Every family could use a little extra cash right now as we battle through the worst recession to hit the country in over 25 years. So we’ve put together ten of the easiest and most effective ways for Moms to generate extra income from home. These are practical tips that Moms can realistically achieve alongside the already demanding workload that comes with raising a family. They won’t get you rich quick, but they’ll help to boost your savings and reduce the burden of rising household bills.
- Go Undercover As A Mystery Shopper: if you have a baby or toddler this is an ideal way to make a bit of extra cash, because you can take them with you on your secret shopping visits. You’ll be asked to visit a restaurant, store, or any type of business and report on their service from a customer’s point of view. To complete the job, you’ll need to fill in a detailed questionnaire and make a small purchase as proof of your visit.
Search for mystery shopping assignments online and register with several different agents. You shouldn’t need to pay anything to register and the average fee per visit is around $20. Some of the best mystery shopping specialists are Shoppers View, Service Excellence Group and Service Intelligence.
2. Turn Your Expertise Into Articles: the internet is full of blogs and articles created by amateur writers who are paid to put their opinions, expertise and knowledge into words. Many companies now outsource the production of their content to freelancers because it’s much cheaper than having someone in-house to create it for them. This is a market that work at home Moms can really tap into and create a regular source of income.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any writing experience. All you need is passion for a topic and the ability to put your ideas into words. We all have expertise on something, especially Moms who know everything about parenting, baby products and dealing with problem teenagers! Put a few sample articles together before you start and make sure you only provide original work that hasn’t been copied from elsewhere.
There are many different sites to work from, such as Elance, GetaFreelancer and ODesk. You’ll be paid anything from a few dollars per article up to $50 each, once you’ve built up a profile. There’s so much writing work out there. Elance for example, has over 4000 new jobs posted each and every week with more than $2million in fees.
3. Build A Money-Making Website: the great thing about the internet is that you don’t have to actually sell anything to make money. All you need is a simple website with good content and some research on how to drive traffic to it. Maybe you have an extensive collection of family recipes you could share or an idea for a new Mom blog to develop parenting skills and newborn support? Once you create your content you can then start to make money from ad displays and affiliate marketing links. It’s easy to design a website yourself without any investment or technical knowledge. All you need is a free website builder program, which gives you the software alongside the support and training you need to get everything started.
4. Make money from your clutter: An eBay/Nielsen survey revealed that the average US household has 52 unused items laying around worth over $3000! But don’t give away your unused clutter to the garbage man, try selling it on sites like eBay, Craigslist, efleaa or Hoobly, and making some extra cash instead. Everyone has something in their house they don’t use anymore – baby equipment, furniture, antiques, jewellery, clothes. If you’re selling then people are buying, particularly if it’s designer or vintage. You can set your minimum asking price to make sure you don’t have to sell too low.
Once you’ve built up a good seller’s profile, you can take it one stage further and look for bargains to sell on for a profit. Check out local garage sales, house clearance, closing down and end of season sales for cut price items people will want to buy.
5. Get paid for pictures: corporations across the globe are constantly looking for cheap images to use on their websites and advertising material. Everything from pictures of food, kids and animals, to cars, buildings and landscapes. Snap wherever you go and websites like BigStockPhoto, Fotolia and ShutterStock will pay you every time your photo is downloaded. Fees range from 25 cents per download to a percentage of the commission. This is a great way to create residual income on a regular basis, especially if you upload hundreds of photos.
6. Become a virtual assistant: times are tough for small businesses across the country and many have had to make staff cut backs. Yet they still need support to keep up with the day to day running of their business. Everything from customer service assistants to diary management, travel arrangements to bill paying, companies everywhere are looking for reliable virtual assistants who can help them for a few hours a week. You can easily pick up this kind of work on freelance websites such as Elance, or large virtual recruitment agencies such as Alpine Access, Virtual Office Temps and Team Double Click. Expect to earn around $20 per hour.
7. Release Your Inner Guru: most Moms probably had a different life before they had kids, where they developed a whole host of skills and knowledge that people would pay money to tap into. Designing a baby’s room, planning a wedding or solving computer problems may come naturally to you, but people will pay good money to have these things done for them and avoid the hassle of trying to do it themselves.
The really great thing is that using your knowledge to make money doesn’t require any investment and it’s something you can easily fit around your family commitments. Just spread the word around your local community and your reputation will be passed on by word of mouth. Print off some flyers and post them through letterboxes, place a free ad in your local paper or put a poster in the local store.
You can also tap into your expertise online, by working for one of the sites that pay people per minute to answer questions on specific topics, such as JustAnswer or LivePerson.
8. Sell eBooks: so you might not have the time to write your own eBook, but if you have a topic you love you could buy the rights to various eBooks and create a website to sell them. There are many sites where you can buy the master resell rights to eBooks, which means that you get to keep all the profits. Then all you need to do is find a free website builder using a program such as WordPress to create a simple website to market your eBook.
9. Craft Some Extra Cash: if you’re good at handcrafts and can knit, embroider, weave or paint, you could sell your goods online. Whilst eBay is a good place to start, Etsy is a site specifically for handmade crafts and vintage items, with sales of over $88million through the site in 2008. Whether it’s one off unique pieces or a range of handmade dolls, wooden toys or vintage handbags, there are hundreds of buyers waiting to purchase through this site. All they charge is a small percentage of each sale (3.5%) and a nominal start up fee.
Another website dedicated to the sale of handicrafts is Silkfair. Signing up as a seller and listing your items is completely free, or you can design and customize your own store on their site for $24.99 per month. They only charge 3% of your final sale price and you can sell everything from handmade items to vintage, antique and limited edition pieces.
10. Become a Virtual Tutor: even if you don’t have any teaching experience, you can find work as a virtual tutor if you have a college degree. One site, tutor.com, pays graduates by the hour to mentor students, review essays and use their interactive work board to go through problems. Transwebtutors is also a popular site for live homework help, employing tutors from a variety of disciplines to teach students from around the globe. If you are bilingual, have maths, science or social science expertise, this could be a good potential earner for you.
About the author: Melanie Citron is a freelance author who wants the web to be open to everyone. She regularly researches and writes about great free or low cost resources to help all have a great presence on the web. See more of her writing at BuildMySiteforFree.com.