As a stay-at-home parent, you have multiple options when it comes to earning extra cash for household expenses. However, the trick is to find jobs that are lucrative enough to be worth your time but don’t interfere with your childcare duties.
It’s also important to make sure opportunities that allow you to work from home are legitimate, as there are plenty of scams that promise big bucks but never deliver. Read on to learn about the 10 best side jobs for stay-at-home parents, as well as 10 you should probably avoid.
10 Best Jobs for Stay-at-Home Parents
Just because you’re a stay-at-home parent, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a job that fits into your schedule and pays well. It also doesn’t mean that you’re limited to jobs that you can only do from home. Click through to see the 10 best jobs for stay-at-home parents.
1. Virtual Assistant
If you have a computer, internet connection and solid people skills, you could find work as a virtual assistant. Ideal work-at-home positions, virtual assistants aid people who need help with scheduling appointments, completing data entry, managing social media accounts and performing other administrative tasks.
“It is one of the best ways to make some cash from home,” said Satrap Darabi, editor of the personal finance blog MoneyPantry.com. He also touted the lack of upfront costs and ease with which individuals can find jobs on sites such as VirtualAssistants.com, FancyHands.com and AssistantMatch.com.
Pay varies depending on the client and type of work, but virtual assistants can expect to earn between $7 and $30 an hour, Darabi said.
2. Fitness Instructor
For parents who like to stay in shape, teaching fitness can be a great part-time job because, as Jackie Codevilla, mom of three boys said, “You get paid to work out.”
A fitness instructor for more than 10 years, Codevilla stresses that the key to earning money as a trainer is finding a gym that offers free childcare for your own kids. Although most gyms do require instructors to be certified — which means paying a fee for a certification program and taking an exam — the investment is typically worthwhile. According to Codevilla, most instructors earn between $20 and $50 an hour, and the more certifications you get, the higher your rate will rise.
As a stay-at-home parent, you might want to consider joining the ranks of the mommy and daddy bloggers by starting a blog of your own.
“As someone who has sold four blogs in the last 10 years while raising three kids, I can honestly say that starting a blog is the best way to generate income while giving yourself the flexibility to work around your family’s schedule,” said Chrystie Vachon, who now teaches other moms how to blog on her site, LivingForNaptime.com.
According to Vachon, parents can start blogging for free on sites like Blogger and WordPress or post to their own hosting accounts for less than $10 a month. WordPress, especially, makes it easy to set up a blog and write posts without any technical knowledge. Additionally, bloggers can monetize their sites with Google AdSense, earn a commission through affiliate marketing with a program such as Amazon Associates or get paid by companies to write sponsored posts about their products or services.
“The more time you put in, the more money you can earn,” Vachon said. “Some [stay-at-home parent] bloggers earn a few hundred dollars a month, while other earn thousands.”
4. Airbnb Host
Being a host with the home-sharing site Airbnb is a great side hustle, if you have an extra room and enjoy having guests in your home, said Aaron Hatch, a certified financial planner, co-founder of Woven Capital and father of one child. He and his wife charge $65 per night to rent out an extra room in their Redding, Calif., home.
“In 2015 we offset about two months’ worth of mortgage payments by hosting occasionally,” he said.
Hosting guests from around the world has allowed the family to learn more about other cultures. While Hatch said he’s never had any problems with the guests, he does take steps to ensure his son’s safety. On nights when Hatch and his wife have visitors, they keep their son in their own bedroom with the door locked.
Whether you were a teacher before becoming a stay-at-home parent or simply a strong student, you can potentially pull in extra cash by tutoring students. Opt to have kids come to your home while your own children are napping or attending activities or consider tutoring online at convenient times.
You can become a tutor with sites such as Tutor.com and Chegg Tutors. In some cases, you might have to take an exam to verify your expertise. However, the pay is usually good — in fact, tutors with Chegg Tutors make $20 an hour.
6. eBay Seller
Many of us have turned to eBay to unload an item or two that we no longer need. However, parents can create streams of income by becoming regular eBay sellers. One of the best ways to do this is to buy items at thrift stores or garage sales that have high retail values but are priced low. You can then sell these finds at higher prices on eBay or similar sites, said Lauren Greutman, a frugal living expert who blogs at IAmThatLady.com. In fact, she once bought a pair of shoes for $5 and sold them for $125.
Greutman sells items on eBay for fun but knows people who’ve made full-time jobs out of the practice. You can create an eBay account and list up to 50 items for free. However, it’s important to remember that eBay collects 10 percent of the total value of each sale.
If you majored in English or journalism — or are just a grammar and punctuation pro — you might be able to score a side job as a proofreader. It’s a flexible position that can be done with just an iPad and an email account, and there’s a strong demand for excellent proofreaders, according to Caitlin Pyle, who teaches an online transcript proofreading course at ProofreadAnywhere.com.
Pyle went on to say that proofreaders typically start out earning $18 per hour but, depending on the type of job and how long it takes, can easily earn more. In fact, many proofreaders are paid by the page. You can find clients on your own, search for proofreading jobs on a site such as FlexJobs.com or even join a trade group such as the American Copy Editors Society to gain access to its job listings.
Transcriptionists type dictated notes for doctors, authors, lawyers, marketers and bloggers, among other professionals. Co-owner of the online transcription training service TranscribeAnywhere.com, Pyle said that this job can be ideal for stay-at-home parents because it offers immense flexibility.
For transcription services, hourly rates fluctuate between $15 and $60 per hour, according to Pyle. While legal and medical transcription jobs tend to provide the highest pay, individuals will likely need to start out as general transcriptionists to gain the necessary experience. Aspiring transcriptionists can find lucrative jobs listed on FlexJobs.com and WAHM.com.
If you can handle watching other kids in addition to your own, you might consider a job babysitting for working parents. This part-time job allows you to continue interacting with your children while getting paid — and could even provide your kids with playmates close to their ages.
Childcare pay ranges widely depending on the city where you live. However, the average hourly rate per child is about $15, according to a survey by UrbanSitter.
10. Direct Sales
Working for a direct sales or multi-level marketing company can be a good or bad side job, depending on the company for which you work. Typically, these businesses sell products such as makeup, cookware or clothing directly to consumers. Said Greutman of IAmThatLady.com, her experience working with an MLM company was a negative one because she had to take time away from her kids in order to host parties and recruit new salespeople.
However, Codevilla said her side job selling beauty products for direct sales company Younique has offered plenty of flexibility and enough income to pay for all three of her kids’ activities, as well as her car payment and a cleaning service. Additionally, she was able to use the money to fund her kids’ college accounts. She recommends that interested parents look for direct sales companies that don’t charge monthly fees, require you to buy a certain amount of product every month or use high-pressure tactics.
10 Worst Jobs for Stay-at-Home Parents
Unfortunately, some jobs just weren’t created for stay-at-home parents — even though many stay-at-home parents take on these roles anyway. The following 10 jobs tend to either pay too little or interfere with parenting duties. Click through to find out what they are.
1. Medical Billing
Medical billing is often advertised as a home-based business that can bring in up to $45,000 a year. Moreover, the ads often claim that no experience is necessary to process medical claims. What the recruiters don’t tell you is that you will likely have to pay several hundred dollars to get the software programs needed to do the work.
While this investment might seem worthwhile, medical billing business opportunities are typically scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission. These companies have a habit of taking your money, providing you with software that doesn’t work and sending lists of potential clients who haven’t actually asked for medical billing services.
2. Adjunct Professor
If you have an advanced degree, you might be able to land a part-time job teaching for a college or university, either online or in the classroom. However, prospective professors should note that this job requires a lot of work for little pay.
Lynn Barnsback has been an adjunct professor for the past seven years and said that teaching online has been particularly unrewarding. Although she doesn’t have to leave home, teaching packed online classes requires her to devote more hours to grading assignments. Additionally, she earns less money if a certain number of students don’t sign up for the course.
“[In some cases] I will be paid $75 per week for one of my courses. I figure it is about $6 per hour,” she said. “Financially, it has not been worth it.”
3. Customer Service Representative
Being a customer service representative might not be ideal for parents with small children at home. After all, it’s hard to devote several hours a day to answering calls when your kids are shouting in the background.
Founder of I Pick Up Pennies, Abigail Perry has a job answering customer service emails from home. However, the job requires her to work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. If you’re willing to work nights when the kids are sleeping, CSR might be a job to consider.
4. Rebate Processing
Ads for rebate processing jobs often promise big earnings while working from home. However, these opportunities almost always require candidates to go through a training or certification process. Not only do you have to pay a fee to access the training materials, but in many cases these documents are poorly written and unhelpful. Moreover, applicants rarely receive rebates to process, according to the FTC.
While scam rebate processing jobs typically claim that you can make $100 to $200 an hour by filling out and submitting forms, according to WAHM.com, the online magazine for work-at-home moms, a real rebate processing job pays just $5 to $20.
5. Freelance Writer
Working as a freelance writer offers significant flexibility, but it can be impossible to complete your work while taking care of children, said Holly Johnson, who is a freelancer with her own blog at ClubThrifty.com.
“A lot of people think it’s easy to juggle these two responsibilities, but it’s difficult to create professional, high-quality content while providing hands-on care,” Johnson said.
If you’re determined to seek employment in this arena, you might want to consider securing part-time childcare or working at night when your significant other is home to help with the kids.
6. Uber Driver
Uber has been growing in popularity, not just as a mode of transportation that’s more affordable than cabs but also as a way for drivers to earn money on the side. Currently, there are more than 160,000 people working for Uber, and some drivers make up to $30 an hour, The Washington Post reported.
Although more than 40 percent of these drivers have children at home, few of them opt to bring the kids along on the road. If you’re thinking of becoming an Uber driver, you might want to wait until the kids are in school.
7. Envelope Stuffing
You might have seen ads for envelope-stuffing jobs that seem like easy, low-stress ways to make money. After all, the ads claim that you can earn between $550 and $3,000 a week, after paying a small fee to get started.
However, the groups that post these ads aren’t actually offering job opportunities, according to the FTC. In fact, many of them send letters asking would-be workers to recruit others in order to get paid. Before signing on for this sort of job, the FTC recommends that you ask how and when you will be paid, what the total cost of the program is and what exactly the work will entail.
Getting this information upfront can help you determine whether it’s a legitimate opportunity or a scam before you invest.
8. At-Home Assembly Work
If you’re crafty, the opportunity to assemble products for companies might seem like the ideal work-at-home job. However, would-be workers should beware if this opportunity requires an upfront investment for supplies.
According to the FTC, people who sign up for these assembly gigs rarely get paid for the products they make because the companies claim that the work isn’t up to standard.
9. Merchandise Reseller
A popular telemarketer’s pitch encourages stay-at-home parents to buy brand-name clothes and other items at below-retail prices in order to resell them for a profit. Unfortunately, this supposed money-making opportunity is likely a scam.
According to the FTC, buyers are typically asked to pay for products upon arrival, before they have the chance to inspect them. In most cases, the items aren’t name brand or even what you ordered. When you complain, you will likely be told that the wrong merchandise was sent, and that a new package will be delivered along with a refund. However, when the new package arrives, the company will ask you to pay again and threaten to sue of you refuse.
10. Pet Sitting or Walking
If you love animals, taking care of other people’s pets while they’re at work or on vacation can be a lucrative side job. In fact, Rover.com — a company that connects pet owners with sitters — claims that its sitters can earn more than $1,000 a month.
However, if you have a young child at home, you might not want to risk bringing a dog into your house. After all, not all animals can be trusted around small children. This type of side gig is probably best if your kids are already in school.
About the Author
Cameron Huddleston is an award-winning journalist with more than 18 years of experience writing about personal finance. Her work has appeared in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Business Insider, Chicago Tribune, Fortune, MSN, USA Today and many more print and online publications. She also is the author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances.
U.S. News & World Report named her one of the top personal finance experts to follow on Twitter, and AOL Daily Finance named her one of the top 20 personal finance influencers to follow on Twitter. She has appeared on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and “Fox & Friends” and has been a guest on ABC News Radio, Wall Street Journal Radio, NPR, WTOP in Washington, D.C., KGO in San Francisco and other personal finance radio shows nationwide. She also has been interviewed and quoted as an expert in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch and more.
She has an MA in economic journalism from American University and BA in journalism and Russian studies from Washington & Lee University.