When I was growing up, most authority figures led me to believe that being a home maker or working were either-or choices; that I could choose to stay home and raise children, or I could be a working mother and put my kids in daycare. I find this approach to be grossly irresponsible.
It is very easy for a high school, college, or even self educated woman to be both a mother and an income provider. You just have to know your options. Here are some ideas of what you can do to bring in extra income without sacrificing your kids on the altar of “success”. Your home skills can translate into real money.Day Care Provider
If you’re a good mom, you may also be an excellent daycare provider. Not everyone has the skills or inclination or luxury to be a stay at home mom, and there is a need for quality, trustworthy daycare. Bonus, if you’re equipped to care for disabled children. Find out from your state authorities, what you need to qualify, and what their standards are. I would also add that filtering your clients is very important as well. Make sure that you and the kids in your care’s parents are on the same page as far as disciplinary tactics, nutrition, and other important issues. Things work out best when you and the parents share similar values.
If you can make marketable crafts, approach stores about selling your creations. Many shops are looking for unique items that fit their theme or can be accessories to the clothing or shoes they sell. Even better, if you can sew and make alterations, you can basically “telecommute” this job. You can just go there once a day to pick up things that need alteration, and bring them back the next day to pick up more.
Small Scale Catering
Local cafes, and sometimes even franchises that give the managers some breathing room, are often looking for unique, quirky cakes, cookies, or other items. Local bars and pubs often buy items from the area. Get your kitchen certified by the local authorities (if needed), and take some photos of what you can make. Find out what other caterers usually charge for similar items, and price yours to the general scale. Approach the manager with your selection. If they’re interested, make an assortment of samples for them to try, and then they may order the ones they like.
Another possibility is to become a special diet caterer. You make meals in freezable containers for people who are on a special diet but don’t have time to cook. Some college students can’t eat the cafeteria food because of allergies or intolerances or just personal preferences such as being vegan. If you’ve already got a gluten free, macrobiotic, vegan, or other special kitchen at home, you can cater for others with the same needs. Give your business cards and informative booklets to allergy specialists, family doctors, and nutritionists.
Home Care Provider and HCP-Lite
When your kids are school age, you can use those free hours to be a home care provider. Technically, it is working outside the home, but since the hours are usually very flexible, you can be home before your kids get home from school. To be an official home care provider for the disabled and elderly, you may need to get special training or be a certified nurses’ assistant.
There is another option though. Some people need a kind of “lite” version of home care: basically a special needs housekeeper. You just go once or twice a week to do basic chores that they have trouble doing. No special certification is usually needed for this, just trustworthiness and dependability, and a love for a clean home.
If you have a cosmetology or natural hairstyling license, you can open a salon in your home. You might not become a millionaire for it, but if you are a skilled braider then it will likely be a steady income. Braided hairstyles and hair extensions are an art, and the many people prefer if someone can take their time to do it right. Home stylist are often sought above more commercial salons for this reason. They get a better style for a more reasonable price.
There’s a dilema if your state has made natural hairstyling/braiding certification inaccessible or impossible. This is one of the few cases when I’d say it’s best to do it anyway. Just make sure that you at least have an educational credential to say that you’ve been trained by an instructor who is practicing legally in their area and is up to the federal standard. If you meet the national/federal standard, but your state just hasn’t gotten up to speed, and you get caught, they can’t say that you were actually endangering the public.
Advertising Your Business On a Budget
Post an ad for your business in your local classifieds. Some are free or very low cost. It’s also good to have some business cards printed out. You can make simple flyers and booklets as well. Don’t forget the tabs on the post boards option. Many towns have bulletin boards in grocery stores or along the streets. Some shops even have places where people can put cards and such. Remember, to get business, people have to know your business exists.
I hope that this article will help you to use your home skills to make money. There’s no reason that a mom can’t also work without compromising her principles.
Rev. Nicole Lasher D.M. is an active, licensed Universal Life Church minister, natural hairstylist, and cooking and culture enthusiast, and has been a mother working at home for over 16 years, with no regrets. She also teaches natural hairstyling and braiding at Cornrows.co.uk.
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