Heading off on maternity leave or becoming a full-time mum doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your earning power. Mums are a growing economic force in the UK and with a bit of effort, you can help boost your family finances. Whether you want to go the whole hog by becoming a mumpreneur (or kitchen table tycoon!), or are just seeking a clever way to pump a little extra money into your budget, here’s what you can do…
Before you start
How much time do you have?
You need to ask yourself, honestly, how much time can you put aside? Think about when you can work around your mummy duties. For example, evenings often work well, once your little ones have gone to bed.
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What resources can you use?
Assess what you already have. Do you have anything you can sell or rent out? Also consider any contacts and friends you have who could give your business a boost. Also think about your current finances. Do you have money to invest and how healthy is your credit rating?
Do you have qualifications?
Do you have any certificates, exams or qualifications you can put to good use? These can help you get higher paid home-based jobs.
What practical skills and experience do you have?
Experience in sales may come in handy, while practical or creative skills could help you launch your own business.
Do you have any mum inspiration?
Is there something that would make being a mum easier? Be it an invention, a website or just an idea, using your personal experiences to build a new business venture from home could corner the market. If this sounds like you, read up being a mumpreneur.
What are your options?
The internet is awash with offers to make money from home. But do your homework as the ones that seem too good to be true often are. Real money can be made by proof-reading, filling out surveys, doing customer research and even shopping. FiveSquids.co.uk is a website where you can offer various products and skills for a fiver so if you’re a dab hand at Photoshop or can offer up a unique idea, you could be rolling in fivers.
Other useful sites include
Another opportunity to monetise your day could be to become a mystery shopper. Yes, you get paid to shop.
Caring for children or animals
If you’re already at home looking after your children, you may want to consider looking after other people’s too. Find out more about becoming a child minder and what training you need.
You could also consider pet sitting and dog walking as you can take your child with you.
If you have qualifications in a particular subject, play an instrument well or speak a language you could offer tutoring from home. Students come to you and you charge by the hour. This is an especially good idea around exam preparation time when SATS, GCSE and even A Level students are often looking for some extra help. Advertise online (such as on MFM Neighbourhood) or on local centres’ noticeboards.
Selling crafts and homemade products
If you have a creative streak, you could try selling your wares. Online you can set up an Etsy shop for free, for everything from homemade jewellery to hand-knitted scarves. You could also try the smaller British version of Etsy, called Folksy. Many mums have also had success on Ebay, where you can auction products or set up your own Ebay shop.
Baked goods are often a good money-spinner and setting up a small business making cupcakes for events and offices could be your calling. Try joining forces with other talented mum bakers or take it a step further and organise whole parties.
Find out more about setting up your own business on maternity leave.
Parents have been known to make money from YouTube. Funny baby videos can sometimes go viral and if you’re lucky enough to catch a hilarious scene of your tot that racks up the views, you could make money. Check out YouTube’s info for more details on monetising your videos. And for some examples of what sells, have a giggle at our favourite YouTube clips from last year.
Selling what you’ve got
Ebay can be a great outlet to auction off your old and unwanted items. Furniture, children’s toys, baby clothes, shoes and just about anything else you don’t need anymore goes down well on the site. Or you could try doing a garage sale or car boot to make a lump sum.
Renting out a spare room or even a parking space brings in a steady income, if you have anything to spare. You could also consider offering all or part of your loft, garage or basement (if you have one) as storage.
Mummy blogging gets bigger every year and we’ve heard in 2012 it’s going to become more professional and more profitable. Not everyone’s a born writer but if you feel you can turn a phrase, check out our guide to mummy blogging and get inspiration from our 50 unmissable mum blogs. Money comes from advertising and some companies offer bloggers products to test and occasionally keep.
You could consider becoming an Avon lady, selling products and keeping the profit, or running sales parties for companies, such as the Body Shop and Ann Summers. Perfect for mums who love to shop but can’t make it out as much as they’d like.