Looking for ways to make money from home while you raise your kids can be a little intimidating. How are you supposed to know which option is best for you and which will make you actually lose money?
Make the right choice the first time. Today, I’ve done my very best to write down everything I know (the good, the bad and the ugly) about working from home.
Network Marketing/Direct Sales/MLM
This is one of the most popular income generating options for moms who want to stay at home with their kids, as reflected by the ever-increasing number of options. Mary Kay, Scentsy, BeachBody, Herbalife, Shakeology, Avon, Arbonne, Jamberry Nails, essential oils… the list goes on and on.
PROS: Make your own hours, sell as much or as little as you want
CONS: I read an article recently that 99% of the people who sell this stuff actually lose money. Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s certainly worth looking into. If a company requires you to pay to sell their stuff, I’d say proceed with caution and make sure you’re willing to put in the time and effort it will take to get that money back.
Oh, and also, people tend to get annoyed when you try to sell them stuff, particularly if that’s the only reason you ever contact them… so if you must sell this stuff, please do your best to be tactful. And please also don’t sell it to me, because I don’t want any. I would love to be real friends though! If that sounds good to you, feel free to tweet this:
Shameless Plug Alert!
My company, NerdyGirl Writers, is (IMHO) a much better solution for those of you awesome ladies who aren’t intimidated by sales. In fact, I created it just for you. Why?
I have a dream for you.
I want to give you a work-at-home career that makes you feel good about yourself– something that’s worthy of your genius.
We sell content marketing services (blog posts, social media management, etc) to businesses, not to our friends and family. If you feel like you could be a good salesperson but you’re not into the whole MLM thing, you should join us at NerdyGirl instead.
Babysit or Start a Home Daycare
PROS: Give your kids social interaction; do what you normally do, just with a few extra kiddos
CONS: If it turns out one of the kids is a holy terror, there’s not a lot you can do about it; if the kids don’t get along with your kids, it’s hard; there’s more cleanup and (sometimes) cooking needed; and it can be hard on your own kids to not feel like their house is their own
Take Surveys Online
Moms who want to make a few extra bucks and who don’t really want to think about building a business might want to consider taking surveys for money. The following are just a few of the websites that make this possible for you:
PROS: Make money right away, no experience or particular skills required
CONS: Sounds pretty boring to me, but to each her own… also, be really careful when sites ask you to pay them before you can start. I’ve heard of several people getting scammed this way.
Sell Real Estate or Insurance
These are more “make your own hours” jobs more than they are “work at home” jobs, so if you’re considering them, make sure you can get away from home on at least a semi-regular basis. I almost didn’t include them in this list, but I did think they merited a quick mention for those of you whose kids are a bit older.
These can be a great option for those of you who want to build a real career, something that can grow as your ability to work on it grows so that you have something substantial to move to when your kids are grown.
PROS: Big earning potential, work with people, make your own hours (in some cases)
CONS: It takes a good deal of money and time to get started, and a huge number of new realtors don’t ever get their business off the ground once they realize all the work they’ll have to do.
Shameless Plug Alert… again…
The way the NerdyGirl Partner Program works is very similar to the way real estate works– but it will take a whole lot less time and money (in fact, no money at all) to get started.
As a NerdyGirl Partner, you’ll be able to build up your own client base, set your own hours, manage teams, and earn residual income… without spending a dime and working as little as an hour and a half a day.
Tutor Or Give Lessons
Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to offer your services as a tutor. There are lots of websites out there that can help you do this, some of which are:
PROS: Use your skills and talents, set your own hours
CONS: Not scalable (trade hours for dollars), competitive
Be a Professional Housekeeper
You can make pretty good money if you’re willing to clean other people’s houses. Cleaning out foreclosed homes can be a great way to expand a cleaning business as well.
PROS: Take as many (or few) clients as you want, make your own hours, get exercise
CONS: Um… you have to clean houses. =)
Use Moneymaking Apps
More and more apps are being developed to help those of us who are looking to pick up a few extra bucks here and there. You can make money doing anything from letting people borrow your car to posting selfies. Below you’ll find a few apps to check out:
PROS: Quick to get started, work as much or as little as you want, no special skills required
CONS: Not very rewarding, can get boring, and not scalable– trading hours for dollars
Be a Reseller
From refurbished furniture to clothes to toys to cars, there’s plenty of money to be made reselling things either online or locally. If you’re great about finding deals and fixing them up to resell for profit, you can be successful selling that stuff on sites like:
PROS: You get to be creative, shop and set your own hours
CONS: Lots of competition as more and more people do this, sometimes things don’t sell and you lose money, plus you have to store all your inventory
Be a Freelancer
I’m a big fan of freelancing (duh… I run a freelancing agency) because I think it’s one of the few work-at-home jobs that smart people can do and still feel smart. In my opinion, it’s the best option for WAHMs because it gives you the opportunity to do what you’re best at and build a career/client base while you’re at home with kids.
Some of the most common places freelancers are finding work (at this writing) are:
But if you want to be a freelance writer, social media manager or virtual assistant, you should really consider joining us over at NerdyGirl Writers. We’re better. Click the link to find out why.
Make Money As a Blogger
Don’t believe people when they tell you it’s easy to make money blogging. It most certainly is not. It takes (in most cases) YEARS of hard work, creativity and talent to build a blog that makes money on its own.
I agree with those experts who say “A blog is not a business. A blog is a tool to help you market your business”.
That said, if you’re one of the lucky few (and it really is a few) who have the traffic to make money blogging, here are a few of the places you can do that:
Selling Ad Space On Your Site
Promote Affiliate Products
PROS: Ads and affiliate links can provide some passive income, even if it’s just a tad; you can make pretty decent money with sponsored posts if you have the audience
CONS: If you do the math, all the time it will take you to build up an income this way will hardly be worth it. We’re talking, like… two dollars an hour. It’s ridiculous. How do I know? Out of all the people I’ve met at the International Bloggers’ Association, I’d say the average blogging-related income is about $10/month.
That said, you’re more than welcome to prove me wrong. If you do, please do let me know! I’d love to hear how you beat the odds.
PROS: Low barrier to entry, easy to do, no special skills necessary
CONS: Can get boring, look out for scammy sites that make you pay to review stuff
Be a Photographer
I know lots of moms who work as photographers but advertising locally. Even if you don’t have a studio, you can still take photos outside or in interesting-looking urban locations.
You can also sell your photos at sites like:
PROS: Use your talents, be creative, work with people
CONS: You have to be good at marketing yourself and have access to childcare while you work