Statistics seem to vary a lot but according to the Office of National Statistics in the UK there are now 200,000 men staying at home to bring up their children – almost double the number in 1993, when official records began. A not insignificant fraction of those fathers are working part-time and sharing the childcare, or bringing up children by themselves.
As more and more of us can work from home through the internet, being a stay at home dad isn’t the oddity it was even 15 years ago. Because dad can now look after his kids AND pull in some money – through the internet – the emasculating connotations to the phrase ‘stay at home dad’ are no longer what they once were.
How much money can you really make online as a stay at home dad?
The first thing you find yourself doing more of when staying at home is browsing on the internet, chatting on Facebook, Twitter, visiting blogs. Blimey, a whole day can go by and all you do is surf and wipe bums. Let’s face it, you’re not likely to be down at Cafe Nero with your kids and some other fella’s kids talking about schools and waistlines, are you? Men aren’t as comfortable as women are showing off their offspring and chatting about ‘their day’… But that might be about to change.
Because as more and more stay at home dads make money online, they will feel they actually have something that other men would like to talk about over a mid morning coffee – making money! Which money-making opportunity is best for a stay at home dad? The internet is full of ‘make money online’ opportunities, and few of them actually form the basis of a real business. Every next link you click on takes you to a webpage asking for your email or your credit card. In return you will be able to make a silly amount of money in just 7 days. Wow, this looks great! Except, of course, it isn’t. It might not be a scam, but the promises made are very often hypothetical and seldom applicable to your circumstances. So how do you get ahead in online marketing? Answer: get a mentor. Don’t keep spending on ebooks and courses. Chances are you’ll end up spending more than you actually use and getting yourself into a funk. Just as you would with any other serious business pursuit – you have to learn from people who will invest in you and expect you to take action.
I got into internet marketing in a roundabout way. I’d been about to see my first novel published when I heard the publisher had gone bust. After a lot of gnashing of teeth, the only deal I could get after that was an on-demand deal – which is little more than a distribution deal with no marketing push. So I set up a group on Facebook, plus a Page, of course. I emailed friends, family and Facebook friends. I blasted Twitter with links to my book’s page on amazon. And the money rolled in. Yeah, right. So was my book crap? Not according to the people who had reviewed it on amazon – but my marketing was crap. Because, in my ignorance, I was doing it the spammy way.
I investigated further. I could barely see the wood for the trees. Friends and family said the internet marketing world looked like one big scam. Be careful, they said. Six months later, I’d learned plenty but still hadn’t made a dime online. Maybe my friends were right and I should give up. But as a stay at home dad, what were the alternatives? Not so many. So I stuck at it and resolved to make it work.
Get a blog and make a start
I set up a blog on internet marketing – even though I knew very little about the topic. But it’s like most things in life, if you trawl long enough you will pick up food to sustain your fledgling business. And gradually I became – to new people at least – an expert. Just a blog? Well, no, you don’t do one of anything when it comes to internet marketing. It’s all about diversification. And yet – and here’s the tricky part – it’s also about balance; if you diversify too much too soon, you will spread yourself too thin and possibly end up achieving nothing but a chronic wrist condition from using your mouse all day long.
Affiliate marketing is the easiest way in to making money online
Affiliate marketing involves marketing someone else’s product and being paid a commission for each sale. You don’t even have to have a physical product – it can be digital, an information product such as you’d find at Clickbank. The best way to market as an affiliate these days is through review sites. Set up a mini site, keep your page limited to a very narrow niche, aimed at buyers not freebie seekers, and you WILL start to make money online. Unless you’re an experienced marketer and really know your niche, one site won’t do it, you’ll need several. But once they’re up and running, they make money more or less on autopilot. But is this really a business? Not quite, in my opinion. Because unless you’re building a list, you are building an income, not a business. How does a stay at home dad create a business online – from scratch? To build a list you need to set up web pages – known as squeeze pages – that offer a gift in return for a visitor’s email. Once you have a list, you have a potential customer base. Now we’re talking. But in all of these processes, you need help, don’t you? Of course there are plenty of tutorials, videos, etc. on the internet. But how do you piece all these disparate lessons together to form a coherent business strategy when you’ve got Freddy there demanding milk every five minutes, or Naomi with teething problems? Even assuming your kids are out of their tantrum phase, kids don’t know the meaning of closed doors and they interrupt you every moment a question pops into their heads. I have 3, I know. So unless you have a fortified shed at the end of the garden or can afford round-the-clock help, your best plan is to find a mentor. And the way to do that is to do what you’re doing now – reading on the net and checking out the authors of those articles and blogs you read and opening a dialogue with the ones you like the look of.
Find a generous marketing mentor
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of finding a mentor with whom you click – he or she is worth their weight in gold. Not only will you learn a viable internet marketing model, you will find yourself the equivalent of a personal trainer AND, with any luck, a buddy. Through your mentor you will more quickly acquire the opportunity to network with more experienced marketers than you. The learning curve will be less arduous and the money will start to appear in a shorter period of time. Leave the heroics of being a stay at home dad to bringing up your children, just be practical with the task of building an online business – get a generous marketing mentor and you’ll never want to return to the office.