When I tell people I’m an unemployed Michigan teacher, they show no surprise. But when I tell them I manage a family of six debt-free with no government assistance, they do. Their first question is: how?! My husband works a traditional job with benefits and I freelance and blog. Here’s how work-at-home earns enough to keep me out of the job market.
Educational savings: I went back to work in 2005 after homeschooling for 10 years. I worked in a preschool/daycare because I hadn’t yet renewed my teaching license. I made $300 a week. After license renewal, I couldn’t find full-time teaching job. I worked as a substitute teacher while exploring online money-making opportunities. I turned to freelance writing. Besides providing article ideas, my expensive education degree added little online earning potential. Many of my most successful blogger/writer pals don’t have college degrees. Keeping my certificate valid would cost me $1,500-$3,000 annually in fees, tuition and lost earnings taking classes.
Transportation savings: Working at home enabled my third-shift husband and I to share one vehicle. This saved gas, maintenance, insurance and expenses. We drive used cars and don’t have car payments. My husband does most of our vehicle repairs. Having one car freed up time for him to work more hours.
Freelance writing: I’ve written for over 10 companies in seven years freelancing. Some dissolved. Some changed payment structure and were no longer viable. Some expanded opportunities and opened doors to other jobs. Since 2009, I’ve had so many opportunities, I couldn’t keep up with them all. As contracted labor, I file self-employment earnings and claim many expenses. Yahoo! Contributor Network (where you’re reading this) is a good place to start.
Niche blogging: I created and maintain niche blogs on free blog hosts like WordPress (here’s mine as a sample) and Blogger (also called Blogspot). Here’s what my Google Blogger page looks like. My blogs focus on subjects I write on: food, health, education, psychology, family, homeschool, religion, history. Niche blogs differ from personal in that they provide information and services. I embed snippets of my articles on blog posts (1-2 paragraphs plus link). This is win-win: readers come information. They click on links taking them to my original article. This earns page view money if the article is on a site paying those.
Ad revenue: Readers also click on blog ads. Google Blogger allows different ad companies simultaneously, as long as they adhere to guidelines. I’ve test-driven and found these successful: Google Adsense, Chitika and Infolinks. .
Earnings: I quit subbing in 2010 to work at home full-time. Income fluctuates but I’ve never made less than the most I could make substitute teaching (about $400 per week).
Childcare savings: Depending on area and age of children, I’d save at least $120 a week per child on babysitting.
Adaptable. Via laptop or smart phone, I can work on vacation, in airports, on planes, in cars, at public places and outside–no more wasted time gaps. I can write (ergo earn) anytime, anywhere, 24-7-365. When a company changes demands, I adapt if it’s in my interest to. Otherwise, I move on. I’m not an employee and so owe no company anything beyond adherence to terms of service. If my content is non-exclusive, I own it and can sell it elsewhere. I contract with companies that pay best or that have good online clout. I don’t put all my eggs in one basket.