Dear Miss Money Matters,
I am pregnant with my second child and want to stay home with my kids for a few years. But I’m not sure that we can afford for me to stop working completely. Are there any jobs that I can do for a few hours every week — ideally, from home — that will work around my time with the kids?
– Jessica S., Los Angeles
Congratulations on your pregnancy. I think it’s great that you want to stay home with your children while they are young. But you’re, right — it probably is a good idea to work at least a few hours every week. Not only will this help with family finances, but also it will help you avoid having a gap on your résumé if and when you want to return to work full-time.
Read More: How I Turned a Hobby Into a Side Hustle
Fortunately, you should be able to find work that will fit within your schedule as a mom. “There are zillions of opportunities — a lot that you can do completely at home and can even do at odd hours of the night,” said Kathy Kristof, founder of Sidehusl, a website that provides reviews and ratings of gigs and side hustles.
Start by identifying what your skillset is, Kristof said. Knowing what you’re good at will help you pinpoint what sort of side hustle jobs you should seek. For example, if you have organizational skills, you might be suitable for a virtual assistant position. If you know a particular subject well, you could be a tutor.
The Sidehusl site makes it easy to search for money-making opportunities by category. By clicking on the “Work” tab, you can choose from a range of categories such as animal care, child care, design, teach and many more.
There are several side jobs that are great for stay-at-home parents, Kristof said. For example, you can sign up with VIPKID to teach English online to Chinese children. “It pays a reasonable amount, and the reviews are generally good,” Kristof said. But because of the time difference, you’ll likely have to teach English lessons in the early morning hours. And be aware that students pick the teachers they want, so being animated can help increase your chances of being chosen, Kristof said.
Or you could be a tutor with Wyzant. It pays well and gets a good rating from Sidehusl.
Stay-at-home parents also should consider babysitting gigs available through sites such as Care.com, Nanny Lane and UrbanSitter. Often, parents who use these sites to connect with sitters don’t mind if you watch their children at your home, Kristof said. So while being with your children, you can make money caring for other people’s kids, too.
More on Finding a Side Job: 30 Clever Ways to Make Money Online
“The gig economy is making it easier and easier for you to find some work you can do in almost any circumstance,” Kristof said. “But do look beyond the surface, whether you use our site or do the research on your own.”
To make sure you’re signing up for legitimate side gigs, read reviews from people who have done the jobs. Watch out for companies that pay less than the minimum wage or that require you to commit to working a certain number of hours without committing to pay you a certain amount, Kristof said. Pay particular notice to complaints about not getting paid.
“You should know whether a site has a habit of stealing people’s wages,” Kristof said. “There are a lot of ways a bad platform will trick you into working for them for free. You don’t have time for that.” Spending the time researching side gigs before signing up will save you a fortune in the end, she said.
Click through to read more about finding your ideal side hustle.
Life + Money columnist Cameron Huddleston answers your money questions, drawing from her more than 15 years of experience as a personal finance journalist, as well as advice from financial experts. If you have money questions, send them to email@example.com with the subject line Dear Miss Money Matters.