Keeping the Income Coming
From web development, to sewing, from legal work to farming, parents have figured out ways to continue personal development and increase income while still homeschooling their children.
by Ann Zeise & members of the Email List
I haven’t even started homeschooling yet but I will be in July! yeah me! I am very excited about this adventure but I would like to financially help my family and make money for myself. I have been a stay at home mom for four years and it is really getting to me. My husband will be finishing his degree this month and I am jealous to say the least. I want to make money too but I want to enjoy my children—-I WANT TO RAISE THEM! I wanted to know if anyone else works from home that homeschools and what they do. There are so many things online that look interesting but I don’t want to be scammed and I don’t want to be pulling my hair out everyday just trying to do a little work. Any suggestions from those of you that do work at home or know someone that does. I would like to have an honest business, something that I could be proud of!! Please help! Thanks!!
Basically, don’t get into anything that makes you invest money up front. Don’t get into any multi-level marketing scheme.
Often just owning one fairly complicated piece of software, reading a book on how to use it, and practicing a bit, makes you better than 90% of the people in your town. Not kidding. I learned PageMaker early on and made a nice living doing nice documents for people in town, from “special order” slips for a local bookstore to product bulletins for semiconductor companies and business proposals for a temp agency and “how to” manuals for Apple Computer. (It surprised the daylights out of me how many people AT Apple didn’t know how to use applications ON one! I taught Apple CEO John Sculley how to open a file by double clicking on the icon — and this wasn’t when he was new at Apple!)
There are a whole lot of mom and pop enterprises among homeschoolers. I have one advertiser — maybe you’ve seen Times Tales ads on my site — They’ve created a product to teach the “big number” times tables in about an hour. Worked for them homeschooling their kids, so they’ve made something up on their computer, and when orders come in, they dash down to Kinkos or wherever and run off more copies. They maybe make $100 a day. $3000, less costs, a month. Not bad for a couple of stay at home moms! And they don’t have to split the profits to any “high ups” in a MLM scheme!
You just need an IDEA for a product or service. Poke around my site, especially in the “Curriculum Shopping” area where many of these small businesses are linked. Try to look for “holes” where you could come up with something. For example, music materials are skimpy. I just haven’t found many vendors with music materials properly set up for homeschool families. One homeschool dad came up with an “improvement” for the game Monopoly. If your kids have about outgrown Monopoly or you want to give them some experience with inflation and depression, get his product. There are families selling planners, almost too many, but they sell.
Take a self-inventory about your interests and skills and what you know about that you think others would buy. Your screen name makes me think you like scrap booking. How about learning all you can about making homeschool portfolios. What states offer this as an option instead of testing and what is wanted in one. Learn what colleges want in the way of portfolios. 3-Moms, a homeschool family vendor, has a real cool portfolio they sell. Beautifully set up. Just follow the directions and plunk in sample of your kid’s work! Have him send you one, and then figure out another way to do it. He uses a binder system. Some may prefer more of a scrapbook system. We need choices!
A to Z Home’s Cool
I work from home. I teach private music lessons, violin, viola, and cello. I take only as many students as I feel I can handle.
Another friend who homeschools is starting her own cleaning business, and cleans a couple of houses each week. She does pretty well with it.
I have a homeschooling friend who edits for people, too, when she can get the work. It isn’t as reliable of an income however, as the music or cleaning.
> Often just owning one fairly complicated piece of software, reading a
> book on how to use it, and practicing a bit, makes you better than 90%
> of the people in your town. Not kidding. I learned PageMaker early on
> and made a nice living doing nice documents for people in town
Wow — the Silicon Valley phenom! :o) Loved the Apple story, Ann, since I, too am on a Mac. How did you make it known that you were available to do the sorts of things you did? Big bucks advertising or word of mouth?
I’ve often thought that learning basic web design would be a good thing to carry into a home business. There are lots of small companies which might benefit from having a web page, but whose employees don’t know much about designing a web site. How did you learn that skill, Ann? Your site is so full and well done. It requires some sense of being able to determine what your customer wants/needs, but it certainly isn’t a tapped out market yet, at least as far as I can see on this side of the country.
> On Apr 14, 2004, at 12:01 PM, scrapsensations wrote:
> I wanted to know if anyone else
> > works from home that homeschools and what they do.
I work from the home – well, actually the field – as I am a market grower, raising and selling pesticide free produce, flowers and eggs to sell at our local farmers’ market 6 months a year. I also manage the market, so I am making money on two fronts – selling the goods and managing the thing. It’s A LOT of work. Probably too much of a hair puller for most, and it is for me sometimes, too. I have done this since my girls were very small. Now, they are 7 and 9, and they, too are getting involved in the market. Last season,they sold their own cucumbers and “tussie-mussies”. This year, they’re working on starting a little worm farm and plan to sell worms! The youngest wants people to sign a form promising they won’t use the little critters as BAIT – only for garden use.
Probably not a good marketing scheme – LOL!
Even though there are times that I cant imagine how I can keep doing all this (if only you’d read some of my more recent posts!), I know that I am doing something I believe in. That makes all the difference. Here’s my point: try to be sure that whatever you choose, you really do enjoy it…or you won’t make time for it in the midst of homeschooling! You also might want to see how it is to be homeschooling before you decide what it is you’ll be doing. You might have some real “aha moments” once you really get going on the homeschooling that will affect your decisions profoundly.
Date: Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:15 pm
Subject: Re: [A2Z] Homeschool and work at home?
Hello All 🙂
I am enjoying reading all the response on the working from home emails. Back in 1990 I had just finished up my paralegal license and started work in a law firm. My little ones were 2 years and 6 weeks at the time. As anyone that has kids knows, it’s a tug of war at Mom’s who work outside of the home after you have kids. You want to be home full-time with the babies and on the other hand the family finances may dictate otherwise. I began to notice my friends and family asking questions about their legal needs for this and that. I did 2 divorces (prepared their documents) for a cousin and a nephew. They simply went to the local office supply store and bought a legal kit containing all the necessary legal forms to be filed with the court. I then sat down with them on a weekend date and wrote them up on their behalf. It was at that point I realized that I may have something going that would enable me to stay home with my little ones and make money at the same time.
I went to our local Office Max and ordered 100 business cards and passed them out to whoever would take one. It is amazing how well word of mouth works as an advertising tool. It was not long before I had more work than I had time for! People that need legal matters taken care of that may not be able to afford an attorney or don’t need one at all depending on their situation. Of course I would advise them to consult an attorney when I could see that was needed. With some imagination and interest in something you want to do it is possible to get a work at home situation up and going.
Best of luck in your journey. I have had a blast being with my kids and homeschooling. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something right along with them. They are at the age now that they both help me out with my work as well. So when we are not teaching and learning the basics for their age, they are learning a bit about the legal field when helping mom out.
I don’t work from home but wish that I did. I am presently working two nights (11-7) at a nursing home. My son who is seven is the only child I homeschool.
My daughter is 19 and in college but went though ps. My husband works days – Mondays – Fridays. I work Sunday nights and then come home and sleep for a couple hours then get up and do a partial homeschool day. Then we school Tues – Thur. I work Thursday nights (tonight 🙁 ). So in the morning I’ll come home and go to bed for a couple hours and get up and we will do our errands and shopping for the week. I bring in enough to feed us and that much helps. The all nights can get pretty tiring but I’m a night person so it’s not too bad. We don’t start school till 10:30 but are done by 3:00. It works for us. I have thought about cleaning houses but just never have looked too much into it. The all night thing gets to be too much sometimes but it lets me homeschool and bring in money so I’m happy for now. 🙂
Vicky in MO
Thanks for the tips and information Ann! I appreciate it. I am already rethinking selling my more elaborate materials- my husband pointed out some common sense stuff to me that I tend to overlook- in my enthusiasm. 🙂
I put probably 10 or more hours into one relatively simple work and more on the complex ones (with the research, cutting, gluing, and the covering with clear contact paper. I need to somehow lessen my work time in order for the sale to even be out of the red.
I’ve been working at home for years. At first it was to add to the family income, and then, since my divorce it has been to support myself, and kids. I started by designing sewing patterns for breast feeding moms. This business completely bombed, but from it I started making re-usable cloth nursing pads and now sew them by the thousands. It has been my solid (or not so solid) base sometimes 🙂 . I make them for some WIC agencies and Motherwear.
I tried selling re-usable cloth gift wrapping bags. I didn’t do well with this, but they are a great idea. I think I needed to be BIGGER and have the fabric cheaper–
Now I perform weddings. I became a reverend through the Universal life church. I collected all kinds of ideas for ceremonies and vows, which I have in a file for my couples. Each ceremony is unique. I posted my services on any web-list I could find for free. I’ve done about 40 weddings. It is fun, happy work if you are comfortable speaking in front of people, and a take charge kind of person, since you usually organize the ceremony unless they have a planner.
And now I’ve self-published my book on homeschooling, HOMESCHOOLING REFLECTIONS. It was an interesting experience to take it from an idea to a real book. Now I’m in the marketing stage – contacting anyone I can think of to get exposure for the book.
I’m certainly not wealthy, but I AM home with my youngest son (now 15), and have been able to stay home since the end of my marriage seven years ago. Part of this was because my former husband had to split his military retirement with me since we were married the entire time of the service. But he got the house, and I ended up paying child support for a while (long story!). When there is a will there is a way! It helps to find something “unusual”, you can make much more money than a regular job unless you are really skilled in something.
Best of luck —
My name is Wendy, and I have never posted. Just sitting back and soaking up all the info you provide. I have a 15, 3, and 2 year old at home. I work at home opening accounts for a large pharmaceutical company. All done over the phone and internet. It is pretty interesting.
Money making idea!
’tis the wedding planning season! Small talk after bible study was on how much a veil costs-how hard it is to get the one you want. How well can you sew? How much does it take in materials anyway? They were pretty funny! I had a friend make mine-so I was spared the gory details! I guess that you can make about $100.00 on one. How many orders can you get? How many can you make before everyone is married and you are broke? I don’t know!