It took a big wake up call and a long trial and error process to find my perfect way to make money as a stay at home mum! Let me start at the wake up call! It’s a long blog, but it was a long road! I hope I can help you get some money making ideas too!
The Garden Centre
I had a wake up call last year, it made me sit up and take responsibility of my life. I have never really forgotten that day. It was back when Grace was about 6 months old. I had gone out to the Garden Centre and I was feeling particularly proud that I had actually gotten out of the house for once, and, as far as I knew, I was in public without any baby food (or similar) on me or her!
I had gone to the Garden centre on a mission. I wanted a special rose bush for the Garden. I wanted one of those beautiful, big, red, heavily scented, Valentine’s Day kind of roses you know? My husband and I had just bought our first home (at the ripe old age of 34) and I wanted the special rose for the garden.
I breezed around the aisles with Grace in the trolley, the sun was shining and everything was nice and quiet. I had scaled my sales business down while I had Grace so that I didn’t have any clients getting impatient with me. It was nice and peaceful!
I came round a corner and there they were, the big, red roses… smelling divine! Pricey, but perfect! Into the trolley one went!
At that moment my Husband called… He dropped the bombshell that he had just blown up at work, called the co-worker every name under the sun and that he had quit! The bottom fell out of my world, the sun went behind a cloud and a chill spread through the air. I said I would call him from home when I got back and hung up.
No job? A new baby? We had just bought our first house, was our first ever mortgage payment about to bounce? I had wound my company down and had nothing to sell any more. What on earth were we going to do? If my husband was unhappy then the last thing I wanted was for him to stay there and be miserable. But a little warning would have allowed me to get something together.
Unsettled and unstable.
I took the rose out of the trolley and put it back. I went home to panic in private. We had no savings, new big commitments and nothing to sell any more. Without a steady income we would sink pretty fast. I felt sick, helpless and desperate. That night I lay in bed trying to think of how I could earn some money and quick. It just felt like I had no real control over anything.
I had to be here for the children, but somehow take control of my income for my own peace of mind too. I needed to find an income that worked within the boundaries of motherhood.
Luckily it was not all over with my husband’s job. He went back to work and all was smoothed over… for now. We could breathe again, but for how long? He still hated his work and wanted to get out. I could see the pressure to stay in a job he hated just weighed him down into the depths of depression. I felt responsible and awful.
The feelings of such insecurity and fear that day at the Garden centre have never really left me. I never wanted to feel like that again.
I needed to build a fresh business that I could rely on, something that would work around me, something I could depend on if this all happened again. I had to make my own way to be truly independent, and the thought of making my own money again just lifted all my spirits.
That day I took the responsibility on myself to make my own money again and take control. The old saying took hold “if it’s to be, it’s up to me”. I wanted to be free of guilt, and not to be dependent on one income anymore. Having all the eggs in one basket was just too risky! I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it!
A New Chapter
1. Pick up my old business
While I was pregnant I wound my company down, and then the other agents in the business came in and stole what little business I had left. When I came out of maternity on the other side, all my supplies had dried up or had been taken. It made me realise what a cut throat business it was, and I really had not missed it. To pick it back up would not happen for a long time and I really didn’t want to do that anymore, so I needed a new direction, but what?
2. Get a Job?
I could go out and get a job, something simple, stack shelves, anything! I would find a child minder for Grace who could pick Archie up from School every day too. But straight away the child care would be eating into any earnings I made which was really frustrating!
My other rub, was that I had been self-employed for 9 years, and to then go back to working for someone else just felt completely wrong. I doubt I would even get through one of those crazy interview questions or have the patience for them! You know the kind “If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?” kind of question!
No, I couldn’t do it! “When you can’t get a job, you start your own business” Walt Disney
So, I started looking into franchises. At least I would still be my own boss but with a proven model that could hit the ground running. Looking into it, the rules to follow were quite strict and the start-up and ongoing costs were surprisingly high. It was still playing by someone else’s rules and often limited me to one place or my local “patch”. I wanted something that could be leveraged more.
There were cheaper franchises, but they involved setting up business entertaining children or running classes with toddlers, but this was so limited and I don’t think I would be that great with lots of children running round!
I decided the best place to work on my own terms is online, whenever, where ever. It’s the only place to open up true freedom, where I can work around my children but still make proper money. A few years ago I stumbled across Forex (Foreign Exchange).
There are trading platforms where you buy into a currency when it’s low, and then sell when it’s on a high (hopefully!). I used www.trading212.com for a nice easy platform. They help you a lot and there is training there too. Open a practice account and just play around to your hearts content. It’s really quite addictive!
My husband and I opened a real account and started trading on a small scale. Do you remember when the oil and petrol prices plummeted back in 2014? The prices fell and the oil companies and countries were in turmoil! Well that plummet happened the very millisecond we put our first big trade on! We even wonder if we caused that crash sometimes! It just fell and fell and we lost everything!
I took courses and read books on it, I can trade currencies with some success still, but it always feels like educated gambling to me. I just don’t feel I can rely on it, not for me.
5. Cottage Industries
I started to wonder what I could create from home that I could sell. They say it is now the time of the rise of the cottage industry and small business. With the power and reach of e-commerce I could make things and sell online and locally! Perfect!
I saw this beautiful willow play house and it inspired me! I could take a few courses in Willow Sculpting or Basket Weaving and create garden sculptures like the gorgeous stags you see, or fantastic play houses for children. There are some utterly lovely bird feeders which look so classy in gardens. I thought they would sell really well! Dreams of my large Stags ordaining large country gardens, got me excited! Thoughts of proud parents gazing at their happy children inside a beautiful willow play house which took pride of place in the garden!
But the time each one would take to make on my own would run into days. They would have to sell for a high price (which they do) to make it worth my time. It felt limited to how much I could produce and where could I build them all? It would take a long time to be able to assemble something that even looked like a stag and not a melted donkey. How do you even ship a life sized stag or play house? No, it was too labour intensive! I didn’t want to become some basket case!
I looked into cooking up jams, soups and cakes to sell with home grown veg and my chicken eggs by my gate and surrounding farm shops etc. But I had to get a licence and inspections of my kitchen done, these are simple enough. I would also have to learn how to make jam… hmmmm! It was too much labour for a limited audience and return again. I had to think bigger!
Yes, I even looked into Soap Making! I could sell homemade soap that contained no nasty ingredients and promoted skin friendly oils and essentials. I was going to sell them by my gate and to local farm shops, B&Bs, guest houses and small hotels. The lovely soap would have made any bathroom and guest feel really special. The cost of the ingredients were high though, for essential oils and flower petals etc. It made the soap expensive, which meant I couldn’t put much profit on top. Back to the drawing board again!
6. Digital Business Owner
I just couldn’t escape the logic of owning a digital business. While most high street shops are closing down, e-commerce is still booming! Online business is only getting bigger, and it’s not going anywhere! Did you know that 70% of people have some sort of online income these days?
The Digital world allows me to work around my children when I needed to, bringing in an income without missing the kids grow up. The reach of an online business is global so it has way more leverage. The Start-up costs were a lot lower then a bricks and mortar business. I could be my own boss with no cold calling or anything. It ticked all the right boxes!
I had finally found how to make money as a stay at home mum! Now I needed the skills!
Although it was a bit of a mystery to me how these social media marketers, bloggers, vloggers and affiliate marketers made their money online, I knew they did, and some made 6 figures doing it! I had an idea I wanted to start so looked into this further.
My problem was that I wasn’t very computer savvy. I could get a spreadsheet to add up, buy things on the internet and email, but that was about it! If I wanted to get into a proper business online, I needed help from someone who knew what they were doing!
Finding the right help
I took some free courses about internet marketing and business. The trouble was that some were recorded a while ago, the internet moves so fast they were already out-dated. I needed live webinars with up to the minute information and great teachers who had been there and actually done it! The free courses were a good base, but I needed to get some traction and fast, before my husband quit again! I should have known you get what you pay for!
One day I was swishing though Facebook and the video of my soon to be mentor popped up If you are curious, it was this video here)! Everything he said made sense to me and I knew it was my answer. I’m only a few months in now and I have already build my website all by myself and have learned how to create a profitable business online, market it effectively and really use the internet platforms to leverage everything.
What set this company apart was that I can also earn by reselling their products for a great commission but learn exactly how best to market anything to anyone and grow my skills at the same time. Earning While I learn really helped me get on track, commissions of $1,000 (find out more here) really go a long way!
There is another mother in this learning community who built herself a 6 figure income from it and retired her husband from a job he hated! That is what I am aiming to do, I have seen it happen for hundreds of others on the same course. Now that have the right help, there is no reason it won’t happen for me too!
It won’t happen overnight, but it is a versatile, strong foundation that will work out in the long run because it can be used in so many ways. Just taking action and positive steps towards security and taking control back feels great. My confidence is growing and I feel more capable every day.
If you are would like to find out more on how you can make your own living online too, here is the same free video series that got me started and see what you think!It’s such a relief to have a plan at last and know how to make money as a stay at home mum, I know I have made the right choice!