Upon my full-time return home, I'm going to need a job of some sort. We simply don't have enough passive income to survive and have a $40k renovation project underway. I'll likely take a few months off between gigs, but have started the mental exercise of what I can do to make money.
Flexibility is key. I don't want a commute longer than 15 minutes by bike. This leaves telecommuting, local businesses, and starting my own company. I'm not sure what this business would do, but I'm sure it would be fun. All three choices here have positives and negatives. Let's explore a bit below.
This would probably be the only way to keep my current job, which I like. There are other positions out there that allow telecommuting too, so this is an option worth exploring. The benefits are working from home (allowing me to have professionals come during the day without taking time off), not having to get dressed (I love pajamas), and being able to see my future kids off to/from school. The negatives are little social interaction, distractions around the house, and still working for somebody else.
There really aren't businesses in my hometown that do what I do currently (and what I trained to do, earning a very specialized Masters degree). Basically, I'd have to become less specialized or change careers. I'm more open to changing careers than the less specialized route. The leading contender right now is running the student-consulting class/department of our local university. This gives students a chance to act as consultants to real companies on real projects. I'd get to stay in the business world, build my network, and have new challenges each semester. Plus, having summers off would be great!
Starting a Business:
Starting a business would be my favored route. The most obvious business is a professional money manager, but I'd need to raise $5-10 million to make enough money at a 1% fee to match other opportunities (call it $50k/year). I think 1% is a bit rich, so charging 0.5% would need $10 million or more to get $50k of income. Alternatively, I could be a general handyman - work might be sporadic, but definitely flexible. I could build a few stone retaining walls (like in gardens) each summer as an anchor for my income needs. I built one for my parents a few years ago after the pros wanted to charge $7,000. We ended up spending $700 on supplies. I figure I could charge $3-5 thousand to build walls for others.
I'll probably end up trying to telecommute for my current job, if allowable. The next choice would be to work for the university and try to build some sort of business in the summer (probably stone walls). As a last resort, I'd try to build a money management business while having the general handyman/stone wall building business to keep me afloat in the near-term. In any case, I have no doubt things will work out for the best. Life is about challenges and being back home will allow me to be surrounded by family in the good and bad times that lie ahead.