Leaving your job to become a stay-at-home mom can help save your family thousands of dollars in the cost of child care, cleaning, and everything else that goes into running a household. However, this is a job that is often taken for granted, and many mothers want more from their life than just raising the kids. In these 30 inspiring stories, stay-at-home-moms found a way to become a millionaire, and truly “have it all”.
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30. J.K. Rowling
You probably recognize J.K. Rowling’s name as the author of the Harry Potter series, but you may not know her backstory. Before she was an author, she was a single mother who had to rely on government assistance. She had escaped an abusive relationship, and was hardly scraping by financially. One day, she was on a train, when she had the idea to write a story of a young wizard who went to a school called Hogwarts. She began to write her ideas down on a napkin, and when she got home, she never stopped jotting down her ideas. Years later, the Harry Potter empire is now worth more than $1 billion.
29. Debbi Fields
Debbie Fields began having kids at an early age. So, when she was 20 years old in the 1970’s, she was already a mom, and attending college classes. In her spare time, she loved to bake cookies, and everyone always asked for her secret. After hearing these compliments over and over again, she decided she wanted to open a cookie shop.
Everyone in her life thought this was crazy, and they tried to discourage her from doing it. However, she could feel deep in her gut that it would be successful. So she took out a loan, and opened the first Mrs. Fields Cookie shop in Palo Alto, California. At first, no one was coming in. But she realized that they needed to taste the cookies, first, and then they would be hooked. So, she began to stand outside and give free samples. Just this one small decision was enough to get people coming to her store in droves. She was able to hire help, and eventually opened 700 stores. In 1996, she sold the company for $400 million, and enjoyed her retirement.
28. Nora Roberts
Sometimes, just having some fun on a snowy day can lead to unbelievable success! In 1979, Nora Roberts was snowed in during a blizzard. Since the kids did not have to go to school, and she could not go to do her usual errands, she decided to start writing a romantic story, just for fun. This ended up being so long, she actually turned it into a novel called Irish Thoroughbred. Roberts got a publishing deal for her book two years later, and she was able to turn this into her full-time job. After succeeding in romance, she also began writing mystery stories under the pen named J.D. Robb. Both pen names did incredibly well, and she has published hundreds of books. Her net worth is now $390 million.
27. Stephenie Meyer
If you are a fan of the Twilight series, then you already recognize Stephenie Meyer’s name. Before she was a writer, she was a stay-at-home mom who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English. In interviews, she admits that raising three children was very demanding, and she was beginning to feel as if she was losing herself, until her life was changed by a dream. In this dream, she saw a young woman kissing a sparkly vampire. These were her characters Bella and Edward. When she woke up, she began to write the story, and she just kept going, until it was a full book. Of course, the books were turned into a movie series, and she is now worth $125 million.
26. Julie Aigner-Clark
Julie Aigner-Clark had a career as a High School art teacher, but once she became pregnant, she knew that it would be better for her to become a stay-at-home-mom. Since she already knew a lot about child development, she began searching for art programs for babies and young children, but they did not exist. In her mind, she knew exactly what she wanted, so she borrowed a video camera, and began filming what became the Baby Einstein videos. They became incredibly popular among new mothers, and Clark’s business is now worth $20 million.
25. Joy Mangano
If you saw the 2015 movie Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence, then you already know the life story of this successful entrepreneur. Joy Mangano was a single mom living in New York. In 1990, she invented “The Miracle Mop.” We take it for granted nowadays, but her mop was the very first self-wringing device, so that women no longer had to squeeze the mop head with their hands to get the water out of it. She was able to appear on the Home Shopping Network and demonstrate the product to viewers, and sold 18,000 mops in 20 minutes. As the years went on, she began to invent and sell other products, like her velvet clothing hangers, and so much more. She is so brilliant, that she has filed over 100 patents for her ideas to make new products. Joy Mangano is worth $50 million.
24. Elle Fowler Goot
For years, Elle Fowler has been a famous beauty guru on YouTube. She recently had her son, James, and she showcases vlogs and product reviews for baby products on her channel. She began to use Erin Condrin planners to help keep track of her busy life, and realized that there was a massive community of planner stickers. She decided to open up her own Etsy shop, called Glam Planner.
23. Sheri Schmelzer
Sometimes, a clever after-school craft can turn into millions! Sheri Schmelzer gave her children Crocs sandals. After school, they decided to make charms that would fit inside of the holes of the Crocs. Once the other children saw them, they wanted their own. Schmelzer realized she could totally market this product, and began to call them “Jibbitz”. At one point, the company was worth $300 million.
22. Marcy McKenna
Marcy McKenna told her young son one day that she wished she had a way to keep her hair tools organized. Her sweet little boy set to work with his Lego set, and made her a cabinet that had compartments for each tool. He was actually on to something! McKenna realized that she could have this made into a real cabinet, which she called a “Style & Go Kit”. She appeared on the Home Shopping Network with her product, and became an overnight millionaire.
21. Iris Shamus
It is terrifying to have a child with severe allergies, because you are constantly having to check food labels, and wondering if a restaurant truly did their job of cleaning a surface of contaminants. This is the fear that Irish Shamus had with her son Benjamin, who is allergic to nuts. She decided to make a silicone wristband called an “Aller-mate”, which showcased what the child is allergic to. This way, her son could go to birthday parties and the classroom and have something that was clearly visible to everyone that he cannot eat nuts. This became so popular, the product was purchased by CVS pharmacy, and Shamus is now a millionaire.
20. Nicole Donnelly
Diaper rash happens to pretty much every baby. When Nicole Donnelly’s infant daughter began to get diaper rash, she wanted her to crawl around in the buff to help her skin heal. But she wanted her legs to be protected so she took an old pair of socks, cut off the feet, and gave her daughter leg warmers. She realized that other moms might need them, too, so she started selling them under her brand name of “Baby Legs”. After a while, major retailers like Nordstrom started to buy her product, and she eventually made $4.2 million.
19. Sara Blakely
Most women truly need to thank Sara Blakely, because she is the inventor of Spanx! She invented them while she was getting ready for a party, and she tried on white pants. In order to make her legs look smoother, she found an old pair of pantyhose, cut off the legs, and just used the part that pressed in her tummy. After it worked so well, she realized that she could make a product that mimicked the results, and that’s how Spanx was born. She became the youngest female self-made billionaire.
18. Alli Webb
You may or may not have heard of a “blowout”, but it’s a hair styling technique that helps you achieve big, wavy hair like you see on Victoria Secret models. Some women want to get a blowout before a date or a special event, without having to commit and entire haircut. Alli Webb was a hairdresser who realized just how often women came in to request the service.
So she opened her own business called “Drybar”. Her observation was correct, because women began to flock to her salon, and she was able to open multiple locations across the US. They also sell their products online, so you can do your own blowouts at home. Today, the Drybar corporation is worth $22 million.
17. Victoria Molyneaux
After Victoria Molyneaux became a stay-at-home mom, she realized just how difficult it was for her to find affordable modest clothing to cover up her postpartum body. She did not think it was fair that clothing sold at places like Forever 21 could be $10, so long as it was sexy and revealing, but the moment she tried to shop in maternity stores or places with modest garments, they wanted to charge closer to $100. She decided to design the clothes she wished she could have, and have them manufactured herself. Then, she opened up a Facebook store called Want That Trend. In her first year in business, she made $9 million.
16. Debra Cohen
When Debra Cohen became a mom and homeowner, she was shocked to see just how difficult it was to get good help with home repairs. She realized that the best way to get good help was to get personal recommendations from people. So she started the Home Referral Network. Whenever anyone found a contractor through Cohen’s website, she earned a small commission on the project. Just by doing this, she earned $4 million in a few years.
15. Danisha Danielle Hoston
Danish Danielle Hoston’s story is truly inspirational. She graduated from UCLA, and had a baby with her husband soon after. However, he died of cancer just 10 weeks later. Hoston had to go on welfare, and she was struggling to stay afloat as a new widow. She decided that he wanted to get into real estate, because she could try to sell houses on her own schedule, and still take care of her daughter. After years of struggling, she was able to work hard enough to open her own brokerage firm, and she eventually made $2 million.
14. Ida Backlund
A lot of women love hair extensions, because it helps make your hair look long and healthy without waiting years for it to grow. In 2007, Ida Backlund could not find good quality hair extensions. So she had to do a ton of research online to find them. Since she was a stay-at-home mom without any income, she decided to sell out of her house. After a while, she started a company called Rapunzel of Sweden, and expanded to over 30 countries. The company is now worth $12 million.
13. Rosie Herman
If you think raising one baby is hard, imagine having twins! This is what happened to first-time mom Rosie Herman. Before having children, she was a manicure artist. But once she started to raise a family, she and her husband were in $75,000. Even though she was no longer a manicurist, she still cared a lot about taking care of her own hands. But when you have a baby, you can’t use perfumes or dyes. So she invented her own product called “One Minute Manicure”. Women loved it, so she was able to bottle and sell it on her own. The company did incredibly well, and she was able to make $20 million.
12. Alicia Shaffer
A lot of moms knit and crochet in their spare time, but few are as skilled as Alicia Shaffer. When she became a stay-at-home mom, she wanted to put her kids into extracurriculars like soccer and ballet, but the cost was out of her family budget. So she put her crocheted pieces on an Etsy store called Three Bird Nest. It became way more popular than she ever expected, and she eventually began earning $80,000 a month. She is considered to be the most successful Etsy seller of all time.
11. Judy Travis
Judy and Benji Travis were high school sweethearts who stayed together throughout college. After graduating, they got married, and started having kids. Judy began a YouTube channel called “ItsJudyTime”, which showed her doing makeup tutorials and product reviews. Eventually, she started a second channel called ItsJudysLife where she made vlogs of her life. We are not sure exactly how much money she makes, but according to the data on Social Blade, her ad revenue should be around $300,000 a year, plus whatever she makes from brand deals. After just a few years, she became a stay-at-home mom millionaire.
10. Victoria Knight-McDowell
Elementary school teacher Victoria Knight-McDowell juggled a very busy life being a mom and teaching the second grade. Since she was always around kids, she knew that it was important for her not to get sick. So she created a vitamin mixture that stopped her from catching a cold, called Airborne.
This product works extremely well. Whether you feel like you are on the verge of a cold, or if you are already sick, its blast of vitamins will help you heal faster. The product began to sell extremely well after she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2005, she sold the company for $150 million. She had to buy it back, and rebuild the company. They expanded to purchasing other brands, like Pine Bros Cough Drops.
9. Pattie Mallette
A Canadian teenager named Pattie Mallette became pregnant, and she had to raise her child as a single mom. She had to live with her parents, who helped her raise her son, Justin Bieber. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he grew up to be one of the most successful pop stars in the world. Pattie could see her son’s talent at an early age, and encouraged him to go to talent competitions, and posted videos of him singing on YouTube. By acting as her son’s manager, she earned commission whenever he booked a concert. She also wrote a book about her journey called Nowhere But Up, which sold millions of copies.
8. Kris Jenner
It’s no secret that Kris Jenner is a huge success. She is the mother of the Kardashian and Jenner girls, and ex-wife to Olympian Bruce (Now Caitlyn) Jenner. However, she was not always the celebrity that we know today. When she married her second husband, Bruce, they had 10 children between the two of them, and not enough income to pay the bills.
Kris got the idea for Bruce to give motivational speeches around the country. They also began making workout videos, and fitness products. Living in Los Angeles, her daughter Kim became a socialite, and she was famous for her beauty. So she approached producer Ryan Seacrest about starting a TV series about their family. The Kardashian brand exploded. Another one of her daughters, Kylie Jenner, became a billionaire in the beauty industry. Kris’ personal net worth is around $60 million.
7. Sandy Stein
When you’re single, working as an airline stewardess seems like a fun way to travel for free, but once Sandy Stein started having kids, she had to go to part-time. By the time she was in her 50’s, her husband lost his job, and she was not bringing in enough income for the entire family. She invented a little device that she called the Finders Key Purse.
All of the pieces started falling together. Sandy’s husband had experience working in the souvenir industry, so he knew how to help her make a prototype of her product in China. Then, she brought her product to work, and showed it off to her flight attendant friends. They began to buy the product, too. Since they interact with so many people every day, and they traveled all around the country, her stewardess friends became her new sales team. Eventually, Finders Key Purse was worth $25 million.
6. Amy Creel
Babies love to play with necklaces, hair, and anything shiny. This is why most moms try to avoid wearing anything. But one day, in church, Amy Creel wore a plastic necklace to church. Her baby pulled on it, and it shattered into a million pieces. Even though this was embarrassing, it gave her a great idea. Why don’t they make baby-safe teething jewelry for moms? She invented Teething Bling, and it is now sold at major retailers like Buy Buy Baby.
5. Julie Deane
Sometimes, a negative event can be the catalyst for amazing positive changes in our lives. This is what happened to Julie Deane. Her 7-year old daughter Emily was being bullied so badly, she came home with bruises all over her arms. Even after talk to the teachers, the abuse never stopped, so she wanted to get her transferred. Julie decided that she needed to start a business that made at least enough to pay for Emily’s private school tuition of $16,000.
When she was looking into private schools, Julie searched for a high-quality leather school satchel for Emily to take to school, instead of a cheap backpack. Then, she realized they do not make them anymore. So she learned leather-working, and made her own. Her children were her models in the photographs. They became so popular, she opened the Cambridge Satchel Company. Today, the business is worth $65 million.
4. Rebecca Matthias
Back in the 1980’s, there were very few working moms. Maternity clothing was almost never appropriate to wear in an office setting. Rebecca Matthias had to make her own professional maternity clothing, and she realized that other working moms would need the help, too. Today, her company Mothers Work Inc. sells brands like Motherhood in Macy’s, and it’s worth $500 million. She decided to write a book about her journey called Motherswork: How a Young Mother Started A Business On A Shoestring And Built It Into Multi-Million Dollar Company.
3. Jen Smith
Jen Smith grew up in a household where her parents struggled with money. So she became very interested in personal finance. When she got married in her 30’s, she told her husband that she did not want to adopt kids until she was debt free. By the time she turned 40, she was debt-free, and saved $1 million. She wrote a book about her process called The Millionaire Mommy Next Door.
2. Brandi Temple
When Brandi Temple got married and started raising her young daughter, she imagined giving them sweet monogrammed dresses to wear to church. However, she could not find what she wanted in stores, and it cost a fortune to pay for monograms, as well. So, she learned how to sew, and made the dresses herself.
After the project was done, she decided to post photos of her daughters on eBay, advertising that she will make custom-made dresses for anyone’s daughter, after they provide the measurements. To her surprise, this did very well. She moved the business, Lolly Wolly Doodle, to Facebook, and hired a team of women to help her make the dresses. Now, the company is worth $20 million.
Brandi Temple wrote her own book called Scrappy: Use Everything You Have, Trust Yourself, and Press the Reset Button for Success, the Lolly Wolly Doodle Way
1. Kim Lavine
Most teachers get mugs or apples for gifts during the holidays, but a stay-at-home mom named Kim Lavine wanted to make them something they could actually use. She created “Wuvit Pillows”, which could be heated or frozen for packs to help their sore backs. The teachers absolutely loved the gifts, and suggested that she sell them. She made millions from selling these Wuvit Pillows. After her success, she also wrote a book called Mommy Millionaire.
Shannon Quinn is the editor-in-chief of InspiringHome.org