As far as job titles go, “stay-at-home mom” is a bit misleading. It implies stillness, but the reality is quite the opposite. In fact, stay-at-home moms never stop moving. Running a household with little ones is a lot of work, but many moms have found creative ways to top up their household income with a little extra dough. It’s just a matter of having the right tools to do so.
For Danielle Dufresne, that tool was an app called VarageSale. The online marketplace of gently used and secondhand items lets you browse and post easily on your phone, making it an easy fit for the busy life of a stay at home mom to buy and sell. VarageSale users are community-based and often live near one another, which keeps the marketplace local. To use the app, members must first be vetted by an admin, offering a sense of security that you don’t get with Craigslist.
When Danielle and her partner decided that she’d stay home to raise their kids, she was originally conflicted. “It was tough. We felt like this was the right choice for our family, but I’ve been working since I was 16!”
VarageSale empowered Daniella. Initially, she used it to sell baby clothes that her youngest had outgrown. It wasn’t long until she realized that her own house was a well of untapped potential merchandise. She’d always been a good salesperson, but now she was turning a major profit. “I reupholstered an old sofa that I used to have in my college apartment and made $100. It only cost $15 to buy the fabric for the new cover, and the sofa had been sitting unused in our basement for at least 2 years.”
More and more savvy mompreneurs are hustling hard to make some extra cash online by selling knick knacks that are collecting dust, hawking their handmade wares or selling their specialized services. While setting up your own online side business may sound a little intimidating, it’s not nearly as difficult as you may think. And here’s the best part: You build your business around your own schedule!
So whether you’re filling those spare moments during nap time or looking to build a full-time, home-based empire, here are some tips to start your very own business.
Do your homework
There are many people online today who are looking to sell things and make money from home. But do your research first. Do people want to buy what you’re selling? Find out if others are selling it, where they are located and how much they’re charging. Then set your price. If you’re creating handmade items, you’ll want to make sure that you make enough to compensate you for your time (yes, the whole point is to pay yourself!), while also keeping things affordable so people will want to buy. This can be trickier than you might think. If you get stuck, try consulting other mompreneurs in work-at-home forums or through MeetUp.com.
As with any business, getting started as a work-from-home mompreneur is a lot of work up front. But stick with it: You’ll never get anywhere if you’re trying something new every month. Try keeping a journal or an in-depth income and expense report. Create some income goals for yourself and then reward yourself at the end of the month.
Take care of you
This may sound like a real no-brainer, but it’s easy to get completely immersed in your business for most of your waking hours. Many mompreneurs are passionate about growing their very own business and work hard to meet their goals. Because of that dedication, it’s easy to neglect yourself. Take the time to prepare wholesome meals, take regular breaks and get a little exercise. And to maintain some balance (and avoid a bad case of burnout), do your best to turn off your laptop and phone at dinner time.
Open a separate bank account for the profits
Keeping your cash flows organized just makes sense, especially if some of them are being use to save for a specific goal. Practical matters aside, it’s also super validating to track the payoff of all your hard work and energy. A separate bank account, or even a simple envelope, will give you a sense of accomplishments as you watch those numbers climb.
Use your network
To take things to the next level, you need to get your name out there. Mom groups on social media are an awesome way to spread the word, and that’s how Danielle first found out about VarageSale. “Another mom who lives in my neighborhood recommended it to me. She’d found a running stroller through VarageSale, and a few others were using it too. It’s great because I get to run into a lot of my buyers in everyday life, and I’ve made swaps at the playground and done meetups in the grocery store parking lot. Our schedules are similar, so it’s easy to find time to complete the sale.”
Give it a try
Android download: VarageSale – Buy Sell Local
Apple download: VarageSale – Buy Sell Local