I was first introduced to business by a Mary Kay consultant. She presented the opportunity to me and I jumped on it. I loved teaching skin care classes and hanging out with other women.
After a couple of years, though, I became more interested in natural living and left that business.
But I had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and wanted to have another business, one that I was passionate about and made a positive difference. And as I’ve talked to other moms, I’ve found that I’m not alone.
Lots of moms want to make money from home, whether it’s to help with bills, have a little fun money or have a creative outlet that brings in some income.
Thankfully, there are lots of creative ways to make money at home. Here’s a look at how I make money from home as well as some important questions you need to answer before getting started.
One great way to make money at home is by freelancing. You can do this with writing skills, graphic design and even administrative skills.
I’ve done freelance writing for some of my favorite websites. I did so by starting this blog and building relationships with other bloggers (because I wanted to be friends with them, not just because I wanted something from them). Starting your own blog is a great way to showcase your talents. And remember, relationships are so important in business.
You can also check out Elance or oDesk. These are websites where people come and post job descriptions. You can peruse jobs and submit proposals on ones that interest you. (Here’s a good how-to for submitting proposals).
My only concern with these sites is you have to search a bit to find jobs that pay well. Many postings are simple, lower-paying jobs. These jobs can add up quickly, though, boost your confidence and portfolio and increase the chance of referrals.
Do you love creating beautiful, useful gifts for people? You could start a craft business. Lots of crafty mamas bring in extra income by selling their creations.
Etsy isn’t the only place to sell your crafted items. I’ve moved my own online shop to Shopify because I like being able to customize the look even more.
Local places like bazaars, Saturday markets, or local shops are also great places to show the world what you have to offer.
You don’t have to stop at selling one item at a time, either. Finding wholesale opportunities – where you sell larger quantities of items to merchants at a discount – increases your earning potential.
Chances are, if you enjoy sharing what you learn with others, you have something you can teach people.
And don’t think you have to be the world’s leading expert on the subject either. You’ve learned plenty of teachable information through reading and personal experience.
So if you can teach busy moms how to save time in the kitchen or cut their grocery budget in half, do it! Not only will you get some lovely adult interaction, you’ll be helping others improve their lives.
Now where do you teach people your awesome skills? If you want to teach them in person, you can do it at your house or a friend’s house. Or you can find a business that has space and ask if you can use it. Lots of businesses will jump at the chance of getting more traffic in their doors.
You can also teach online via a teleseminar. It’s simple and there are many free services like Free Conference Calling. Sign up and they’ll give you a personal conference phone number and access code to share with people.
You’ll just need to set a date, create and send out a Facebook event or use Eventbrite and let attendees know the access info. You can even record it for later.
In this situation, I consider franchising signing up for another company’s business opportunity.
Product sales are one way to make money, but the most income potential comes from building a team of people who also love the product. For instance, I made a good amount of money from selling Mary Kay products.
But when I started building a team (mostly from friends who loved the products and wanted some tax breaks), I started making more. I received a commission on sales my team members made. And it came directly from the company, not from them.
The same is true with many other direct marketing companies.
If this is something you’re interested in, do some research. What products do you use on a normal basis? Do those companies offer an “opportunity?” Is there a similar company that does? Is it in line with your values?
For example, I’m currently building my own essential oil tribe (this is where most of my income comes from now). I chose to do this because:
- Sharing the products involves teaching others how to use natural methods to take care of themselves and their families.
- I love sharing the best essential oils I’ve ever used and I get a good discount.
- It fits so well with my mission of sharing natural wellness.
This isn’t a ploy to persuade you to join my tribe, but a reminder to find a company that’s in line with your values. Don’t be swayed by promises of 5 figures a month – it’ll be difficult to sell anything if you don’t believe in the company.
If you have amazing photography skills, can make a house sparkle using “green” cleaning supplies or enjoy helping others simplify and organize, you could have a service-based business.
The beauty of this is you get to set the hours when you work and you decide who you’re going to work with.
Another service-based business that’s gaining popularity is coaching. It’s similar to teaching, but involves a personalized plan to help clients meet their goals. This can be done one-on-one or in a group setting.
Coaching is something to consider if people continually seek you out for your advice and you enjoy helping people reach their potential. Coaches work in all sorts of arenas – nutrition, fitness, business, financial, life, etc.
How do you choose?
The first thing to think about is what you love to do. What excites you? What could you do for hours? What are you good at? Choose something that incorporates all of those components.
If you don’t know what you’re good at, think about this: what do people ask you about all the time? I get asked a lot about nutrition and herbs, which is why I’ve begun teaching classes about them.
Do people always ask about how you make something or comment on how beautifully decorated your home is? Go with that. People ask because they want to learn more.
Sometimes, the hardest part is deciding what to do. If you’re anything like me, you suffer from analysis paralysis – over-thinking yourself into inaction. Just remember that you don’t have to do this forever.
If you try something and don’t enjoy it, learn from it and choose something else.
How much does it take to start?
This is a major obstacle that holds people back. Thankfully, many small businesses can be started for less than $100. Thank you internet.
The costs depend on what you choose to do. But you usually need the following:
- Supplies – for crafting, the office, etc.
- Website – hosting, domain name, etsy fees
- Resources – courses, coaching
So if you want to do some “green” housekeeping, you’ll need supplies and possibly money for flyers and a website. Incidentally, starting a website for your biz is super simple thanks to WordPress. (Pat Flynn has even created a great video to get you online in 4 minutes).
When do you work?
As the mom of four small kids, I know that carving out time can be a bit of a challenge. But it’s possible. If creating some income from home is something you’re serious about, you must allocate time each week to working on it.
Wake up early, work after the kids are in bed, institute a “quiet time” or get away to work on your business. When Ian’s home, he hangs out with the kids while I work in our office or head to a coffee shop.
Otherwise I work in spurts while the kids are coloring or playing outside.
The key is to focus and do the work instead of reading every single update status on Facebook. You can create income from home in far less time by resisting those distractions.
What’s the greater purpose?
I know businesses are supposed to make money, but making money for money’s sake isn’t enough. If there’s a mission behind your endeavor, you’re less likely to give up or make excuses about why you didn’t try hard.
Having a reason bigger than yourself, whether it’s ending poverty or being able to create amazing experiences for your kids, provides great motivation.
If making money at home is something you’re interested in, my advice is to decide what it is you want to do and get started. It’s so easy to say “someday,” but usually someday never comes.