If given the option, most people would choose to stay home rather than go to work.
Parents would rather play with their kids. We’d prefer to spend time on our hobbies. We would choose to focus our energy on creative projects that bring a sense of fulfillment and pride. Maybe we’d go to the beach or read a book.
Most of us aren’t lazy, we would just rather spend our time on things we see as more important.
So what if you could?
What if your life didn’t cost as much, so you could work less, since you don’t need as much money? What if you and your spouse ran a business online or out of your home that only required a few hours each day, and could be done when and how you want?
What if you could structure your days how you want, rather than the best hours of the day spent at an office(every day at the beach, anyone?)
Well, the truth is, you can. It just takes having a dream and acting on it. It might require sacrificing something that’s good for something that’s better. It might require a little more intentionality.
Here’s an overview of what it would take to be a full time, stay at home family with flexibility and purpose.
1 – Know your needs
When making life changes, it all starts with knowledge.
We know your family wants flexibility and to be able to stay home. Now what do you need in order to make that happen? How much money do you actually need every month to get by? How much are you currently spending? In what ways can you cut back in order to make the transition easier?
For example, if you know your family makes $60,000/year, and you add up all your expenses and find you are spending $60,000/year(ie living paycheck to paycheck), you will need to start a business that makes that much money.
But what if you realized you only needed $30,000 to live on, and the rest is just luxury. Now, you only need to start something that makes $30,000/year. A little easier than $60,000. Less pressure means it’s more likely you’ll take action and not give up. Start small.
Download this excel/google sheet, log into your bank, and add up your expenses. Do it for the last 3 months so you can see an average. Once you know where you are at, you can move on to step 2.
2 – Simplify your life.
There are thousands of books and blogs and podcasts about simplifying your life. It means different things to different people. I’m not talking about minimalism(though i‘m a fan).
I’m simply talking about looking at where your money is going and getting rid of things that aren’t giving you value.
Most of our money is spent on big things – house, cars, insurance, food, debt. If you can make any of these things more efficient, that can make a much bigger impact on your finances than, say, not buying that pair of shoes, or not going out to eat.
We figured out how to get rid of our mortgage payment. And because we both [mostly] work from home, we were able to get rid of one car. Now we only have 1 car for our family, and it works great! If we both need to get somewhere(rare), I prefer taking my moped or bike anyways.
Getting rid of 1 car saves us about $8,500 per year. Getting rid of our mortgage saves us even more.
Other ways to simplify include:
- Switching home and auto insurance – we love Esurance!
- Canceling useless monthly subscriptions.
- Cancelling cable(everyone is doing it – try Hulu or Sling or reading books 😉
Simplifying your life, in whatever ways you choose, can not only dramatically improve your finances, it can free up space in your mind, relieve anxiety, and make it far more likely for you to be a stay at home family, if that’s your goal.
3 – Get rid of debt
It’s no secret – most people are in some type of debt. It sucks. And it makes us have to keep working long hours. Some of us wonder if we will ever get out.
Getting rid of it though, can make or break your ability to start a home based business. Ultimately, we chose to focus on working from home first, and then using that income to pay down our debt.
If you take any of the steps listed before, as you simplify your life, use the money you are saving to pay down some debt. Get rid of any high interest credit card debt. You can use a tool like Sofi to refinance and save money on your student loans, if those are pretty crazy.
The more you can get rid of, the less pressure you’ll have when starting your own business and working from home.
4 – Start the business you dream of.
This is the fun part. Starting a project that can become a full time income for you and you family. It can be something you are passionate about, something that involves your hobbies. It can allow you and your spouse to stay home, to travel, to spend more time living and less time working.
I plan on writing a lot more posts about this topic, as this is my personal passion. I’ve tried lots of things, some of which have been successful and some that haven’t. But there are so many opportunities out there, there is something for everyone.
There are opportunities for those who consider themselves entrepreneurs and for those that definitely don’t feel that way.
There is opportunity for those who are really creative and for those who aren’t at all.
There is opportunity for those who want to build something their way and for those who just want to follow rules and step by step instructions.
For those who like to write, consider freelance blog writing. This can be one of the fastest(and most sure) ways of making money from home.
For those who aren’t too creative, but are good at following directions, consider becoming a virtual assistant and helping other people run their businesses online.
For those who like to create, start selling your products on Etsy. If you can get a few sales, you can build up an e-commerce site and turn it into a real business. Do pop-up markets to build brand awareness in your community.
Do you love decorating, doing home projects, and exercising your hospitality to create experiences for people? Become an Airbnb host! (More on this in the future, as this is something we plan to do one day.) Save up to buy a new house, fix it up and start renting it out. Get just a couple properties and you’ve got a full time income AND a retirement strategy.
In posts to come, we will talk much more in depth about many of these strategies, some of which we’ve tried ourselves, and ones we haven’t yet, but are excited to. Sign up for our email list to get the best content about starting your dream business and living a flexible life.
5 – Invest in something that will provide passive income for years to come.
Once you start making money with your business and have flexibility in your life, start investing that money in something that will continue providing passive income.
The more you do this early on in life, the earlier you can retire all together from working in any shape or form(if you want to).
Low cost index funds(vanguard’s are often the most revered by people who retire early).
Real estate – buy crappy houses, fix them up, rent them out, collect rent. You could also focus on Airbnb if you are looking to make a full-time income with only a couple properties.
Do Your Part
The most important thing you can do is to have a dream.
Take a few minutes, write down your goals and dreams for your family life and structure. Then, start taking stock of where you are at and what you need to do to get where you are trying to go.