Starting a New Business as a Stay-at-Home Mom

I sank deeper into the sofa cushions, changing channels on the remote, but not really watching the television. Something had to change. But, I wasn’t sure what that change was supposed to be. 

And it had nothing to do with the TV channel.

My husband had the job he wanted. Perfect. I was home with my kids (which is exactly what I wanted.) Perfect, once more. That was all fine and dandy. But, regardless of the perfection, the real change we needed was more income. Not much more, but enough to cover the always increasing costs when raising a family.

So, how exactly did I go about finding a way to stay home and increasing our income?

I wadded up the empty chip bag and shut off the TV, wiping my greasy hands on my yoga pants. What did I like? What could I do that I would still love but be able to do within the confines I’d given myself? I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and began a list.

I admitted to myself that I loved being home with my children. Sure, sometimes I needed to get out of the house for my sanity, so I wouldn’t go crazy changing another diaper, doing another load of laundry, or cleaning up the Legos for the tenth time in one day. But overall, I was in a situation I wanted. Life was good.

I also loved writing. Writing was something I could do at home, with or without my kids. And writing I was! Miracles of all miracles, despite being home with my offspring, my college degrees were still applicable.

But here’s a random fact: writing articles, books, etc , doesn’t equal instant money. Writing is about going full-force with a passion without the guarantee of an income. Freelance writing is like owning your own business. The money may or may not come based on what I write.

There’s this swell fact too: As all writers know, you can’t write all day and every day, without literally losing your mind in the process. I will write myself into a depression if I’m not careful. The swirl of editing, dialogue, settings and scene drown out the creativity, to where I wonder why I began the story or article to begin with. Throw in editing and acquiring an agent and I’m a basket case. 

So along with writing, I desperately needed something else. But what?  

I loved vintage.  Vintage clothing, vintage house wares, vintage everything. Thrift shopping –or treasure hunting as is it more accurately described –was something I’d been doing for years, too. While I had sold the occasional clothing or collectible item online–and I had noted how nice it was to make a little extra cash from it –I hadn’t though through the joyous ramifications of that equation.

Selling items online meant making money. If I could sell one item every now and then and make money, what would happen if I had many items and sold them all the time? Could I do that and make money from it?

I figured I had to find out for myself. What’s the worst thing that could happen? If the items didn’t sell, I’d get to keep my vintage finds. Hello. No wrongness in that at all! And if I sold them, I’d make money. It was a win/ win situation.

The next day, I went to my favorite thrift store and found items I liked and thought I could sell. I came home, opened an online store and created a shop name. I took pictures, listed items and in the course of a month, grabbed a business license and voila –I was a small business owner.

I could’ve failed, you know. The whole store-running thing could’ve been a pain; a hassle I didn’t want. And that would’ve been fine. I would’ve calmly put my vintage finds in my own closet to wear and moved on. But, five years later, it has not only been successful, but one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  

Life is about taking risks. We all know the adage, “No risk, no reward.” Well, I dove in. I took a risk.  But it was a risk I was willing to take because I knew I needed income, I knew I loved vintage, and I knew that if I worked at it long enough, I would see results.

That other adage, “Do what you love and you won’t work a day in your life” is also equally appropriate. There are days when I feel like I shouldn’t be having so much fun doing what I like and getting paid for it. Almost as if someone is going to find out that I enjoy my work too much, shut down my shop and lock me up!

When you’re there – in a place of love for your work and happy to keep doing it –you know you’ve hit the jackpot of accomplishments.

So what are you waiting for? Sure. Failure could happen. And it may not. We all have to fail so we can see what success looks like. Why not go for it and find out? Get out of your comfort zone and do that thing you love, or have always wanted to do, but were a bit afraid to try.

The truth is, if you like what you want to do and remain persistent, there’s really no way you can fail.

For me, vintage was a love, and I was going to make this love work for me in any way possible. Now that I’m here, I’m beyond glad I stepped out in faith and went for it.

Best part of my job? I get to try on vintage dresses almost every day. 

Now tell me, what girl doesn’t love that?