How to Make Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Working moms are the rule rather than the exception. Seventy percent of moms with kids under 18 work, and more than 75 percent of those moms work full time. In fact, mothers are the primary or sole earners for 74 percent of U.S. households with children under 18. Making money while you’re parenting requires work that accommodates the demands of your busy life. Many moms need jobs that allow them to work from home.
Entrepreneur.com has culled suggestions on ways to make money from home. While the majority of these ideas require computer and internet access, the majority of these suggestions have low to zero startup costs and require little to no additional schooling.
Virtual tutoring is a good way for moms to create convenient schedules and use their expertise in subject matters or test preparation from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual tutors use FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts and other technologies.
Tutoring doesn’t require in-state teaching certification, but the majority of companies hiring ask for a bachelor’s degree and some sort of demonstration of expertise in a subject through an exam or other type of assessment. Many tutoring companies offer convenient online training modules. If you already have some experience either in teaching or tutoring, that’s an excellent start and experience you want to emphasize.
We’ve all gotten calls from telemarketers, possibly trying to sell a bundled internet and cable package or alternative electricity and gas. Telemarketers often get phone hangups. But the upside of telemarketing is that it’s an excellent work-from-home option and the hours come in shifts that may work for your life demands as a mother. Also, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree or a lot of training, so the entry barrier is relatively low.
What you do likely need for this job, which requires making multiple calls to sell products, conducts surveys and solicit donations, is to be articulate, friendly and thick-skinned. If you have any sort of sales experience, that can work for you.
A transcriber types out a script, and while that sounds simple, the work requires fast and accurate typing skills. Other things you will need for the job are good headphones, a computer and word processing software, such as MS Word. A foot pedal that controls the audio recording or video can be helpful. Transcription work can be a good for a mom’s lifestyle, because it can be done remotely and doesn’t require a long ramp-up period to train or get to work. However, be aware, transcription may seem like it’s just typing, but it definitely requires concentration and time. This job can suit a parent who has children in school, or with relatives close by willing to look after the kids.
Typically transcription work comes in daily and requires a quick turnaround, so the day-to-day workload is often unpredictable, unless you work as a transcriptionist for a specific company as opposed to working as a freelance transcriptionist registered on various gig and freelancer sites.
A virtual assistant performs remote tasks across a number of fascinating industries, but the core of the job is administrative. Most of us have booked travel, arranged catering for meetings, done expense reports, maintained a calendar, performed general research and other administrative tasks -- these are among the skills you want to emphasize for the job, along any other organizational or administrative experience you possess.
The beauty of the job is that it can be done from home, and it can be done on a freelance basis -- some gigs last a day, some for weeks or months. Having a good phone and email manner helps.
A job as a babysitter encompasses various roles, such as picking up a child from lessons or school, helping with homework, making dinner and giving baths. In other words, responsibilities that any parent is already familiar with. While working as a full-time babysitter would be a tough fit for the life of a stay-at-home mom, working as a part-time babysitter may work, depending on your schedule and the age of your child or children.
While you can always go the route of running a daycare business from your home, that would require ramp up time and the proper state licenses and permits.
You can offer your childcare services through word of mouth as well as through social media and personal networks. Put up flyers or signs where parents would be, such as at schools and local stores that carry children's products or specialize in kid activities. Get permission first.
Customer service representative
This hourly position has a relatively low barrier for entry, which is helpful for moms or dads who want to work from home and don’t have the time for too much additional training and education. The job of a call service representative is typically taking inbound calls and helping customers. The work is in shifts, and because you’ll be interacting with a lot of people over the phone, some who probably are frustrated or upset, having a knack for staying calm, friendly and solution-focused is a plus.
The gig economy and freelancer marketplace have opened an online market for moms who can sell their expertise from home. Moms with professional degrees in a variety of high-skilled areas, such as accounting, law, medicine, social sciences, grant writing, marketing or veterinary medicine, can create their profiles on expertise marketplaces, where clients can either select you for your services or where you can bid on work.
Another way for mothers to earn by offering their expertise online? Create a class in your area of expertise (personal finance, public speaking or fundraising) on one of the many online learning platforms. This would require considerable work in the front end: Recording video lectures, creating a class syllabus and coming up with assignments. However, once the work is done, you simply have to post your class and get a percentage of the sales.
Social media evaluator
Social media evaluators get paid to gather information about a company’s social media strategy and presence (evaluating the quality and relevance of ads, search results and news feeds) in their market. Moms can do this entry-level work from home, so long as they have a computer or smartphone and internet access.
But be forewarned, some of the drawbacks for this type of work is that the hiring process itself can be impersonal (entirely digital) and the assessment for the job can take weeks. The upsides: the hours are flexible and the work is easy.
Market tester and researcher
Companies want to know your opinion, and they’ll pay for it. For the majority of these jobs, you don’t need to leave your home, but you do need a computer or smartphone and internet access. However, the pay for this type of tester and research work varies. For instance, a website tester can get paid $10 for a completed test that takes 15 minutes. So depending on how many tests you can take in a day, you could make up to $40 an hour. However, the reality is, you likely won’t be doing test after test all day.
Here are a variety of ways for you to participate in market testing and research:
Become a mystery shopper
- Join a research study or focus group
- Fill out online surveys
Online crafts seller
Are you crafty? You may be able sell your unique designs on an online crafts marketplace, such as the one everyone knows -- Etsy -- and on some of the lesser known crafts sites, such as Amazon Handmade, Bonanza, Craft Is Art, DaWanda, ArtFire, Aftcra and Zibbet, to name some. The majority of these sites either charge a small fee to list items and then take a percentage.
If you do decide to go this route, don’t list solely on Etsy (or any one marketplace) to sell your items. Etsy is an extremely competitive marketplace, so the price points start low. You’d have to sell a lot of units to make it worth your while. List your crafts for sale on four or five online crafts marketplaces, including Etsy, which offers high exposure, and decide from there whether you need to list your items on additional sites.
Another way to go about selling is to set up your own ecommerce site; however, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription fee and figure out how to set up your store, which can be a hurdle for those who aren’t tech-savvy.
The advantages for online sales for moms are that once you list your items and have inventory, the sales process is pretty passive until you make a sale and have to package and ship. (Some marketplaces do that for you.) However, if you offer custom-made designs, then you have to consider the labor it takes to make your custom crafts, as well as the money required for the materials. The money earned from this endeavor really varies, so be conservative when spending on materials in the initial stages. You'll want to test whether there is an actual market for your crafts; and don’t leave it to just online stores. See if local gift and craft boutiques would be interested in selling your items, too.
The obvious caveat with coding is that it’s a high-skill job. If you don’t know a programming language, then you will need to learn. This sort of work tends to attract self-reliant introverts who have a knack at recognizing patterns and logic, so it's not for everyone. As with math, coding requires paying attention to the small stuff.
Data entry clerk
Data entry work sounds technical, but it’s a job that boils down to accurately entering information on a computer. While it doesn’t requires previous experience or a bachelor’s degree, data entry work requires computer skills, such as knowledge of typing, accuracy and speed, as well as installing and removing software, creating new folders, sending emails and using the internet. The work can be ideal for moms, because it can be done from home and simply requires a computer and internet access.
"Landlord" in the sharing economy
If you have an extra room or converted basement or garage to rent out, then you can join the sharing economy and rent out part of your living space on Airbnb. You can also list your living space on vacation rental site, such as HomeAway.
If you have a much-coveted garage or additional storage space in your apartment, you can use the apps Neighbor and Spacer to rent out storage space. The money you make from renting out space varies, depending on where you live and the demand in your community.
Do some research on whether there is demand for storage, parking and rooms in your area. What’s in demand in an urban area, such as a parking space, may not be for a rural area where parking isn’t a problem. However, that doesn’t mean that someone may not want to rent your driveway to stash his boat or RV. By researching the platforms to see what people are renting out in your area, you’ll get a better idea of how to market your rental spaces.
Virtual recruiters find candidates for job openings. The idea is that virtual recruiters reach out to a large and more diverse pool of applicants using “virtual open houses” where the recruiter can meet with interested candidates online to talk about the company and open positions, using “gatekeeper questionnaires” that screen interested candidates. The job of the virtual recruiter is to save time and labor for companies before the company meets candidates face to face. Recruiters are usually paid a percentage.
Virtual recruiters typically work independently or for an agency -- the latter is recommended for anyone who doesn't wish to invest much money up front for this work, requiring access to job board subscriptions and costly recruitment tools, which can be accessed for free if you join an agency.
This sort of job could be ideal for moms with kids that are in school and are willing to get some training on the recruiting process and tools available (these are also typically available through joining a recruiting agency). If you already have a background in recruiting and human resources, then you’re ahead of the game and should emphasize this experience when you apply.
If you don’t have a background in recruiting or HR, don’t worry. These companies are looking for someone who can match job seekers to jobs, and to do that, you need to have the infrastructure for it (meaning the tools and the process) and also the ability to screen candidates. So being someone who is emotionally intelligent and understands what a company is looking for as well as what a candidate tells you can help. While you don’t need a bachelor’s degree for this work, you should have at least an associate’s degree or related experience.
Copy editors and proofreaders review written material and check for factual accuracy, spelling, grammar and readability. This is a detail-oriented job for people who have an affinity for the English language and accuracy. Oftentimes, copy editors and proofreaders are expected to abide by a certain style guides, such as the industry-standard AP Stylebook or The Chicago Manual of Style. If you already possess a knack for grammar, punctuation and spelling, then this could be a good way for you to earn money.
Keep in mind though that finding a full-time copyediting or proofreading job is rare. This is a shrinking area, and most companies have outsourced this job to freelancers or contract workers.
The jobs in this field are varied, from print magazines to financial trade reports to web copy. If you already possess knowledge of AP or Chicago Styles, then you’re better suited for copyediting and proofreading for the media publishing industry as well as many advertising agencies.
A professional resume writer creates resumes for people who find themselves unable (or unwilling) to format and organize a narrative of employment, education and skills on their own. It’s a specific skill that requires editing (a resume shouldn’t include everything) and copyediting -- and keep in mind that it’s painful to see a glaring spelling or grammar mistake on a resume. Also, resuming writing requires you to find out a person’s background and shape it into a concise format. That’s not an endeavor that takes 30 minutes to an hour. It can take four or five hours.
This work is flexible and can be done from home. There's also low overhead: You simply need a computer and phone, internet access and word processing software. This work requires a knack for organizing and formatting information and the ability to punch up job experiences into worthy accomplishments and to call out singular skills. Information on how to write resumes (tips on language and keywords) and actual resume templates are readily available online. You can offer your business to those with less job experience and shorter resumes -- anyone fresh out of college -- before you market yourself to professionals with long and varied careers.
Writing resumes for professionals who have extensive job histories is a different skill than writing resumes for those fresh out of college, who often need a chronological resume as opposed to a targeted one. Job-seekers with significant experience have a much more narrow search, so you can leave large parts of their unrelated work experience off the resume.
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