Friday, 31 July 2015

10 Ways to Make Money as a Stay at Home Parent

First of all can I just say that, contrary to what the government and society may tell us (directly and through policy), being "just a mum" is a perfectly valid choice.  The sooner we question and rebel against the great myth we have been fed since the Industrial Revolution, and more explicitly in the past 70 years, that women should be in the workplace and making a contribution to the economy (thereby creating greater demand for consumer goods and more jobs, in ever revolving circles) the better as far as I'm concerned!  BUT if you are at home, mum or dad, and looking to make some money, there are lots of ways and means out there.


Complete Online Surveys

There are lots of survey companies out there, but most send you lengthy surveys and only pay 50p or less for them.  However, some offer product trials, pay fast, and if you have a spare half an hour or more a day, sign up to a few different companies, and are dedicated to completing surveys, you could earn £20-50 a month.  The best we have found is YouGov which regularly sends out short, easy-to-answer surveys, and pays out cash rather than vouchers.

Enter Competitions

Although comping could never be a reliable source if income, if you are dedicated and enter as many as possible, you can win great prizes including cars, holidays, vouchers, cash, or even just some essential baby bits or toys.  We always list our competitions on The Prizefinder, and other sites like MSE are great for finding lots of comps too.  For advice, Di Coke's SuperLucky blog is indispensable, and also has a list of current competitions too.  You may not win the big one, but comping is great fun, and slightly addictive too.  (Look out for our new competition to win a £50 Cath Kidston voucher which starts tomorrow.)

Become a Secret Shopper

Being a secret shopper is a great way to get paid for doing what you would be doing anyway when you're out and about with your baby.  You will probably start off with small shopping assignments, but there are lots of restaurant and bar review opportunities out there, even hotel stays to be had.  It may not make you a millionaire, but why not get paid to do things you do anyway, and get freebies to boot!  (Speaking of freebies, don't underestimate the impact of collecting coupons and freebies through online sites.  It will save you a few pounds on the weekly grocery bill.)


Become a Virtual Assistant

If you have secretarial skills or the like, this is a good one to pursue, although how easy it is to get up and running I don't know.  Essentially you fulfil office functions at home, such as taking and making phone calls, sending out or dealing with e-mails, transcribing documents or letters, and such like.  Apparently medical secretaries are also in demand for this too as the world moves further towards electronic working.  But remember, never pay a fee to be listed on someone's books as a VA, there are lots of scams out there!

Start a Blog!

Many of us started out without any expectations, but more recently many people have gone into blogging solely with the intention of making money, and a lot have succeeded.  Whether you are going to be into more than 3 figures by the end of your first year is down to time, effort and a big dollop of luck.  Look out for our Blogging Masterclass series coming this autumn!  It is hard graft, but it might be worth a go, especially if you want to showcase your other talents, or promote an existing business.  Which brings me on to...

Use Your Artistic Skills

Whether your photographs, your cakes, your handmade cards, your pottery, or anything else you make is better than most people's, somebody somewhere will buy it!  Sites like eBay and Etsy are great for handmade objects and crafty bits from sculpture and artworks to jewellery and cards, just sign up, research your price point, and get selling.  If you are a trend spotter or have an eye for a bargain, you could even try buying and selling.  You could set up your own '50s vintage site, or just sell through eBay and a Facebook page.

Things like making and selling cakes and jams may take a bit more research, and be sure to contact your local council for guidelines on your kitchen, and any courses you may need to take.  For photographs, you can either find photo selling sites online, or sell your services as a photographer locally - or both!


Make Your Home Work For You

Changes announced in the recent budget make it even more lucrative to rent out your spare room to a lodger, so this is worth considering if you have the space.  Or offer your spare room to local language schools for students; hosting is a great way for your children to meet new young people from around the world.  If you don't fancy that, you could rent your garage to someone for storage (car or boxes), or if you live in a city centre or near a busy station, rent out your driveway to a commuter.  Popular site Park Let estimates you could earn up to £200 a week!  If you are super stylish, you could also look into letting your home out for events, photo shoots and as a TV or film set.  Or, for the ultimate work from home job, why not convert your home into a B&B?

Decide Just How Much You Love Kids!

Or rather just how much time and energy you can devote to other people's.  Childminding fits perfectly with your own childcare commitments, and can be adapted as your own children grow.  Make sure you take a course first, then register and off you go.

Or if you have embraced natural birth, why not help other mamas by becoming a doula or hypnobirthing practitioner?  These are fab careers that combine something you love and are passionate about with a reasonably well-paid (for the hours) job.  Again, research and courses are the key.  Becoming a sling consultant is also a possibility you might like to consider.


Become a Party Host

Product parties have come a long way since Tupperware, with the likes of Neals Yard Organics, Jamie Oliver, Phoenix Trading and Usborne Books joining Ann Summers and Avon.  Most seem to offer around 20-25% commission on sales made, so it is all down to how much you put into it.  Some friends of mine have done really well with this, others haven't fared so well.  Maybe worth a punt?

Use Your Professional Skills

Take 10 minutes to write down everything you did in your past lives and create a mind map of how your skills could be re-engaged elsewhere.  If you have accounts experience, offer your services as a bookkeeper to local small businesses, or individuals; if you have teaching experience, you could become a tutor or mark exams in the summer; any IT skills are completely marketable.  If you love reading and have good attention to detail, re-train as a proofreader.  Offer your research skills to companies or individuals who may need them; put an ad up in your local university offering to look over foreign students' dissertations for grammatical errors; the possibilities are endless.

If you think 'ha, I haven't got any skills like that!', think about your other under-appreciated skills: ironing, baking, knitting, hairdressing, dressmaking (even sewing up hems or altering clothes can bring in the ££)?  All of these are in demand too, especially as more and more of us out-source the bits that we're not good at to concentrate on the stuff we are good at.  Just think outside the box (sorry) to come up with your particular skill set, then sell it!  Think you've got nothing?  People will even pay you to walk their dog!


And a bonus idea...

Re-train as Something Weird and Wonderful

Although this may require an initial outlay, re-training as a holistic therapist/homeopath/sports therapist/chiropractor/insert another 50 options here, could be ideal.  Re-train while your children are young, have a few clients at home to build up your skills and word-of-mouth, and then take the plunge and convert a room/shed, or invest in premises, as they get older.


In reality, you will probably need to combine two or more of these strands to make any real contribution to the household coffers, but it depends what you want/need out of it.  Why not just have a go and see what happens?  Good luck!

N.B. Remember that all income does need to be declared to HMRC even if you are below the tax threshold, and if you are setting out on the self-employed path, you need to notify them of your new status within 3 months of starting.


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8 comments :

  1. Hi, thanks for this post. Lots of ideas here. I guess it us just about finding something that works for you...

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  2. Great ideas there - especially writing down skills and becoming a VA. I would add auction/declutter, too, as I've boosted my income through eBaying and managed to have a bit of a tidy up.

    I would also add that after a year or so working from home, I'm heading back to a workplace this week - the lure of a regular monthly income is just too strong! I will maintain blogging, and working towards those three figures, though :-)

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  3. Thanks for these tips. I'll definitely be having a look at YouGov, and might look at other online survey sites.

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  4. Ive been a Secret Shopper. Lots of them dont pay too well and it takes alot of time and effort, but its quite fun and gets you out and about!

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  5. Some great ideas for any stay at home parents. Has anyone tried becoming a VA? Annette - 3 Little Buttons

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  6. Great ideas! Thank you for the inspiration!!

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