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!