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Starting a business and working from home is simultaneously exhausting and rewarding, and for these five companies, the rewards have been extensive.

Most of these inspirational women are mums and juggle work and family, just as we all do. But they took a chance, starting a business and working from home and it paid off.

From health foods to swimwear, these companies have become hugely successful thanks to a combination of hard work, determination, incredible smarts and a sprinkle of good timing. Get inspired by these motivating startup stories. You never know, your home business could be next!

1. Carman’s

Today, Carman’s exports its delicious muesli and health food products to over 20 countries in the Middle East and Asia Pacific region, but it all started in 1992 when a uni student saw a hole in the market. Carolyn Creswell was 18 when she heard the local Melbourne-based muesli bar business where she worked was being sold for $1000.

“I immediately thought, ‘You could buy this little business! You love the muesli and you make it already!’ My offer of $1,000 was eventually accepted and Carman’s was born,” said Cresswell.

2. TJ Swim

23-year-old Sydney-sider Tara Jane’s bikinis have been spotted on Rose Huntington-Whitely, Kourtney Kardashian and countless other celebrities, but it all started from her parent’s laundry. Tara used the $10,000 she had saved for an overseas holiday, and instead invested it into a swimwear business centered around enhancing feminine curves with sleek quality fabrics.

“For the first year I was answering emails and packing orders from my laundry,” said Tara.

Now, TJ Swim has over 240,000 Instagram followers and ships worldwide from her own warehouse and office space.

3. Social Playground

Annabelle Davidson started Social Playground after seeing the popularity of Hashtag printers while working in New York. Now, the mother of two works to combine real-time experiences with social media sharing through her seven-figure business. Davidson’s unique ideas, plus her passion, helped her business reach $1 million profit in just 12 months!

“People don’t want to go home with samples anymore, they want something to remind them of the great time they had, and our hashtag camera photos and social GIF booths do exactly that,” said Davidson.

4. Zimmermann

Zimmermann started with Nicky Zimmermann selling her handmade designer at a stall in Sydney’s Paddington market. When one of her besties wore her embroidered collared shirt to work at Vogue Australia, the shirt was included in a two-page feature in the magazine.

“That was a significant moment because I suddenly started to receive orders from boutiques around Australia and I could feel some real momentum. Soon after that, I opened a small store in Darlinghurst,” said Nicky.

Now, sisters Nicky and Simone have an internationally beloved brand and have won a huge number of fashion awards, two of which are the Australian Fashion Laureate and Best Swim Designer – Prix de Marie Claire.

5. Emma and Toms

Emma and Toms juices are everywhere, but it all started from a home office after friends Emma Welsh and Tom Griffith quit their corporate jobs to pursue their business dream.

“We started from absolute scratch,” Griffith explains. “We were working from home; there was no point blowing money on an office for just the two of us.”

Passionate about the motto “look after yourself,” Emma and Toms products were available before the health and wellness trend, offering juices and teas with no added sugar, to help customers live better. Now, the brand is sold in over 5,000 outlets in Australia and exports to China, Jordan, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Working from home can seem like a lonely, exhausting mission, but these incredible stories show it can work out if you keep working hard, refine your brand, fill a need, and have a little bit of luck with timing in the market.

Do you work from home or would like to? Tell us in the comments below.

  • I am a school teacher and I have had a go at working from home with a side gig I tried before I had kids and I loved the flexibility but I missed the staffroom environment where I had colleagues to banter with. I also can’t handle desk jobs either. Now that I have a baby I value working from home but I don’t have any skills to start my own.

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  • wow it just shows that with dedicated, a dream and hardwork your business can grow from nothing to something spectacular – thanks for sharing this inspiring article about women in business – please could you do others as well as a future article – or maybe do articles showcasing women who are just starting out or some basic how to guides for simple marketing to get started, or how to do simple business planning – for those of us thinking about our dream business life

    Reply

  • Very inspiring stories, good on them! I’d like to but I’m not sure in what!

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  • I would love to start up a home business but to tell you the truth I am too Scared to i have lots of ideas but not the money also haha

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  • I would love to do something for myself from home, however inspiration has not struck as yet.

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  • Sign me up!

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  • It’s something I’d like to do – just need the idea ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  • these are such inspiring stories and great to hear for all of us

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  • Wow! Great rising up stories! Did not know how Carmen’s came to be, I eat their bars all the time. Evidently a lot of work and time has gone into these businesses. Some of us just don’t have the time, between children, school, working to earn an income and stay afloat. It’s hard!

    Reply

  • Lovely success stories above. But for every stay at home business woman who becomes a millionaire, how many more fail? It’s not an easy thing to feed successful at

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  • I’ve been rolling around an idea for a while, which would be quite popular, but the upfront money, time, and actual putting together the product are a bit of roadblock! So it’s still simmering on the back burner… one day perhaps!


    • Good luck wit it, I hope one day it all pans out for you !

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  • What a power women ! Inspiring that when you follow your passions & dreams you can bring it far !


    • In saying that I’ve just as much as respect for those who work hard and don’t bring it far !

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  • Wow, such clever women! I would love to have my own business but I really would have no idea how to make a go of it!

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  • Good on them, I’m sure a lot of blood sweat and tears have gone into the businesses and success is well deserved

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  • People such as the ones mentioned are megastars. It takes guts, dedication and determination to take an idea and turn it into a thriving business. I run my own business and I know how hard it is to manage this around family life, but to do it on an international scale is mind boggling.

    Reply

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