Monday, August 12, 2019

Modern Home-based Businesses for Stay-at-home Moms

By stay-at-home moms I am here referring to the parents who choose to stay home, taking care of their growing kids. Thus, whether a parent is mom or dad is immaterial. Conversely, the folks who are working “remote” for their employers are obviously excluded from the purview of this post. 

According to Pew Research, "Stay-at-home moms and dads account for about one-in-five U.S. parents."

Of course, the vast majority of those parents are either professionally self-employed or are running some home-based businesses, but those who are planning to take the plunge in not too distant future may, among others, explore the following options as well.

    1. E-book Creation for 3rd Party Writers – Due to the fast-growing popularity of self-publishing platforms like Amazon’s KDP, Barnes & Noble Press, Lulu, etc., the publication of E-books has skyrocketed in recent years. Of course, the idea of “creating” the E-book forces many writers on to the sideline, meaning they could use some technical help in going live. Stay-at-home moms exploring new business opportunities should seriously evaluate this technical option – connecting future writers to the hosting platform – as part of their overall mix of alternatives. All one needs to get started is a simple landing page (e.g., Word Press website) which could be easily marketed via the social media.     

    2. E-book Marketing Service – One of the basic differen ces between the traditional book publication and E-book publication is the marketing and promotion. Publishers take full responsibility to market and promote traditional books, while self-publishing comes with self-marketing. While the E-book writers possess the domain knowledge or technical expertise to write their books, they are not necessarily experts in marketing and promoting them, making them stand out and narrowing the competition down. The stay-at-home moms with good knowledge and understanding of social/marketing may explore this home-based opportunity. Specialized 3rd party marketing tools are available for subscription. Some platforms have built-in marketing/promotion tools like affiliates, cross-selling, referrals, mailing lists, special discounts and coupons, etc. This can be a standalone service or can easily be run as an add-on to # 1 above.

    3. E-Book Writing and Editing Service – Many people have brilliant ideas but do not have the necessary time or professional writing skills to take them to the finish-line. The stay-at-home moms with good writing skills may step in and fill in that economic void. Those with very limited time may simply consider the “Editing” service. On the other hand, those with backgrounds in fine arts or visual arts may seek out the prospective writers needing such skills, including the designing of children’s books and science fictions. As the business grows, other similarly-qualified stay-at-home moms or local students majoring in those areas could be trained as sub-contractors. Again, all an entrepreneurial mind needs to get started is a landing page coupled with targeted social marketing. Later, this service could be vertically integrated with aforesaid # 1 and # 2.

    4. Local Restaurant Brand Promotion Service – While the national and regional chains have their own brand promotion and market research services, there are many smaller non-chain restaurants, especially the ethnic varieties, which lack proper marketing efforts to promote their brands to remain competitive. Such restaurants could be targeted and signed up for a fixed monthly fee for the first six months or so, connecting later to the traffic growth. With the help of a landing page and targeted social marketing, the online traffic could be directed to the client restaurants. Any traffic analytics software including Google Analytics can help analyze such campaigns. In order to target such (restaurant) clients, a 30-day free trial could be thought of. Owners can be met in the evening/weekends for face-to-face discussions and presentations. Once the clients see the growing traffic, they would love to stay with the service. And, as the word goes around, other restaurants struggling to stay afloat or are vying for growth would come on their own. Down the road, other research and analytics services – rewards, survey, satisfaction, etc. – could be added.

    5. Airbnb-style Online Matching of Long-term Adult Daycare Services – With the growth of our aging population, the need for adult daycare services has been rising around the country. Of course, unlike the child daycare services, the adult daycare services are more unstructured and primarily home-based. Subject to the local laws and legalities, the online matching of such care-givers and care-seekers will be an emerging trend, which the stay-at-home moms could take advantage of. A flat monthly fee to subscribe to the marketing program or a percent of the revenue from each sale could be charged to the care-givers. Of course, the long-term contract, say at least one month, would be the key, with a non-circumvention clause binding upon both parties within a certain period post initial introduction or at the completion of the first contract period. A simple mobile site (where the site automatically works as an App as well), being promoted socially, would be a good starting point.

    6. Conducting Online Surveys for Research Institutions and Political Parties – Market research houses and political parties need constant help with online surveys. Those who have backgrounds in market surveys, polling and conducting online interviews can explore this business opportunity. Alternatively, some stay-at-home moms can do the survey/polling on their own and then package and sell the services to various institutions or political parties in need of such survey results. This business may have a longer gestation period, but with proper social marketing and networking, it could be very rewarding over a period of time. Of course, sound technical knowledge regarding online sampling, survey methodologies, polling techniques, etc. are imperative. Political elections, from local to state to national, have become extremely poll-driven so the parties have been learning to evaluate myriad of external poll results to challenge their internal results. Again, excelling in local political polling would require significant interactions with the grassroots (could be time-taking!).    

    7. Online Property Tax Appeal Filing – Property tax assessment is one of the most controversial services local governments are generally tasked with. In larger jurisdictions, almost every other property assessment is frowned upon, leading to sizeable appeals. Unfortunately, a good percentage of homeowners are either unaware of or are too afraid to challenge their values. While the old-fashioned consultants are still hanging on to their antiquated solutions, a new generation of problem solvers is on the horizon posing existential threat to them. The stay-at-home moms with the basic knowledge of the local residential market can easily get into this online business and claim a piece of the forward-looking pie. All it requires is an online comparable sales (comps) program, along with access to the home sales database (they generally come bundled together from the data vendor). This is a marketing oriented business but rewards are significant considering the tax savings are generally evenly split. Stay-at-home moms with Data Science/Quantitative background can easily take the solution to the next level, potentially doing away with the old-fashioned competition altogether.

    8. Blog Marketing Service – The popularity of blogs, both consumer and commercial, has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. While most bloggers are passionate at what they do, meaning good at presenting their viewpoints, many nonetheless succumb to the competition due to inadequate or ineffective marketing. Given their passion, they would more likely to spend on marketing to stay afloat and grow than concede and ring down the curtain. This creates a new small business opportunity. The stay-at-home moms who majored in English, Literature, etc. can easily turn things around for them by creating intelligent campaigns out of their blog posts and marketing them on the social media. In fact, there are AI-based social media applications that automatically identify the appropriate target audience and then place the content in front of them.

   9. Owning and Marketing Niche Job Sites – Nowadays ready-made job sites can be purchased or licensed for as little as $99/year from a whole host of well-known developers. Of course, as purchased or licensed, those sites are simply empty shells without any jobs to offer. The easiest way to get started is to become a licensee (generally free) of a major site operator like Indeed, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired, ZipRecruiter, etc. which allows the licensee’s site to be instantly populated with tens of thousands of current jobs from the parent site. Since the jobs are already available and are constantly updated, the stay-at-home moms can concentrate on targeting candidates. When a redirected candidate (from licensee site to parent site) is hired from the parent site, the fee is shared. Ideally, instead of running the site as a generic site like the parent’s, it would be prudent to run it as a very specialized site (preferably in line with the stay-at-home mom’s area of specialty) with highly targeted jobs and candidates, e.g., travel nursing, airline crew, new STEM, appraisers, etc., to avoid having to compete with the major players from the get-go. While streaming in the jobs, filters can be set up complementing the niche. The sites can be hosted by well-known US-based companies like GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc. for under $15/mo.

Nowadays, there are numerous online business opportunities for stay-at-home moms, aligning very well with their strengths. The marketing-oriented opportunities (surveys/polling) will take longer to yield results than their counterparts requiring much lesser marketing efforts (E-book creation). Similarly, the high-ticket-value opportunities (job sites) will require more creative marketing than those requiring straight forward marketing (blog marketing).

Thank you.

Sid Som, MBA, MIM
President, Homequant, Inc.
Coming Soon...Sid's New Book: 
Life, Logic and the Power of Nine (Branding)

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