Jobs can be difficult to find for moms. In many families, they are the primary caregiver for small children. When children are sick, they are generally the ones that take the day off and stay at home. They are the ones most likely to attend school shows and recitals and sports events and are the ones with significant gaps in their resumes where they have taken time away from working and employment to have babies and raise them in their formative years. This can make it much harder for many women to seek work, or least find work that covers the often prohibitive costs of daycare and give them some flexibility and leeway when it comes to their family.
It is not surprising that in recent years, more and more women have looked for ways that give them the flexibility and income that they need from a job by setting up their own small businesses and working from home. They set up micro-enterprises, offering a range of services and goods from handmade crafts, floristry, childcare, freelance writing and working in a consultancy capacity. If working for yourself and setting up to become your boss is an avenue that you think you may like to explore further, but you are not quite sure where to start, read on to find out a little more.
Start a blog
Blogging has exploded in popularity in recent years, particularly ‘mommy blogs’. It is a business idea that can be very slow to take off and monetize, but once you start getting paid work, it can be a lucrative option, and if nothing else, it can be a great hobby if you enjoy it but decide not to make money from it.
To start up a blog business, there is very little in the way of equipment and resources needed. Theoretically, all you need is a computer, an internet connection, some time and an idea. Most blog how-to guides will suggest that you have a niche in mind before you get started – money-making, food, travel or business, for example, but as long as it is something you can write indefinitely about, go for it. No niche is more money-making than another.
Become a consultant
It is more than probable that you have developed a broad set of skills throughout your life and career. As a consultant, you can provide other people and companies with the experience and advice in your field.
Do not get too hung up on your previous job titles, but think about how you can support and add value to your clients, making them more successful, their lives or businesses more practical and straightforward or cost-effective, and how the skills you have picked up in your previous careers and as a mom juggling many balls to solve problems. Once you have those answers in your mind, you will know where to focus your consultancy business.
Think about how you might expand your existing skills too. Over your career, you can start to build many different skills, but you’ll usually only really focus on a couple of them. Now could be the time to look at which skills are in demand and compare them with the foundational skills that you have. Are there opportunities to build on your current skills? Perhaps jumping back into education by studying for a graduate certificate in finance online will give you even more marketable skills. What sort of assistance are people looking for, and how might you develop your skills further to meet demand. Whether they want help with finances, marketing, life coaching, or technology, you can enhance your skills to deliver more.
One of the many advantages of this specific field of work is that you may have an established network system in the right sector that will give your new business a bit of a head start.
Take on virtual assistant work
The role of a virtual assistant, or a VA as they are commonly known, is very similar to that of a traditional personal assistant. It may involve tasks such as basic administration – the inputting of data, sending and replying to emails and so on, for other business owners but doing so from the comfort of your own home, coffee shop, co-working space or wherever it is that you choose to work from.
Freelancing is a superb option for moms who are thinking about working for themselves but want to do something other than advising people or helping them run their own business. There are plenty of different fields in which you can work on a freelance basis, which means that you can do a job that you love without the inflexibility and hassle that being a full-time, permanent member of staff entails. The sort of tasks that you could do as a freelance worker include social media management, photography, content writing, computer and software programming, graphic design, architect, interior design and many, many others.
Working freelance gives you the opportunity, instead of sticking to traditional business hours and routines, to work around your children or other commitments. Websites such as People Per Hour, Upwork and Fiverr are good job marketplaces to look if you are not sure where to start. On these sites, you can upload your portfolio and bid against other freelancers for projects. As well as that, you could also get in touch with people that you have worked with in the past and advertise your services on local community groups and social media.
You may have heard of the popular brand ‘Not On The High Street’, who connect sellers of unique products with buyers online. That was started by two moms working from home. Also, while not a mom, Sophie Amoruso launched the worldwide fashion phenomenon, Nasty Gal, from the comfort of her apartment, so global domination can absolutely be done while working from home!
The key is not starting too big, and having a niche market to tap into. Find a gap in the market for your products or services, market appropriately and build up a loyal customer base, and you are well on your way to success.
There are some things to take into consideration. For instance, are you going to build and sell from your own website or use third parties such as Etsy, Amazon or eBay? Will you keep your own stock or work on a drop-ship basis? Make sure you do your homework first, but many e-commerce companies thrive with minimal input after the initial setup.
Create bespoke products
You could turn your hand towards creating individual objects if you want something less focused on the e-commerce side of things and more arts and crafts. The vast demand for handmade items-be it apparel or jewelry, wedding products, invitations and printables and everything in between-is shown over online pages such as Etsy. By taking this path, you can not avoid e-commerce altogether, particularly when you want to sell from your website, but instead of connecting purchasers with sellers, your emphasis is on creating quality and unique items.
Monetize a hobby
If none of the above suggestions are jumping out at you as an idea for a stay at home business, perhaps you could think about monetizing a passion or a hobby. Is there a novel that you have always wanted to write, or maybe you are a skilled musician or artist and can teach others how to play an instrument or create a piece of art? Perhaps you are really good with children and can help out other moms by opening an at-home daycare center so they can go out to work, knowing their children are in safe hands.
These ideas may not make money quite as quickly, but there are lots of ways of turning a hobby or something that you enjoy into a business. You just need to find something that works for you and your family.
What do you need to start a business?
So, assuming you have picked one of the above choices. The first thing you will need to do is to put together a business plan. Without a business plan, you will have no direction in which to take your business can will find it much more difficult to plan for growth and to know whether you are successful. Remember, it can take a while for a business to turn a profit, so you need other targets to work towards to start with. Think about what you want from your business in the first year, the first five years and ten years.
You will need a business plan to help with the next thing: funding. All businesses cost money to set up – you need computers and other technology, a cell phone with a Pay as you go sim by SMARTY so your clients and customers can get in touch. If you didn’t have this sort of capital lying around to invest in your business, you might need to find external sources of funding. There are various ways of doing this, from bank loans and grants to angel investors, crowdfunding and peer to peer lending. However, you will need to show a solid business plan to be in with a chance of being accepted for any of these.
Life as a small business owner can be pretty hard work, particularly if you are still dealing with the everyday challenges and pressures os children, running a house and everything else. However, with dedication and delegation, you may find that starting up your own business from home not only gives you an income but the flexibility that you need. However, just like any other job, you need to make sure that it does not take over your life. Be organized, set boundaries and routines, work hard and smart, and you will soon begin to see the benefits.