If the arrival of a new child has you contemplating a permanent exit from your office job and the income that comes with it, fret not. Thanks to evolving technologies and workplace attitudes, you don’t have to give up parenting to be a breadwinner. While it’ll be difficult to have the earning potential of the corporate world, you can still generate income for your family on top of the full-time job of parenting.
Here are seven possible options for stay-at-home moms and dads who need some extra cash. Some will be contingent on skills and schedules, but all are great ways to earn income while allowing you to be a parent.
If you have a special skill, such as writing, graphic design or accounting, you can continue to get paid even after you leave a full-time gig behind. Freelancing allows you to set your own schedule and take on as much or as little work as you can handle, all while keeping your skills sharp despite being outside of the workplace.
Starting your own freelance business is relatively simple. All you really need is a paying client, and sites like Flexjobs.com and Elance.com make it easy to find and apply for freelance positions. Just be sure to obtain the right permits or licenses required by your town or city. In addition, because clients won't deduct taxes from your paychecks, make sure you set aside income taxes each month to avoid IRS trouble down the line.
2. Become a Virtual Assistant
More and more companies are hiring virtual assistants to take the place of in-house personal assistants and receptionists. Depending on the needs of the organization, you might find yourself completing data entry, scheduling appointments, bookkeeping or formatting and proofreading documents. In most cases, you set your availability, making it easy to work around your family commitments.
To become a virtual assistant, create a resume that highlights your skills. Then post your credentials on various freelance sites to market your services. Virtual Office Temp is a great place to start.
3. Get Creative
Many parents are selling handmade items on Etsy, Amazon, eBay and even through Craigslist and Facebook pages. Are you a fantastic knitter or furniture builder? Do you take photos or paint? If so, turning a hobby into a way to generate cash can be extremely rewarding.
Even if you aren't very crafty, you can visit yard and garage sales or keep an eye out for discarded items or furniture you can spruce up and sell for profit. Vintage items and “shabby chic” furniture are all the rage these days, and people will pay a premium for refurbished and upcycled items.
4. Take Care of Other Children
Babysit, become a nanny (preferably one that allows you to take your own children with you) or open up a daycare in your home. For nannies, many websites and services exist that can help you find a good family to work with. A good website is Peachhead, and if you have a college degree, Educated Nannies is a website that pays a premium for nannies who meet their qualifications.
Many regulations apply to home daycare centers, so you'll need to check with your local government to see what is required in your area. SBA.gov offers a great guide for getting started on your own childcare business.
5. Cook for Others
If you are a killer cook, selling food out of your home can be a great way to earn extra money while doing what you love. It can also set you up for opening your own restaurant down the road when the time is right. You can open a bakery out of your home, prepare healthy meals for busy people who don't have the time to cook, or sell your goodies at local farmers’ markets.
You will likely need to obtain licenses and permits, so check with your local government to find out exactly what you will need to meet code. You may have to upgrade your kitchen or undergo regular health inspections. And remember to keep your child away from ranges and stray handles.
If you have the knowledge and patience, tutoring children is a great way to bring in extra money. You can teach music lessons, offer SAT prep courses or simply teach students in areas where they are struggling. Hold sessions in your own home or become an online tutor scheduled around your personal obligations.
7. Walk or Watch Pets
Busy people who can't make it home to their furry friends pay good money for people to walk, feed and play with their dogs, cats and other animals. If you can manage your little ones and an animal or two or more, it's a great way to earn extra money. Just make sure that your child doesn’t have any allergies to the pet you’re looking after.
In addition, many people would prefer to leave their pets with a trusty acquaintance instead of boarding them in a kennel, so once you get to know your clients, you may be able to parlay that into some overnight animal-sitting jobs. To find clients in your area, post your profile and look for jobs at Care.com.
Remember, just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you can ignore finding a proper work-life balance. Stay-at-home parents usually stay at home in order to prioritize looking after their children, but mothers or fathers shouldn’t take on more work than they can handle. Finding a better balance is likely the reason you left the office in the first place, so don’t squander the opportunity by biting off more than you can chew.