My husband and I have been married for over seven years, and we have been in some tight spots financially during that time. We lived for an entire year off his graduate student stipend while I searched for a teaching job and took care of our newborn son.
During those incredibly lean months, we needed every bit of money that I could make or find. I trimmed our grocery budget until it couldn’t be trimmed any more ($35 weekly for the two of us). We didn’t go out to eat, have date nights, or buy Christmas presents. However, frugality only got us so far. It was soon obvious that I also needed to find ways to earn money if we were going to make it.
Through some research and a LOT of creativity, I discovered a few sources of side income that helped supplement our budget. Thankfully, I soon found a job that I love and now get to teach my crazy fun middle school students each day! But, those lean months taught me how to earn money from home. Now I rest a little easier knowing that if something were to happen with my job, I could always find other ways to help support our family.
If you are looking to add to your family’s income, here are 6 Real Ways to Make Real Money At Home.
1. Run A Daycare
Childcare is a great option for moms who want to stay at home with their own children. Working parents are always on the lookout for quality, affordable childcare, creating an almost endless demand for the service. If you are considering starting your own daycare, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to research licensing laws in your state and become CPR and First Aid certified. Second, create a contract that clearly states your fee, your policies (what happens when you are sick, on vacation, or need to close for other reasons, etc?), and hours of business. Finally, decide on your method of advertisement. Will you use word of mouth, Craigslist, Facebook?
I have two additional suggestions for attracting excellent clientele:
-Advertise that you will accept babies who are cloth-diapered. Most day cares do not, so this can give you an edge. I might consider only having one or two babies at a time if you have cloth diapers in order to prevent diapering and its associated cleaning from taking over your life.
-Accept only teacher’s children. I have a friend who only watches teacher’s children so that she can have summers and vacations off when her school-aged children do. This gives her flexibility while still providing a steady income. She has also found teachers to be particularly trustworthy clients.
2. Sell Products on Etsy
If you are at all crafty, you can take your hobby to the next level with Etsy. Do you sew beautiful children’s clothing? Knit gorgeous hats? Design eye-catching prints? Carve intricate designs? People will want to buy them! For a very thorough tutorial on setting up a successful Etsy shop take a look at Stephanie from Six Figures Under’s post here. She has had earned a significant amount on Etsy for years and now advises others on creating their own shops.
3. Sell on Teachers Pay Teachers
If you are a current or former teacher or a homeschooling parent, you may have hundreds of dollars just sitting in your filing cabinet or on your computer. Teachers Pay Teachers is an online store that connects educators with products created by other educators. After all, wouldn’t you rather help out a fellow teacher than line the pockets of textbook companies?
Last year I began searching for ways to earn some passive income–money that could be gained for an indefinite period of time from a small amount of work done once. Teachers Pay Teachers perfectly fits this mold. I already had worksheets, quizzes, literature units, games, etc. that I had created over my years teaching middle school. I simply had to update/ revise them, add some graphics, and add them to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I spend roughly 1-2 hours updating my material, and then it can earn money for YEARS. Take a look at my detailed post about Earning Extra Income on Teachers Pay Teachers for more information.
4. Give Music Lessons
One of my first ventures into running my own business came in the form of music lessons. While still in high school, I gave piano lessons to 5-8 students at a time. It was a fantastic way to earn a little extra without a huge time commitment. If you have musical skill, you may be in high demand. Advertise your availability on Craigslist, Facebook, at your church, or in flyers at local music stores. Decide on a set rate that is competitive for your area as well as your hours of availability and the number of students you will accept. I would consider creating a simple contract with policies (Will you ask for payment at the beginning of the month? the end? each week? Does a family still pay if they cancel one week?) for new clients to sign. This shows your professionalism and assures clients that you are running a business.
5. Tutor Children
I have been tutoring children for the past ten years. I have solicited clients on my own, worked for tutoring companies, and tutored through my school. You do not have to be a certified teacher in order to tutor, but you do have to be a college graduate with excellent knowledge in the areas you tutor. I have found the most success with upper-level math tutoring, SAT/ACT prep, and editing essays for college admissions. If you are going to tutor in your home, I would recommend starting out with clients that you know. However, if you tutor in the evenings when a spouse can watch the children, you can meet a the local library or another neutral location. Tutoring rates vary dramatically depending on the area (I’ve made anywhere from $14-$50 an hour), so do some research to see what is typical for your community.
6. Start Your Own Blog
No list of income-earning ideas would be complete without this one! I started The Orthodox Mama six months ago as a way to share my love of faith, family, and frugal living with others. However, it also dramatically changed the way that I viewed myself. Suddenly I saw myself as an entrepreneur. A business owner. A writer. My hobby could actually help support our family financially. And that’s pretty amazing. If you’re interested in starting your own blog, check out my posts on How to Start a Blog Right Now in 6 Easy Steps and How to Earn Money Blogging.
If you are serious about wanting to earn extra money, I would highly recommend reading Crystal Paine’s latest book Money Making Mom. Crystal is the creator of the wildly successful blog MoneySavingMom.com. It was through her blog that I discovered the world of couponing, which helped put food on our table when I wasn’t sure how we would make it. Crystal went through some lean years herself, as she explains in her book, which forced her to get creative. After a few failures, she started her blog, and now is an incredibly successful, and generous, entrepreneur.
Money Making Mom charts Crystal’s journey and gives insights that she learned along the way. I recently read the book and literally could not put it down. Inspiring stories, practical advice, everyday wisdom–it’s all there. Money Making Mom solidified my new view of myself as entrepreneur and inspired me to pursue my passion.
Looking back at those lean grad school years, I marvel at all the ways I have learned and grown since then. And, I am more than excited to see all that God has in store for me these next seven years.
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