When I started my natural product business in 2012, I had no idea I was laying a foundation for the world’s best SAHM side hustle.
I was working a solid 9 to 5 desk job at UCLA (before kids) and would work on my all-natural personal care product ideas while commuting by bus and on my lunch breaks.
It wasn’t until I had my first child that I realized I had hit gold without even intentionally doing so; I had been simply following a hobby and passion for natural living.
Now, two kids later, I am able to work from home on my own terms with a lifetime of scalable business opportunities and ideas at my fingertips.
I have to share the ‘WHAT’ and ‘HOW’ with other mommas on a mission to make an income while staying at home with their littles…without the guilt of having their head in a computer all day.
Natural and organic products are the perfect industry for a scalable work from home business because:
- The organic care industry is growing drastically
- You won’t ever run out of information to talk about (or sell)
- There are 3 ways to build a natural product business (and they don’t all require you to actually make anything)
- This is absolutely doable as a SAHM because of the variety of tasks that you do on your own terms. Guilt-free mom business.
- You can actually include your child(ren) in parts of the process, which has the added bonus of teaching them about natural living WHILE you work!
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Natural Product Industry Growth
The natural and organic care industry is projected to increase globally 8.3% (which equals out to 29.5 BILLION USD) by 2028. This projection includes:
- Natural and Organic Facial Care
- Natural and Organic Hair Care
- Natural and Organic Cosmetics
- Natural and Organic Body Care
- Natural and Organic Oral Care
- Natural Cleaning Supplies
Natural Product Industry Metrics Worth Noting:
- North America will be the top region for industry growth
- Females will be the top gender for industry growth
- Brief shelf life of organic products limits the amount of products that large companies can provide (which also increases their production costs)
- Translation: Consumers will be more likely to shop small for their organic care products
- Demand for more multi-use items to solve skin care issue due to higher price of organic products
- Translation: Consumers want a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 solution
- Natural skin care will be the fastest growing category with increased demand for chemical-free face creams and sun protection
Why is the Natural Product Industry Gaining Momentum?
- Increase in consumer awareness of natural cosmetics & green beauty in general due to social media and increased use of mobile devices
- Increase in consumer awareness of the benefits of natural products (and risks of synthetic ingredients) also due to social media and increased use of mobile devices
- Growing e-commerce industry
- Easier availability and search capabilities due to mobile devices
- Higher willingness for females 25 and above to pay more for premium products
- Increase in the geriatric population in the US that are willing to buy organic
- Increased demand in the male population for facial care and sun care products
Free Natural Living Resource Guide
from Treesnail Natural Essentials
Educating Others about Natural Products & Natural Living
If you are reading this article, you clearly have an interest and/or background in natural products and natural living.
Wanna hear something crazy?
Even if you are on the U.S. West Coast, which happens to be more ‘natural’ minded statistically, you are still the MINORITY.
It is amazing how small the natural/organic industry really is, and how the knowledge that you have about natural living is NOT that common.
The REALLY exciting thing though, is that people are READY for this information, as proved in the industry metrics above! We just have to find the best way to get that info OUT there for your particular future following!
As individuals who already know a thing or two about natural living, it’s our job to educate our peers and audience. In my opinion, it’s a legit responsibility.
What do You Have to Say?
As you begin to think about your ideal natural living side hustle, what do you have to say? What do you want to communicate? The message you intend to get across will set the stage for the TYPE of business you create…and you have SO many options!
Are you a seasoned DIY maker that believes you shouldn’t buy any personal care products from the store?
Are you new to natural living and have great ADVICE about what has worked for you as a beginner?
Do you want to PROMOTE your favorite premium personal care items to individuals that can afford ‘luxury’?
Do you want to CREATE necessary daily essentials that are affordable to the general population?
Do you want to TEACH people how to create their own natural living products?
Turn those questions over in your head and CELEBRATE the fact that the easiest way to currently spread information is through the internet. As stay at home moms, that works out really well, don’t you think? 😉
KEEP READING TO FIND OUT HOW TO TURN THESE QUESTIONS INTO ACTION!
3 Ways to Create a Natural Product Business as a SAHM
There are three general ways to go about starting a business that is inspired by natural living (and they don’t all include making products)!
Natural Product Maker & Seller
Creating homemade products to sell is undoubtedly the first way people think to make an income with natural products.
This may be for you if…
- You are a maker and are always experimenting and wanting to try something new
- You love graphic design and would enjoy creating a brand for yourself (think font families, color palettes, product label creation, packaging, etc.)
- You are able to answer potential customer questions & inquiries in a personable, professional manner
- You always have natural products and ingredients on hand 🙂
- Making products is a great activity to include your child(ren) in with TONS of learning opportunities (counting, measuring, sensory, science, etc.)
Resources You Need
- Space → You’ll have your supplies & equipment (in ADDITION to the items you currently have in your kitchen…no mixing of the two!), your natural ingredients, containers/labels/packaging, shipping station, etc.
- Availability → When customers have a question, it needs to be answered immediately. When someone orders an item, it needs to be created and shipped out by your promise date.
- Technology → This includes a camera, computer, printer, etc. to be able to market your products online.
Financial Details to Consider
- This option does take more ‘upfront’ money than the two below, as you will need to purchase ingredients, packaging, and labels.
- Keep in mind that you can always start small (and I recommend it).
- I started my company with a borrowed $100 from our savings account, repaid us with my initial profits, and built from there. I only sold one product at the beginning (lip balm) that required very little packaging and space.
- You will need to do ‘retail’ type things, such as inventory reporting and remitting sales tax.
- You will get paid the FASTEST with this option…when customers pay online, it can be transferred to your own bank account within 3 days. That’s fast turnaround!
DIY Natural Product Teacher
Teaching people online is becoming incredibly popular and can be done either via video or through picture-heavy tutorial articles.
This may be for you if…
- You love creating products but don’t have the space or availability to sell them yourself
- You are good at breaking things down into manageable, step-by-step actions
- You get to keep and use all of the wonderful products you make during your tutorials
- Making products is a great activity to include your children in with TONS of learning opportunities (counting, measuring, sensory, science, etc.)
- Once you grow a solid audience, you will make money passively while you sleep or manage other tasks…no need to package orders or meet shipping deadlines
Resources You Need
- Equipment → camera, lighting, photo/video editing software, plus the supplies to create the products themselves
- Marketing System → you need a way to get your tutorial out into the world…the combination of a website/blog, social media, and eventually an email list
- Self-Discipline → the most successful online teachers create new content consistently…having a strong drive and time management skillset will be your most valuable resource
Financial Details to Consider
- This option doesn’t take as much ‘upfront’ money, as you will not need to purchase shipping supplies, labels and packaging. However, keep in mind the costs for the supplies and ingredients you’ll need to make the products and the equipment to record your process…regular camera and/or video camera, tripod, lighting, etc.
- The payout for this method isn’t as immediate. Your income depends on the amount of traffic you get to view your tutorials, and that could take months even if you have a solid marketing plan in place.
- This option provides tons of growth opportunities that could increase your income GREATLY. After you have created authority with your audience, consider:
- Creating printable PDF recipes for individual sale
- Packaging your recipes together for an ebook
- Putting together a paid course or membership site
Natural Product Influencer
An influencer in marketing is a person that promotes a product to others to drive company sales. You’ve seen this forever with actors and singers in commercials or claiming loyalty to a certain brand.
More recently, companies big and small are paying ‘regular people’ to promote their products. Through the power of social influence and social media, you can be a personal billboard for your favorite products and get paid for it.
This may be for you if…
- You are active on social media
- You enjoy researching products and companies that fit your natural lifestyle
- You enjoy learning about more ‘techy’ types of things
- You can work from anywhere as long as you have access to a computer and/or smart device
- If you already have a large audience, you can begin making money pretty passively as soon as you are approved by your companies of choice without needing to make products of your own
- The amount you work is completely up to you and your income goals…there are no shipping deadlines or customer service communications to tend to
Resources You Need
- Smart device → phone, tablet, laptop, desktop…whatever you fancy
- Social media accounts → Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are the top influencer channels
- Blog → though you don’t NEED a blog to be an influencer, this can be a great source of marketing and income for you
Financial Details to Consider
- This is by far the most affordable business option in regard to startup costs. Even if you decide to get really involved, the overhead is incredibly low compared to other business models
- The amount you make depends on your audience size and ability to be genuine in what you promote
- It takes about two months on average to get paid out by companies, and most of them have minimums that you have to meet before getting paid (meaning they won’t send you money until you’ve made $25, $100, etc.)
And perhaps eventually…
…ALL OF THE ABOVE (gasp!)
- I have adopted every one of these business models under one umbrella…
- Personally, I have found that a careful balance of the three provides the most consistent income
- This formula also provides me the flexibility as a stay at home mom to put my ecommerce store on hold if I have a sick child or go out of town. The other more ‘passive’ income streams are still working during those times.
- I emphasize ‘eventually’, as it takes time to develop and understand each one of these business models. By attempting all at once, you WILL BURN OUT.
- However, knowing what is possible in the future can help GUIDE your decisions now in regards to what platforms to start with to support your long-term goals.
How to Monetize Your Natural Product Business Online
Time to talk about how all these natural product ideas and hard work will help you pay those bills with babies underfoot!
Create an Ecommerce Store
If you want to sell your handmade natural products online, you need to set up an ecommerce store.
Yes, there are ‘easier’ options such as simply snapping pictures and posting them on your personal Facebook page or using those Buy/Sell/Trade online communities.
If you want to create a true business for yourself that is sustainable (and not a REAL hustle in every sense of the word), this is not the way to go. For larger items, such as furniture, I totally get the whole buy/sell/trade concept. But running across town (kids in tow) with a $4 lip balm is not going to pay your bills.
Just set up an ecommerce store from the get-go. Deal?
Setting up an ecommerce store requires that you:
- Photograph your products (ideally in several different ways)
- Write a product description so the customer knows exactly what they’re getting
- Create clear store policies (Will you accept returns? Will you ship internationally? What is your turnaround time? How do you ship your orders? etc.)
Before you decide that’s a bit too much to handle, realize that most 3rd party sites, such as Etsy and Shopify, have a lot of the policy information started for you already with templates that are waiting for a little personalization.
These 3rd party sites also have integrated features, such as shipping partnerships with major carriers, customer message centers so you don’t have to use your personal email, and handbooks with tutorials in case you need help.
I have sold on multiple different platforms (Shopify, Wix, SquareSpace, and Etsy), and those features are pretty standard across the board.
After selling on the four aforementioned platforms, I decided this year to take down my inventory on all platforms EXCEPT for Etsy.
That was a TON of work that was deleted with the click of a button (yikes!), and so very worth it (yay!).
Why I Only Sell on One Platform
As a work from home mom, I have to be very deliberate with how I spend my time. Managing multiple ecommerce stores was not time-effective for my long-term goals.
- If I had a customer email me with a question to my business address, I would have to check multiple platforms for where their order originated.
- Each platform requires slightly different sizes of photos for your products, which means cropping and editing the same image in multiple different ways (and then naming the files & organizing them in my dwindling computer space).
- The bookkeeping for using different platforms was daunting.
- Checking all platforms multiple times a day for orders and messages was a time sponge.
- The HUGE kicker was that more ecommerce sites meant more orders. I am but ONE person with two littles at home. I couldn’t keep up while also providing excellent customer service.
- I wanted to take the time I was putting into my multiple ‘stores’ and invest that time into more passive income streams, such as creating tutorials and digital products.
I chose Etsy as my only platform for numerous reasons:
- They organize your customers’ orders in a way that flags you if it’s a repeat customer and you can see very quickly what they have ordered in the past (and when). This creates a MUCH more personalized experience for both the seller and the customer, as you’re able to reference your history together and create a relationship.
- Etsy does a fabulous job promoting the company AND their sellers. They have a gazillion different email lists that go out every day with featured sellers and items. I am one of millions of sellers on Etsy and still I have been featured 3x over the past 2 years. Each feature created more sales during that week than the entire Christmas season combined. WHO DOESN’T LOVE FREE ADVERTISING?
- Etsy has been around so long (and will continue to be), and has become a trusted company to work with. This has resulted in partnerships with Pinterest, QuickBooks, Moo.com, and more. These partnerships are a HUGE win for sellers, because we get mad awesome discounts and visibility.
- Etsy works on your behalf to send emails out to your previous customers to get reviews and feedback. I have spent HUNDREDS of dollars on other platforms to set up feedback portals and product reviews. This is included in Etsy’s fees and you don’t have to do a thing.
- There are always areas of opportunity for every system, and Etsy’s continually changing algorithms are a pain sometimes. However, the benefits outweigh this if you have your own marketing system set in place.
Start a Mom Blog
If you are serious about making money by either selling your natural products, teaching others to create natural products, or even promoting natural products, you need to strongly consider starting your own blog.
A blog is a personally run website that you constantly update with new information. (You are reading a blog right now!)
The majority of the information you find on Pinterest is actually blog content, and blog posts are also found in search results on Google (and other search engines).
In a nutshell, starting a blog is going to get you online TRAFFIC and EXPOSURE to your content, especially thanks to all the blogging support communities out there.
What Does Traffic Have to Do with Getting Paid?
If you are selling your own handmade natural products online, statistically speaking the more people that VIEW your products equals a greater probability of SELLING your products.
But what if you are creating tutorials or promoting another company?
There are two basic ways to generate income without selling your own products: advertisements and affiliate marketing.
To keep it short and sweet, companies want to advertise on blogs that get a lot of traffic.
They say, “Oh look. You have lots of visitors and we’ll pay you for a bit of real estate on your site.”
And you say, “Yes, that sounds lovely.”
The more traffic you have, the more you can get paid by advertisers. It’s completely optional to get paid this way.
Some bloggers are all for it because ‘money is money’. Others don’t like it because they think it clutters up their site and makes for an unpleasant reader experience.
I’d recommend you think about your OWN experience as a reader. Decide if advertisements are annoying for you, if they aren’t, or if some are okay while others aren’t. You’re in complete control.
Affiliate marketing is when you link to a product or company on your blog (or via social media) and then Company XYZ pays you if one of your readers clicks on their link and completes a sale.
You have to be accepted into an affiliate marketing agreement with the company you’re promoting, so there’s a bit more to it than that, but hopefully this paints the basic idea for you. There’s more information in the section below on affiliate marketing.
Back to the point about traffic…
As you can see, the more traffic you get to your blog will result in more income. And it’s passive. Once you create content, it’s out there in the World Wide Web F.O.R.E.V.E.R.!
That means it’s possible to get paid for content you created YEARS ago, that someone just stumbled upon TODAY.
This wonderful, passive income all starts with actually CREATING a blog.
Got it. I’m in. How do I Start My Blog?
There are tons of free articles and tutorials online.
But as a stay at home mom, I urge you not to just blindly try to do this yourself. You don’t have hours of uninterrupted time to figure out the tech and will waste money on tools that you don’t need (trust me…#guilty).
While the internet does have an amazing amount of helpful, free information, so many articles out there suggest different things and different tools. How are you supposed to know which ones to pick? Without already having a background or experience in blogging yourself, it would be close to impossible to sort through it all on your own.
Enter Suzi Whitford, Stage Left
Suzi is the owner/creator of startamomblog.com, a superstar example in the blogging world.
Suzi started her first blog when she became a stay at home mom (with one child), and now less than THREE YEARS LATER (and two MORE children), she is making enough money JUST from her blog that it replaced her ‘pre-baby’ salary AND her husband’s salary.
Talk about epic and motivational.
Suzi has put together a course that shows EXACTLY how she did it. From step ONE to step FIVE HUNDRED, she quite literally walks you through every single step.
I recommend starting with her signature course, Blog by Number. This crazy informative course will get you up and running with all the tech support you need. Click on the image below to see an overview of her available courses and all of the resources she has:
If a course is too big of a financial commitment for you right now, you can start smaller with her Blog by Number Ebook that covers the basics.
If you are a techy person, the book may be the only thing that you need.
Personally, I like to watch video instruction (the course) so I can play it, pause it, apply what was just taught, and then play the next part, pause it, apply that lesson, etc. etc. etc.
I’m a needy gal when it comes to technology, no doubt. The course was absolutely a better fit for me. But you do you!
I hope these blogging resources are a slam dunk for you…’discovering Suzi’ sure was a life-changer for me, and was the FIRST step I took on my own blogging journey! Since then, I have actually purchased every single one of the courses she offers…if that gives you any indication as to the quality of her products.
Moving forward. As mentioned above, affiliate marketing is when you link to a product or company on your blog (or social media) and then ‘said company’ pays you if one of your readers clicks on the link and completes a sale.
If you are creating a tutorial on how to make the world’s best organic facial serum and you provide your readers with links to your favorite dropper bottles and essential oils, you are creating an affiliate link.
If a reader clicks through and decides to purchase those items, you get a percentage of the sale.
Cha-ching. Getting paid for helping other people is awesome.
If you are more interested in promoting products that OTHER people or companies create, it’s the same system. Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about your favorite green cleaning products and link to Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day or other awesome companies.
If your reader clicks through and decides to purchase something, you still get a percentage, just as the above example.
Cha-ching again, natural living soldier! You’re changing lives!
The links in the above two paragraphs are affiliate links, simply used for example purposes. As you can see (if you click through), they still look the same as if you would have found the links via Google. The ONLY difference is that an affiliate link has a special code that is unique JUST to you, which lets the company you’re promoting know to pay you.
So, you said I could bank on affiliate marketing without having to start a blog?
Yup. You can. Affiliate marketing is allowed on social media platforms for many companies, though you do always have to rake through their terms of service before promoting anything so that you don’t get kicked out of their affiliate program.
THAT BEING SAID…
Check out the average ‘lifespan’ of the different types of online posts:
- Twitter: 18 minutes
- Facebook: 5 hours
- Instagram: 21 hours
- Linkedin: 24 hours
- YouTube: 20+ days
- Pinterest: 4 months
- Blog Posts: 2 + years
If you are able to post on social media several times a day (and enjoy it!), the lifespans above are just a good thing to know about the job and will simply help shape your marketing plan.
Most moms that I know aren’t able to create that many posts every day, let alone engage with the individuals that respond to said posts. I’m all about figuring out how I can maximize every minute I put in, and blogging takes the cake for that, no question.
It really does come down to your vision and end goals!
To learn the INS and OUTS of EVERYTHING affiliate marketing, I am legit excited to introduce you to the #1 course currently available.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, creator of www.makingsenseofcents.com has put together a course that walks you through all things affiliate marketing.
As a heads up, this does concentrate on affiliate marketing with a BLOG, but there are sections in her course on affiliate marketing through social media which would make it worth the cost if that’s your bag.
Michelle just turned 30 and is making over a million dollars a year on her blog, much of which comes from affiliate marketing. Totally mind-blowing.
Click the image below to take a quick glimpse of her lessons, resources, and module topics:
The Ultimate Guilt-Free SAHM Side Hustle
Whew. Deep breath. While this may seem like a lot to juggle while being a stay at home mom, it is actually quite doable if you plan your week ahead of time and premeditate what tasks you’ll do when…aren’t we already doing that every second as moms anyway?
I have made myself a VERY active promise to not do any computer work while my kids are awake. I want my time with them to be full of fun and learning…together.
Here’s how I manage a business while having my girls with me at home:
Making Natural Products
- While I measure beeswax/shea butter/whatever, my oldest daughter measures out water in her own set of measuring cups
- We practice counting scoops of herbs or drops of essential oils as I add them to my recipes
- We learn about science and nature while discussing where ingredients & oils come from and what they do
- I put my ingredients on a (very) low burner while I put the kiddos down for their nap…everything is melted down and ready to be poured into containers by the time the girls are asleep (ultimate multi-tasking win!).
- I apply labels to products during craft time so we’re all “doing stickers” together
Marketing My Business on Social Media
- I sell natural products to natural families, so I consider it very relevant for my own family to be seen in my social media posts
- As a momma, I always have my camera out and ready…which means I’m also creating possible marketing content at the same time
- (Admittedly these are not really a mind-blowing tips in this section, but a definite job perk and yet another multi-tasking win!)
Writing and Posting Content
- I take advantage of every morning, nap time, and evening to work on the computer for all other tasks. My husband also has his own business, so we have developed a lovely dance of ‘who-does-what-when’ that works really well.
- The following schedule for my computer tasks has worked almost flawlessly for the last year (Important Note: I batch things out and try to create two weeks ahead of schedule in case of child sicknesses or unexpected increases in orders):
- Mondays: Everything MailerLite (email & newsletter creations)
- Tuesdays: Everything Pinterest (creating/sharing pins & Tailwind)
- Wednesdays: Everything Social Media (Facebook & Instagram)
- Thursdays: Everything Etsy (creating product descriptions and updating photos)
- Fridays: Everything Blog-related (writing posts, improving SEO, creating printables)
In a nutshell, I create PHYSICAL product and take pictures while my babies are awake, and I create DIGITAL content while they’re asleep. Simple as that!
Why the Natural Product Industry is a Genius Side Hustle
After reading through the details above, I’m sure it’s no secret this industry is a lot of upfront work. I would be lying if I said you won’t have some sleepless nights, sweat and tears along the way.
This is a foundation for a long-term game plan, not fast cash money.
And that’s what makes it great.
As you stay at home to raise your beautiful children, you can put in an hour before they wake up. An hour while they nap. An hour after they go to sleep. Every minute counts.
Those first months of building your ecommerce site, blog, or social following may seem fruitless…maybe even feel like a waste of your time.
And then you’ll receive an order while you’re sleeping.
Or you’ll get paid out for an affiliate sale while you’re at the park with your babies.
It will be small at first, but it will grow as you continue to add one single brick at a time to your online empire.
By the time your kids are ready for playdates, or school, or other ‘big kid’ activities, you won’t have a side hustle anymore…
You’ll have a full-fledged BUSINESS that you created WHILE staying home with your tribe.
And you’re getting in NOW while the market is HOT HOT HOT and ready for growth.
Ugh. It’s so beautifully genius. Gives me the chills.
That was a lot of brain juice.
Want to Back it Up to square one and sift through this at a snail’s pace…together?
(…you see what I did there?)
I’m in the process of creating a FREE 5-day email course that walks through the questions you need to ask yourself before getting started.
We will work as a team to set YOU up for SUCCESS from the beginning.
We will hammer out the realistic TIME you personally have to work with every day, the BUDGET that you have to work with, the RESOURCES you already have available, and more.
We’ll get you added to my invite-only Facebook Group that will help you engage with moms on the same path so we can help each other along the way.
You’ve got NOTHING to lose and EVERYTHING to gain!
Pre-register for the FREE 5-day email course to see if one of the business ideas above can work for YOU AND YOUR FAMILY…
Which SAHM Side Hustle is the Most Appealing to You?
Share your thoughts in the comments area below!
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