Outside of deciding to work from home, jobs for mums can be difficult to find. These days, many women are taking control of their working life by starting their own businesses - mums in particular.
Starting a business can seem daunting, but all of our ideas can be run from your living room while your baby sleeps. So if you think it might be for you, check out our list of small business ideas for mums.
There are a number of mums who’ve made it big by spotting an opportunity for an e-commerce product. Mums Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish struck gold with their idea to connect buyers with sellers of obscure products at notonthehighstreet.com.
But you don’t have to start big. If you can see a gap in the market, chances are other people have noticed it too. Find it hard to get the particular herbal teas you like? Or maybe there’s something you collect?
There are a few things to consider before you start. Are you going to build your own website, or sell through a third party like Amazon or Ebay? Will you keep stock yourself or use drop shipping? It’ll take a bit of research and initial setup, but many e-commerce businesses can be made to tick over almost on their own.
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If you want something less focused on the e-commerce side and more arts and crafts, you could turn your hand to creating bespoke items. Online sites such as Etsy show that there’s a huge market for handmade items - whether it’s clothing and jewellery, beauty products and toiletries, or anything else that takes your fancy.
You can’t fully avoid the technicalities of e-commerce by going this route, especially if you decide to sell from your own website, but this line of work is less about connecting buyers with sellers and more about creating products yourself.
Chances are, through your life and career you’ve developed a certain set of skills. As a consultant, you can offer advice and expertise in your field to other people and businesses.
Don’t worry too much about what job titles you’ve had, but think instead about where you can add value, how you can make people’s lives easier, better, or save them money, and what particular business problems you have the necessary skills to solve. Once you know the answer to those questions, you’ll know where to start your consultancy.
One of the benefits of this line of work is that you may well have an existing network of contacts in the right industry who can help give your new career a jump-start. Depending on the nature of your work, you may need to visit your new clients at their business premises from time to time, but a lot of the work could well be done from home.
If you’re a hands-on person and would rather do more than simply advise, consider freelancing instead of consulting. There are a number of professions where you can lend your skills to a business without becoming a full-time employee - writing, designing and computer programming, to name a few.
Going freelance will also give you the opportunity to work flexibly around your baby’s needs instead of sticking to traditional office hours. If you’re not sure where to start, sites like People per Hour act as a marketplace where freelancers can bid on projects, or, again, you could reach out to your existing network of contacts.
Blogs can be particularly difficult to monetise and take a long time to build up, but many find it rewarding work. Moreover, the world of blogging is vast, so you can write about any topic that interests you.
There’s no one area that’s a recipe for success - food blogs don’t out-perform car blogs or anything like that - but finding a way to make your blog stand out from the crowd will really help. Think about your audience, your tone, even the design of your blog, and find a way to be unique.
You’ll also need to leverage the power of social media, and, once you’ve built up a dedicated readership, think about how to spin a profit.
If you’re looking for something more straightforward and with (almost) immediate pay, you could become a virtual assistant. All you’ll need for this is a computer and reasonable internet speed and you’ll be good to go.
Virtual assistants function a lot like traditional PAs, completing admin tasks for others, but come with particular benefits for mums. As a virtual assistant you’ll work from your home - or anywhere else you like - rather than a particular office, and are only given tasks as and when they’re required, meaning you can take as much of a break between jobs as you need.
Are you looking at all the above suggestions and thinking that they’re just not for you? Well, now might be be the time to think about finding your passion project. You wouldn’t be the only one - one in three Brits think they’re better at their hobby than their day job, so thinking about what you enjoy most and doing that instead could be your best way forward.
Maybe you have a novel you always wanted to write, or you want to start teaching the instrument you play, or your newfound mum-skills could help others out when they have to go to work during the day. There are loads of ways to turn a hobby into a business, it’s just about finding what works for you and your family.
How did you start your business? Let us know in the comments below
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