You know all those ads that say “Make $2000 a month from home!” They are not lying, but it’s a minimum wage job doing work on the phone that requires almost no skill except to sound like you live in the US.

Which is to say those jobs are terrible.

Once you decide to homeschool, you are already making a commitment to quality of life. You are deciding that your kids should not squander their days doing uninteresting work at school, so it’s logical that you also would not want to spend your day doing uninteresting work.

So here are three non-terrible ways to earn money from home while you homeschool your kids.

1. High-risk projects
You can write, or do art, or write music, or be an inventor or any of that pie-in-the sky stuff that wacky people do who are in no rush to earn money, because it could take decades, or longer. But the truth is that if you have this kind of stuff inside you, you’re probably not waiting for me to tell you to do it.

2. Freelancing
If you had a skill before you had kids—one that people were willing to pay for—then you still have that skill. Freelancing is a way for you to leverage an established network and established skills. The only thing you need to get the guts to freelance is a plan of action.

3. Launch an online business
The great thing about an online business is that it’s dirt-cheap to launch and there’s huge margin for error since you won’t be spending money. There is almost no face-to-face selling, and online businesses are more tactical than social, so it’s not like you are opening a local store or anything.  You can work on the business when it’s convenient to you, and believe it or not, you control how much money you make.

I am known for launching startups, but the startups are always huge, high-risk bets that don’t pan out for years and years. In fact, I still have a big chunk of stock from my last startup, and every day I say a prayer to the startup gods that the guy who is CEO now sells it for a gazillion dollars.

But of course I have to earn money while I wait for my millions to come in from my startups. I do that by launching online businesses. Sometimes it’s one I’ve been planning for months, and sometimes I fall into something that is good for me.

Today I’m offering a course titled, Launch an Online Business. It’s a peek into how I keep my family financially solvent while I homeschool my kids. And also it’s a crash course on how people are making money online.

Some of it will be surprising, like drop-shipping refrigerators or engaging in arbitrage. And some of it will be a relief, like working with your friends and writing about topics you love.

The course will give you my blueprint for launching an online business that leverages your strengths. And after coaching hundreds of people I realize that this is probably what we all want from our work: to know we’re doing something we’re good at… Well, that and money.

Here are the details:

The course will be 8pm – 9pm EST Mon. Feb. 23 through Thurs. Feb. 26. It’s $195 but if you sign up in the next four days, the cost is $147. The course includes four days of live video sessions, live chat and email-based course materials. If  you miss the live sessions you can view them on demand.

Sign up now.

Here’s what you’ll get from the course:

Launch an Online Business

Day one: Find the best business for you to launch

An online business is very low-cost to start. There is almost no overhead, you do not need investors and you can build your business at whatever pace you want. Which means you have a lot of choices—so many that it’s hard to know how to start.

Everyone has different reasons for wanting to start an online business. This session will help you find the business model that will actually help you build the life you want.

Do you want to earn some extra spending money on the side? Do you need a great job on your resume? Are you bored with your life, or looking for a new project?

This session will cover:

  • The 5 types of online businesses that work
  • The online business that best leverages your particular strengths
  • The type of online business that will meet your financial goals

Day Two: Create a launch plan

One reason an online business is so low-cost to launch is that you can customize your business to play to skills you already have. So much of success comes from self-knowledge. The more clearly you understand your strengths, the more smoothly your business will operate.

I’ve spent years testing launch plans, and I’ve made all the mistakes so you don’t have to. In this session you’ll learn best practices for people who are just like you. Once you have a blueprint for a successful launch, your confidence will increase and so will your productivity; there’s nothing like a clear, tactical plan to make you go after your dreams.

This session will cover:

  • The launch-plan template I’ve used many times for my own online businesses
  • 7 Low-cost ways to make your site look great from the start
  • How to shut down the noise and outside pressure and focus on the essentials of launching

Day Three: Make your first month great, and then you’re home free

 What you are really after is a sustainable online business, one you can count on to make money. To that end, we’ll focus this session on crafting systems that create customers.

I will show you the quick, free system I’ve developed for testing online business models, so you can find a system that works for you. We will explore the most popular strategies for drawing customers to your site, and teach you how to convert website traffic to paying customers.

This session will cover:

  • Proven systems online entrepreneurs use to generate sales
  • Tactics for pinpointing the weak spot in the sales process and fixing it
  • Methods for evaluating success; how to turn failures into success in just one day

Day Four: Live Q&A

This session will be a live workshop where I help you vet your ideas (so you know what businesses won’t work at all), and find the best business to launch. During this live Q&A I can give you direct feedback and answer any questions you have about running an online business.

The course will be 8pm EST  Mon. Feb. 23 through Thurs. Feb. 26. It’s $195 but if you sign up in the next seven days, the cost is $147. The course includes four days of live video sessions, live chat and email-based course materials. If  you miss the live sessions you can view them on demand. 

Sign up now.




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13 replies
  1. Imran Soudagar
    Imran Soudagar says:

    The biggest problem with starting an online business or starting a home based business is being dedicated to work. I know a lot of people have got success but I feel that with so many constant disturbances there can be very little work done specially if you have started a blog.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      So true! A key factor in all of this is that a blog is not an online business. An online business is where you do stuff over and over again that actually makes money. Also, most online businesses are systems that you set up and work largely on their own.

      Blogging is something else – even if you are good at blogging, it’s extremely hard to make money from blogging. If nothing else, you never stop having to post — it’s a treadmill.


  2. Marc
    Marc says:

    Back in the olden days of printed material, ads ran in the back of magazines and comic books that said something along the lines of: Learn to run your own business from home and make lots of money. Send $10 for more information.

    The “more information” was a bunch of sample ads that you would place in magazines and newspapers that said: Learn to run your own business from home and make lots of money. Send $10 for more information.

  3. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I find myself in such a strange place in life right now. Because of this, I stumbled upon this blog. It’s very interesting and I find myself relating to a lot of the topics.

    My wife is an uber-ENTJ who seems to be able to earn money and close deals in her sleep. It’s literally in her DNA. I’m the typical ENFJ. I tend to feel that my work needs to really matter, and make a difference. After our second child was born, and working in a field that wasn’t suited to me, I started staying at home.

    I struggle with the constant bickering between what I want personally, and what I feel is best for my children. In the end, being with them wins out, especially since they’re so young. But where to find my niche? That’s the question.

    I wonder if there isn’t some type of online business that could satisfy most of my needs/wants.

    • mh
      mh says:

      From an economics/ comparative advantage standpoint, your bring the at-home parent is smart.

      From a sanity standpoint, you will need some projects of your very own.

      You’re smart to realize this.

  4. Kina
    Kina says:

    How timely! I had to re-invement my business after started homeschooling. I could no longer go the big client consulting route and I did not want to launch a business that requires outside capital. I don’t have 80 hours in a week to work for the investors. Being an INTJ, most of my work happens inside my head. And it’s rather unconventional. So I need to find an outlet for it. I also realize that I don’t want to compete on price. So, online business it is. It has 2 parts to it: self-publishing niche marketing books and then creating high-quality niche e-courses around them. The intellectual work takes up most of the time upfront. But once the proprietary materials are created and the membership site is set up, much of it becomes passive income with many upsell opportunities using legit affiliates. Too bad Penelope’s course takes place in late February. I may still sign up for it.

  5. Mary
    Mary says:

    YES! I began homeschooling my children nearly 6 years ago and began a small business the following year — blogging, curriculum writing, and freelance writing. Years ago I was a public school teacher, and today I make more than I ever could have teaching. It takes DISCIPLINE, hard work, and many times a husband who is willing to pick up some of my slack, but it has been worth it. I also know that I am modeling a work ethic for my children in the process. I think homeschooling and working can go hand in hand!

  6. mh
    mh says:

    A business is ok, but I’m an INTJ who finds satisfaction in starting co-ops.

    Toy swap co-op, science co-op, babysitting co-op, and sports co-op so far.

    I really don’t want to have much to do with people. These are activities that, once begun, sort of run themselves on the rules you set up.

    • Emily
      Emily says:


      I am fascinated by your idea of starting co-ops. How does the toy co-op work? That sounds like a fun one to me, and if you make money from it, that is a bonus for sure.

  7. Joe Montana
    Joe Montana says:

    I believe, the problem is a niche and a add value idea for that niche. How do I find the idea, and once I’ve found it, how would I know if it is good enough to make a growing business around it?

  8. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    There are lots of different types of businesses. Some revolve around The Big Idea. Those are usually startups, and if you want to do a company like that — you get funding, you go fast, hire people, and have an exit — if you want that type of company you really do need a big idea.

    This course — Launch and Online Business – is about systems, not really a big idea. Online businesses tend to be smaller, and they pay reliably over time rather than in one big payout at the end. It sounds like this is the type of business you should launch, since you dont’ have the big idea. But also, as an INTJ you are great at looking a complex problems and creating systems to solve them. And that’s what online businesses require.


  9. Kim
    Kim says:

    I’ve entertained the idea of going back to school for an affordable master’s degree online while homeschooling. That way I could possibly become an adjunct instructor at a local community college. While the wages aren’t as desirable as they used to be, it may be the most stable form of side business I can think of.

  10. Grady French
    Grady French says:

    A small home business may be a feasible solution for some families. In this blog they have highlighted three non-terrible ways to earn money from home while you homeschool your kids.Homeschooling creates its own unique financial challenges.Thanks for sharing this post.

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