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We know many mothers are excited by the possibilities of flexible micro-businesses (small businesses that allow you to work on the schedule you determine), but many aren't sure exactly what skills and services they could sell.


So we've done the upfront work to create a list of them for inspiration, especially the not-so-obvious ones, or the small, hyper-specific slices of more well-known services.

This resulting list is hopefully just a starting point—take a look!

Food + cooking

We have to eat—every day, in fact. If you're passionate about food, cooking or grocery shopping (I envy you for this one), there are lots of micro-business opportunities.

FEATURED VIDEO

1. Home chef/meal prep: For busy people that want to eat healthy and are done with takeout. You can even specialize in a particular region of cuisine.

2. Recipe planning and grocery list planning: If you're obsessed with food blogs, a pro at organizing but aren't looking to cook, consider this one. Maybe someone is okay cooking for themselves, but they're having trouble finding recipes they like and planning the grocery lists to bring them to life.

3. Dessert creation: Make a killer Magic Bar or picture-perfect cupcake? Sell that to someone for their next party.

4. Cake decorating: Pro at fondant and can make a cake that looks like anything? Your neighbor would much rather hire you than their grocery store bakery department.

5. Healthy eating planning: someone wants to clean up their diet and doesn't know where to start? You'd be good at this if you've done the Whole30 and actually found delicious recipes that fit into it.

Organizing

Many people sell full-scale home organization services, but perhaps there's one room, item, or area of life that you excel at organizing. Be super specific and sell just that.

Here are some ideas:

1. Fridge or pantry: reorganize the contents and set someone up with a system that will keep things in place going forward.

2. Closets: Do you actually look forward to switching things out for the change of season? Color code your closet like a boss? Actually have an proper place for shoes/hats/scarves?

3. Kids closets: Like the above, but specifically focused on kids because they grow out of things so darn fast!

4. Basement or garage overhaul: Bins, boxes, labels, all sorted in a logical way that doesn't make the basement a scary place.

5. Art work: Kids bring home lots of it and no one wants to hurt their feelings by throwing it out. Come up with a plan for sorting through and displaying it in a way that works for everyone.

6. Organize my inbox, tabs, folders, triggers, filters: I really wish I could be one of those people that has the perfect folder, color, and tab for every piece of correspondence that hits their inbox and actually adheres to that system.

7. Finances: Get someone set up with the online (or offline—hello envelopes!) tools for organizing their personal finances and getting good budgets and systems in place.

8. Book all my appointments/things I have been putting off: Enough said.

9. Pack a family for vacation: If you pack your suitcases days before vacation and have traveled with your family enough times to know exactly what's needed, this one's for you.

10. Calendar planning for parents: Help a busy parent schedule appointments, various kids' extracurriculars and figure out where they'll need childcare or transportation help to make it all happen.

11. College move-in prep: It's an emotional roller coaster when a kid goes to college and also a very logistic-heavy time. Help an overwhelmed family with dorm packing, shopping, and other planning to navigate this major life change.

12. Photo organizing: Organize overflowing boxes, computers and phones full of photo files. Go a step further and put them into beautiful displays or books.

13. Fitness routine planning: No need to physically train anyone. Work with clients based on their goals, come up with a recommendation of fitness activities, gym classes, and the schedule to fit it into their life.

14. Picking up prescriptions and other essentials: From the woman who has left her prescriptions at CVS for weeks on end, despite their incessant automatic phone calls.

15. Ebay reselling: So many ways to offload and make money from stuff you are done with, but many people can't get around to it. Open up your own virtual consignment shop by helping them resell on eBay and more.

Business + communications

Take the talents you've honed over the years and offer them to small businesses or non-profits on a more flexible basis.

1. Negotiating: Coach someone on learning to advocate for themselves, in anything from a tough situation at work to asking for a refund for a service they're not pleased with.

2. Emails: No one loves them, everyone's got to write them. Write a small business' marketing emails to customers, in areas like: welcomes, announcements, promotions, sales, and more.

3. Cold outreach emails: Perhaps even more painful than most emails. In business it's always good to go in with a warm connection, but sometimes you just have to reach out cold. If you've mastered this art, coach someone on how to write good pitch emails that get answered.

4. Communications and tact: Similar to negotiating, but a step further. Perhaps a business owner needs help creating a compelling case for a potential client who doesn't want to pay them what they're asking for, or addressing other customer conflicts.

5. Slide deck creation: I envy people who can make beautiful and thoughtful PowerPoint decks in business settings. Mine always end up having too much text. If you're a master at making cohesive points and pulling in the right visuals, there's a great market for you.

6. Market research: Track down stats and statistics to support someone else's slide decks, business pitches, product planning, and more.

7. Office setup/decorating for collaboration and morale boosting: I have a friend who set his office up with lightbulbs that flashed different colors as the company hit their goals, which was super motivating for all. If you have creative hacks to help offices look and feel their best, sell that!

8. Customer service assistance: Answer online product questions, returns and exchange requests, and other customer service needs that will help a small business (or non profit) put their best foot forward.

9. Social media content planning: Busy executives need to know what's happening in their industry, but don't have the time to read all the articles or follow all the relevant people. Do this for them, hand off the right tweets to share, and make them look great in the process.

Entertainment

Whether it's providing flexible, creative activities and outlets for kids to making it easier for parents to throw parties, there are lots of options here to suit a whole range of passions and talents

1. Music lessons for kids and babies: So many instruments, so many ages to benefit from music.

2. Art lessons: Same, but with all the different visual art mediums.

3. Museum outings: Organize outings to art museums and more. Especially helpful for mothers with multiple kids or new babies, but toddlers who still need to have fun!

4. Wine advice: This one's for the parents (or the adult who's running the kids outings ;)). No need to be a sommelier or even have a license. Joanne helps people come up with the perfect pairings for parties and other intimate social outings and leaves the purchasing to them.

5. Party themes: Cute first birthday parties are all the rage but there is no way I'm going to plan one. Help me!

6. Party favors: Go a layer deeper and just focus on creative trinkets for guests to take away

7. Summer vacation planning for family: Camps, playdates, travel and more. Lots of free time to kill and lots of ways it could go. Help a family scour the options in the area, understand the costs, and make smart decisions that keep things running as smooth as they did during the school year. Do some of the entertaining yourself even!

Home Management & Cleaning

There are lots of great generalists when it comes to cleaning, but not everyone needs a frequent house cleaner, or they may just want to outsource that deep cleaning tasks that are the toughest to drum up the motivation for. Here are some ideas.

1. Handywoman: Patch up holes, hammer in nails, tackle the repairs that so many of us ignore for months (or years).

2. Window washing: Speaking of, I'm pretty sure people go on for years without doing this, and once done it instantly elevates a space.

3. Deep floor cleaning (and moving all my stuff to go with it): So necessary, so hard to do!

4. Cabinet cleaning, kitchen counter conditioning: in the theme of deep cleaning things that are important but hard to do.

5. Laundry: It never ends. New York City has lots of laundry services; they are harder to come by in the suburbs where people have washing machines in home, but they still seem incredibly helpful.

6. Household management: Laundry folding and organization, packing kids' lunches and daycare bags, creating lists for errands and more.

7. Home Depot planning and shopping: This place takes hours off my family's life and seems so hard to navigate. Come up with a plan for me to get what I need out of it and get out.

Technology

Cheryl's business (tech consulting that connects tech-savvy teens with adults who are, well, less skilled at understanding their smart phones) is a brilliant example of the problems to be solved here.

1. Think through apps I need in my life: As someone who previously worked at an app company, I know how useful they can be—but there are so many out there it's hard to know where to begin. If you're on top of the tech and gadget blogs, turn your passion into something that can improve the quality of someone else's life.

2. Computer shortcut help: Help someone make the most of their computer and iPad's tricks and shortcuts so they're not wasting time on things they shouldn't be

3. Graphic design software lessons: If you're well-versed in a software like Adobe Photoshop (or any others), help someone get up to speed and empowered to create their own simple graphics and more.

4. Camera lessons: Teach simple tricks to help someone take better pictures of their dogs or kids.

Design & Style

Pinterest and HGTV have really brought the creative and design talent out of people. If you want to share your passion with the world, there are lots of simple, resourceful ways to do it.

1. Individual room design: Sara focuses on kids' rooms but maybe you can't get enough of subway tile and bathroom design Pinterest boards.

2. Pillow, lighting, rug, etc refresh: So many places to buy decor these days that it can make it hard to pull the trigger. Ease someone's anxiety by understanding their design tastes, budgets, and scouring big websites and stores for a range of options for them to choose from.

3. Shop at Ikea/Target/Salvation Army/you name it: Take it a step further and shop through physical stores for additional inspiration. Bonus points if you like to hit up thrift or antique shops!

4. Holiday decorating: Bring your love of all things festive to someone else's home.

5. Pick paint colors: I nominate my mother for this. She can pick out a specific Benjamin Moore color on sight and knows exactly which beige is too green (apparently beige has green in it?). Someone else out there has to be like her, right?

6. Hang up pictures post move: Raise your hand if you've left your walls blank for an embarrassing amount of time after moving into a new place? If only there were someone to pick out and measure frames and figure out your art and photos to go in them. That someone could be you.

7. Renovation organization: Lots of old homes are in need of upgrades and lots of HGTV to make people want to buy their own fixer uppers. Surely they'll need help sorting through plans, vendors, and more.

8. Small repair coordination: Source electricians, plumbers, and other handy-people and book appointments.

Now's your turn. Tell us what YOU dream of doing, if only someone would pay you!

Originally published on Pepperlane.co.

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Caring for young children can be challenging enough on a perfectly normal day, but during an emergency those challenges are magnified. Natural disasters and emergencies—such as earthquakes, storms, fires, power outages, flooding or outbreaks that affect a wide community—obviously present a major operational challenge for childcare programs.

That's why childcare providers need to have preparedness plans for emergencies and natural disasters that are likely to occur in their communities. Be sure to discuss emergency planning with your day care, childcare program or after-school care provider.

Here are a few helpful questions to ask to make sure that your child's day care or childcare is ready for emergencies.

1. Does the parent handbook cover emergency planning? Is it up to date?

The parent handbook should serve as a guide for everything that takes place in a childcare program, from drop-off protocols to nap schedules, and it should also include information about the program's emergency plans, response, and recovery. As situations change or arise, the parent handbook should be updated accordingly.

FEATURED VIDEO

2. What is your communication plan for emergencies or disasters?

While 90% of childcare providers have written emergency response plans, only 70% have plans to communicate with family members during an emergency. Your provider should outline its plan of communication in its parent handbook.

3. Do you perform drills for disasters that are likely to occur in our area?

Ask whether your day care or childcare program has practiced its emergency response plans in a calm, safe environment—in other words, before it's necessary.

4. What is your evacuation plan?

In the rare event that an evacuation is necessary, it's important for providers to include up-to-date evacuation drills and protocols in the parent handbook. Caregivers, staff, parents and children should all know the designated meet-up point during a community evacuation.

5. Do you have a safe, designated evacuation spot in the event of a community evacuation?

Once staff and children calmly evacuate the building, there needs to be a safe shelter-in-place spot nearby. This location should be kid-friendly and have plenty of food, water and ways to keep young children occupied. The location should also be able to accommodate children with special needs and those with medical requirements.

6. What is your shelter-in-place plan?

During an emergency where parents are unable to access roads or public transportation, childcare programs need to have a shelter-in-place plan. Whether children stay at the facility or evacuate to a safe spot nearby, providers need to keep at least 72 hours worth of food, water, and medical supplies up to date. The program should also have parents write notes in advance letting children know that everything is okay.

7. Do you have post-disaster plans?

According to FEMA, more than 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster. If childcare programs close, parents cannot return to work and recovery cannot begin. Also, young children need a safe, secure, and familiar place to return to after a disaster.

8. How do you discuss emergencies in an age-appropriate manner with children?

A great way for care providers to introduce the concept of emergency plans to children is to have them help create emergency kits. This way children become familiar with emergency response items. Teachers should also let parents know how they plan to talk to children about emergencies in advance.

9. What are your policies for closing?

Childcare providers must give advance warning to parents about closures if there is an impending weather emergency. If roadways near the childcare program are typically out of use during an emergency, both parents and staff need to map out secondary pick-up plans in advance.

10. Are you in touch with local preparedness organizations?

Local emergency organizations can provide advice and tips to prepare for an emergency or natural disaster. Parents, care providers and community organizations should meet regularly and have the most recent copies of the parent handbook.

According to FEMA, in 2019 alone, there were 59 declared disasters in the U.S. These emergencies include earthquakes, tropical storms, fires, floods, severe storms, tornadoes, landslides, mudslides, extreme wind, and snowstorms. But basic advance preparation can go a long way toward helping parents and caregivers feel ready for emergencies and disasters, and can ensure that families and care providers stay safe.

A version of this post was originally published at the Institute for Childhood Preparedness

Learn + Play

The transition to motherhood is tough, and you deserve a little love! Join us March 28th for Motherly's Becoming Mama event in NYC for a day filled with conversations and connections that will leave you feeling inspired. Get advice from expert panels, indulge in a little pampering, and meet other local mamas IRL for a day of empowerment and support.


Register now for early-bird pricing, and access to limited VIP tickets with exclusive gift bags.

Here's what you can expect:

  • A mindful mama meditation to start your day.
  • Interactive panels and workshops focused on the hottest topics for new moms and moms-to-be. Check them out below!
  • A healthy lunch + delicious snacks
  • Pregnancy + postpartum pampering
  • Personalized gifts for you + your baby
  • The chance to test the hottest baby gear on the market
  • A swag bag filled with surprises
  • Amazing giveaways from our brand partners

Sat, March 28, 2020
10 am-2:30 pm
SECOND.
849 6th Ave
New York, NY 10001

REGISTER NOW

Here's what we'll be talking about on our panels:

Navigating the Fourth Trimester: Self-Care for Mom
While having a baby is a joyous occasion it often involves mom putting her own health on hold and speeding into overdrive to care for baby. Here postpartum experts will discuss the importance of postpartum mental wellness, and the importance of asking for help and finding support.

FEATURED VIDEO

The Motherhood Advantage sponsored by Medela
Motherhood brings so many advantages to the workplace, and yet, it's still a topic often talked about in hushed voices. We'll invite Medela to sponsor this very important panel that will evolve this working mom conversation. Together we can work to erase the Motherhood Penalty, support moms with the proper tools and lift each other up in the workplace.

Parenting in Partnership: Learning to Share the Load
There's never been a more equitable time to be a parent, and yet so many mothers still feel like they're carrying more than their fair share. Let's talk about how to create a parenting team from the start, with tips, tricks and expert advice on leveling the playing field between parenting partners.

*While many of Motherly's events are family focused, there will not be specific activities or play spaces for babies or kids. This event is more mom-focused. Babies under 1 are welcome at this event, but a baby carrier is suggested. Please use your discretion.

Thank you to our sponsors buybuy Baby and Medela.

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When I think about Meghan Markle, her effortless style is usually one of the the first things that comes to mind. Whether she's traveling, taking her dogs for a walk, or attending a royal event, her outfits always look timeless and put together. Yet somehow she still manages to wear outfits that feel way more accessible (even when she is donning a gorgeous—but expensive—coat we've had in our cart for much longer than we care to admit).

While I can't quite afford a personal stylist yet or drop a few thousand on a bag, I did do a little digging and found that a few of her wardrobe staples are items that I can add to my closet, with a little investment. And, if you're not in the market to invest this much, don't worry—I found dupes that will do the trick!

Here are our favorite products to achieve Meghan Markle's classic mom style:

Meghan's pick: Rothy's flats

rothys flat

Confession: I own a lot of shoes. But I wear my Rothy's at least once a week and they're the first shoe I toss into my luggage when I'm traveling because they're so comfortable and can be machine-washed. The Point is my (and apparently Meghan Markle's) favorite style because it elongates the legs and goes with literally anything you wear. I love that they're made from recycled plastic water bottles, too. And, they just launched the Mary Jane—it has a bow!—if you prefer a more dainty look with a fun twist.

$145

Our dupe: ASOS ballet flats

asos black pointed toe

This pointed pair will give a similar elongated look at just $23. They come in half sizes and if you're unsure which size is best, ASOS offers a sizing recommendation. The material isn't machine-washable (like our prized Rothy's) but you can wipe these clean with a damp cloth to keep them looking like new.

$23

Meghan's pick: Wool wrap jacket

meghan markle wool coat

There's just something so elegant about this coat. Maybe it's the wrap waist that flatters any body type. Or, it's the way the collared neck drapes (seriously it'll even make wearing pajamas look chic). It's become one of the most recognized pieces from Meghan's wardrobe and we are obsessed.

$750

Our dupe: Tahari wool blend coat

tahari wool blend cape coat

Looking for something more affordable? This coat is marked down to $83 from $360 at Nordstrom Rack. While we haven't personally tried it, at 77% off, we can bet the quality is pretty up to par with a higher-end jacket. Plus, we're obsessed with the pale blue and port wine colorways. The removable waist tie belt and shoulder cape overlay will have you feeling like Meghan Markle in just about anything.

Bonus: We love this Amazon dupe that's just under $80.

$82.48

Meghan's pick: Longchamp bag

longchamp bag

On the quest for a bag that holds just about everything you need (without having to be a diaper bag)? Say hello to the Longchamp 'Le Pliage' tote. It's water-resistant, has durable leather straps and folds up into a square for each storage or packing. I've had mine for more than five years and it's still going strong—and it's schlepped a lot of heavy things over the years. Plus, it just looks nice with everything!

$125

Our dupe: Amazon shoulder bag

longchamp knock off bag

This dupe on Amazon has 59 great reviews and the large size is under $30! With three sizes, you can pick whatever best fits your style. Each bag comes with a zippered main compartment and interior pockets and yes, it even folds up just like the real thing.

$27.99

Meghan's pick: Birdies slippers

birdies slippers

Are they house slippers or the most comfortable flats you've owned? Spoiler alert: They're both. Meghan has been spotted wearing The Heron style (I've been spotted wearing the slides around my apartment all day) many times and we think the velvet detail dresses up just about anything, even leggings. The no-slip rubber sole and 7-layer support means you can run around in these all day long without missing a beat.

$95

Our dupe: Chase & Chloe pointy loafer

pointy toe loafer

While you won't experience the cloud-like softness of Birdies, you can achieve a similar look with this pair from Nordstrom Rack for under $20. Both black and tan pairs come with a padded footbed, grip sole and a flexible construction (so hopefully no blisters even from day one).

$19.97

Meghan's pick: Madewell denim jacket

madewell denim jacket

I didn't own a denim jacket until last year and since then, I've worn it in just about every season. Over summer dresses, paired with a T-shirt, over a blouse, you name it. It add just enough extra warmth without having to put on something bulky and is machine-washable. For an extra-cool and Meghan Markle factor, roughly roll up the sleeves twice.

$118

Our dupe: Old Navy denim jacket

old navy denim jacket

Grab this $30 distressed denim look at Old Navy. I'm not sure how they do it, but their denim jackets are *so* soft. This one is slightly fitted so size up if you're looking for a more oversized look. Just like the Madewell one, this hits right below the waist, making it great to pair with pants or dresses.

$35

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