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7 Inspiring Home Business Ideas for Stay-at-Home Moms (or Dads)

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7 Inspiring Home Business Ideas for Stay-at-Home Moms (or Dads)

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: May 9, 2013 Updated: September 9, 2013

Home businessAre you a stay-at-home mom (or dad)? Hoping to kick start an entrepreneurial dream or simply looking to bring in some extra income?

Starting a home-based business is a great way to do this. In fact, 52 percent of U.S. companies operate as home businesses (source) and many of today’s biggest brand names were established by stay-at-home moms – (Dorothy) Gerber, Mrs. (Debbi) Fields, and Julie Aigner-Clark (Baby Einstein), to name but a few. But what types of businesses can grow and thrive in the home environment?

Here are some business ideas and considerations for stay-at-home moms!

Freelancing

Perhaps the easiest form of business to delve into and operate is freelancing. Whatever your skill – writing, web design, marketing, tax advisor, or photography – freelancing affords an enormous amount of flexibility and freedom, and can be started with little cost or paperwork. Many freelancers get their start by approaching a former employer or customer who could benefit from their services, then branch out as their body of work and reputation grows.

Freelancing does have its challenges and requires discipline – you are running a business after all. Common mistakes freelancers make include not setting the business up properly and legally (getting the right permits, or licenses), forgetting to put money aside to pay estimated taxes, and not planning for peaks and valleys in cash flow.  

Check out these blogs for tips and guidance to help you through the process of starting and operating your freelance business:

Become a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants (VAs) provide a wide variety of “virtual” services to other businesses including administrative, marketing and technical support from a home office. My local window cleaner, for example, uses a VA to answer his calls and manage his calendar while he’s busy on-site. VAs are growing in popularity, too, as firms look to cut costs and outsource administrative functions. If you are organized and have an administrative background, this might be for you. Start with your own connections or take advantage of the services of a VA organization or association who can help you get started and connect you with clients.

Make Money from Blogging

Yes, you can make money by blogging. I follow several stay-at-home moms who happen to be fashion and style bloggers – and it’s their business. If you can write and have a passion for a specific topic or hobby that you know will garner some attention, then this might be for you. Income generation opportunities can come in the form of affiliate marketing and advertising on your website or from companies who ask you to review and blog about their products. Look for ways to get traffic to your website through social media, search engine optimization and by getting involved in the wider blogosphere (networking with and commenting on the blogs of others in your niche).

Start a Creative Business

Whether it’s making gift baskets or offering interior design consultation services, if you have a creative streak and the room to store and create, then why not consider making money out of your talents? Get to know the market and do some planning to identify an untapped niche. SBA has several tools that can help including the Build your Business Plan tool and SizeUp a market and business analysis tool that lets you benchmark your business against competitors, map your customers, competitors and suppliers, and locate the best places to advertise.

Start a Home-Based Bakery or Food Business

Food production from a home is heavily regulated but it’s not impossible. Take Martha Stewart, for example—she famously entered the food service business with a basement-based catering company in 1976. Before you start a home-based food business you will need to understand the rules and regulations that govern the production of food for public consumption in an at-home environment. For example do you need a separate kitchen? What about product labeling? And so on. For tips and insight, read: Starting a Home-Based Food Production Business: Making Your Culinary Hobby Your Job.

Child Day Care

Home childcare businesses offer a potentially lucrative and long-lasting business opportunity. A home environment is often appealing to parents and once their kids are settled (and assuming you are doing a great job), then it’s likely you’ll have that business until they are old enough not to need care.

Of course, this is another regulated business and you’ll need to ensure you comply with state and local regulations that govern issues such as the provision of meals, minimum space requirements per child, and the number of licensed care workers per child. For information on starting a child care business including financing options, licensing requirements, and other regulatory matters read: Starting a Child Care Business? Government Tools and Resources that Can Help.

Start an Online Marketplace Store

If you have clutter that you want to get rid of and like the idea of selling products to an established worldwide network of consumers, consider starting a business on eBay, Etsy or Amazon. You can source products to sell from junk/yard sales or charity shops. If you want to get a bit more sophisticated, then consider buying wholesale or adopting a drop-shipping model. The goal is to find products that are in high-demand and not readily available from other sources. Read more about getting started here: More Than Just a Seller – How to Start a Business on an Online Marketplace.

More Ideas

Other business ideas including a dog walking/pet care business, a travel agent, start a home-based franchise business, event planning, architectural design, or tutoring students!

Whatever your idea make sure you start, structure and operate your business according to legal and regulatory requirements. Check out SBA’s 10 Steps to Starting your Business for the facts.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Great ideas you have there Caron. I have always wanted to work at home so that I can personally render quality time with my son and as well as earn to help with the daily needs. Being a freelance copywriter gave me that opportunity when i decided to search and eventually gained clients from sites like Odesk and Staff.com. I believe every parent deserves this chance to be working from home and be able to balance their careers and personal life at the same time.
Good Morning Caron, You have some GREAT ideas!! I have always been interested in starting a home based business but never found the courage to take the leap!! I do believe you have to be very self-motivated and disciplined to make a home based business successful.....If you are then I believe a home based business can thrive!!
Good going Caron,your article can be really helpful for those who are looking for work from home ideas and by going through your article I guess they may switch too some great ideas.
These are all great ideas but it takes a lot of commitment to work from home, you really have to be self-motivated. And it's hard when Duck Dynasty is on TV.
I saw freelancing and blogging is a good idea. Blogging does not take too much time for you. Every day you just need to write ten articles or article twenty-range okay also. You just lost the only building at first and I also create my own blog. What about the freedom to do, you will do all of my time, but I can see it active also under pressure.
I know more than a few people who make enough to pay the mortgage or the monthly grocery bill by going to yard sales and thrift shops then reselling on eBay. FYI, PayPal will issue a 1099 for annual sales over $20,000 so keep track of your expenses. You might get "lucky" and have to pay taxes.
I think blogging is the best way. It's easy to monetize with Google adsense . I would choose blogging if don't yet have.
Blogging is full time job if you want to make money with it, people often think that's its easy money, its not. You need to work very hard to start to get some result, most of the people just think in 1 month they can make money, even expert don't. Start by reading on the web you will see...
I have attended every BlogWorld Conference (now New Media Expo) since the beginning and the conversation continues, "How do I monetize my blog?" Except for link farms, which are as ethical as pyramid schemes, there is no easy way.
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