10 Rules of Business for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads

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If you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad, there are many good reasons why you might want to start your own small business: Maybe you want to kick in extra money to the family income. Maybe you want to flex your marketable skills, talents, or creativity. Or maybe you simply have a little extra time to fill now that your kids are older and at school during the day.

However, if you’re like many men and women, you may be struggling to find a reason why you personally will be able to take your dreams from “concept” to “company.” I don’t know a lot about business, you may think. Would I really have enough time? What if I don’t make any money? Where do I even start?

Hopeful mom- and dad-preneurs: relax and take a deep breath. Launching a home-based business is more doable than you may think as long as you know the right steps to take. I believe without a doubt that a disciplined and motivated parent can start and operate a profitable business from home while raising children. It won’t happen overnight, but with planning and patience, you can lay a broad, solid foundation for long-term success as a self-employed business professional.

As a stay-at-home dad for six years, I cared for my daughter while building several businesses, including a six-figure direct mail business that operated in 23 different cities. I made phone calls while my daughter was napping, and I did my paperwork and proposals during episodes of Barney or Mary-Kate & Ashley videos. Yes, a big purple dinosaur was my personal assistant, but it worked! And, since I was my own boss, I had a lot of flexibility, and soon I had a business that ran like a well-oiled machine.

If you’re ready to start your transformation to entrepreneur, here are my top ten rules of business for stay-at-home moms and dads:

ONE: Figure out your field.

Perhaps you already have a clearly defined vision for your business: you’d like to design, make, and sell original pottery, or you’d like to use your degree in accountancy to start your own tax service. However, it’s very possible that you’re one of many hopeful entrepreneurs who isn’t sure which field to go into. In that case, I recommend starting a service business (anything from home cleaning to tutoring to adult care) for the following reasons:

  • They require minimal money to start. I’ve never started a service business with more than $10k, and many with less than $3k—including businesses that have made me millions!
  • Many service businesses don’t require a prior work history or particular qualifications.
  • In most cases, they can’t be outsourced or performed by computers so you’ll always have work.
  • Since you can hire others to perform the actual work while you handle the key behind-the-scenes management tasks (like hiring, supervising, taking client calls, marketing, etc.), service businesses are a great source of passive income.

Entrepreneur.com has a great list of services businesses to start you thinking. Or you might also want to visit www.newbizcoach.org for more resources. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the possibilities and identified a few that might be needed in your area, try to poll at least 50 people to see which services they would use in the next six months, and if they’d pay the price you would charge. Their answers will give you a good idea of which field you should go into.

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