With the cost of childcare far outpacing the average family’s wages, more and more families choose to have one parent stay home with the kids. Even once kids are in school, it may make more sense for one parent to stay home and manage activities, meetings with teachers, sick days, and family appointments.
But many stay-at-home parents miss working or want to contribute financially as well as administratively to the family. Starting a business as a stay-at-home parent – especially one that takes less than $1000 to get off the ground – can provide the necessary balance. Ignoring the financial aspects and diving headfirst without a solid business plan is a bad way to start a business, and it can lead to unnecessary stress when balancing family and work responsibilities. These business ideas will get you started.
Have a talent or skill that is useful and marketable? Sell it online. From writing to graphic design, freelancers generally don’t need more than a laptop and a lot of hustle to find clients to start out.
Many freelance jobs offer a great deal of flexibility, letting you work when the kids are at practice, while they’re doing their homework, or after they’ve gone to bed.
Do you have specialized knowledge in an area? Offer your skills as a consultant in that area. Consultants can be useful at every level, from businesses looking to redesign an office to schools looking to make their classrooms more inclusive and accessible to someone looking to revamp their personal fashion. Print up some business cards and get ready to go.
From students who are managing learning disabilities to kids who need a little extra help to get the grades they need in school, tutoring can be a great way to get some extra income and to keep engaged in an educational field.
You can post flyers at the local high school or university, but there are also online programs that connect tutors and students. Math and sciences are always in particular demand.
4. Online Reselling
Have a knack for fixing up broken items, finding treasures at yard sales, or guessing which items is about suddenly in huge demand? Online reselling can be a great way to make a little extra cash. Websites like eBay can make reselling easy as you build a great reputation, but you can also start up a small repair business if you’re good at this type of work. Keep it small or start buying lots of items to sell.
5. Child Care
If you already have one child at home, consider watching another. Daycares are expensive, and many people look for in-home care in informal settings to make ends meet. Check local regulations, however; the number of children you’re watching can turn you into a daycare, which often needs to meet more stringent state guidelines to operate.
6. Arts and Crafts Businesses
If you’re a skilled painter, exceptional designer, or the seamstress everyone goes to, running an arts and crafts business, either on Etsy or selling through local boutiques, can be a great way to bring in some extra cash. When determining how much to charge for your items, make sure to factor in your labor; arts items are often sold at prices that do not reflect the amount of work that went into them.
7. Herbs and Flower Gardening
These days it seems like everyone is making artisan soaps, hand crafted tea blends, or boutique perfumes. Breaking into any of these markets can be hard; what can be easier is finding a way to supply these home businesses with the flowers and herbs they need to operate.
Approach a local company first with evidence of your green thumb and find out what they need before you invest much in growing. Alternatively, partner with someone who sells these items at a local farmer’s market and sees if you can bring products to sell directly to customers there.
8. Virtual Assistant
If you have a little more time on your hands and are already incredibly organized, being a virtual assistant can be a great way to make a little extra money. Virtual assistants fill the same basic role as an assistant in an office setting; they might schedule meetings, handle phone calls, book tickets or hotel rooms, transcribe notes, and more.
Do it all from the comfort of their homes and without the restrictive dress code. Some VA jobs are flexible about when work is done; others require certain work hours. Many agencies exist that connect VAs with clients.
For many stay-at-home parents, being the parent at home can feel isolating; for those who are career-driven, needing to step out of a work environment can be frustrating and uncomfortable. But being a stay-at-home parent doesn’t have to mean that your work career is over. Building your own business can be incredibly satisfying and rewarding. Learning marketing and branding can be a game-changer for stay-at-home parents, as it equips you with the skills to effectively promote your freelancing, consulting, or tutoring services, thereby increasing your visibility and income