Bootstrap Businesses: Start a Catalog or a Home Daycare

Learn some reader-submitted tips for making money at home, including a reupholstery business and home daycare.

| May/June 1982

Readers share their ideas for self-employment, which leaves them more time for the good life.

Reupholster Old Furniture

I have a bootstrap business that I can "pick up" anytime I need it — by simply picking up a tack hammer and staple gun that I've already paid for.

My enterprise was born many years ago when my father asked my sister and me to reupholster a couple of old sofas. Well, we balked at the idea, but he said, "If you put your mind to it, you can do anything anyone else can do, and being female has nothing to do with it!"

To make a long story short, we did refinish the two couches, and they both turned out great! That began my upholstering career, and — as I said — I'm still at it (when I need to be) some 20 years later. And, though Dad inspired me to start the business, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has kept me going! Such pieces as "It Pays to Be an Old Sew-and-Sew" have really helped to reaffirm my faith in the power of this particular individual to take care of herself and provide extras for her family without having to hold down a "regular" job.

For example, my son recently needed surgery at a hospital nearly 200 miles from home. So, during my stay in that town, I bought an old sofa for $45, reupholstered it, and sold it for $500. That certainly helped us get the budget back in balance!

I can find the sort of work I do almost anytime, and — since my customers, as a rule, supply both furniture and fabric — the cost of the tools I mentioned has been my only investment: one tack hammer, 25¢ (at a flea market) . . . and one electric stapler, $19.95. Armed with that equipment, my dad's advice, and MOTHER EARTH NEWS' wisdom, I guess I was bound to succeed.

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