Three golden eggs in a birds nest

3 Empty-Nester Entrepreneurial Ideas

An exciting new career path can unfold once your kids are out of the house

It’s that moment so many mothers guiltily yearn for: Their kids leaving the nest. You’re finally free from carpools and lunch-making and homework and bake sales and running to the art supply store to buy random things to make a solar system at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night. The world is your oyster!

So now what? What will you do? How will you fill the void? How will you spend your days? Sure, you could get that massage you’ve been wanting for 18 years, or take a kid-free Mediterranean cruise, or sleep in—but after a couple weeks, you’ll be bored. You’ll yearn for a purpose and probably some extra income. But the thought of a 9-5 job (if that even exists today) sounds terribly stifling and lacks the flexibility you’ve most certainly earned.

Let’s explore three options you might want to consider:

  1. Turn Your Passion Into a Business. Do you make the most beautiful flower arrangements from your own garden? Are you constantly being complimented on your jewelry—you know, the pieces you artistically cobbled together out of recycled parts? Have you gathered a following blogging about your favorite hobby? At the dog park, do people ask where you take your schnauzer for his perfect beard grooming (hint: you do it yourself)? Take note of the things you do especially well (or, if you’re too humble, the things others rave about)—these are your hidden money-making opportunities. Why? These are things you obviously already enjoy (because you’ve been doing them for yourself) and excel at. How can you morph these passions into a profitable business? You could open a small florist shop in your neighborhood or set up a home-based version and sell online, build an Etsy account to sell your one-of-a-kind jewelry or place it in consignment stores, pitch articles to industry magazines or find advertisers for your blog, or start a mobile or home-based pet grooming business. Each of these ideas allows you to work for yourself, work at your own pace, has a low start-up cost, and gives you the flexibility you desire.
  2. Transfer a Skillset to Entrepreneurship. Perhaps you’ve acquired a skill while staying at home or working that could easily translate into a new business venture. Maybe you’ve always had a knack for numbers and have been doing bookkeeping for a friend’s business each month, or you homeschooled your kids and want to keep teaching. Now’s the time to morph these things you have a demonstrated aptitude for into your own business venture. Set up your own bookkeeping business and take on a few paying clients, or set up tutoring and workshops for SAT prep. Sure, you might need to take a few courses or read a few books to brush up on your skills or obtain a certification if required by your chosen field, but that’s a small investment into the next phase of your life.
  3. Develop a Product to Solve Problems for Parents. Nobody knows better than you the trials and tribulations of parenting—and after all these years of hands-on experience, you’ve always wondered why nobody has ever invented X to solve Y. Well, maybe it’s because you’re the only one who has come up with that idea! Or you’re the only one who’s going to figure out how to actually create it, market it and profit from it. So put on your inventor’s hat, and start by looking for the low-hanging fruit. How else do you think things like sippy cups, teddy bear nanny cams, and tinkle targets were conceived? Ok, I’m not sure who invented these things, but for illustration purposes, I’m going to assume it was a frustrated mother who channeled her energy into fixing a problem she was experiencing at home. Check out these great inventions by moms like you. Already have your idea and need some capital to get started? Try kickstarter.

Every one of us is a very unique and gifted woman. This is your journey, your dream, your process and your time. So make it all about you and the money will follow!

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