Everybody is jumping on the online business bandwagon these days.
There’s just so much potential out there to start a business and make money from home.
Sure, running an online business takes work, especially if you’ve got your sights set on blogging. I had to learn some seriously hard truths in my first few months as a blogging newbie.
(And if you’re ready to start a blog, I recommend going with Siteground as your hosting service, they’re truly the best! Click on over now to get started with a hosting plan for as little as $3.95/month.)
But, once you get over the initial hump and things start to click, having your own online business can be a life-changer. Not to mention, an awesome money-maker.
(Note: This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may earn a commission if you click and make a purchase. I only promote products and services that I know and trust.)
Why Starting an Online Business Is Perfect for Moms
Making money from home is literally one of the best things ever, especially if you’re a mom.
Because who wants to stay stuck working a job outside the home that they don’t really love? Or be constantly stressed about your finances? Or have to deal with mom guilt because your job means less time to spend with your kids?
Know what I say to all that? Nah.
Running an online business from home has given me an insane amount of freedom.
It’s allowed me to continue homeschooling my kids as a single mom, versus sending them to public school. Being a mom boss means being flexible with our schedule, so we can travel when we want or have pajama day in the middle of the week. The financial security we enjoy is icing on the cake.
- No more punching a time clock
- An end to worrying about missing work when one of your kids is sick and needs their mama
- Saying goodbye to unrealistic expectations
- Doing work that doesn’t make you excited to get up in the morning
- Dictating your own schedule, income and lifestyle
- Making real money on your own terms
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? And it’s totally doable.
I’ve made a full-time income working at home as a freelance writer since I became a single mom in 2014. And I don’t have to work a ton of crazy hours to do it.
Are you sold on the idea of running an online business yet? Awesome! Now comes the hard part: deciding what kind of business is right for you.
Fortunately, there are TONS of options. It all comes down to what kind of skills you have and what online business niche is your perfect match.
Four Ways to Make Money From Home With an Online Business
1. Freelance Writing
Listen up, mama. If you want to know what the next big career trend is, let me tell you: it’s freelancing.
According to a joint report from Upwork and the Freelancers Union, 57.3 million Americans are freelancing these days. That’s 36% of the entire workforce.
The sheer variety of opportunities is huge. The pay’s not bad either.
According to PayScale, the average annual pay for freelance writers ranges from just over $21,000 at the low end to $106,982 at the high end. I’m currently in my third year of making well over six figures from freelance writing and my income continues to climb.
But what does it take to become a successful freelance writer? A few things:
1. Decent writing chops
You don’t have to be Shakespeare to freelance but you can’t be completely in the dark about how to put a solid sentence together either. The great thing about freelancing is that a lot of it’s learn as you go, so the more you write, the better you get. I’ve been freelancing full-time since 2014 and I’m still honing my craft day in and day out.
2. Solid samples to show off to would-be clients
It’s really hard to break into freelance writing if you don’t have something to show that you can actually write. That may seem like a huge obstacle to overcome when you’re just starting out.
Fortunately, building up a decent stable of clips is easier than you might think. Starting a blog, for example, gives you a chance to sharpen your writing skills. It’s also a way to show off your knowledge in a specific area, which brings me to #3.
3. You need a niche
In my freelancing infancy, I wrote about anything as long as I got paid. (I know more than I care to about solar panels and golf from using that approach.)
But being a generalist isn’t always the best choice when you’re trying to build a business and a brand. If you really want to make great money as a freelance writer, niches are where it’s at.
Uhh…but what’s a niche? That’s easy. It’s a specialized area of the market you target with your writing.
My niche, for example, is finance. I cover personal finance topics like credit, debt, budgeting and investing, but I also write about small business finance.
Personal finance is one of the most popular niches and it’s also one of the better-paying ones. Some other highly-valued niches include:
- Digital marketing
- Health and fitness
That’s a short list and there are virtually endless options for choosing a niche. The key is to think about what what you’re knowledge about and what you’re interested in.
And don’t pick a niche that bores you just because it pays well. That’s a fast track to burnout.
2. Virtual Assistant
If writing’s not your thing, don’t sweat it. You may be better suited to launching an online virtual assistant business instead. Salary-wise, the average hovers between $20,000 and $62,000 a year.
So what’s a virtual assistant? It’s like being an administrative assistant, only you’re doing all your tasks online instead of in an office.
And just what does a virtual assistant do? It’s really up to you — and what the kind of clients you’re targeting need.
Before I got into freelancing, I worked as a virtual assistant for about a year for a local VA company. The company’s clients included a real estate agency, a commercial real estate agency, a construction company and a church.
As a VA, I did things like:
- Writing press releases and marketing copy for email autoresponder sequences
- Updating church bulletins
- Creating and updating flyers for Multiple Listing Service
- Data entry using Excel
- Coordinating updates to clients’ social media accounts
That barely touches the surface of what VAs can do in their daily round. You might spend your days scheduling blog content, answering emails, transcribing podcasts, ghostwriting, researching blog posts, answering phone calls or doing loads of other tasks.
But what kind of skills do you need to start a virtual assistant business?
1. Social media savvy
According to a 2017 Clutch survey, 76% of businesses are using social media to promote their brand. Social media is highly visible, making it a gold mine for businesses to attract new clients.
You don’t have to be social media certified to be a VA but you do need to know your Twitter from your Insta. (If you’ve got the social media skills to pay the bills, skip on down to the next business idea on the list to learn how you can turn that into an online business of its own.)
2. Rock-solid time management skills
Being a VA is often a lot more fast-paced than being a freelance writer. You might have a lot of lead time for certain tasks but you might be working under the wire for others.
If you want to start an online VA business, you’ve got to be great at juggling lots of different balls at once. You need to know how to plan and schedule your time for the long-term, while being prepared to handle anything that’s thrown at you on a moment’s notice.
3. A taste for variety
Being a virtual assistant means you never get tired of doing the same things over and over. If you’re okay with no two work days being alike, it could be your perfect online business fit.
That brings us to the real question: how do you become a virtual assistant?
In my case, I kind of fell into it so I don’t consider myself an expert. If you want to get all the deets from a VA guru, head to Horkey Handbook and read Gina’s post, “Everything You Need to Know About How to Become a Virtual Assistant.”
3. Social Media Manager
Social media is everywhere these days and businesses need someone to handle all the tweeting and posting that’s necessary to make their brands visible. That’s where a social media manager comes in.
Social media managers do all the behind-the-scenes stuff to keep their company’s social media feeds up to date. And they get paid a pretty penny to do it, too. PayScale puts the average salary for social media gurus at $48,000 year but the majority are making closer to $75,000 annually.
What kind of skills do you need?
Copywriting is highly valued in social media marketing. Essentially, what you’re writing is sales copy to attract new customers to the brand. You have to be able to write persuasively and concisely using the brand’s voice.
2. Research skills
The thing about social media is that there’s always something new trending. As a social media manager, you need to be able to stay on top of what the next big thing is. Being able to research trending or newsy topics and craft attention-grabbing updates on the fly is a must.
3. Social media know-how
Duh, of course you need to know your way around social media. Specifically, you need to have an understanding of how each channel works, which outlets your client’s target customers frequent and what kind of content appeals to the most. It also doesn’t hurt to have a firm grasp of social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite either.
So far, we’ve covered online businesses that have potential to start making money fairly quickly. Blogging, on the other hand, is a little different.
Don’t get me wrong, you can totally make a killer living blogging. Just check out these numbers from some of my blogging mentors:
- Alexa at Single Mom’s Income – $6,648/month in June 2017
- Sarah at SarahTitus.com – $75,226.10 in July 2017
- Michelle at Making Sense of Cents – $110,656 in November 2017
These are just some of the blogs I read regularly and I’m always in awe of how much income they’re generating. But how do they do it, exactly?
How to Make Money Blogging
- Sponsored posts
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling products and services
Sponsored posts involve writing a post based around another company’s product or service. You’re essentially being paid to promote them to your blog audience.
Including ads in your blog is a popular choice, especially among newer bloggers. I chose not to run ads on this site mainly because I didn’t want anything taking away from it visually but I know there are some bloggers making a consistent income this way.
Affiliate marketing is also a form of selling other company’s products or services but it’s less direct than sponsored posts. The idea is that you include links to products you love and swear by in your posts. If someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission from the sale.
What if you’d rather promote your own products or services? That’s another great way to make money. You could offer things like:
- Digital or physical planners
- Membership in a mastermind group
- Blogging or freelance writing services
- Consulting or coaching services
It all depends on what skills you have, who your audience is and which product or service you believe holds the most value for your loyal blog followers.
As far as skills go, anyone can become a blogger. There are more than 440 million blogs in the world counting, and millions of new blog posts have hit the web since you started reading this post.
To be a blogger, you just need a domain name and hosting to get started. (For step by step instructions on how to get your blog up and running, head over to this post to read my Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog.)
But it takes a little more than that to be a blogger who grows their audience and uses their platform to make a full-time living. For that, you’ll need:
1. An audience
You can write amazing blog posts all day long but it won’t matter if no one’s reading them. Before you dive into blogging, you need to spend some time thinking about who you’re writing for.
The goal is to create an avatar, which is basically a fake persona of your ideal reader. You should have a clear vision of who your target is, what problems they need help solving and what solutions you can offer.
2. Something your readers value
People read blogs because they want to learn something or solve a problem. For example, you’re reading this post because you want to know how you can quit your soul-crushing job and start a money-making business or side hustle.
If you want a blog, you need to have something to offer your audience. What problems can you solve, what can you help them with? These are the questions you have to be able to answer if you want to attract blog readers and turn them into customers.
Blogging involves a lot of writing but there’s more to it than that. Your personality has to be able to shine through in everything you do and without it, your blog may fall flat.
Think about what makes you who you are. What sets you apart? How do your friends, family members or coworkers see you? How can you communicate who you are and what your personality’s like in your blog?
Remember, focus on your own style. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. In the end, what you put out into the world through your blog should be an honest reflection of your best and most authentic self.
Honestly, this may be the single-most important quality a blogger needs to succeed. Blogging is a slow process at times, especially when you’re trying to build an audience and establish your brand.
So you have to be patient because there’s a LOT of groundwork that has to be laid at the beginning. I don’t know of any blogger who went from unknown to influencer overnight.
In other words, blogging is one of those online business models that might require you to be the tortoise for a while, instead of the hare.
What Kind of Online Business Do You Want to Start?
Starting an online business takes some serious hard work, I won’t gloss over that fact. Nevertheless, if you can make it succeed, being a mompreneur can literally be a life-changer.
Are you motivated to start your own business now mama? Is there something holding you back from getting started? Tell me about it in the comments!
And remember to share this post if you know a mama who’s ready to start making money with an online business!