When Staying at Home Means Business

Michele Warg
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Tammy Roussin earns $100,000 a year as a pet sitter and dog walker, according to Parade magazine’s annual feature “What People Earn.” I don’t know what that means as far as the number of canines around her feet every time she’s out walking them, but I’ll bet she’s very healthy with all that exercise!

I also don’t know if Tammy is a stay-at-home mom – or SAHM as they say these days in instant messages and tweets -- like you, but you still do have lots of opportunities open to you whether it involves pets or products or people.

A recent Gallup poll found 61 percent of Americans have a preference to be their own boss. Have you always longed to be your own boss? Own your own business? Be an entrepreneur? And now you're ready to go for it?

If so, I think you’re in an enviable position – being able to enjoy and care for your children at home, avoiding the rat-race of daily commuting while still having a fulfilling career – and creating additional income for your family!

But wait a minute; a lot of moms I’ve coached have important questions and concerns. Aren’t a lot of work-at-home schemes really scams? What about my time? I need to be able to choose how many hours I can devote to a business and still stay flexible. My children come first. Would I need lots of office equipment? Where would I get the money to start up with the current lousy economy? Would I make enough income to make my time worthwhile? What could I do to make a real difference in other people’s lives, which is really important to me? I truly want to contribute to others outside my family circle.

All excellent questions. Let’s look at some possibilities.

Finding Expanding Income in a Declining Economy

Day care: Loving, capable day care is a constant need for working families and single parents, and in fact, is a growing need as the recession often means both parents have to work. Since you are already tuned in to the needs of children, their developmental stages, and especially parents’ concerns, expanding your expertise to other children might make sense. You probably already have some of the special furniture – crib(s), changing tables, child-sized furniture, and so forth that you’d need. Perhaps you’re not ready for all-day caretaking, but could help parents who need someone for just a few hours while they are in class, or volunteering, or for after-school hours.

Special considerations: Check into your community’s licensing requirements for health, safety, and other issues such as size of home, play equipment, food storage and preparation, and so forth. Are your own children likely to enjoy having others around to play with or will they be jealous that they no longer have Mom’s full attention? What will the costs be to accommodate whatever modifications you might have to make to your home or to purchase necessary items?

Home crafts: It seems every week I discover an enterprising, creative mom who has built her special talents for cooking, or crafting, or her curiosity for how to make life easier for moms and kids into a thriving business. For example, a hands-free carrier to snuggle babies close to your body while still having your arms free to do your work. With the current emphasis on “green” living as well as the scares of hazardous materials recently found in children’s toys, many moms – and dads – are designing and selling healthy, safe, environmentally sound toys, clothing and other children’s products. Or perhaps you cook your own organic children’s food and treats – or for adults too. Your friends always enjoy receiving it – why not build a business on it?

Special considerations: Because of all the recent food and toy contamination scares, new regulations are cropping up daily to regulate these items. While totally commendable and necessary, a lot of the rules will force small businesses to close because the legal requirements for registration and regulations are formidable and expensive.

Working with people while staying at home. You’ve grown up hearing about Mary Kay Cosmetics and Amway, both organizations now almost 50 years old -- and the grandmother of them all – Avon, now over 100 years old. You may know someone who is, earning substantial income with one of these companies. You may have used some of the products, enjoying the personal relationship with your representative far more than purchasing them in an anonymous retail environment.

Also known as network marketing or multilevel marketing (MLM) companies, these giants of the industry have proven track records for supporting individuals in making a comfortable, if not highly successful income from their home-based, entrepreneurial efforts selling the products. But are there pitfalls?

While checking out the possibilities, ask yourself: Many MLM companies require you to maintain an inventory of their products. Would you have room if you live in a small home or apartment? Do you have the facilities or transportation – and time -- you’d need to hold product demonstration parties or meet with clients in person? Does the company compete with distributors by also selling products online? Do the products offer real value to the buyers?

One that offers genuine, desirable products for direct sale to consumers, for a concrete example, is an online greeting card system that makes it easy to send real printed cards in the mail in just a few minutes on the computer. Such a company can be a natural fit for anyone who likes to bring cheer into other people’s lives, or express their own creativity with personalized greetings, photos, artwork, etc. if they choose. (What a great way to show off those beautiful children and your lovely family!) Would the company and its product line you’re considering fit your lifestyle and values?

An MLM can be a great fit for moms who want to work from home, are motivated to help others while earning extra income, are computer savvy, and willing to expand their horizons.
Beware, however, of the thousands of MLM opportunities advertised -- many are thinly disguised pyramid schemes, that while not technically illegal, skirt the fine line of scams. Just look through that endless cascade of junk email you get each day. Overpriced products (particularly “health” related), eBay starter kits, “type from home” schemes and other way-too-good-to-be-true offers are best left right where they are -- unopened in your junk mail folder.

There are lots of resources to check on the business practices of MLMs. One of the best is www.mlmwatch.org

Your personal satisfaction and ability to earn income for your family didn’t need to stop when that first baby came into your life. Explore your options; build for your future; fulfill your potential – and appreciate the opportunity to have the life you love.

Interested in more income, personal satisfaction, expanding your horizons, or making a positive difference in other people’s lives? Karen Saunders has built a successful home-based business that is particularly suited to those who don’t want to sacrifice time with their families. If you’d like to learn more about how she’s accomplished that and useful tips to meet your goals, call toll-free 888-796-7300 or visit www.momstayathome.com



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  • Jailyn
    I've never seen a better post!

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