One of motherhood’s greatest dilemmas is whether or not to stop working. For many women, the only choice is to stay at home while the little ones are still young, and wave a cheery goodbye to the corner office. However, while it is very special to spend as much time as possible with your dimply little angels during their formative years, this decision can lead to cabin fever and rapidly rising levels of frustration at not earning your own income.
If you’re a motivated mom (and, naturally, an expert at multitasking) you can have your cake and eat it – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! The trick is to do something that you love, that can be done from home, and that will fit around your family’s schedule.
Enter stage left, 11 home-based business ideas for moms that will leave you feeling like Superwoman.
1.) Kids’ Party Planning
You know that you can do this in your sleep! As we’re sure you know, kids’ parties are big business, so jump aboard the party train and claim some of those birthday bucks for yourself. Many working mothers are just too overloaded to cope with the planning of their little one’s bumper bash and will be beyond grateful for the organisational skills and creative ideas of a professional party planner. The concept is basic: take the load off the party mom by organising her little one’s birthday party, from the invitations right down to the birthday cake and the hiring of equipment. Link up with reputable cake bakers, photographers, party equipment hire companies and caterers, then put together an eye-catching leaflet that can be distributed at all the daycare centres and primary schools in your area. Get some fantastic party planning ideas from www.sprogs.co.za, then start working on your marketing campaign.
2.) Providing Extra Lessons
Do you have skills that you can draw on to help students improve their marks? If the answer is yes, you should seriously consider offering extra lessons. Today’s parents recognise the importance of paying attention to their children’s learning challenges, so good private tutors are always in demand – your experience as a mother will stand you in good stead here too. You’ll need to do research on the subject that you are giving extra lessons in, because school curricula are updated constantly. Make sure that you have a quiet, private and tidy area from where you can teach, and make sure that you have no interruptions during lessons. Advertise your services on Gumtree, newsletters sent out by local schools or community notice boards.
3.) Gift Wrapping
There is no accounting for the things that busy people need done for them! For instance, selecting the perfect gift for friends or associates and wrapping them beautifully may be second nature to you, but may be a curse for busy professionals or uninspired fellow moms. Let your creative spirit loose by offering a gift wrapping and delivery service that offers top-quality products at fair prices. Another avenue is to contact gift registry websites and tell them what you do. While you’re at it, visit the wholesale division of well-known wrapping paper suppliers and negotiate a discount on paper, gift bags, ribbons and cards. Be known for your on-trend approach to design and work with the corporate colours and themes significant to each client. For instance, if you’re wrapping for a corporate that is known for its environmentally-friendly ethos, offer them gorgeously green gift wrap (get inspired by reading through these top 10 green gift wrap ideas). The best part of this home-based business is that it feels like Christmas everyday… but without the bills!
4.) Home Cooking
What’s cookin’, good lookin’? If you love cooking and your guests lick their plates clean every time they visit, starting a home-based cooking business should be a natural progression. You’re doing it for your family anyway, so it makes sense to profit from what can otherwise be a thankless household duty. Forget haute cuisine – that’s what overpriced restaurants are there for. What everyone really wants is warm, comforting, family food that reminds them of their childhood. Start off by stocking up on a few classic cookbooks – Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course (BBC Books) is good, as is the iconic and proudly South African Cook and Enjoy It by S.J.A. de Villiers (Human & Rousseau), both available from www.kalahari.com. Next step is to put a business plan and price list together (don’t sell yourself short: remember, time is money). The news of your tasty new comfort food business will be flying around the school parking lot before you can say “butternut soup”.
5.) Jewellery Designing
A visit to any craft market will confirm what we already know: as long as there’s life on Earth, women will buy shiny, dangly things for their necks, wrists and earlobes (or at least convince someone else to buy some for them)! For mothers with attention to detail and magpie-like tendencies, this is the ideal home-based business. If you’re not already an old hand at making your own bling, look for jewellery-making and beading classes in the classifieds section of your local newspaper. Your next port of call is to find a good supplier – you can find these by doing a regional Google search, or by asking the instructors at your beading classes where they source their products. Many suppliers (like Bead Fun) have online catalogues, which makes it easy to order stock without having to run around town. Once you’ve put together a sizeable collection, invite friends, relatives, school mommies and former colleagues to your home for monthly high teas, during which you can showcase your juicy jewellery. Make these get-togethers memorable by providing delicious eats and freshly-brewed coffee. Approach the managers of small clothing and accessories boutiques – they may be delighted to have your range decorating their counters. Eventually, consider starting your own website and selling your stock on eBay (yes, really!) or Etsy.
Could there be a bigger success story in the world of crafts than scrapbooking? This popular hobby has taken the world by storm, and has provided business opportunities to thousands of women all around the world. Why shouldn’t you get in on the profits too?
There are several ways that you can convert creativity into cash through scrapbooking:
- offer to create scrapbooks for busy working mothers
- run your own moms’ and kids’ scrapbooking workshops
- source interesting and unique scrapbooking materials and accessories from all over the globe then resell them as ready-to-go kits
Scrapbooking, no longer just a craft-only business, has now evolved to incorporate online scrapbooks and digital photobooks, which proves that it is much more than just a passing fad. Experts believe that the scrapbooking industry is still in its infancy, with the potential to grow to $4 billion in the U.S. alone within the next decade. Exciting stuff! Click here to read more fascinating stats about this lucrative home-based business.
7.) Corporate Gifts
Admittedly, there are a lot of corporate gift businesses out there. But, as with any other business, if you offer a unique product and a professional, reliable service, the profits are there for the taking. Do some market research and investigate what other corporate gift specialists are offering – then tweak their formula to incorporate something new and exciting. Be known for adding the personal touch: find out a bit about the executive for whom you’re putting the gift basket together, then add that je ne sais quoi for maximum impact. Personalisation is still a big trend. No matter what the gift, find a way to personalise it – so get a customised label made for that bottle of Hartenberg Merlot instead of gifting it as is. Another hot trend is quality: rather advise clients to buy smaller top-notch gifts than bigger gifts of a lower quality. Most importantly, remember that the word on everyone’s lips right now is “green”. Wherever possible, offer unique, locally made items and recycled wrapping. Scout around local farmers’ markets and craft fairs to source interesting and useful items that have an eco-friendly vibe, then add these to your portfolio of gift items – your clients will be thrilled.
8.) Computer Training
As hard as it is to believe, there are still countless people out there who don’t know the first thing about using a computer. Advances in technology are putting pressure on these slowpokes to learn… and learn fast! If you are proficient in standard computer programmes, are internet-savvy and like working closely with people, consider teaching basic computer skills from home. Focus on Word, Excel, internet basics (including search techniques) and email etiquette, but don’t forget to touch on basic graphic design and typing skills too. Because it’s best to teach clients on their own system, and because you ideally want to work from home, it’s best if your clients come to you, so encourage them to buy a laptop. If this isn’t possible, you’ll have to organise a good child minder to watch the kids while you consult at your client’s home or office.
9.) Becoming an Agent
Becoming an agent or consultant for a niche product or service is perfect for mothers because not only is there usually a preset formula and set of rules, but product samples and full training are often provided in the beginning. Personal grooming, jewellery, home décor, nutritional supplements and clothing ranges are all examples of items that can be sold through an agency. While commissions vary, the support received from the company is usually very good, which makes this a perfect home-based business idea for mothers who find it daunting to start out completely on their own. Become an agent for change in your own life… Try one of these:
Everybody loves a clean, organized office, home or garage, but not everyone has the time or discipline to get it done. Take advantage of this very human inner chaos by starting a spring-cleaning and organising business that you can run from home. Quote clients an hourly fee for de-cluttering their space, and charge a premium for putting up shelves, installing filing systems and taking unwanted items to charity shops or the local recycling centre. If you’re lucky, some of the unwanted furniture can be spruced up and resold for a tidy profit. To give you a basic idea of what this business takes, read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Decluttering by Regina Leeds (Alpha Publishers)
11.) Kids’ Furniture Design
Kids’ rooms are no longer a random collection of basic or hand-me-down furniture. The kids’ décor industry is booming, and there’s no reason why you can’t be a part of it too. If you know of a good carpenter, get him to make you a few sample sprog-sized dressing tables, chairs and storage boxes (ask him to avoid sharp corners). Alternatively, why not pay your nearest Mistry’s a visit? Here you can find a huge selection of untreated pine furniture and décor accessories. Once you have your items, paint away, keeping an eye on current design trends, gradually building up a fab selection of snazzy stock. Once you’re ready, start advertising via school newsletters and local papers, then showcase your “dinky décor” collection at school fetes and craft markets. You’re just a lick of paint away from being a DIY diva, and you know it!