WORK-LIFE BALANCE / APR. 09, 2014
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How to Earn Money When You're a Stay-at-Home Mom

For a lot of families, the “stay at home or work?” debate is moot, because they need two incomes to make ends meet. But what if you could earn some money while you’re home with your kids? While these “jobs” probably won’t replace your salary, they could be just what you need to stay home without going into debt:

Paid Surveys

Scared to get up out of your chair because the baby is asleep on your shoulder? Why not make some money taking surveys while you’re sitting there? Most of them only pay a few cents per survey, but the opportunity is in the volume. If you do one every time you have a few minutes, the money can add up fast.

Be careful though. There are some scams out there, and some survey sites are just excuses to try to get you to buy stuff. Before you sign up with anybody, search for reviews from other survey-takers and see what they have to say. This article gives very specific tips on how to succeed and avoid getting scammed, and this one contains links to “top-rated” survey sites in several countries.

Microjobs

Microjobs are just what they sound like: small tasks you can knock out quickly. The tasks range from data entry to “liking” a Facebook page to commenting on a blog post. Most only pay a few cents; the opportunity is in the volume. They can be a great option for a stay-at-home mom who only has a few minutes at a time to concentrate. Here are some of the most popular sites (as always, do your own research to find reviews from other workers):

Direct Sales

These are those “home parties” you get invited to all the time. I never tried it, because I’m kind of an introvert. But if you’re a social butterfly, direct sales could be a great way to make some money while getting your “adult conversation” fix. If you sell child-related products, playgroups could be a gold mine. How much time you devote to the business is up to you: some people present at parties nearly every day, while some just let their friends know what they sell and wait for customers to come to them. You can also market via social media. If you sell Pampered Chef, for instance, you could Tweet links to recipes and include your business URL in your Twitter profile. There are a lot of businesses to choose from. Here are some to check out:

Crafts

Are you crafty? Can you knock out cute hair bows or jewelry that your friends rave over? If so, consider selling them on Etsy. Once you get your routine down, you’d be surprised how much you can get done while the kids are napping. It’s not magic, though; it takes a lot of work to earn real money.  Read this article to get some great tips on what it takes to succeed on Etsy.

Writing

If you can write, the internet is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Companies all over the world are in a big rush to get content on the web. This has turned into what is basically a full-time job for me. When I started, I hadn’t written professionally in about 12 years, so I didn’t have any recent links. That means I had to start at the bottom as far as pay goes, with sites like ArticleMarketingCo, WriterAccess, and Elance that only pay a few dollars for a 500-word article. But I was able to move on quickly as I built up links and experience. The key is to use the lower-paying gigs as stepping stones to the higher-paying jobs.

Making it on one income to stay home with your kids means sacrifice for most families. You may not be able to make enough money working at home to replace your former salary, but you can definitely make enough to impact your bottom line. Next time you’re about to relax by playing a round of your favourite game, why not check out these opportunities to turn your downtime into income?

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