How to start a business as a stay at home parent?

By The Rebel School CEO, Simon Paine.

As a parent myself I know the speed at which having children disintegrates your available cash reserves so the first thing to think about is this.

You really don't need to spend the money to start a business.

Starting a business without spending any money is going to really empower you. Why? Because it won’t be a business straight away; it can take a few goes at getting a business right so I want you to think about this is a mini-experiment not as a finished perfect business. Let’s find out If you’re going to like it and if it’s going to work for free before you invest any money.

The best thing about a mini-experiment is that it takes the pressure off everything needing to be perfect. That means you don’t have to spend much money in fact if you can spend zero money. Then you will have successfully passed your entrepreneurs initial training course! Think of all the things that you think you need to get started on the stock, equipment or website or marketing or whatever it is and imagine if you can get all of that stuff without spending any money! Well you can! 

Sell your value before you make anything.

You can build a brilliant website for free ( you can use social media for free you can get free business cards and free printing if you can’t get. What you can’t get for free, you can try to borrow or barter and plenty of new business owners have sold things around the home (that they don’t need any more) on Facebook marketplace or eBay to raise a small/fund to get their business started. The most powerful tip of all for the mini experiment is to sell your value before you make anything.

What does this mean? This means that even before you’ve made a product or deliver a service, you ask your customers for payment in advance either in part or in full. This means that you can use your customers money to grow your business and not yours. How cool is that? I think about when you order something online you always pay upfront; you just expect that the product will be delivered and trust if there is a problem you can get your money back.

Time Management - the first thing that matters if you want everything to work.

Something to consider for your own well-being is to see if you can figure out which moments of the day you are able to fully immerse in your business versus which moments of the day you’ll need to be fully present with your children. Running both things at the same time can get really overwhelming so being smart with your time, to enable you to focus as much as possible with a clear head will really help – even if it’s just for half an hour or an hour a day.

So when you’re time poor starting a business, think of the activities, the products and service ideas that you have the biggest impact positively on your well-being and your cash situation. What ideas will shift the needle the most? What would fill your heart with happiness if you could spend your time doing it?

The less your business feels like work, the more likely you are to make the progress that you want.

Here’s the key thing. Have you ever tried to ride three horses with one butt?

No. I didn’t think so, i wouldn’t recommend it. It just won’t work so what’s really going to help you is to focus on one kind of product or service idea first. That will tell you who your target audience is going to be and then you can take as much action as you can to reach them and start selling.

Sales is the second thing to focus on.

Learning sales skills and asking for money is one of the key things to learn when you’re starting a business.

I’ve got a tip for you and it’s a tip for parents. You have a secret weapon and that is “other parents!”

Through Nursery, parent toddler groups and schools you will have access to several hundred parents in the coming years through text messages, WhatsApp groups, children’s parties, school events and even standing at the school gate chatting. There is plenty of business for you in that audience regardless of what you’re selling.

So if you haven’t done so already start making friends, being visible and getting known because they are the people that you’re interacting with regularly and therefore the ones most likely to buy what you’re selling.

 So what’s your next step?

Simon Paine

Simon started the Rebel School (formerly Pop-Up Business School) with Alan in 2011.

As well as helping start-ups realise their business dreams, he has coached, trained and facilitated senior leaders from some of the world’s most famous companies including Microsoft, British Airways, and Thomson Reuters.

Find out more about Simon on our team page.