Being a stay-at-home mum is not as laid-back as the label may imply. As those who have been there and done that might say, taking care of family and abode 24/7 will make your stressful old desk job, in retrospect, seem like a vacation.
Stay-at-home parenthood has been tried and found daunting. Here in Australia, the percentage of mums who opted out of the rat race went down from 33% to 27% in 1991 to 2016. Although these numbers could be as much about the pull of paid employment as about the push from the tedium of domestic life, we think we can safely say that the home front is not for the fainthearted.
For all you intrepid ones out there, who have stuck it out, in sweat pants galore and covered in ketchup and baby drool to boot, you get to that point when the kids are a little older and have started doing things on their own. You might then find yourself with a few hours to kill during the day but are not quite ready or no longer interested in going back to your old job. Maybe that’s not you anymore but at the same time, all that quiet somehow feels like a luxury you’re no longer used to? We feel you, ladies.
Consider this: What if you can enjoy your downtime, find your creative spark, and earn some income while you’re at it? Below, we’ve listed 10 business ideas that the entrepreneurial, stay-at-home mum can jump into:
1. Put up an Etsy shop
An old mate once arrived at work and all eyes went to his tie, which was held in place by a tiny metal clip with the Star Trek insignia on it. Business attire but not quite, the novelty of the tie clip was nonetheless a conversation starter that made him a hit with clients he met with that day. Fellow Trekkies, no doubt.
That tie clip was from Etsy, a marketplace for all things artisanal and handmade. In 2018, the site had more than 60 million items in its listings, earning them a net income of about AUD58 million! If you have a craft inside you that you wish to share with the world, from resin jewellery to seasonal decor, Etsy is clearly a very good place to set up shop.
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2. Design and make cakes
We never miss an episode of Nailed It! What reality shows like this tell us is that many people want to eat their cake and have it, too, especially when it appeals to the senses like a work of art. And probably also costs like it.
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If you love baking and are good at decorating cakes and cupcakes, maybe you can start selling them! What neighbourhood doesn’t have birthdays and weddings and other events that could use a special centrepiece? While your market may stay within a certain radius, at least in the early going, you can always charge a premium for that custom-made personalized three-tier beauty that’s fit for Beyoncé.
3. Turn your home into a workshop and teach what you love
It can be as simple as giving ukulele lessons or something more intricate like making glass art. You could run Spanish classes or teach others how to formulate their own unique fragrance or turn rags into colourful rugs… and then to riches.
A friend had a pool in her yard and when her youngest child went off to college, she decided to make some income on the side, by offering swimming and diving lessons right there in the family pool. Neighbourhood kids were her first students, but soon parents from as far as the next town were enquiring about summer swim classes.
4. Love to cook? Cater parties and holiday meals
Cooking three square meals every single day for a family is no job for those who lack imagination. The thought of cooking a feast for a hundred might seem like an impossibility to some people, but not for those who consider preparing food a passion.
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If you are one of these fortunate ones, you could start a home-based business! Take your love for food and knack for entertaining at home, to whip up recipes for Christmas feasts, weddings, birthdays, engagement parties, house warming parties… the list goes on. While old family dishes can be a handy resource, there are many other cuisines and techniques to explore If they like what you served, the word will spread like wildfire, and that is how your business grows.
5. Create recipes and submit them to magazines
Your passion for cooking can open other doors for you, too, besides starting a catering or event planning business.
Was your special cocktail or pastry a hit are your last potluck? Why not share it with a larger audience? Some food or lifestyle magazines are happy to feature and will pay for recipe submissions from readers. Just make sure to supplement the recipe you send with good photos - you know, those fab flatlay shots that get the clicks on social media and stock photography sites. If the publication has a website, why not throw in a short how-to video, too?
6. Take beautiful photos for stock image sites
And speaking of photography, is your Instagram account getting a lot of hits and reposts, and not just from family and friends? Do you get asked to take pictures for weddings or for an article your friend is writing?
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You might have the photographic skills required by stock image sites such as Shutterstock or Getty Images. These sites allow the use of images by various media sites for a fee, and you get paid when one of your photos get picked. If you need a bit of practice before going head-to-head with the pros, try free stock photo sites like Unsplash (a team favourite!).
7. Launch a bespoke clothing label
Designing clothing is a vocation; you must like doing it enough to be good at it. Chances are there are not many in your suburb with such inclination or skill. Imagine then if you can cater to what sophisticated, discriminating folk in your area seek that the trendy mass markets cannot provide: well-made, tailor-fit pieces, cut from the best fabrics available.
You can take this even further and define your aesthetic, think about what makes it different from what’s already out there. If you can translate this into clothing, you might even launch your own fashion line, if you’re so inclined. To expand the market for your rare designs, you can always sell on sites like Etsy. (Go back to item #1 in this list!)
8. Create ebooks you can sell
If you love to travel and also have a gift for stringing words together, why not combine your two passions and turn it into an income-generating project? Document your adventures, put together a photo book about marsupials and their dynamics with human settlements, and maybe get published! Or you can put your money where your mouth is and self-publish your work.
Not much of a traveler? Write about what you’re passionate about, instead. Are you a foodie? Compile your recipes in a zine or start a vlog to get the word out. With ebooks, no need to worry about printing costs and distribution. Amazon has a well-oiled self-publishing platform, and there are other providers now, too.
Good ol’ poetry and fiction are also on the table, of course, although these forms could benefit from peer critique, before publishing.
9. Make organic cosmetics and skin care products
Have you ever found yourself “tweaking” that perfectly brick red lipstick with balm so it does not dry your lips? Or perhaps, you’ve learned how to add bits of bronzer to last winter’s foundation so it better matches your post-beach complexion.
If you have tried any of these, a tub of shea butter and some mineral pigments can open up a whole world of possibilities: shades, formulas, an entire product range! And because you think anything you put on your skin should be all-natural and chemical-free, from soaps to salves, the formula you’ve concocted for yourself could work for others, too. Plant-derived oils and other natural ingredients are now available in retail volumes from many online sellers for the home-based apothecary.
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10. Start a blog
If publicly sharing about your interests comes naturally to you, you could start a blog and earn money. For instance, through Blogger, Google’s blog platform, you can set up your site to earn money from affiliate marketing You can attract more visits by regularly updating content, building in common search words into your posts, adding related photos or videos, and crosslinking to other blogs and websites.
Ask kids these days what they want to be when they grow up and at least one of them is bound to say ‘a famous blogger’ or ‘YouTuber.’ If you do it right, you could potentially earn a good living. The fame is a bonus.
Whether you are currently a stay-at-home mom who could use an added source of income, or simply want to spend your creative energy on something useful, we hope this list will help you form your own.
The key to lifelong learning is to remain open—to new knowledge, a new skill, a new and improved you!
We love our mums. Happy Mother’s Day! 💓💋😍