in technology, working in Internet technology, and now she wants to help mothers who are in the same position she was.

To do that, she and her husband, Ted McLaughlan, launched The Mom-Force two weeks ago. The Mom-Force is an "information exchange," Kelly McLaughlan said, to help match ex-professional, work-at-home mothers with local businesses.

"I’ve been down that path," Kelly McLaughlan said. "I know what it’s like to attempt a lot of different things without finding something that works."

THE MOM-FORCE hopes to be a vehicle for those moms who are interested in working, but not actually going back into the office. Kelly McLaughlan said she has observed many of her friends and neighbors struggle with finding something that is right for them.

"I was looking at moms in the neighborhood contemplating going back to work, but who are wondering how to do it," she said. "Once you’ve been home for a while it can be very difficult for people to transition back into a real 9 to 5. This is really a mechanism to enable people to go out and get a job without having to disrupt their home life."

The McLaughlans run Dulles South Online, which has helped them establish ties with the local businesses. Ted McLaughlan said it is those relationships that will help the couple make connections for the women who use The Mom-Force.

"We’ve developed relationships with the businesses," he said. "Now, we can turn around and offer these profiles of people who might be able to help them."

WHEN A WOMAN contacts The Mom-Force, they will discuss their backgrounds and work interests with the McLaughlans in order to create a work profile that businesses can use to find potential workers. Those profiles will be online on The Mom-Force Web site.

"We want to make it very easy for businesses who are searching for these sort of employees to find these women," Ted McLaughlan said.

Ted and Kelly McLaughlan said they plan to use Internet marketing to promote the women on The Mom-Force and their resumes online.

"Hopefully, if we’ve done our job right, several profiles should pop up when a business searches the Internet," Ted McLaughlan said.

All of the profiles would be anonymous and all contact between the women and the businesses would initially go through The Mom-Force in order to preserve the privacy of the users and to ensure all job offers a legitimate.

"We would be a little bit of a proxy," Ted McLaughlan said.

SINCE THE Mom-Force is so new, the McLaughlans are not limiting the types of businesses they will work with, but Kelly McLaughlan said there are a lot of businesses that would lend themselves to work-from-home employees, such as computer work, bookkeeping, accounting and Internet marketing.

"For example, if you were a teacher, you could tutor from your home," Kelly McLaughlan said.

The most important part of finding a job to do at home, Kelly McLaughlan said, is to find what fits each individual’s lifestyle.

"Some people do want to leave the house during the day," she said. "Others want something that they can do at 3 a.m. if necessary. Fitting the person’s lifestyle is a huge component. That’s something that in my journey it’s taken a while to get right."

IN THE TWO weeks since The Mom-Force’s launch, the McLaughlans have been selling their e-book, which explains the decisions, initiative and methods required for ex-professional moms to perform outsourced business functions from home while maintaining the flexibility and time required to raise and educate their children.

"It’s an article about the 10 things to consider when you decide to go back to work," Kelly McLaughlan said.

So far, the couple said, the response has been very positive.

"We’ve gotten a lot of interest," Ted McLaughlan said. "The books are selling."

The response to the e-book has made Kelly McLaughlan positive about the future and success of The Mom-Force.

"There is a definite need for it," she said. "There are so many people who are looking to work remotely."