Never before has been easier for parents to start businesses they can run from home.
These days, it is very possible for parents from all walks of life to make a bit of side money (or even a full time income) running businesses from the comfort of their house.
No schedules, no spending time away from the kids, and no major sacrifices.
Having ran online businesses myself for over 10 years now (and coaching countless others), I’ve witnessed firsthand how certain businesses can do wonders for the family, and how others can force you to sacrifice far too much. The business ideas we’re about to share with you have been chosen specifically because they are ideal for parents with active family lives.
How These Business Ideas Were Selected
Before we get into the business ideas themselves, it’s important to take a look at how they were chosen. This way, you’ll have a greater understanding of how each will fit into your life as it is now.
They Are Cheap To Start
Now first things first, we’ve got to be realistic.
Most businesses fail. And two of the most common reasons for that is they either require a ton of money which the entrepreneurs eventually run out of, or the person just loses interest and decides it’s not for them. Which is totally fine, but can be a problem.
If you try this and decide it’s not right for you, I don’t want you feeling pressured to try and make it work, or losing what would have been your vacation fund to Disney World.
Therefore, I’ve maxed out the money to start one of these at a few hundred dollars, with most being able to be done much cheaper.
They Can Be Picked Up And Put Down
Let’s be honest – getting things done with kids running around the house isn’t always easy. Even when you aren’t having to get up and go do something for someone, distractions are aplenty and getting even a few moments of peace can feel like a blessing.
You don’t have the luxury of hours of interrupted time, and therefore whatever work you’re doing must fit into this sort of lifestyle.
While it’s obviously productive to have dedicated blocks of time to focus on nothing but work, all of the businesses I’m going to share can be picked up and put down at a moment’s notice.
They Have Passive Elements
I believe that obligations are a lot of what makes work stressful – they are quite literally what take away your freedom in life to do as you please.
Now obviously, having kids is an example of obligations that are worth it. But when it comes to money, that isn’t always true.
I’ve always preferred businesses that still go on making some money even when I am no longer working them. If I have to keep working every day or even every week to keep the business alive, I certainly don’t enjoy it as much. While true ‘passive income’ is kind of a myth, many of these businesses can get pretty close.
They Can Be Done Entirely (Or Almost Entirely) From Home
One of the greatest things about starting your own business is that it gives you more freedom in your life, and part of that means not having to wake up and leave to an office.
If you have to do all of the same stuff you would for a regular job, find babysitters and work around a schedule every day, you’re really not that much better off than you would be at a job.
This All Holds True When Your Business Grows
Finally, each one of these ideas must also remain true even as you start to scale your business.
A lot of people wonder what will happen if their businesses fail, but not as many people think about what happens if their business actually succeeds.
As many businesses grow, entrepreneurs’ lives become more and more complicated. They actually end up with less freedom despite making significantly more money.
The businesses I’m about to share with you can still be done from home, can still be picked up and put down or even walked away from entirely for a while, even when your earnings grow. And believe me, this is far more important than most people realize.
The 5 Best Businesses For Stay-At-Home Parents
If you are a stay-at-home mom or a stay-at-home dad, then each one of these 5 business ideas were chosen specifically for you.
Give each one some thought, as they all have their own pros and cons worth considering.
If I had to pick a single business, this one would be it.
I have been blogging for nearly 15 years now and this is always the thing I come back to. It checks every single one of the boxes mentioned earlier and can be done entirely after your kids go to bed, should you wish to do so.
Setting up a website these days no longer takes technical knowledge and can be done in just a couple of hours.
Most blogs do best when they are focused around a single topic, or cater to a specific group of people. For example, I run a blog that originally started out being for kalimba players, but later expanded to other musical instruments.
The money from blogs comes in a number of different forms. One of the most popular ways is to run advertisements on the website. Another is to practice something called affiliate marketing, where you promote other companies’ products on your blog and then earn a commission if somebody buys one.
These are only a few examples, but the idea behind blogging is pretty simple. You write content for people which either gets found in Google or through your own promotion efforts, and then you monetize that audience.
Some people may wonder why I don’t recommend YouTube instead, which follows a similar strategy. The problem with YouTube, at least for parents, is that it’s harder to pick up and put down and requires more prep work since you’ll be filming on camera. YouTube also rewards people that publish more consistently, which makes it harder to step away from for a while.
Another fantastic option for parents is to start an eCommerce store, selling digital or physical products to customers.
This can either be on your own site through a platform like Shopify, or on a marketplace such as Etsy. If you’re just starting out, I actually recommend Etsy first if your product is eligible, as many people underestimate how hard it can be to drive traffic to a shop on your own website.
The key to making this work while still balancing your family life all comes down to your product selection. You want something that either offers a high return on your time if you’re handmaking it, or has high margins if you’re selling it. As parents and especially if doing this alone, it’s better to make more per sale and have less packages to ship, then to sell a high volume of products with a low cost per sale.
As volume goes up, so does time spent doing customer service, processing orders, brining in materials, etc.
If you do this right, you’ll only need to swing by the post office every few days while you’re already in town, and the rest can be done without disrupting your family life.
Before running an eCommerce business from your home, check your city’s laws and any rules from your home owners association (if you’re a part of one) which may prohibit this. eCommerce businesses can affect your neighborhood, particularly if you get a lot of deliveries, so make sure you’re doing everything legally.
While not the most passive option on this list, freelancing allows you to work from home, take on only jobs that you enjoy, and set your own work hours.
Essentially, you are picking a task to develop expertise in, then offer to companies for a specific rate. Some examples may include writing, video editing, or design.
With more and more companies choosing to outsource work to remote workers and freelancers, there has never been more opportunities to begin making money by freelancing. In fact, out of all of the options on this list, freelancing probably starts you earning money the quickest.
As for getting your initial clients, most people start out on freelancing websites like Fiverr or Upwork. If freelancing interests you, I highly recommend visiting those websites and seeing what kinds of jobs people are already paying for.
Ultimately, you are still trading hours for dollars by freelancing and it’s not something that will continue making money for you without putting more work in. That being said, those who develop true expertise and are in demand by companies can end up charging ridiculous rates. An alternate route once you grow is to hire new freelancers who work underneath you, and your role transitions into more of a managerial one.
Teaching comes in many forms. For parents, there are three routes that come to mind – teaching lessons online, offering consulting on a specific topic, or creating online courses.
None of these are necessarily better than the other, but they are all approached differently.
For example, I’ve worked with wedding planners and yoga teachers absolutely crushing it, but it does eat into their schedule a little bit. On the opposite end I’ve met online course creators do phenomenally well, but miss the human connection they used to get teaching people in person.
Ultimately, you need to decide what it is you value.
I started out with online courses by listing them on a website called Udemy. These days, I usually sell them directly through my websites. Course creation is also great to combine with blogging, because you can funnel your audience towards buying your course which can really help the two build each other up.
If you don’t feel like you have anything to teach, remember this – you do not need to be a master in a skill in order to teach it. You only need to know more than the person you’re going to be teaching.
5. Products That Earn Royalties
Finally, we have a business based around creating products that earn you royalties.
Some examples include writing books, creating music, or creating stock artwork.
The idea being that you create something, put it out into the world, and continue earning money on it forever.
While these markets can be competitive to operate in and it takes a lot of time to get off the ground, this is one of the most passive forms of income around and can really help to supplement your family’s income.
I got my start selling Kindle books back when the market was still relatively new. Most of them I only sold for $2.99, but since Amazon drove all the customers, I didn’t really have to do anything except crank out more books.
While it’s a bit harder today, there are still people making decent incomes through Kindle publishing, or selling stock photos, or even creating and releasing music on Spotify.
As long as you approach it with the idea that it will take some time and perhaps a lot of publications before they really start to add up, this can be a straightforward and even fun way to bring in some extra income.
Should every parent start a business?
No, but if you’re looking to start a new venture that will still work while fully attending to your parental duties, these five business ideas for parents may just be ideal.
Which one calls out to you? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to share your thoughts using the comment form below. I’d love to hear from you, and offer help wherever I can.
To you success,
– James McAllister