Working from home has become increasingly popular for women, especially in light of increased costs nationwide.
With the cost of childcare constantly on the rise and Alabama having some of the highest childcare rates in the nation, many Alabama moms have utilized creative ideas to make money from home.
According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the median annual cost for infant childcare in Alabama is $6,001 per infant, an average of $500 monthly, which is 12% of the average salary for an Alabama household.
There are many options for women wanting to work from home. Starting a unique business model can allow for creative expression while making extra income for the innovative and entrepreneurial.
Haley Maddox, a mother of three, designs and hand-writes wedding invitations. The business started while her husband was in college and became a way to supplement the family’s income while allowing them to have children quickly.
Maddox said, “I kind of do it all; anything wedding paper related."
“My husband and I got married in college, so it actually helped pay bills for the first several years of our marriage. Once he was able to get a job that covered our expenses, it became just extra cash to save up for a car and a down payment on our house.”
Maddox says the home-based business became a priority soon after she and her future husband set their hearts on having children.
“We were pretty set on having kids not too long after we got married, and I always knew that I wanted to be able to be home with my kids, and we hope to homeschool one day. I wanted an outlet for my creativity and to contribute, but also to be at home with our kids. It’s been really cool – now that we have three – to see that vision come to life where I’m their primary caretaker and not have to pay someone to watch them while I go to work. It’s definitely been a blessing.”
Some businesses require more space and overhead than others. However, with the availability of industry-specific equipment, larger-scale operations can be home-based with some adaptation.
Heather Terrell runs a custom clothing business from her home. After running a storefront business, Terrell decided that transitioning to home-based would be an all-around better option for her family.
Terrell said, “I closed it because it’s so much easier to work from home when you have a kid, so I shut down the storefront and moved everything into my sunroom.
“I do screen print. I do vinyl. I do customization. It is so much easier to do it this way. You don’t have to keep much inventory, it’s more streamlined, and it’s so much easier when you have a kid. Life is just easier.”
Terrell said working with a home-based model while being a mother has allowed her to spend essential time with her son while also dealing with health issues.
Terrell said, “If I didn’t have the business, and I was still working an 8-5, I wouldn’t have the freedom, and I would be missing all the milestones my son has met that I’ve been able to be there for.
“My child is 15 months old, and he stays with me 24/7. He’ll play and do all sorts of things while I’m making shirts. He even has his own little keyboard so he can pretend that he’s just like mama. … We’ll take breaks, go to lunch, and if we need, go get t-shirts so we can get out of the house.”
With the proliferation of social media, operating a business from home has become easier than ever. There are several methods for running a home business. A popular one is known as multi-level marketing (MLM).
MLM systems operate through systems of recruitment where a company sells products or services to individual sales representatives who often act as their own small business owners.
The MLM option allows salespeople to work at their own pace and as frequently as they choose.
Dannielle Brown is another mother who works from home. On top of being a mother of three, she is currently running multiple businesses.
“I’ve got my skincare business. That’s an MLM one that I’ve had for ten years. I used to be a lot more active, but now not so much with three kids, but it's still something I work on an hour or two a week.”
On top of the MLM business, Brown also owns and operates an interior design business from home and has done this for four years.
Brown said the businesses are the only thing conducive to her choices as a mother, preferring the time with her family and the freedom that comes with acting as her own boss.
“When my first son was born, I went from working full-time to part-time, but I just couldn’t keep a job like that because my boss wanted me to work full-time,” Brown said. “I could never see myself working for someone else unless my kids were way older. But honestly, I like the flexibility. If we want to go on a trip, I can go on a trip, and I can plan my work around that. I definitely like that I can be with my kids more; I would not want to be away from them for five days a week and have someone else raising them.”
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