To all new mums out there, congratulations on the 4 months paid maternity leave, the first of many parenting privileges, not least the unspeakable joy of raising your precious little one and seeing the world through a child’s eyes again. More and more these days, mums are saying goodbye to the corporate world to be a stay at home mum (SAHM) as parents recognise the intangible benefits of raising their children themselves.
Being a SAHM is hardly a walk in the park, in fact, it is 24/7 employment, with no remuneration. It is a labour of love. As a friend put it recently, your toddler is your boss, you got to keep him fed, bathed, entertained and happy generally. While juggling the household chores and meals for the family (assuming you have no helper).
In this article, we will explore how SAHM can have the best of both worlds, starting a small business from home or taking up freelance assignments which keep you mentally challenged and stimulated, while being there for your little one. This is especially relevant for mums who have some help from their parents, parents-in-law, pre-school, helpers, and who find themselves slightly bored and craving for the challenge and satisfaction that they used to find in their jobs.
Here are 4 ways you can get started:
1. Start a Small Business
All thanks to technology, starting a business from home has never been easier. Online businesses ranging from blogshops, handmade jewellery and crafts, baby products, and the list goes on.
In fact, starting an online store selling baby clothes can be done within the day with Shopify. Which is a great way to make some moolah out of the many onesies and clothes that your toddler grow out of faster than you can imagine. If setting up an online store seems too much for you, listing your outgrown baby clothes on existing online marketplaces like Gumtree and Craigslist takes no longer than 2 minutes.
If you’re considering making a foray into the crowded sphere of blogshops for ladies, do check out this out for some tips. For crafts and jewellery, the online marketplace of choice that you may like to consider would be etsy.
For mums who love to bake, you may consider baking for your friends’ and relatives’ birthday parties and first-month anniversaries of your child’s playmates for some side income. The good news is it seems there is no need to apply for a food license yet according to URA’s Small Business Guidelines, which in fact, is a useful place to start for ideas of allowed home businesses like giving tuition to not more than 3 students at any one time, sewing work and even hairdressing services!
2. Take Up Freelance Jobs That Play to Your Strengths
The world of freelancing is an exciting one, affording opportunities to earn income from doing what you excel in. There are a plethora of opportunities listed on websites like careermums and a quick google throws up at least 5 websites listing freelance work ranging from writing, translations, transcriptions, design, data entry and even voiceovers. Sign up for their mailing lists to receive the newest opportunities regularly.
The beautiful part about freelancing is of course you get to decide which hours and how many hours you work, so long as you are confident of meeting the deadlines required. It also means you get to work on a wide variety of assignments and is a great opportunity to learn new content areas and keep up with what is happening in different fields. And the very nature of freelance work is that you are not confined geographically and can even consider assignments posted from halfway across the world. It can also help up your employability if you do decide to transition back to the corporate world in future.
3. Take an Online Course to Learn New Skills
If you have been a SAHM for too many years and feel your skills have become rusty, it may be a good idea to start on this journey by taking free online courses taught by reputed universities in areas which you want to develop in. These can range from 4-17 weeks and some even offer certification.
So, yay to another (free) avenue to increase your employability, and more importantly, to benefit from the rewarding experience of learning!
After all, there is no better example of lifelong learning to your kid than seeing mum learning about data science or coding or songwriting. Maybe he will come alongside and learn together with you!
4. Join a Community
Being a SAHM can be a lonely journey and it helps to be plugged in to a community of people on the same journey. If you have not already joined one, do consider Stay At Home Mums Singapore (a facebook community) or [email protected], which features inspiring stories of mumpreneurs and tips for embarking on the mumpreneur journey, and also organises events for SAHM to network and get together.
Also, online site The Asian Parent has plenty of Facebook groups catered specifically to moms at different stages of parenting. You can find the full list of groups here and see what suits your needs and lifestyle.
Final Note: Do enjoy this journey of starting your foray into the world of small businesses and flexi-work. We hope that you find it a rewarding and fruitful one, we’d love if you write to us to share your experiences!