Being at home with the kids has its ups and down, but mostly I enjoy being with the kids. I wanted to be the one who raised them, I didn’t want someone else taking care of them, seeing their firsts, or teaching them the things I wanted to teach them. It is not without sacrifice, though. I quit my job to stay at home, causing us to lose my entire income. Although that money was earmarked for many things, it was my source for all my equine activities. It purchased my horses, fed them, took care of them, and got me all the accessories I wanted for them.
I am a saver, always have been, and I had a lot of savings when I quit, so for a long time I just used that to pay their expenses. But that meant I was losing my savings and it would run out eventually. I feel like many people greatly overlook this simple money fact: You might start with a large amount of money, but if you spend it, you have no money. Sounds simple, yet seems to confuse so many people.
When I am bringing in no income, paying for my luxury animals suddenly seems over the top. Regardless of how much my spouse makes, how can I justify spending so much on my horses when I’m not bringing in any money? Before anyone says I’m owed it for the “job” of being a stay at home mom, my husband helps out a lot. Not only does he work, he also takes care of the kids when he can, cleans and cooks. This is not a one sided arrangement.
My goal was to pay for my own hobbies. (Finding the time to actually do them is a completely different thing, but we’re not going there today.) I needed to pay to keep my horses, and I made it happen. Since I see this question come up a lot in my mom facebook groups, I wanted to share some of my ideas of how other moms could do it, too. The difficulties that we moms are working around a bit unique, and to me, that means there’s really only one logical solution.
Run our own businesses.
That is it, that is the only way we can do this.
If you were looking for something simple and easy, the solution to that is to just get a normal job. It is challenging to run your own business, and if you’re not looking for that, the simple solution is just to be employed by someone else. But you will never have the freedom, financial possibilities or opportunity that you can have if you run your own business.
You do need to get creative and continually seek to improve, but in exchange you work your own hours, pay for your horse(s) and spend time with your kids. I’ve been doing it the last 2 years with my three kids. If this is something you are interested in, I want to present some possible ideas to you to think about, and help you figure out what you could do to make it happen.
I would also like to point out that any MLM type thing is not a business. Do not do any MLM, the customer is not whoever you are selling junk to, it is you. You are the customer. Those things exist to sell to YOU, so you will never actually make enough money to sustain yourself. For the effort you would put into that, you could put an equal amount into your own actual business, and be successful. You can do so much better than that.
All of these things require effort. There is no get rich quick scheme. This is about setting up an actual working business that you can run part time while taking care of your family. It means seriously researching before starting up, determining the market, and educating yourself on what it actually takes. It means being a self starter and using your motivation of having the life you want to drive yourself. It can be intimidating and scary, but know that as you conquer the start up and figure out your processes, it gets easier.
One last note before we go deeper – This may feel overwhelming at first. It’s huge, and it should be treated that way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You definitely can. Anything that sounds scary or intimidating, type it into the YouTube search. There’s an incredible amount of information, presented in friendly formats, and it’s all FREE. Look it up, and fall into that rabbit hole of information.
Service Vs Product
As stay at home mom’s, most of our time is going to be spent with the kids. During their waking hours, it’s almost impossible to do anything else. The kinds of businesses that are going to work for us are ones where the majority of the work is done at our own homes, so we can work while we watch the kids, or while the kids are sleeping, or those rare occasions when they are playing on their own. That means limited hours, and not being able to spend a lot of time meeting with clients. When I think about what kind of business a stay at home mom could run, I have two main ideas, providing a service or selling a product.
Service based businesses are usually tasks for other people/businesses. Some examples are doing someone’s social media marketing, dog grooming, horse massage, etc. The deliverable is the task being completed..
For product based businesses, you create something and then try to sell it. For example, if you’re a knitter, you might knit a hat and sell it on Esty.
What you choose should depend on your interests and strengths. You will have more interaction with customers in a service based business. With a service, you may need to be more flexible in when you can be available to your customer. If they need something, you may need some kind of backup childcare so you can be available for them. Products might be time consuming to make and/or costly to have in stock. It just depends what you think will work for you.
With both of these, the idea is to solve a problem for your customer. You might love knitting hats, but if you’re trying to sell winter hats to people in Florida, it’s not going to work. You need to do research and decide if what you could provide will help someone. Someone that will obviously help (ex. bookkeeping for businesses) will be easier to sell than something you might need to convince businesses they need (ex. social media marketing for businesses). This isn’t to say you won’t be able to do it, just that you’re going to need to be prepared to market yourself more depending on how in demand your product/service is. Keep in mind that people often don’t realize they need or want something until you convince them that they want it. It’s unlikely that a product is going to just “sell itself.” You will need to show people why they need your product/service through your marketing efforts.
Services may be easier to get started than having a product, as you can usually just start without purchasing anything. You just help people who need help. If you don’t have a lot of experience in doing something (or even no experience) offer to do something free to start, and then when you can prove yourself, you can advertise your experience to other clients.
Not sure what to offer? Here’s my thought process:
I start out with thinking of my general interests. Lets start with a basic one, horses. I assume most of you are here because you love horses, but if not, just use your imagination. So, we love horses, and we go to the barn to ride. You notice your barn doesn’t have a whole lot of people there for lessons, so you could offer to do some advertising. You could create posts for social media, local Facebook groups, etc. Figure out how to bring more business to that business. Obviously you have to do the best you possibly can, so if you don’t already know how to do it, you need to research it. Use that experience to promote your new marketing business to other businesses.
You could also try services in the digital space. It might be hard to meet up with clients due to the kid’s schedule, but if you could provide fitness training online, do it. Create routines, meal plans and motivation on a digital platform and charge a monthly fee.
If you know some kind of skill, ex. knitting, create a digital class for something like Skill Share.
If you can groom dogs, have clients bring the dogs to your house, groom while the kids play.
If you’re already watching your kid, could you watch several other kids, too? Start an at-home daycare.
Think of whatever you are interested in, and good at, or at least don’t mind doing, and then figure out how to deliver it. Can it be delivered virtually, or while you’re watching the kids, or does it need to be something you do while your spouse watches them?
Don’t immediately dismiss something because you aren’t good at it. As long as you have some kind of interest in it, you can learn just about anything.
Here are some other ideas I have thought of, seen others do, or are just businesses I think have potential.
- Digital assistant
- Wedding Planner
- Meal planner
- Virtual horse show organizer
- Makeup Artist
Products may be more flexible than a service as you can create them on your own time instead of the clients. Once created they could be sold online or in person. The startup cost could be more, depending on the supplies you need to get started. But selling products usually means virtually no time meeting with clients, so perfect for hermits or wannabe hermits.
Before you pick your product, think in practical terms. Let’s use the hat knitting example. There’s one of you, creating one hat (a day? a week? I’m not a knitter). A high quality, artisan knit hat would sell for like $20, or maybe up to $40, if you’re really good at knitting and marketing your amazing hat. Assuming you’re able to sell every single hat, is $40 (minus expenses!) for one hat, once a week enough to actually afford what you need? Don’t waste your time on things that aren’t going to actually get you to your goal. You’ll just end up frustrated and burned out.
Instead, think of things that are scalable. For example, you can self publish on Amazon. You can literally write your own book, upload it on Amazon, and Amazon will print it out every time someone buys it. You put in the hours up front to write the book, put it up, promote it a bit, and move on. You don’t need to spend every waking hour knitting, you just need to create the initial product, and then you can go spend time doing what you want.
Another popular product idea is print on demand clothing. Sign up for something like Printify, create a design for a shirt, and sell it through Etsy. Printify and Etsy can be connected, so as people buy the shirt on Etsy, the order gets sent to Printify, fulfilled, and you literally do nothing other than the creation of the design.
You can also sell digital products on Etsy. I’ve bought digital sewing patterns, created by random people across the world. If you’re artistic, you can put up your digital artwork for people to buy and print themselves. You only need to create the product once. Then lots of people can buy it. That one product can be purchased an unlimited amount of times.
If you have money to invest, and you feel really confident about selling online, you can sell your products on Amazon FBA. Essentially, you create or purchase your product wholesale, ship it to the Amazon warehouse, and they ship it out. You still need to create your Amazon sales page and promote your product, but it is a highly efficient way to sell your product on a huge scale.
Whatever kind of product you can think to sell, there’s going to be a market to sell it in. You’ll have to do your research and figure it out, but it’s very possible to earn a living through selling.
Some product ideas:
- Soap and/or cosmetics
- Sew unique clothes for children/adults
- Flower farm to provide for florists – a unique spin on the homesteading/home farm idea. I seriously love this idea.
Start small. Whether with working out, lifestyle changes, or starting a whole honking business, start small. Start with only working with one client. Start with only one product. Make that experiment a success, and then build on it.
Even if some of these ideas don’t work out, it doesn’t mean that nothing will work out. In fact, be prepared that things you try will NOT work out. Not working out doesn’t mean you are stupid, your ideas are terrible, or anything like that. It means that for whatever reason, it didn’t work out this time. It means you learn from that experience and you build it again. It definitely hurts when you spend time on something only for it to fail, but not every idea works out. I personally started another business a year ago that failed. It doesn’t make me a failure. Looking back now, I believe it failed because I spread myself too thin and neglected marketing that business. We learn from our mistakes, and we try again. Why didn’t it work? What could we do better? What could we do instead?
Nobody knows how to do everything immediately. We all go through learning, we all make mistakes. It’s how your respond to the mistakes that matter. Do you give up, and never try again? Or do you pick yourself back up, and figure out what you should do instead?
Yes, it can be hard. I wake up at 5am every morning, weekends included, to work on my business for a few hours while the kids sleep. I would much rather be sleeping in. But, I think about what I am building. My business will continue to grow and expand. It will continue to earn me more money, and build the life I want. My kids will see me as a hard working, strong woman, who can take on life. The reasons to work hard greatly outweigh the temporary relief of sleeping in. Hard work creates an easy life. And as we work through the kinks, it gets easier, and the profits increase.