As a society, we often assume that being a stay-at-home parent means not working. The stay-at-home spouse is said to be sacrificing their career goals for the good of kids, while the “working spouse” pursues their dreams. But despite this stereotype, staying at home need not be an automatic death sentence to your earning years. With a little entrepreneurship and ingenuity, house-bound parents can launch small businesses that generate extra cash and enable them to continue working.
Here are some business ideas that are especially well-suited to the stay-at-home mom or dad:
(Christian Church of the Hills)
Seen from a business standpoint, the fact that you are home all day is actually an attractive selling point: to other parents. Most parents are not capable of staying at home, and must therefore put their children in daycare. Why not with you? If your home is large enough to accommodate a few kids during the day, this is an extremely straightforward way to start making money. Simply spread the word among your friends and family that you are willing to babysit.
The best part about running a home-based child care business is that if you do a good job, you will likely be assured of steady income for years – possibly even until the children you watch no longer need to be supervised. Parents are usually reluctant to switch babysitters once they find someone trustworthy and affordable.
Freelancing is a business opportunity that capitalizes on one of the stay-at-home parent’s biggest marketable strengths: flexible work hours. Unlike a structured, in-person job, freelancing is not about regimented schedules and procedures. So long as you hit deadlines and produce good work, the clients who hire you do not care at all when, where, or how the jobs get done. Writing is what usually comes to mind when people think of freelancing, but it is hardly the only kind of freelance work available.
BizAmmo.com offers a list of 150 different types of freelance jobs you might consider pursuing. Websites like ELance.com allow people who need freelancers to find them. Sign up for an account if this type of work appeals to you.
(IK’s World Trip)
If you are especially good at any one academic subject (or several) consider opening a home-based tutoring service. According to Care.com, tutors can charge anywhere from $25 per hour or up, depending on your credentials and expertise. Like freelancing, tutoring is a business whose work hours can be mostly or completely set by you. If you need time off, simply don’t schedule any clients during those times.
You can also turn any room in your home into a learning area rather easily. Any clean, quiet space with a large desk or table will work just fine.
Stay-at-home parents with an eye towards home fashions can parlay their talents into an interior design business. As an interior designer, you can host clients in your home to discuss their goals. Other than a few trips to their home (to size up what type of house they are starting with), most of the work can be done at your home, including:
- Looking at wallpaper or paint samples
- Comparing carpet colors and textures
- Perusing furniture websites
The American Society of Interior Designers offers free information, FAQs and other helpful resources to aspiring interior designers.
(Calvert Cafe & Catering)
If you have a lifelong love of cooking, why not start a home-based catering service? All it takes is a food establishment license in your home state and a kitchen that meets your state (and the federal government’s) health standards. Provided you have or can obtain these things, catering is yet another business opportunity that allows you to work on a flexible schedule and accept exactly as much or as little work as you feel comfortable doing.
For maximum results, go after a specialized niche within the catering world – for example, vegetarian menus or Indian cuisine. By promoting yourself as a specific kind of caterer and delivering consistently stellar service, your name and reputation will spread – and your client base will grow.
Event planning, like interior design, is tailor-made for the stay-at-home parent. If you consider yourself a “people person” and/or have a lot of contacts or experience at putting events together, this could be an ideal fit. Here are just a few of the major events that people typically seek help in planning:
- Graduation parties
- Bar mitzvahs
- Speaking engagements
- Corporate functions
Event planning is similar to many of the business ideas discussed above in that it thrives on word of mouth. Once you obtain your first few happy clients, it becomes easier and easier to drum up more business and increase your cash flow – all (or mostly) from home.