12 Business Ideas For Stay-At-Home Moms
Written by Christine Bondola on September 22, 2017
I want to be able to stay home with my kids, but we need some extra income!
These four walls are driving me nuts—how can I meet other adults but still be able to spend time with my kids?
I love my kids, but I miss my independence. Is there a way I can work from home without sacrificing time with my young children?
Do any of these statements sound familiar? We’ve spoken with literally hundreds of moms who express similar sentiments—they’re looking for work-from-home jobs (or jobs that allow them to stay at home for a majority of the time but provide opportunities to work outside of the home) in to help supplement their families’ incomes, find a community of likeminded people, and have some fun, all while having the flexibility to continue being stay-at-home-moms.
We’ve rounded up 13 business ideas for stay-at-home-moms that might interest you, and outlined some of the benefits and considerations for each. Take a look and see if any pique your interest!
1. Direct Sales
There are different types of direct sales companies that offer work-from-home jobs for moms. In our article Direct Sales Jobs & Opportunities: What Are They? we talk about the different methods of direct selling:
- The party plan (of which Traveling Vineyard is a good example)
- One-on-one demonstrations
- Personal contact arrangements
- Internet sales
We don’t hide the fact that we think direct selling is the cream of the crop of business ideas for stay-at-home moms. When moms partner with reputable direct sales companies (those that are members in good standing of the Direct Selling Association, like Traveling Vineyard), they have a chance to build their futures while still being present with their kids.
- There’s excellent earning potential. Many direct selling jobs give women the opportunity to set their own ceiling when it comes to income. At Traveling Vineyard, our Wine Guides are not employees—they’re entrepreneurs, and they make the decisions about how many or how few wine tastings they host, how many hours they put in, and how much money they want to make. They also have the ability to build teams, find mentors and mentees, and earn incentive trips and other achievement perks.
- Direct sales is social. You have the chance to meet new friends, reconnect with old ones, and do fun stuff! From clothing to food to lifestyle/home products, there’s a direct selling opportunity for everything you’re interested in.
- You can work from home almost exclusively. Except for events, you can do your entire direct selling job from the comfort of your home. That means you can spend time with your family to your heart’s desire and then, when you have chances to focus on work, do it from your living room, kitchen table, or office! And events like our wine tastings give you the chance to escape for a couple of hours of adult conversation and fun. It’s a sweet deal!
- Some direct selling opportunities get bad names from pyramid schemes and other sales tactics that aren’t legit. Unfortunately, some women get trapped in these shady endeavors that cast a pall on our whole industry. We talk about this—and how to make sure you’re working with a reputable direct selling company—in our article, Direct Sales Jobs & Opportunities: What Are They?
My best advice? Make sure any company you’re considering working with is a member of the DSA and Better Business Bureau (BBB), and do your research to make sure you understand what you’re signing up for! You can find out more about what sets some direct sales companies apart in our article, Differences in Direct Sales Companies.
- You can bring your kids along. Moms who work in childcare can either bring their young children along with them while working, or they provide childcare from their own homes. That means your own children get a few playmates every day!
- You can set your own hours. You may choose to work normal 8-5(ish) hours, but you do have the flexibility to set schedules that work for your family as you choose the childcare job that works for you.
- You must abide by licensing rules and regulations in some cases. You may be subject to the licensing and certifications rules and regulations of your state in order to provide childcare legally, particularly out of your own home. That means you’ll need to take time to learn the laws, understand your responsibilities, and pay taxes on your income.
- Parenting can be hard enough, and with childcare, you’re adding one or more additional children to your life—which can be hectic and exhausting.
- You may lose holidays and off days. As a childcare provider, you may be expected to work on school and federal holidays, during breaks, etc., when children may be home from school but parents are still in the office.
- Paychecks may be inconsistent. Depending on your childcare schedule, there may be breaks (sometimes long breaks) between paychecks due to vacations, winter and holiday breaks, etc. You will also have to add new children as others leave.
- With retail, you can work evening and weekend hours and stay home with your children during the weekdays.
- Generally, there’s no special degree or experience needed. You can likely land a retail job no matter your background as long as you have a willingness to learn and an interest in customer service and the product you’re selling.
- You may get store discounts as a perk. Depending on where you work, the discounts could be valuable, for instance, discounted clothes or food.
- As a part-time working mom, you may be pushed into holiday scheduling and odd hours that aren’t conducive for family time.
- Pay can be variable in retail. Some places may pay well while others may not.
Education jobs for stay-at-home moms include opportunities for teaching foreign languages remotely via computer as well as high-school-level and college courses that are conducted online. You could give lessons or offer after-school tutoring. If you are willing to work away from home part time, you could also consider substitute teaching, full-time teaching (with summers off), working as a teacher’s aide or paraprofessional, or working as a college professor.
- Educators generally have summers off as well as school holidays and breaks. If you have older children, your schedule can align perfectly with their breaks.
- School hours are regular and predictable, and most likely match closely with your own child’s daily schedule.
- Working in education is rewarding and personally fulfilling!
- Working in education may require specialized degrees and ongoing education. This can cost you extra and also require additional time commitments.
- You can’t work from home with an education job—you’ll have to go into work at least for a few hours a day.
5. Real Estate
- You can do a significant amount of the work from home and pick and choose your volume. You can also choose your client base—some agents work exclusively with people they know!
- Real estate is a great way to connect with people in your community.
- To work as an agent you must pass exams and earn licenses and accreditations, which will require studying.
- Most successful real estate agents have an interest and/or background in business and sales.
- You sometimes have to drop everything and cater to clients’ schedules. This may be at odds with your idea of focusing on your family as a stay-at-home-mom, and it may cause headaches when clients schedule showings or meetings at inopportune times.
From restaurants to hotels to events and catering, hospitality offers many job possibilities for stay-at-home moms.
- Hospitality jobs take you outside the home a couple hours a week, so you get adult interaction.
- You can do many hospitality jobs on weekends or evenings exclusively.
- On the flip side, working weekends may mean missing out on family time.
- You may also have to skip events like weddings, baby showers, parties, etc. because you have to work.
Creative hobbies like photography, handmade arts and crafts, and blogging are interesting ways for stay-at-home moms to make extra income.
- The creative work you are skilled at is also something you enjoy so getting paid to do it is an added bonus!
- You can do almost any type of job in this category from home and during off-hours.
- Is the effort you’re putting into your job translating into acceptable income? It’s tempting to invest more money in something you love to do—but you have to be make sure you’re actually getting a return on investment.
- This type of job is actually a small business. You won’t be successful unless you understand marketing, taxes, legal requirements, and more.
- You may not be able to earn a regular income with these types of jobs, as there will be significant ebb and flow in the purchasing habits of your clientele.
8. Home Staging & Interior Design
- Like hobbyist jobs, staging and interior design are both creative work that you may already like to do.
- In choosing this work, you might also be setting the stage for a future career once your children fly the coop!
- Consider the cost of this type of work. You’ll likely have storage costs for staging items, start-up costs for building inventory, purchasing costs, and more.
- You’ll need to build strong relationships with contractors and real estate agents in your area to grow your business, which will involve time spent networking.
- Again, you need to understand marketing, taxes, insurance, and the other finer details of independent small business management.
- These types of jobs will require significant time spent outside your home.
9. Home Health Aide/Companion
- Home health aides and companions can usually work flexible schedules—part-time, full-time, weekends, weekdays, a combination of both, and even overnights.
- This type of job is rewarding in that it provides companionship and gives you a new perspective on life that you may not get otherwise.
- Depending on what type of companionship you want to provide (and whether or not you’re providing medical care), there may be licensing or certification requirements.
- You’ll need to take routine CPR and first aid classes in addition to any specialized care classes.
- You may not always get to choose your schedule.
10. Computer Jobs
Computer-based occupations you can do from home include customer service, translation services, transcription, data entry, and mystery shopper jobs.
- You can do these types of jobs exclusively from home and often on your own schedule.
- You do not need much (if any) experience.
- Certain computer-based jobs pay very well.
- Many of these jobs require a certain personality, specifically customer service. It can be draining to address complaints and problems in a professional manner day-in and day-out.
- Some computer jobs aren’t reputable. You must do your due diligence to make sure you’re not being scammed or taken advantage of.
- Many of these types of jobs are short-term fixes; they may not maintain your interest or be at your skill level; thus, you can burn out easily.
Fitness jobs can include anything from yoga, pilates, spin, and barre to personal training, boot camp instructing, and working as a nutritionist.
- With this type of job, you get the best of both worlds: You’re getting paid to keep yourself in good physical condition! You can prioritize both your health and your income at once.
- The time commitment is just one to two hours at a time; often, that time includes free childcare and gym usage.
- This type of job also has a great social aspect—you have a built-in opportunity to meet like-minded people who have similar interests as you.
- With these jobs, the pay varies significantly.
- You will need to take classes for ongoing training and certifications, as well as first aid and CPR certifications.
12. Cleaning Services
For many moms, offering a cleaning service (or working for one) may be an opportunity to do something they enjoy for added income.
- If you operate your own cleaning service, you may be able to bring your kids with you.
- Cleaning homes or offices is a limited time commitment—you can decide how long you’ll spend per building and build your rates around those factors.
- You can also decide your work schedule and clientele.
- To operate your own cleaning service, you need to take steps to be a licensed business.
- You may be exposed to harsh chemicals and you will almost inevitably, at one point or another, have to deal with other people’s messes.
- Cleaning is a physically demanding job.
- There is a liability risk; you may need liability insurance to protect yourself in the case of accidental damages.
What is your next step going to be?
Hopefully, one (or more!) of these business ideas for stay-at-home moms interest you. Now you’re ready to narrow down your list. To get started, just download our guide below to learn more about researching, identifying, and setting up your own home-based business.