Making money as a work at home mum

09 Dec 09 / Posted by: Jessica

Never underestimate the power of being a mum! Some of New Zealand’s most successful female entrepreneurs got their start working nights in their garage or kitchen, while raising their children.
For many of us, earning a bit of money to help pay the mortgage is a necessity – others just enjoy the sense of satisfaction they get from doing something in addition to the daily pleasures of wiping snotty noses and singing nursery rhymes.

Skills you learn as a mum

Whatever your reason, the skills you learn and develop as a mum: time management, organization, budgeting, creativity, communication, leadership – not to mention patience! – are all invaluable when it comes to running a business.

Here are some ideas to help get you started on your own journey towards becoming New Zealand’s next top work-from-home mum:

What are you good at?

When working out what sort of business to run, think about what you already know and are good at. Louise Tanguay from Titirangi, Auckland set up her business The Sleep Store after discovering some really effective ways to get her two baby boys to settle at night. She suspected other sleep-deprived parents might be happy to pay for her secrets and she was right!

Choose something you love doing

All businesses have their hurdles but if you’re passionate, it will make it easier to hang in there when times get a bit tough. Lisa Er’s brand of hummus and specialty foods is now a household name but it began as a way for Lisa to make a bit of extra cash for the family while her youngest child was still at home. She sold her hummus at her local health food shop and to staff at the school where she taught once a week.

Ten years later the brand was a supermarket staple which she was able to sell for a tidy sum.

Know what you’re entitled to

There are a heap of small business grants and support services available. www.business.govt.nz has an excellent section on home businesses and covers everything from doing a business plan to what expenses you can claim.

Invest in good advice

None of us can be experts in everything. Acknowledge where your strengths lie and then buy the best advice you can afford for everything else. Talk to a good accountant and lawyer to make sure you have everything in order from the get go. Finding out about things like trademarks early on will save you a lot of headaches in the long run!

Separate your business and personal accounts

Keep a separate account for tax and put away money every week so you’re not faced with any nasty surprises at the end of the financial year.

Try and keep your costs low, spend as you earn

Keep your costs low to start by producing small runs of products and trialling them through stalls at local markets or on Trade Me. It’s a great way to test demand and get customer feedback on what works and what doesn’t before you invest in your own website for example. Frances McInnes of online store Breastmates started small with an investment of just $50.

Whenever she was making crafts for her young son, she’d do a few extra items and list them on Trade Me to test their popularity and get an idea of appropriate pricing.

Network with like-minded people

Join a network of like-minded work-from-home mums like www.mumsontop.co.nz or start your own – you’ll appreciate the support and it will help overcome those feelings of isolation that working on your own can sometimes bring.

Take care of yourself

Even superheroes need time out to rest and recharge occasionally, take the phone off the hook and enjoy a magazine or a long hot bath, and congratulate yourself for a job well done!

Tell us about your work from home story

We want to hear from you! Drop us a comment with your thoughts on the topic.

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2 Responses for Making money as a work at home mum

Chavah / 09/12/2009 8:13am

Great article. Thanks for the mum forum too, I’d never heard of it. You’re absolutely right about everything. I’ve done these steps in my own life and greatly increased our income while staying home to raise four children under the age of seven. It’s great to read about Mothers doing it for themselves.

Alex / 09/12/2009 8:13am

Thanks Chavah for commenting!

Four kids under the age of 7! You must be very busy, any tips on jobs you did?

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