Getting Real with Shadra Bruce
Being a stay-at-home mom can sometimes feel like a full time job in itself. Aside from feeding, cleaning and entertaining the little ones, there are meals to cook, shopping to do and a home that won’t clean itself. However, in the rare moments that they do get a minute to themselves, many stay-at-home moms still yearn for financial freedom and ways in which they can keep their minds active.
Cue the new generation of ‘Mompreneurs’ – women who have set up businesses from home while still dedicating most of their time to bringing up their children. There are several ways moms can make extra money from home and it doesn’t always have to involve a complicated business plan – just a little dedication and free time.
1. One mom’s trash is another mom’s treasure.
One of the ways I contributed to the family finances when my babies were young was through an eBay store. I loved haunting garage sales, liked having a little extra money, and had the minimal technical competence needed to take digital images and upload them. In addition to selling treasured finds from yard sales, my husband and I opened an eBay store to sell his comic collection. It’s very easy to start.
My best sale: I bought an original Cabbage Patch Kid at a yard sale for 25 cents and sold it on eBay for $85.
Sign up to Ebay and begin selling. With an estimated 19 million users and 2 million visitors daily, eBay is a place where nearly anything is sellable and your potential market is far greater than any garage sale. Get rid of old belongings and make money at the same time without even having to leave the home…you can even print postage from home to ship your sales!
If you have a lot of books, consider selling them on eBay’s partner site, half.com. Amazon.com also offers amazing trade-in deals on certain books, movies, and electronics.
2. Words are golden
If you love words and have the ability to communicate well, freelance writing can be a great opportunity. The key is to build up your published portfolio while making a bit of money by writing for online content providers and freelancing sites such as Associated Content, Helium, and Suite 101. These sites have different rules, themes and rates of pay so do your research first to see which one would suit you best. Writing for byline credit for sites like MomsGetReal or your local newspaper can also give you a start.
3. Creative Cash
I’m just beginning to explore my creative side and haven’t yet grown comfortable with the idea of selling my artwork, but you can turn your passion into profit by selling the results of your creativity. Whether you crochet, sew, paint, knit or create other handmade goodies, consider setting up your own online shop. Etsy is one of many online venues for selling your creations. This is a great way to make money doing something you already love. You can also save money around the holidays by giving your creations to your loved ones instead of purchasing gifts.
While you’re at home looking after your little one, why not consider caring for a children for other families too. It may leave you exhausted, but it will give your children company and enable you to earn a little money simply by entertaining a bunch of children. While there are local and state laws that govern how many children you can watch and certain inspections you may be required to undergo, many counties facilitate the setup of home childcare facilities because of the desperate need of quality care.
5. Become a Party Consultant
If you like shopping, hosting and socialising than becoming a party consultant could be a great way to earn a little extra income. Full training is usually given, but the premise behind party consultancy is working for a company, holding parties and trying to sell their products to your guests. You will be given a percentage of the earnings, plus a hosting fee. There are many different companies that you can work for and with sellable items ranging from books to cosmetics and candles to adult toys you should be able to find something you feel comfortable selling.
6. Mystery Shopping
Going shopping often involves spending money, right? Now you can earn from your shopping experience by signing up to be a mystery shopper. Many companies hire inconspicuous ‘shoppers’ to go into their stores and report back about the level of service they received. Companies that often recruit mystery shoppers include ICC Decision Services and Beyond Hello.
7. Virtually Viable
If you have office skills you’d like to keep sharp, you can find virtual assistant jobs online through companies like Guru.com and Upwork (formerly elance.com). I strongly recommend avoiding odesk – every job I’ve explored there pays far less than minimum wage.
Just because you’re a stay at home mom doesn’t mean your time isn’t worth the going rate, so don’t sell yourself short. The advantages of working from home is the flexibility it offers to still be a mom first, so don’t be afraid to say no to a project that will tie up too much of your time. As your children get older, you may be able to transform your work-at-home hobby into a full-fledged business like I was able to do.