How to Make a Living From Home

It dawned on me the other day, with the economy in the state that is, that there are probably a ton of families just like us, struggling to live well on one income.

My husband and I made the decision for me to quit my full time job after Penelope was born, because exclusively pumping for her, was a full time job in and of itself, there was no way I could pull 40 hours a week and take car of her, even working from home. It was a tough call, and it put us in a big financial pinch.

We were both very surprised by how much it costs to have even one child. I used to joke to Peter that having a baby would be cheap. We would breastfeed, its free! We would cloth diaper, its much cheaper! And we were bound to get lots of hand me downs from friends, we did!

We did all those things, but let me tell you breastfeeding is NOT free! We literally spent thousands of dollars on gadgets and consultations with medical professionals just to get my milk in her body and eventually got her to comfort nurse.

So pretty much since the moment Penelope was born I have been trying to figure out a way to make a living, but while being home or having flexibility to be with her and be available to her. It took me almost two years to get to the point of making money, and I am still no where near where I would like to be, but here are some ideas I implemented and others to get you started.

1. Start a business. Think about any skills you may have. Are you a stay at home mom with a PHD? Why don’t you offer proofreading/editing services? Are you really good at making amazing baby food puree recipes? Why don’t you sell them to moms in your town? Are you an organic gardening pro? Why don’t you start a business helping people install veggie gardens? The ideas are endless here. Think about what you love to do, what you are good at and possible voids in the market that need filling and importantly, what kind of business could you do that has very, very low overhead (numero uno lesson learned with my yoga studio business)  Many times the only thing that is holding a person back from starting a business, is themselves. What limiting beliefs do you have about yourself that is holding you back? I myself, realized that I was good at marketing, PR and social media. Everyone kept telling me that I was good at it and that I should offer it as service, but I kept telling myself “What do I know?! I have a science degree, not a marketing/communications degree!”  When I finally gave myself a little credit and said, hey wait a minute, I am really good at this! I set up a small website offering my services and have been getting steady clients ever since!

2. Take care of another child. Being a nanny is a really good option if you are dead set on staying home, but need income in the door. Pretty much in every town and city, there is a lack of good, quality child care options. There are a ton of websites to list that you are interested in being hired, but I think the best way is to just put yourself out there. Tell every single person and mother you know that you are looking for another child to take care of during the day.

3. Start a network marketing business. I am a HUGE fan of network marketing businesses. I think they are a really good way to get your feet wet, and learn some business skills, if you want to start a different business down the road. And they are BIG potential money makers. You need to pick a company that has a very good compensation plan and that is reputable. I have done several network marketing businesses in the past, and been disappointed, but the one I am a part of now, LifeVantage, is amazing. I truly love the product and the company, and I like that I am helping people. And the compensation plan is GOOD! The way to make money in these businesses (and I am talking a 6 figure income), is to really put yourself out there. You have to treat this like a regular job or business. You can’t half ass it. A great book to read if you are thinking about a network marketing business, but aren’t sure if it is a good fit for you, is Your First Year in Network Marketing.

4. Start a blog or website. I started this blog back in early 2010, because I wanted an online scrapbook for my family. Then I quickly realized what an amazing opportunity it was for me to have a creative outlet to tell all my stories and share information I had picked up from the last decade of trainings and certifications. It also became this amazing community that supports me and other women. It has become fulfilling (and challenging) in more ways than I could have possibly imagined. Later I realized, a blog can be a real business. At first I thought the only way to make money was from advertising, but my blog has started to make me money in other ways. It helped me hone my marketing and social media skills which lead to my freelance services,  it helped build my writing skills which led to freelance writing gigs. Later I would like to start getting some public speaking gigs and start teaching some online classes. My blog is a launching pad for all those income stream opportunities. Starting a blog was one of the best things I have ever done. There are a ton of books and resources out there to get you started, and on how to make money. I like the ProBlogger site a lot and the book they wrote is pretty great too.

5. Become a Virtual Assistant. This is a new job recently popping up. Larger blogs and websites are hiring people to help them run their blogs, because honestly the business admin side of running a blog is well, extensive. If you know about blogging and social media but aren’t interested in making your blog a business, this could be a great opportunity for you. I just hired one myself and I couldn’t be happier, if you are in need of a virtual assistant, you can email Cassandra at [email protected]

6. Look for opportunities and be open. I think this is key. Just be open to possibilities that you never considered before. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but this universe is endless in it’s opportunities and there is absolutely enough for everyone. If you have watched the movie, The Secret, you know what I am talking about. Decide to open yourself up to receive good things and just watch what opportunities come your way.

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  • Katrina
    February 21, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    LOL at breastfeeding not being free! I totally assumed the same thing pre-baby; severe pain and damage and several hundred dollars on a wonderful lactation councillor later, we know better. It’s totally worth it of course, although I wish our insurance providers would recognize this from a foreseeable future-healthcare costs saved perspective. Oh well, still worth it for us.
    Anyway, this is a great post. Traditional jobs have been letdown in the experience of our family. I also enjoy a lot of your blog in general, especially the freezer slow cooker meals. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Stephanie
      February 22, 2012 at 4:26 AM

      Yeah man, those lactation consultants are not cheap! But we need more of them in the world, and I am happy to support them. But I did not see that coming. At all. I agree traditional office jobs are just so lacking in the way they support families. This country is so behind in that area.

  • Michelle
    February 21, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    These are all great ideas!

    • Stephanie
      February 22, 2012 at 4:26 AM

      Thanks, Michelle!

  • Jojo
    February 21, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Don’t forget Opportunities like Mary Kay it is a great place for stay at home moms too get some important things, not working out of the house is lacking. I sell Mary Kay and here is what I get from it.
    1. income – 50% discount on product. plus bonuses
    2. time away from home – meetings, parties
    3. Adult talk – who doesn’t get sick of elmo, dora, should I go on?
    4. girl friend time.
    5. could you feel good about making someone else feel good? if so email me if you have any questions [email protected]

    • Stephanie
      February 22, 2012 at 2:29 AM

      I don’t use Mary Kay products, but I have a friend from high school that is SO successful with Mary Kay!

  • Nicole
    February 22, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    Ha, thanks for admitting breastfeeding isn’t free. Lactation consultants, pumps, bags for milk, bottles…it all adds up quickly. But, of course worth it in the end. These are all really great ideas.

    • Stephanie
      February 22, 2012 at 2:26 AM

      It is totally worth it in the end!

  • Kendra
    February 21, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    These are great ideas! I think you said it best that the only thing holding people back is themselves. I completely feel that way! I am a full-time working mom and every day I am trying to figure out how to have a more fulfilling career while still being able to make ends meet and get to be home more with my baby boy. I’ve just started a blog and so far I am really enjoying it! I am looking forward to researching more of your ideas. Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephanie
      February 22, 2012 at 2:26 AM

      Congrats on your new blog! I wish you tons of success where ever your path leads you.

  • Stephanie
    February 22, 2012 at 4:28 AM

    I totally agree Stephanie! It is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes a long time. I am literally just now starting to make some money from this blog and compared to what some other bigger blogs make, I am still in the very, beginning stages. But I like you, would keep this blog up even if I never made a penny. Any extra money will be icing on the cake!

  • Stephanie
    February 22, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    Thanks for all the ideas! I decided to stay home with the baby as well, because I know that no one will give her the love and attention her mommy will. So I decided I would try blogging to make a living and started in September of 2011. I love it, and it is something I would continue to do even if I never made a cent. However, I swear I am the only one reading it! I keep hearing that it takes time (sometimes years) to build a following. Just thought I would add that to the mix. Blogging is very rewarding in so many ways, but it is not a quick way to make money. At least not in my experience.

  • Monica
    February 23, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    great post, Stephanie! Stay at home mom with a PhD… 😉 I’ve actually considered doing proofreading/editing, just not sure where to begin. Maybe after prelims I’ll have a second to give it some thought.

    • Stephanie
      February 23, 2012 at 1:18 AM

      You totally should!!

  • Heather
    February 28, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Thanks for pointing out that breastfeedng is NOT free for all of us! I’ve spent a couple hundred on a pediatric chiropractor for my 8 week old, as his spine was compressed during his super fast birth and it was pushing on the nerves that control the rooting and sucking reflexes. Not to mention the money for a good pump, bottles, bags, etc! Definitely worth it, but not very cheap!

    I’ve been thinking about starting a blog, but I don’t really know what I would say! I’m pretty sure every post would say: go see what I found on pinterest today! I’ll let you know how it turns out tomorrow! 🙂

    • Stephanie
      February 29, 2012 at 2:25 AM

      For real, I can’t even tell you how much we spent on bottles. I must have tried 50 million different ones, trying to find the one most like the breast. Well, just start one and see where it evolves!

  • Dave Rowland
    January 5, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    I do not have a website for any of this but i am a very intelligent, articulate individual. I wonder if anyone needs one of the above mentioned blog assistants.

    • Stephanie
      January 6, 2013 at 7:46 PM

      I am sure they do. Start asking around to the websites you read the most often, I only want to work with like minded people, and I think most business owners are like that.