As home-schooling parents, your biggest challenge is finding the right balance between educating your family and making a steady living. If you set realistic goals and thrive in a flexible, self-starter work environment, a home-based small business could be the perfect choice. Working on a small business while home-schooling your children full-time is not easy. A few ideas might help you manage your time and keep your overhead low and your profits high.
If you're good with needle and thread, in between teaching lessons you can do alterations and garment repair, and sew custom-made clothes, costumes, draperies, curtains, quilts, embroideries, knitting and crocheting. Weddings are big business, too. Many part-time seamstresses can make a good living on wedding gowns and accessories. Home decor and accents -- such as custom window treatments, draperies, curtains, slipcovers, specially pillows, shower curtains, bed covers and other bedding materials -- also may be produced at home.
According to the Travel Industry Association of America, the travel and tourism industry generated $1.4 trillion in revenue in the United States in 2011. Thanks to the Internet, home-based agents have all the same tools that used to be available only to a traditional, established brick-and-mortar travel agency. Just beware of scams. The travel industry attracts scammers from all over the world, from Nigerian airline ticket scams using stolen credit cards to Internet hucksters selling phoney travel agent ID cards.
Electronic commerce is a booming industry. E-commerce eliminates the need for a brick-and-mortar store. Sites like eBay provide the opportunity to start a small business selling items online. Sign up for a third-party-payment option and you're set. If you make items by hand, sell them on digital storefronts like Etsy or Big Cartel, whose shoppers look for unique one-of-a-kind items. You can turn your hobby into a money-making venture without sacrificing home-schooling.
If you love crunching numbers and data is your friend, start a freelance bookkeeper-for-hire service. Manage cash flow, keep track of profits and loss, and make spending plans for small to midsize companies that can't afford to pay a full-time bookkeeper with salary and benefits. The start-up costs are next to nothing. A PC spreadsheet like Excel easily keeps track of income and expenses. If you start to manage the books for more than one you may need to invest in more sophisticated accounting software.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, Americans spent $33.3 billion on skincare and anti-aging products in 2010. You can direct-sell beauty products from your home computer at your leisure when not teaching your kids. It's a great way to earn supplemental income with minimal start-up costs and fees. You can be your own boss, set your own hours, and work around the bigger priority of your family's home education.
Virtual assistants are the secretaries and administrative assistants of the digital age. You perform the typical tasks of a secretary or personal assistant: word processing, researching, event planning, making appointments and answering of phones -- but you do it over the Internet. Your client may be hundreds of miles away from you or even in a different country, and you may never meet. Every task is performed via email, password-protected servers, instant messaging, and video conferencing. Using a virtual assistant allows clients to outsource any projects that can be done from a remote location and allows you to make part-time money while teaching your kids.