In today’s world, it’s harder and harder to raise a family on a single income.
For some parents, that problem is easily solved: Mom and Dad both work.
But for others, the solution is a giant ball of stress. That’s where we were back in 2007.
We decided to make me a work at home mom (WAHM). Only, we had a major problem.
I’m an introvert. I like to STAY HOME.
Frankly, just the thought of running around doing parties and recruiting friends to join my “business opportunity” made me want to take a nap.
I found my solution (you’re reading it). But it took hours and hours of research, some seriously bad decisions, and years of trial and error to figure out.
I wrote this post as a rescue for other parents who want to earn an honest living at home without hosting a single Mary Kay makeover, taking a single supplement pill, or signing up your 80-year-old grandma to sell Amway.
Why Most “Business Opportunities” Fail
The Networking Marketing business is BIG business. We’re talking billions. This means, that for some people, multi-level marketing (MLM) really works. Which is awesome.
If you’ve discovered a product you’re really passionate about, and want to sell it to your friends, I say go for it and make your millions.
Most people, though, who sign up to sell those things end up crashing and burning a few weeks later.
it’s not really their fault. They require something most parents are usually really short on.
If there’s one thing my husband’s sales job has taught me, it’s that sales should really be spelled T.I.M.E.
- Time to set up a sales goals and objectives.
- Time to analyze target markets
- Time to develop a marketing plan for those markets.
- Time to market to that market.
- Time to follow-up on those efforts later.
- Time to close the sale.
So, shooting for something different, I’m only going to share the opportunities and companies that are sales-free.
Being different: It’s how I roll.
Use Your Cubicle Skills at the Kitchen Table
Here are some WAHM opportunities for the entrepreneurials among us. These are Independent Contractor (aka Work For Yourself) jobs. You won’t have to sell anything, but you will have to organize yourself, deal with your own financial planning, and be your own boss.
That’s awesome because you are in complete control of how much and when you work.
It’s NOT awesome because come tax-time you’ll be responsible to pay the taxes on everything you earn.
Hire Out Your Skills
There are two companies I would recommend for moms wanting to hire themselves out on a project-by-project basis:
- ODesk ~ If you have talents that make you a good administrator, or writer, or customer service representative, Odesk will connect you to companies who need your skills. Open to all nations!! www.odesk.com to start your profile. Free to join.
- Hire My Mom ~ www.hiremymom.com This company links professional WAHMs with companies who need their services. Companies post what services they need, and you bid to become their Go-To-Gal. Costs $29.95 for a quarter or $99 for a year.
- Elance ~ www.elance.com If you have any graphic design, writing, programming, or other technical skills, Elance will let you freelance yourself across the world. Personally, this is my go-to place when I need a smarter, more creative brain than my own. I use it ALL the time. I will warn you, it takes time to get to know how the website is organized. But you can make some seriously sweet cash from less talented people such as myself!
- Etsy ~ www.etsy.com Are you crafty? Can you make beautiful things? Etsy is like a gynormous flea shop on line. Have your own storefront and sell your goods around the world. When I need sponsors for my Mystery Mom Contests, this is exactly where I head!
Passionate about a topic? Create a website/blog about it and bring in income for your family 24/7/365. I know this works, because this is what I did (and still do).
I started my first website in 2007, when I knew NOTHING about the Internet except how to email.
Let me warn you though, blogging is insanely hard work. A lot of fun, yes, but a LOT of work. I spend hours and hours on this website every week. Be prepared to make sacrifices to get things moving. Once the ball rolls down the hill, though, you’re efforts compound on themselves.
One could argue that it takes as much time as selling in fact, but if you can commit to it, it reaps excellent rewards.
- You get to interact with amazing people all over the world.
- You get to do something you love.
- You can promote things you’re passionate about.
- You can earn money 24/7 on articles and posts you wrote 5 or 6 years ago. This means that the time you DO give it, can keep paying you for years and years ahead.
If you’re interested in hearing more about the pros/cons of becoming a professional blogger, feel free to write me at heather (at) incredibleinfant(dot) com.
Offer babysitting from your home. Call a local church, list in the local paper, or hang up fliers advertising. First research how much other places are charging, then offer a discount for the first few children.
Most states will allow you to watch 3 kids or less without needing a license. Look up the rules for your state.
Good grant writers can make some seriously good money. If you love to research and helping non-profits makes you feel warm and fuzzy, head over to www.agwa.us for details.
Teach a Musical Instrument
Music lessons are SUPER expensive. We pay $20 for a half hour per child! Trim a few dollars off your local going rate, with the understanding that students come to your home.
Hang up signs, advertise in the paper, call your local homeschool groups, and see what happens!
Become a Mystery Shopper
Probably not the best “steady” opportunity here, but since you get paid to shop…I had to mention them.
Keep in mind that as fun as it sounds, they are looking for helpful and detailed reports. The better and more precise your shopping account, the more likely they are to use you again!
- National Shopping Service ~ www.nationalshoppingservice.com The mother of all mystery shopping sites.
- Amusement Advantage ~ www.amusementadvantage.com Mystery shopping at amusement parks!
- BestMark ~ www.bestmark.com Contains many Fortune 500 companies with restaurants, casinos, retail stores, and resorts.
- MSPA ~ www.mysteryshop.org/ Mystery Shopping Providers Association has a directory of 100% scam-proof WAHM opportunities
This is a little tricky, since medical billing and transcriptions requires some training. Applied Medical Services ~ www.appliedmedicalservices.com can help connect you with work.
Companies Hiring At-Home Employees
Here are actual companies who are specifically looking for a WAHM like you. You won’t have to worry about taxes (since they will withhold for you), and in many cases they offer benefits.
The main negative with using a WAHM company is flexibility. Some of them allow you to set your own hours, being project based. Some of them, though, require you to work certain hours.
Some of them only allow US applicants, but not all! Visit their websites to dig out more details.
These companies use at-home-workers to provide customer service to their clients (companies).
Keep in mind as you apply that these jobs are not really work-and-parent at the same time types of jobs. You will need to have working hours without interruptions. Plan on using a husband in the evenings, or a sitter for one or two days a week.
[pullquote width=300 float=right]If you need affordable childcare, call a local homeschool group and ask for referrals. High-school aged homeschoolers are very eager to make money (less expensive!), can come to your home (less schedule disruptions for your baby!), and usually very hard-working and polite.
Since they are homeschooled, they can come and watch your child in your home during the day, and do schoolwork during naps or in the evenings when they’re home. It’s a win-win for everyone![/pullquote]
These companies have full-time and part-time work-at-home positions available.
- West Corporation ~ apply.westathome.com There is a non-refundable $29.95 fee for a background investigation.
- Alpine Access ~ jobs.alpineaccess.com Hiring for both the US and Canada, and they do offer benefits.
- VIPdesk ~ www.vipdesk.com Hires for US, Canada, and UK with benefits.
- Uhaul ~ jobs.uhaul.com/contact_center.aspx?jobtype=workfromhome – Thanks to Elena who shared this one in the comments!
Blogger & Online Researcher
There are a few companies who will pay you per blog post or article to expand their online universe.
- About.com ~ guide.about.com Only certain topics are available, but if you can research and write about these subjects, the pay is really good.
- Families.com ~ about.families.com/become-a-blogger# Will pay you per blog post on their website.
- Writers Research Group ~ www.writersresearchgroup.com Provides content for online and print media.
- ChaCha ~ becomeaguide.chacha.com/ Wonderful way to bring in extra income! This actually an Independent Contractor position. Basically, people ask questions, and you find them answers. VERY EASY.
Teach others from the comfort of your iPad or laptop.
- Smart Thinking ~ https://careers-smarthinking.icims.com
- Homework Tutoring ~ http://www.homeworktutoring.com
- GoFluent ~ http://gofluent.com Offers business English training for international companies (hire from Philippines, US, and Europe)
For those WAHM with accounting backgrounds, you can do bookkeeping from home working for these companies.
- Bookminders ~ http://www.bookminders.com Only for those in the Pittsburg or Philadelphia areas.
- Balance Your Books ~ http://www.balanceyourbooks.com Available for anyone in the US
Now Go Forth, and Make Money
There you have it friends!! All my notes, nicely arranged.
I hope this list re-kindled some hope for you. That it gave you some new options to try, new companies to look into.
Now all you have to do is start applying.
Let the life changing begin.