Have you ever dreamed of working from home? Would you like to have more flexibility, more freedom, and more opportunities to cherish daytime moments with your kids...all while still earning income?
I am pleased to welcome Author Michelle Anton to Metropolitan Mama today to share her expertise about this very topic. Anton is a TV and radio producer, and is the co-author of "Weekend Entrepreneur: 101 Great Ways to Make Extra Cash." Michelle is also a mother and has one daughter, two step-daughters, and one step-son.
ME: What are the top 10 "hottest" at-home businesses that aspiring entrepreneurs might want to consider as we move through 2008 and into '09?
ANTON: Finding a business isn't as simple as listing the Top 10… like on the David Letterman Show. Although I know most people prefer to approach it that way, I don’t. I like to think of the various categories. Some people prefer selling a product, others a service. Still others prefer launching an online business. Some online businesses sell products, while others teach you how to do something and may sell audio and downloadable products for your convenience. There are online companies that are membership websites where people pay to have access to hard to find information...or you can start your own association.
The saying "Find your niche and get rich" is a good thing to take into consideration when you are thinking about starting a business. One of the most in-depth success stories in my Weekend Entrepreneur book profiles a woman who launched an online business selling wedding favors. She couldn't find what she was looking for while she was planning her own wedding and now she has a million dollar business. Her secret to success was that she researched her idea and discovered that there is a market out there of soon-to-be brides who are hungry for unique wedding favors.
ME: What business ideas are an especially good "fit" for mothers of young children?
ANTON: In the long run, finding something you have a passion for is key (although you can choose to fall in love with your business even though it may not be something you feel passionate about). And that option is OK too. Moms are discovering that they enjoy their own business even if it isn’t their dream business more than they would treasure going to work and having to put their precious little one in daycare.
There is a great alternative that I recently wrote about on my blog for Entrepreneur.com. Needlestackjobs.com is a resource for flexible part-time and full-time staff jobs that allows people to work at home. You can visit their website or read the article I wrote.
As for starting your own business, the type of venture that would be right for a person depends on several variables including the age and number of children you have. If your child is an infant, you will have certain challenges and, with a toddler, you'll be pretty busy and may have to wait until they are taking a nap or asleep at night to get any work done [NOTE FROM ME - That's the stage I'm in! Naptime/Bedtime = Working Time! Anyone else with me?]. Those factors will have an impact on which business would be the right fit for you, your spouse, and your child(ren).
Here's an example...from time to time, I experiment and try different business ideas out. One that I really enjoyed was when I was a Professional Organizer for a month. I charged $75.00 an hour (there was a three hour minimum required). If I shopped for storage items, I charged half of my fee (so it was $37.50 an hour) and thirty five cents a mile for travel. I found clients by contacting businesses. Going to networking events (including the Chamber of Commerce) is another great way to find new clients. This was a huge success and, even though I don't really like organizing, this was a lot of fun. If a mom organized 6 hours a week for four weeks each month, that would be $1,875 plus mileage. Not bad, eh? And all you need are business cards, which can easily be ordered online from VistaPrint. In fact, they usually have a special where you can get free business cards. My suggestion is to order your business cards from them and have something on the back, like a discount for first-time customers...and be sure to add an expiration date so that people know that this deal won't last forever.
ME: What tips would you give to moms who want to start their own "weekend" business?
ANTON: If you are married, make sure you have the support of your husband. And when you make money, put a little aside for the family to celebrate. Or, keep a piggybank (a jar will do) that you put money in and remind your family of the great thing you have planned from the money you earn from your business. That way they can help you because they will benefit too.
Keep in mind that being a weekend entrepreneur just means that you are running your business in your spare time. It doesn't have to be on the weekend. And make sure you have a trusted and reliable family member to help with childcare if this is an issue.
ME: What do you recommend in terms of resources (books, magazines, products) for new and aspiring business owners?
ANTON: Entrepreneur magazine is a great resource and my book is outstanding too because it has several great tips for getting on your local TV station if you'd like your business to get noticed by the media. Also, you’ll find info about everything from blogging to using Instant Messaging and coupons to generate new clients.
You can also find Michelle on her personal blog and at weekend.entrepreneur.com.
Thanks so much for sharing your time and knowledge with us, Michelle!
WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of Weekend Entrepreneur: 101 Great Ways to Make Extra Cash by Michelle Anton and Jennifer Basye Sander. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post prior to Thursday, May 15 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). The winner will be announced and contacted on Friday, May 16. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
*UPDATE* The winner is #183 kiyana. Congratulations!
whenever someone visits that site, the registered owner makes money, it’s called traffic. For every person that visits these sites and every sale that these sites make, the owner is paid a commission. Which pretty much sums up what this Jeff Paul program is
Wow, I really need this now with the economy.
I am always interested in ways to earn extra cash. Thank you for offering this prize.
I like cash.
I could use this. I've run out of ideas on how to stretch the budget
Extra = good. Especially as my industry struggles. I could maybe even save some!!!
I could sure use some money-making ideas.
Thanks for the chance to win.
I could really use tips on making extra money!
What advice couldn't I use; especially for the and from the weekend entrepreneur. Thanks SW
Would love to read this book!
ooo, this would be so great to get, i've been trying to figure out ways to get a little extra on the side we can afford some more luxuries. My daughter used to sell candy at her school, she was a little entrepreneur herself, she actually made A LOT of money from just selling candy, hahaha!
Now, this is a prize I certainly need.. thanks for the contest!
“Find your niche and get rich” is a good thing to take into consideration when you are thinking about starting a business.
I could really use this book. Great prize.
Great contest, I hope I win because the prize is fantastic! Thanks!
What an inspiring interview! I will have to look for the book.
In this economy, this is really something to consider.
I could really use some tips on making extra gas money!
Yes, this is the book I've been needing. I am always trying to find ways to make money from home since I have little ones with me all the time. I'd love to read about what to do and how to help me succeed in it too.
Great contest, hope I win!!!!
I would love this book right now. This is very timely. If I don't win this may a book I have to splurge and buy
I want/need to make money at home!
I need to find a way to make a little extra income. My weekends are free.
Perfect book to read--thanks!
I would love to win
I would love to win this book.
Who does not need extra cash? I'd welcome some new ideas on earning extra cash.
please enter me :)
Having recently been laid-off, I'm staying home with my young kids and am looking for some great ideas to earn a little extra cash. This book sounds great.
Recently retired and looking for something to do part time. The book sounds very helpful. Thanks!
Please enter me
Finally, a subject that I haven't read about. Great idea!
Would love to be able to earn a little extra cash on the weekends to suplement my 8-5 job. Sounds like an educational read. Thanks
This looks really good to read!
A very useful prize!
Could really use this. Thanks for giveaway
I wold love to get some tips on how I can get ahead financially. I have tried several (small) endeavors, but they have all ended with a negative cash flow situation. This looks like it might help get me pointed in the right direction.
I definately need more money. I would love to read this book.
Oh, this would be great! Can you get paid to sit like mold and watch movies? haha
I could definitely use some advice on making a little extra cash, especially by doing things that don't take a full-time commitment.
It's always a struggle to make ends meet with two young children, but I think they need their mom at home. Maybe this book could give me some ideas!
I've been thinking about starting a home business so this would be great!
I'm about to be an empty nester and I need to go back to work but I'm dreading it so this might be the answer to not leaving home!
I could definitely benefit from reading this book!!
This sounds like wonderful and much needed advice!
I'd love to win this book.. BUT I'd settle for the winner just telling me what it says!
I really really want to read this book!!
I would really like to read this book
I would love to be able to work at home, so hopefully this will give me some great suggestions.
This book sounds like a lifesaver! Who doesn't need help with making more money?
Thanks for entering me. I'd love to make some money in my spare time.
I'm a SAHM but am always trying to make ends meet. I would love to find a way to help out my family while I care for my small children. Thanks.
I really would like to win this one!
Very interested in winning this book!
I can't wait to read this.
I loved this post. I feel like I have ideas galore, but it's getting started that's the hardest part. Thanks!!
This would be great. With four kids, I need all the help I can get.
I'm ALWAYS looking for ways to make a little extra, since I am a stay at home Mom. Thank you!
Thank you for a great opportunity! I am sure I could put this to great use if I win!
We could certainly use some extra cash. Would take some of the pressure off the budget.
I'm So excited that you've written about this! My kids are older and I really want to start some kind of business; but I'm stuck trying to decide what!
I would love to be able to earn some extra cash. Gas is getting so expensive that we're going to be riding bikes real soon.
...can you say recession ??? I thought you could...
Count me in
This is exactly what I've been looking for! I really need to find a way to make money from home without being able to put in ALOT of hours! Thanks for the heads up on this book! :)
this sounds great
We all need some extra cash, so this would be a good read.
being retired, I'm always looking for new ways, great prize.
I NEED more moolah! Pick me so I can get rich!
The way the economy is, I'd love to get a few hints on how to get some more income coming in. None of my own entrepreneurial ideas have come to fruition yet.
THIS BOOK IS RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!
Boy could I really use this!
I need ideas on how to make more cash.
I could really use this book!
I NEED to win this!
I would LOVE to win this. I have been unable to work and am looking into part time work to do.
I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope like you know what that I win this!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for the opportunity.
WOW!! This would be such an AMAZING book to win!! I plan on staying home with my babies in 2009 and would love to make some extra money for my family. It seems to be difficult sometimes finding a way to make extra income BUT with 101 ideas I am sure to find success in something!!!
Thank you for the chance to win!!
I would love to win this book. I work at home but I make less than min wage (I live in the country and can't bring myself to spending all that gas working outside the home). I would love learn to make more money. Thanks for the giveaway!!
I could use inspriation to earn some money
I could use this book
I live in an expensive town. It would be great to learn how to earn some extra money. Thanks!
Count me in!
I'd love to read this book!
Self motivated mother of two ready for your wisdom!
Count me in!
I'm always looking for a good way to earn something extra and this book just may spark an idea for me. We want to do some improvements on our house.
Wow! Sounds like a great and useful book!
I could sure use it! My little man is 14 weeks old and I can't imagine going back to work and leaving him with someone! Thanks!
like to win this
I've been looking for a good work from home opportunity for some time but haven't come across it yet.I crave flexibility so I can get things done when they need to be done instead of when time opens up.This sounds like it may be just what I'm looking for.Thanks.
Count me in, Thanks!
I would love to win this prize...at 55 I would love to find something I love to do...thank-you!
Sounds great, thanks for the giveaway!
I'm ALWAYS looking for ways to make extra cash... especially now that we're trying to save for a house! Looks like a good read, thanks for the chance to win!
I would be very interested in the techniques for having a successful business from home.
this would be great
Wow! This looks great for moms who want to do some work from home! :)
I have always wanted to start my own business, but have never really researched my options previously. Would love to win and begin my adventure!
With 4 kids, every dollar counts...would love to win.
I have been really thinking about starting my own sewing business, but don't know how to start. This book looks like it could give me the info I need to really get started.
I would love to be able to find alternative ways to make money. The old job just isn't cutting it right now.
I have been thinking I might try starting a business in a year or so when my kids are a bit older
This book sounds great - thanks for the contest!
I want to win!
i really need to read this book
I'm so glad you blogged about this. I am always trying to think of ways I can start a business successfully or do at home work. Its hard especially since I already have 2 jobs! This book would be a helpful read.
please enter me thanks
Wouldn't mind reading this, in fact my husband and I are trying to get an online business up and running. We are using Tipzu right now but we might change over to Etsy, not sure yet. Right now I am updating the site everyday with a blog entry recording our progress we make towards our goal of opening our online store in 2 weeks. We are going to be selling my husbands artwork, probably just prints and books because I don't think he could bare to part with originals. However we are going to be sending an original piece of his work special for the first person to buy something from our store. Hopefully we will have some of his work up there for people to see soon. I left the web address in the website bar check out his stuff when we get it up, let me know what you think. Do you have a preference between Etsy and Tipzu. We are new to this and don't know much about either site, I see Etsy sites everywhere though I haven't seen or heard of Tipzu at all before finding it in a google search.
Would love to know how to make some extra cash!
This sounds perfect for me.
i need this too!
I really need this book! I hope I win!
i need extra cash! I hope to find some good tips!
This would be so helpful to me. I'm trying to develop "alternative streams of income" to provide a cushion for my family in case of a job loss....this sounds perfect.
Always looking to make more money - one way or another!
As usual, Stephanie, you did a great job interviewing. I think this would benefit my older daughters in finding a niche that they could pursue yet still stay at home when/if they marry and have children.
My friend and I have been thinking about starting something but as we had a baby this has to wait a little longer. I would love to read this book! I loved the interview, made me more curious all together. Thanks for the great giveaway!
You've peaked my interest...this would be a fantastic book to win!
I could really use this book. I feel it's time to get something going!
Hello, I am entering a new phase in my life! I have been a stay at home mom for quite awhile and am ready to do something in addition at home! Like, bring in some income! Please enter me in your fabulous drawing. Much appreciated.....Cindi
I have been brainstorming this very topic since the birth of my first child. Now, with two children, I am that much more curious. Great interview. The book sounds like it would be an interesting read with even more detail.
This would help out tramendously! I'm trying everything I know short of going back to work full-time to find ways to make ends meet.
Exactly what I needed...tips & advice. Thank you very much!
thank you for the the contests
I like new ideas
I have been looking for a book like this I need to make some extra money.
I could use this. I am a mother of two, and a full time college student (at 30!). I am always looking for ways to help bring in extra income while waiting to graduate.
I would love to read this book. With the economy going the way it is and gas prices being what they are (we're in CA, where it's crazy), we could always use additional funds! Thanks for the opportunity!
I need the book.The plant I worked at just closed
THANK YOU GOD BLESS
These days, a book like that would come in very handy.
That was an inspiring interview, and the book sounds fantastic too. My dh is definitely an entrepeneur at heart, and we've toyed around with the idea of starting our own business someday...maybe this would be the kickstart we need!
great interview. thanks, stephanie. i think my husband and i could both benefit from the info in this book until i'm able to start my practice (i hope that until comes sooner than later!)
I really need this. I am a full time student living on financial aid, with no time for a real job. It would be great to have some ideas to make a little extra cash.
I could definitely use this book!!
this book looks interesting. i am one who is always looking for an edge.
Please enter me! I have ideas but no initiative...
i am disabled and mostly at home so any help i can get is appreciated great sweeps GLA
This would be great - I would love to try a few new things!
plug me in - i could use something like this to keep me outa trouble
Looks very interesting. Thanks for the chance to win.
Oh..How I would LOVE to win this...thanks so much!!!!
Could always use some extra cash.
My husband and I have been thinking long and hard about me starting up a business... This book would be a huge asset to our success. We know some of the risks, benefits, pluses and minuses... but we don't profess to know it all. To be honest, I don't know much of anything on the business end! That's why I'd need my hubby's help - he's very business-minded and money smart; I'm all heart and soul! I pour my heart and soul into whatever I do, but I'd definitely need him to succeed. And like I said, this book would help too! Much love to you and yours, take care and God Bless!
This sounds like a great book. I'm the primary wage earner in our family (DH is a SAHD). But I would love to bring in some more.
hope I win...
I could really use some more ideas.
I would love to make some extra money. (I suppose everyone would though)
I'd like to win!
I would like to learn how to make some extra money
Always looking for new ideas!
I haven't heard of this book before, but I sure would like to own it now.
The way the economy is heading we all need at least three jobs. This would be a great book to have at this time. Thanks for the contest!
I could use the help in launching a part time freelance graphics business. This prize would be most helpful as I am graduating from school on the 29th and will need a good start.
Thank you for such a great prize choice.
Will anybody pay me to drink beer on the weekends? I'm good at that.
There are so many challenges that face moms who want to work from home. The trick, find something you are good at and find a way to get paid for it! You have to think outside the box sometimes and not take no for an answer!
Wow! Being able to leave the rat race behind has always been a dream. Perhaps this dream can actually be realized. Thank you. :-)
I would love to make money from home, I'm currently disabled and living on ssdi doesn't get you very far, besides the fact I need something to give my life purpose
This is something I have really been thinking about a lot, lately. With me working as a student (hence no income!) and living on one salary, our money situation is VERY tight. And it seems like it just keeps getting tighter and tighter as gas and food costs rise, as we plan a move to very expensive California, and as our son gets older and needs new clothes, more food, and "gear."
I am planning on checking out the Flexible Work website that she mentioned. Looks great.
With the prices on almost everything going up daily, who couldn't use this book?
I would love to read this and get some new ideas!
I would really like to read this book. Sounds interesting! Count me in! Thanks!
this could really come in handy
I really need some books.
It looks like Michelle’s managed to accomplish exactly what every entrepreneur should set out to do: she turned a hobby into a successful business. She’s also managed to find a balance between home life and work like, which can certainly prove to be the biggest obstacle a WAHM must face. Working from the home definitely has its advantages, but as she said, you need to be persistant, determined, and love what you do! It’s also important to network, and make your business aware to as many people as possible. One of the best means of going about this is delving into the wide market of the internet. For example, Microsoft just released Office Live Small Business, and it’s a wonderful, highly organized and comprehensive tool for any WAHM looking to take her business online. It’s a free service that includes highly organized e-mail capabilities, website traffic reports, and you can even design the page yourself with a completely user-friendly webpage designing platform. You don’t have to know the first thing about HTML to create a professional, legitimate business site.
There’s more information at http://smallbusiness.officelive.com
Office Live Small Business is a fabulous tool for getting any starting entrepreneur off the ground fast, easily and efficiently. Microsoft even hosts everything on your site for free! And to top it off, for no cost for the first year, you get a free customized “.com” domain name! Now, I work with Microsoft, so if you or any readers have any questions, I’m always around and would be more than happy to answer them for you! My personal e-mail address is [email protected]. Again, thanks so much for posting the fantastic interview! I’ll have to keep my eye out for the book!
I would like to make extra cash!
i could use some extra cash...
I could use the extra money.
this is book i must get my hands on. I could use it for great ideas for my students in Entrepreneurship classes
Great idea for contest prize
Weekend? How about weekly? I lost my job several months ago and would love to start up on my own (no boss). This sounds like a book where you can find what might work for any individual. Great prize!
Please - as long as Bush is in charge, we all need a second job!
Very cool. I am always looking for new ideas.
Go for the Gold!
Sounds like a great read
i am a stay at home mom, and have tried things i have seen online and have been ripped off, so i am trying to educate myself, and help my family. My husband works in sales and is totally paid on comission and some months i worry. i would love to help out and know that i will be able to contribute in those slow months.
This interview and giveaway really fit where I am right now! I need to make a little extra cash, but I want to stay home with my kids. Thanks so much!
This sounds like a great read. Thanks!!
For the first time I'm at home and not working...killing me...I need a job from home
3beez at bellsouth dot net
This book looks great!
im pour i need all the help i can get,think this book might.
I've been on and off searching for that elusive perfect job that I could do at home and enjoy. We almost went into the soft baby shoe business but it never really panned out. I think I would have enjoyed it but I also think I would have benefited from a partner aside from my husband. I'm organized but not that organized and I don't like calling people I don't know so that might have been a problem. I'd also like to be a doula one day but I'm waiting till the girls are older and my parents live nearby to pursue that one. Thanks for a great interview!
I would like this book.
I dont really like peach ,but the new Lipton Peach some thing tea was good, i gave them another chance.Can i win a bike im a man?i need a bike bad!singing out peace phil
my website didn't get listed..it's http://www.ubah.com/w1792
Reading today's blog I really have to say how thankful and fortunate I am that I've already found my stay at home mom goldmine of a business. I'm a consultant with Usborne Books - book that kids love to read.
I work during my daughter's nap (which is right now)...I get to spend time with other moms which is always fun...and the goal of the business to is to educate children. My children love the educational books as do my husband and I.
My suggestions to other moms: find something with low start-up costs and find something you can believe in. I'd be happy to share what I do to anyone interested.
This would be great to obtain more ideas for increasing my financial funds.
Thanks for the contest
This was a great interview. I love the tip about having the "jar" that the family can see, so that they know this is for US, not just for me to keep my hands busy.
I've been tossing around an idea for working as a "weekend mom". I like working outside of the house, but I feel a pulling to do something creative. Even if it's writing reviews or something, I want something where I can put myself out there. So this comes at the GREATEST time for my kids and I. Also, the extra money is NOTHING to scoff at. :)
Oh.. in case I babbled too long. Please enter me in for this, oh.. and cross your fingers :)
This would really help my quest for more $$$ !!!
I could sure use this!
I'm currently trying to make extra money outside of my regular job to pay down my student loans. I've done the garage sale, done the dog-sitting, etc. I'm running out of ideas! This book just might give me some useful tips.
please count me in
Thanks for the info. I am wanting to start a business and this would definitely help. Thanks also, for the VistaPrint info!
This sounds very motivating!
I am seriously thinking I want to build a business from home so I can earn some extra money and still be home with my girls. I really think this book could be very helpful for me! Thanks!
Yeah. After 30+ years, I give up. I need help! Hope this book will help. Thanks.
Who wouldn't want to ear a little more cash at home? I'm having a yard sale tomorrow, but that just won't cut it.
I WOULD LOVE SOME IDEAS!
Gosh, I'm poor folk! I need all the help I can get!
Looks like a wonderful book!
I want to give this to a friend who needs it!
I've been thinking of starting my own business for quite some time, but just haven't found "it" yet. Would love to read this for some inspiration, so thanks for the chance to perhaps get some!
I would love this especially since I am about to leave my full time jon to stay at home!
I'd love to read this. I'm always on the hunt for ways to earn a little cash!
I am interested in ways to earn extra cash and have heard about this book. Wouldn't it be something if indeed there was just that one little tip to start me on my my to entrepreneurship? Thanks for the info about the book and the opportunity to win it...
Wow she has covered everything. I would love to read this book. Starting my own bussiness is a dream that hasn't come true yet.
I want to win!
This sounds like something I could use right now because I need to make some extra money. This book could be the answer I am seeking on what would be more beneficial for me and my family. Thanks for the giveaway, blessings!
This looks so useful for SAHMs!
I need to read this something awful. It is hard living alone making ends meet in a place with high cost of living