If you have made the commitment of being a stay-at-home parent, you already know about the invaluable benefits of being home with your child. However, those benefits do not come without financial sacrifice.
As a result, you may be looking for some ways to boost your income while being available to your family. The ideal small business for the stay-at-home parent offers flexibility in terms of hours. Ideally, it is home-based and can fit into an on-the-go lifestyle.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), more than half of all American businesses are home-based. In fact, many business success stories started out as home-based stay-at-home parent businesses. Think Julie Aigner-Clark and her company, Baby Einstein; Amy Baxter and Buzzy; and Victoria Knight-McDowell and her Airborne Effervescent Health Formula, to mention a few.
If you are looking for some business ideas that can work around your busy schedule as a parent, there are many options available. Most of them you can start with little to no experience and little to no investment. Here are 10 business ideas for stay-at-home moms and dads.
There is a growing need for freelance medical transcriptionists. Doctors and other medical professionals often look to outsource the information processing of their records to an at-home independent contractor.
As a transcriptionist, you will use your typing, organizational and communication skills to transcribe written or audio files into secure files and records or to key in other patient records. Job opportunities are plentiful and the SBA predicts that this career will grow at an above average rate over the next decade. Medical billing is also a growing business for telecommuters.
The equipment you need is minimal, and, in many cases, the workload can be steady.
To keep costs down and to process cases faster, many legal practices currently use telecommuters as paralegals. As a paralegal, you may transcribe case notes, process case paperwork, complete legal research, prepare legal documents and assist with other projects for use in court hearings.
It can be interesting, steady work that fits around your schedule.
Many professionals require someone who can provide administrative support from a home office. Depending on the business, you may do anything from answering calls and emails, to setting up travel itineraries. If you have an administrative background and are well organized, this may be a great home business for you.
Online sites such as Upwork, freelancer.com and guru have listings for virtual assistants.
Many at-home parents make money by writing about what they know – a hobby or a special interest – in a blog. The income comes when you gain advertisements on your website and then drive traffic to those ads. You also can earn money by reviewing and blogging about certain products that fit your area of expertise.
For someone who likes to write and who is well versed in social media and search engine optimization, blogging can be a satisfying and lucrative business.
Food and Catering
If your way to people’s hearts is through their stomachs, a food-based small business may be the way to go for you. A home-based catering or baking business can be a sure thing for the parent who loves to spend time in the kitchen.
Before you get started, you will need to explore carefully the food rules and regulations you need to follow for home-based food production and packaging. Some of these rules vary by state.
Crafts and Gifts
Wedding invitations, gift baskets, personalized clothing – you name it – there is a big demand for creative entrepreneurs. What is your specialty?
Do you sew? Have an eye for interior design? Make candles? Take great portraits? Assemble memorable gift baskets? Find your niche. Explore your market and develop a business plan for marketing and selling these creative items to the public. Check the SBA website’s tools for setting up at business plan.
By offering a childcare business, you can spend time with your own little ones while earning income for caring for other parents’ children. Many working parents prefer a home atmosphere for their children and are willing to pay well for the care and attention an experienced parent can provide.
Do your homework on all state and local regulations for a childcare business, including minimum space requirements per child, meal preparation and serving, hygiene and the number of licensed care workers needed per child.
Do you have a knack for finding bargains at thrift stores or yard sales? Can you fix or refurbish other people’s junk? If so, you may find it rewarding on both a personal and financial level to operate an online marketplace on sites such as eBay, Amazon, Shopify or Etsy.
Don’t forget your local newspaper and Craigslist for attracting customers and also research flea markets and consignment shops in your area to sell your items.
Pet Sitter/ Dog Walker
If you love animals and enjoy being on the go with your kids, caring for other people’s pets may be the small business for you.
While dogs and cats are the most common pets you will care for, you may also be asked to take care of fish, rabbits, birds and other small pets. Is there a retirement community near you? Many residents there want the companionship of a dog but lack the ability to walk it. Those seniors could provide a valuable business base for you.
Do you love to design and sew clothing or window treatments? Can you do mending or embroidery? Do you love to knit or crochet? A home sewing business may be a great opportunity for you.
First, think of a niche market you could serve. How about monogrammed gifts for weddings, anniversaries and babies? Children’s clothing? Baby doll accessories? Hand-made items make wonderful gifts. You can build your business by selling items locally and then expand with an online store.
Whatever your interests and talents, there is probably a home-based business you can develop to capitalize upon it. Don’t let staying at home with your child deter you from starting a business. And just think of all the life-long lessons you will be teaching your child.
Who knows? You may even get a business partner one day.