What does this title make you feel?
If you are a stay-at-home parent planning to start a small business, it is normal to fear and feel a sickening in your stomach -- thinking this is near impossible. Looking after the kids alone is a full-time job (I have been there). You have very little time, let alone the money to start or run a small business while you live on one wage and struggle to pay the mortgage/rent, cars, bills and feed the family
So I guess the title is unrealistic right? Wrong.
It all comes down to what kind of small business we are talking about. Many home parents try to do something on the side like create crafty projects or sell unique products to their friends or parent’s group. It only costs them a few hundred for materials and their group will support them. It will only take an hour a day and they can do it while the kids are asleep or while they are out being social with the group. But realistically, you would be lucky if you could make $100 per week. Most will only make around $20 per week. Simply because this is a hobby and not a business. Another issue is that there is only so much your clientele will buy of these types of products, so the “business” will usually phase out as quickly as it started.
We need a “real” business. However, most start-ups cost an average of $500,000 to get going. Who has that kind of money lying around? Ok, you may be able to mortgage the house but do you want that risk on your family? It’s a huge debt to have and the stress will cause a lot of issues. Also, more than 80% of businesses fail within the first 3-5 years. It is a huge gamble. So to reduce the risk, we can buy a franchise right? Yeah Ok, you probably looking at more money again, and then after you pay the franchisor plus all the other expenses, it may not be worth your time right now.
I’m not saying these are bad business ideas, I just think the timing is what needs to be looked at. We have a normal family situation -- a couple in their first home (be it rented or mortgaged), 1 parent working and one looking after the 1-2 kids with lots of bills to pay and facing so much stress. We need a profitable business that doesn’t cost a heap to start, can be done in a few hours a week, and has minimal risk. Most of all, it should be simple and easy to do. Correct?
Direct Selling, Word of Mouth Marketing, or Network Marketing?
Remember the Tupperware parties, Avon Calling and so on. Things are very different these days with the use of technology and understanding of the past. Gone were the days of cold calling and door to door sales. Today it’s called referral marketing. You simply recommend a friend to see a product or business you have had results with, and that’s that. No holding / delivering stock, no parties, no worries. This profession has been around for over 100 years this is why it is so successful and people such as Richard Branson and Donald Trump applaud Network Marketing. Here are some reasons why:
1) It requires very little capital but high return.
2) Anyone can do it regardless of their background and education.
3) You can be working in your spare time, around the kiddies.
4) There is virtually no risk.
5) There is sure to be a product / company that you are passionate about.
This profession offers it all. However, the reason so many people pass it by is because it either feels too good to be true, or they have a bad perception of the profession due to a past experience or something they have heard. There are more than 250 companies running at the moment, some huge companies such as Amway have been around for more than 50 years.
How does a stay-at-home parent get started?
Simply find a product/company that you are passionate about and do your due diligence. Ask around, talk to your friends. I am sure you will find a few. Once you have found one, you could get going in under an hour, to join the business you will usually pay a couple of hundred dollars, up to a few thousand for a yearly plan. For this cost, you will be purchasing products to use and promote (a legal requirement of this profession). The ordering process these days is automated so the products will be delivered to your door by postal or courier service. All you have to do now is try the products, feel the results and tell the world about them. Have you ever recommended a good movie or restaurant to a friend? Well this is the same thing, though if they did go online and purchase, you get paid!!
Most companies offer a free website to refer customers to. They will give full training and support, as well as, marketing materials and so on. Many will usually have physical offices and locations to use for events also. So there is no need to open your home. If you are unsure about anything, a leader will step in and assist you. They will help you succeed and you will create a new social circle and have fun doing it. Most companies also have a varied compensation plan, so you can work on the payments types that suit you. All you need to do is enjoy the products and share what you like about them. This business can quickly build a great income that can pay you over and over again without needing to make connections (this is residual income and means that if a customer likes the product, they will repeat purchase). Your business could even branch overseas and you can get paid while you sleep! I have seen stay at home parents make so much money, that both of them retired from their “normal” work. It takes a little effort, but will quickly build to be very profitable.
I am reminded of a couple I had met and I’d like to share their story here. This man was an Engineer for a very large company during the dot com boom. He was offered a very good role in the Silicon Valley and so moved his wife and 2 boys to the USA and worked for 3 years. He enjoyed a great income until things started to get shaky and the “dot com bubble burst!” As he puts it. He laid off 200 of his staff and felt terrible. Making him physically sick and hating his job. The family returned to Australia and he still worked for the company but with a greatly reduced salary. His wife, just before leaving the USA met a woman in Network Marketing and decided to give it a go. The husband was very against it but said “do what you like Honey -- after all, a happy wife makes a happy life.” After a few months, she showed him her commission cheque and it matched his for the month. A few months later, she showed him another, significantly larger cheque and the husband said “wow, that’s what you earned last month?” to which she replied “no darling, that’s what I earned last week!” The husband decided to then take Network Marketing seriously. They both now “work” full time in the profession earning over $3 million per annum. This couple and their two boys live in a beautiful home on Queensland’s Gold Coast, living a life traveling the world and enjoying things most can only dream of. They created this life in 4 years and I am proud to say, they are part of my team.
In closing, I’d would like to say that yes, there is an ideal business that is well suited to stay at home parents. It is not your regular business type, it’s much better. You just need to take the time to look into this with an open mind and see if this is for you. It is better to say “no” to something you understand than to blindly miss it entirely.