Being a stay-at-home parent can be a financial challenge. It certainly comes with sacrifices, not only in a financial sense, but also in terms of the feeling that comes with contributing to the household economy. That perfect job that allows you to work around your childcare demands is as mythical as a unicorn. Pushing your friends to purchase products through home parties or catalog sales can become tiresome. Paying money for the perfect work-from-home opportunity usually turns out to be a scam. These dead-end pursuits can be frustrating for a stay-at-home parent that seeks to earn some extra money. However, there are some real, legitimate sources of income that can be cobbled together in order to create a nice work-life balance, and allow a stay-at-home parent to contribute a bit to the household finances. Here are five things that I do that help me earn a nice little income:
1. Start a Blog
If you have a niche skill or interest, start a blog. This is a nice little hobby that can yield personal satisfaction, as well as some advertising revenue. If you are not computer savvy, you can still start a blog on user-friendly sites such as Blogger. Understand that a readership does not develop overnight; however, if you update your blog regularly and are true to your interests and your voice, a nice little following can develop over time. Once you have gotten the hang of it, offer advertising to monetize your site.
2. Amazon Mechanical Turk
One of the best kept secrets on the Internet is the Mechanical Turk, which is a site operated by Amazon.com. Simply create an account, and start looking for work that interests you! The jobs range from transcribing a business card to completing surveys for universities and performing larger transcription jobs. While the pay for some jobs can seem low, this adds up over time, especially if you set a nice, attainable goal for yourself. (As a reference, I goal myself at $10 each day.) The payments stream in immediately in some cases or a few days later for others. Amazon will then transfer your money directly into your bank account or onto an Amazon.com gift card which can be used for purchases on the site. Stick with it! The payments can really add up.
3. Produce Content for Yahoo Contributor Network
If you enjoy writing, consider working for Yahoo.com, or perhaps a different site to produce content. Writing can be an outlet for some. Submitting a handful of articles, at your leisure, can yield you a nice, passive income stream. Some sites allow you to write about whatever you want. I find this appealing as a stay-at-home parent who has left the workforce, because it allows me to write about topics in my former field of employment. This body of work could come in handy not only for income purposes, but also in pursuit of employment after your children go off to school, if you so desire.
4. Substitute Teach
Admittedly, this option is not for all stay-at-home parents. However, if your children are in school during the day and you so desire, becoming a substitute teacher can be a perfect gig! There is usually a lot of flexibility in terms of which jobs you accept. You can pick and choose the assignments that align with your schedule. While some districts require a teaching certificate to substitute teach, others require a background check and an interview. This is an option that is at least worth a look if you think that it might match your skill set and interests.
If you are already home with your children, consider taking on others. Many parents could use an occasional sitter to have a date night, to attend a doctor appointment, or perhaps run some errands without bringing their children along. People always need childcare. It is relatively easy to advertise this service on free classified sites or on paid sites such as Sittercity. Babysitting is a nice way to earn a little extra income while keeping your own schedule more or less in tact if you are already at home with your own children.
After years of searching high and low for that perfect job that would work with my parenting schedule, I eventually came to realize that it does not exist. What does exist, however, are several smaller, legitimate opportunities that do not involve selling things or paying a fee to get started.