By Cheryl Maguire
When my youngest child entered first grade, the questions began.
“Are you going back to work now that your kids are in school all day?” “What will you do for six hours when your kids are in school?” You get the idea.
After correcting the misinformation—it is not really six hours when you factor in the varying bus schedules—I politely let them know that I wasn’t concerned about how I would occupy my time.
I was busy volunteering at the school and doing other household tasks, but I also wanted to earn some extra money to help offset the high cost of college tuition. More importantly, I wanted flexibility.
So I began freelance writing for different publications. Over time, my income has increased, and I’m hoping to save enough to pay for at least one of my kids’ college educations.
If freelance writing isn’t your thing, or even if it is and you want to add another job, here are some ways you can earn extra cash while remaining a stay-at-home parent like me.
- Pay range: $11–18 per hour
Customer service representative
My friend used to provide customer service from her house through Liveops. She was able to create her own flexible hours by signing up for time blocks. She started taking calls for infomercials, then auto claims for Allstate and orders for Pizza Hut. The only cost to her was a dedicated phone line, which was $22 per month.
- Pay range: $10–20 per hour
A recent article in Money Magazine described the job of being an Amazon delivery person through Amazon Flex. Drivers must use their own car and an app to select a block of time to deliver packages. Rates vary by state and time of year; during Christmas you can receive higher rates.
- Pay range: $18–25 per hour
Etsy shop owner
Etsy is a website where you can set up your own store. Most people sell crafts, jewelry, clothing, home décor, or vintage items. I bought a graphic design for my website on Etsy, though, so you are not limited to those categories. Etsy charges a $.20 listing fee, a 5% transaction fee, and 3% + $.25 payment fee.
- Pay range: The range varies, but one website claims that a shop owner earns $70k per month!
A few of my friends are fitness instructors, such as spin, body pump, or TRX teachers. These require taking certification tests that can cost around $300. Then you need to recertify every two years, which costs roughly $100. My friends enjoy the flexibility of the job and the fact that they get paid to work out.
- Pay range: $10-$30 per hour, depending on the gym and class taught. Plus, most gyms offer free membership to their instructors. Some offer free childcare while you are teaching.
There are several companies that will hire you to work from home transcribing audio speech to written documents. The audio could be from a doctor, lawyer, court hearing, or freelance writer. Some companies don’t require any experience. There are transcription courses available for a fee. Some transcription companies are Rev, Scribie, and CrowdSurf.
- Pay range: The Rev website states the average earning is $245 per month.
Paid focus group participant
Market research companies pay focus groups for their reactions to or opinions of their products. Usually, group members participate for one to two hours. To participate in focus groups, you can sign up with companies such as WatchLab, User Interviews or FocusGroup.
- Pay range: $100–400 per group, and sometimes a free meal.
A friend of mine started a pet-sitting business to board dogs in her house five years ago. She used the website Rover to set up her rate and availability. In addition to boarding pets, you can also walk dogs or watch pets and the owner’s house. The Rover website is not limited to dogs. Rover takes 20% of whatever fees you earn.
- Pay range: Set your own rates. My friend earns $40 per night per dog and sometimes has three dogs per week, or $840 per week minus the Rover fee. The website states you can earn up to $1000 per month.
Rent out your house for a movie set
You can list your house for free on the Set Scouter website to rent out for a movie or TV show. Even though I live in the Northeast (not remotely close to Hollywood), over ten different movies have been filmed in towns near me recently. I haven’t been lucky enough to have my house selected yet, but you never know when Hollywood might come knocking.
- Pay range: $250–1,000 per day
Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription service. The stylists work from home and help other people create stylish outfits based on their budget, personality, and fashion tastes. You need to commit to working 15–30 hours per week. You also must participate in an onsite six-hour training course.
- Pay range: $14–16 per hour
There are a few different companies through which you can teach English online from your home. Most of the companies require you to have a college degree and be proficient in the English language. Some of the companies to investigate are VIPKID, Qkids, and Teachaway.
- Pay range: $15–25 per hour
TaskRabbit matches you with people who need a task done around their houses such as cleaning, moving, furniture assembly, or home improvement. After you complete the job, you receive payment, minus a 15% TaskRabbit fee.
- Pay range: You set the rate; certain skills earn more money.
Test Apps or Websites
Userlytics is a website that will match you with an app or website that is in the developmental phase and wants user feedback before it is launched. You will offer your thoughts about the app or website by verbally answering questions. Most projects take 15-20 minutes to complete.
- Pay range: Website states the range is anywhere between $5-$90 per tested project.
You might think you need a teaching degree to be a tutor, but according to Tutors.com, anyone with a high school diploma or GED can be a tutor; you need only complete a tutor training program. Once you are certified, you can set up a free profile at Tutors.com to find jobs.
- Pay range: $25–80 per hour
There are many different youth sports that need someone to officiate, such as soccer, softball and baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, and more. Most referees need to attend certification training and complete a background check. Contact your local sports league to find out the requirements.
- Pay range: $25–50 per hour or per game
You probably won’t get rich doing any of these jobs, but the extra income might help pay for all the added expenses of having children like camp, sports, or college.
For me, I enjoy earning a paycheck, but the real benefit is socializing with other people. Being a stay-at-home mom can feel isolating, especially now that my kids are older and no longer at home during the day. I like interacting with other writers and editors, even it is only virtually.