12 Successful Mompreneur Business Ideas for Entrepreneurial Mothers
Motherhood often doesn’t accommodate a nine-to-five job. For new moms, there are round-the-clock feedings and strict sleep regimens for the baby. Working mothers with older children are often at the mercy of inconvenient school hours, summer camp and sports practices.
Enter mompreneurs, or female business owners who successfully balance entrepreneurship and motherhood. These women have started new careers from their basement, garage or bedroom, in the wee hours of the night, largely because of the flexibility this arrangement provides.
Almost seven in 10 mompreneurs said flexibility was the number one reason to pursue entrepreneurship, according to a recent survey. More than half typically log less than eight hours a day into their businesses, giving them time to be the primary caregiver to their children.
“[I] schedule two days a week to only do my family stuff,” said Cynthia Holt, a mompreneur who runs a beekeeping services business in Rhode Island.
Do you have what it takes to be a mompreneur?
Despite the benefits, launching and growing your own business is just as hard and time-consuming for a mom as it is for any other business owner. However, mompreneurship allows you to define your own level of success while balancing motherhood. Here’s how you know if you’re ready.
Why do you want to do this? Know your why. Your reason needs to be motivating enough to keep you going. Do you want to make money off a hobby you enjoy or does your household need extra cash each month? If it’s the latter, it’s important to know how much additional money you need or want to earn. By being more concrete, that can help you with the next step.
Have a plan. Yes, you’ll need to develop a formalized business plan, but in the early stages, come up with some general ideas. Determine how much time do you want to dedicate to your business and how that fits into your and your family’s lifestyle. Consider the money you will need to get started and where those funds will come from. How are you going to market yourself to get new business? Write down these ideas before you dive into the nitty gritty of launching your own business.
Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself hard questions to help you figure out the type of business you want to start. If you’re going to commit to starting a business, really commit to it. Don’t jump idea to idea. Be honest with yourself and whether you can really stick to your idea, long term. There will be easy days and hard ones, but you must believe in yourself, your abilities and your business. If you’re down, remember: A television producer long ago fired a young Oprah Winfrey reportedly saying she was unfit for television news. How did that work out?
How Mompreneurs can succeed
Jenn Aja, a 35-year-old mother of two boys living in Charlotte, N.C., quit her job as an industrial designer, where she used to design packaging, when her husband was asked to relocate to Belgium for a new opportunity. After her oldest son turned one, she realized that she loved being at home but also missed working.
“I had to do something for me,” Aja said.
Tapping into her previous career as an industrial designer, she purchased a recreational laser cutter to design and create custom home goods. With the support of her husband, she started her own Etsy small business, Burning Oranges LLC where she sells custom house ornaments, engraved cutting boards and laser-etched wooden coasters, among other items.
She acknowledges that she is “a better mom, wife, friend and overall human being for taking care of myself and giving myself a creative outlet.” Her family has since moved back to the U.S. and her business has expanded beyond just Etsy. The bulk of her business now comes from partnering with local businesses and selling to local mom groups.
Pro tip: Like Aja, use your past job, volunteer or other experience to transition into your own mompreneur business. It’s easier to do what you already know.
It took Rachel Jordan and Michelle Cope, two mothers in eastern Pennsylvania, seven years of planning before they started their own business. The pair weren’t happy with the childcare options in their area. Cope, 44, lives in Zionsville, while Jordan, 43, is from Easton.
They dreamed of opening an educational daycare where the days could be filled with learning and fun. They wanted to create a place where parents could breathe a sigh of relief as they dropped their kids off each morning before heading to work.
To make it work, they needed the perfect location, a business plan, funding and a franchise partner that fit their personal values and goals. It took so long to obtain building permits that some questioned why they didn’t simply walk away from the idea altogether.
“What does it say to my three daughters if I throw in the towel after hitting all these roadblocks,”
Jordan said. “What I want them to see is that I didn’t give up. I want to be a role model for my daughters.”
This spring, they did just that. The pair finally opened a franchise of the Kiddie Academy in Center Valley.
Pro tip: For these two mompreneurs, patience and determination paid off. Don’t cut corners just to get your business up and running. Be patient with yourself and the startup process, so you do it right the first time, Jordan said.
Cynthia Holt, 44, loved beekeeping. In between her full-time job managing group homes and raising her three children, Holt found opportunities to volunteer at different beekeeping organizations through local bee clubs and associations. She enjoyed the challenge of staying a step ahead of the bees and the chance to learn more from each encounter.
“It’s worth all the stress, all the uncertainty and every single sting,” she said.
It was her love and volunteer opportunities that unexpectedly launched her own small business. When she completed the volunteer work, Cynthia was asked how much she would charge to stay on to support the beehives and habitat. That ultimately help her launch Little Rhody Beekeeping, where she is owner and head beekeeper.
As her business grew, Cynthia quit her job managing group homes to focus on beekeeping full time. She also gives back by mentoring others in the field.
Pro tip: If you love what you do, it can help you through the downs of owning your business. “Even on the worst days when the bees are grumpy and I have a million things to do, I am thankful and crazy happy that I can do something I love,” Holt said.
Some small businesses, such as Aja’s Etsy shop, need only what’s in a savings account to launch. Others, like the daycare franchise Jordan and Cope opened in Pennsylvania, need bigger resources.
Cope took the lead on on preparing and securing the funding. After researching options, the pair decided to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan through an SBA-approved lender. The SBA loan application is laborious and complex. Applicants must be approved by the lender and the SBA, a government agency.
Before they even applied for financing, Cope worked tirelessly to put together the loan application package. This included SBA required documents, such as:
- Business plan
- Credit history
- Three-year financial projections
- Personal guarantees
- Explanation of amount of capital and use of funds
Cope’s professional experience in compliance and document management for a pharmaceutical company coupled with her sheer determination were an integral part of making the funding process successful. It also helped that Kiddie Academy worked with a network of lenders that pre-qualified new owners. Cope and Jordan used one of those banks.
Pro tip: Finding funds can be one of the most difficult aspects of starting a business. There are SBA loans, private small business loans and lines of credit, crowdfunding and venture capital, to name a few options. Or, you can self-finance with savings, retirement funds or home equity. Consult with a profession at a small business development center near you if your business will need a significant influx of cash to launch.
What are good Mompreneur businesses?
Aja, Cope, Jordan and Holt all found their mompreneur calling through past work or volunteer experiences or sheer ambition to create something new. There are a hundred different ways to launch your own business. So, if the idea of being your own boss tickles you, here are 12 mompreneur ideas to help you get started.
For the wordsmith mom
Good with words? As a freelance writer, you can work from anywhere, at any time. You’re hired on a contranatural or project basis to produce original written content for a specific publication, usually with a deadline. Still, you can work early mornings or late nights to meet the due date. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have writing or editing experience. If you enjoy writing but don’t know where to start, consider starting your own blog to gain experience.
If you are fluent in a second language, there are numerous opportunities to work as a translator on a freelance basis. Translators work with companies or individuals to translate written work
from one language to another. As a translator, you need to be a strong writer, understand cultural barriers and slang, and have a grasp of the subject matter to successfully translate one
document to another.
For the educator
Thanks to technology, if you have a bachelor’s degree, you can teach students in a virtual classroom from your home. You’re able to build your own schedule depending on how many classes you want to teach and your availability. The hourly pay rate depends on experience, subject matter expertise and performance.
A private tutor spends one-on-one time with a student to improve their academic performance in a number of ways. From homework help to preparing for an exam, being a tutor can be a rewarding and flexible job. Hourly rates vary depending on your area of expertise, level of education and location.
Child Care Provider
If you have an early childhood education degree but stay home with your children, look into starting your own in-home day care. Running a daycare from your home not only saves you money on the cost of childcare for your children, but you’ll make money in the process. As with any small business, you’ll want to create a business plan, financial goals and educate yourself about the local and federal state regulations.
For the creative mom
There’s no one way to become a professional photographer. Everyone starts out on a different path. Sure, you can take formalized training and even major in photography in college. But there’s no amount of education that can replicate natural talent. If you enjoy taking photos, are pretty good at it and have a decent camera, think about starting your own photography business. You can start out small and grow by word of mouth.
Not every mom is a Pinterest mom. If you scroll through Facebook Marketplace, some mother is always looking for a last-minute custom cake. If you make exquisite cakes or delicious art-like cookies, earn money by selling customized baked goods. Check your local state for specific regulations on home-based food businesses.
Working as an independent makeup artist allows you the flexibility to make your own schedule because a good chunk of your business likely will take place on the weekends. Demand for makeup artists increases on the weekends for special events like weddings, proms and holiday parties. To supplement your income, consider selling one or two products that you have on hand, such as lipstick. Being able to add a second revenue stream can increase your profit margin over the long run.
If you’re crafty, turn your homemade goodies into a business opportunity. Etsy is a global online marketplace for handmade goods. Similarly, Amazon offers Handmade, an online store for artisans to sell entirely handcrafted goods. Whether it’s a form of relaxation or a way to supplement income, there are a number of ways to market and sell your handmade crafts.
For the health-conscious mom
If you previously worked as a physical, occupational or speech therapist, just because you don’t want to work full time or for someone else doesn’t mean you can’t work in that field. You can start your own private practice from your home if you have the space. Or, consider meeting your patients at their home or a public space. All it takes is a little creativity and a few patients to get you started.
A Double is a trained professional providing physical, emotional and informational support throughout a woman’s pregnancy and into childbirth. There’s no better way to understand the reality of giving birth than to have done it yourself. If you hired a doula or want to become one, working as a doula can be an incredibly rewarding and satisfying career. DONA International offers training and certificate programs to start your path to becoming a doula.
If you enjoy working out and want to help others reach their fitness goals, consider becoming a personal trainer. You can work around your family’s schedule, and decide where you want to work each day. It could be in your home gym, at a client’s home or a local park. Or, you can help people reach their fitness goals as an online personal trainer. Instagram and YouTube are great social media platforms to launch your own online personal training business.