It seems as though stay-at-home moms are on the rise, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The percentage of mothers who do not work outside the home is highest in decades – 29 percent, up from 23 percent in 1999. The study indicates several possible reasons for the trend, such as economics and the challenge of finding a job.
Finding work can be difficult for moms who are torn between wanting to stay at home and yet need the income. Childcare costs are high and working moms are usually faced with working long hours in order to justify the expense.
Aiming your career toward a traditional workplace setting may not be the best decision, and yet for many moms the greatest sense of frustration comes from the desire to continue their career path coupled with the responsibilities of being a parent.
Starting you own business is definitely an option. In her book, Venture Mom, Holly Hurd offers some great examples of how moms across the country have the best of both worlds – staying at home and working with a purpose in mind. Most of the examples in Hurd’s book are built upon ingenuity and a willingness to be creative.
The workplace is full of people settling for the notion that working for someone else is the safest route to a steady paycheck even though a hectic work schedule might not be the best for their family. The ups and downs of an unsteady marketplace combined with job searching have led some moms to create their own win-win solutions.
Not all entrepreneurial undertakings are based on wanting a job; some people start a business out of necessity. One example that Hurd uses in her book describes how a mom was left handling her deceased parents’ household items and needed a way to disperse of them. Through creativity and a need for some income she started a business selling items online. The interesting note is this: Prior to selling goods online she had no experience whatsoever in taking digital photos and marketing items. She literally taught herself through online tutorials with little cash needed to start her business.
Over time, her business grew and as a result people call on her to sell their goods. She even holds classes to teach others how to sell online. A business born out of necessity is now a thriving enterprise with her whole family being involved.
Hurd describes five commonalities that all successful stay-at-home moms have in common when starting a business. The five success factors will also help you generate ideas and encourage creativity.
- All successful moms who have started a business have an existing talent, skill or passion. Most of the moms build their business around an interest that is already present in their lives. It can start with a hobby that grows to multi-streams of revenue. The question for reflection, “what is it that you do in your life now that you love to do and others will need”?
- All have an active network of supportive friends and family. This is much like having your own board of directors where you share ideas and ask for feedback. A hallmark of a successful entrepreneur is asking questions and asking for help. The question for reflection, “what is your idea and who can help you make it happen”?
- Most moms have no formal business plan. The shocking truth, most of them just got started without a lot of heavy analysis. They found a need and acted on it. Question for reflection: What do you do that your friends and family would like and pay you for?
- They have no start-up capital. Most start their business with under $500.00. Instead, start-up moms use social media to raise awareness and spread the word of their business services.
- They overcome fear. Instead of worrying what the neighbors will think if they launched an idea, entrepreneurial moms have an unshakable drive to put their ideas to out there knowing that someone could benefit.
You can start generating your own income by using Hurd’s guide lines and questions while staying at home with your family. The important take away is to avoid letting fear and inexperience keep you from reaching your dreams. Every mom’s story is one of encouragement, in knowing that you have what it takes to do the same for your family.
I would like to hear your story of balancing your home and work life.
What made you decide to stay at home with your family and continue your career?