I got my first real job when I was 15, working at Ice Cream Downs. The starting pay was $3.00 an hour, but once I was finished with training I got a raise to $3.35. That was good money after years of babysitting for $2.00 an hour. There were plenty of other jobs after that: mother’s helper, research assistant (which is a fancy way of saying secretary), park ranger, and we won’t even talk about that first big job out of college where I walked in on the third day and parked in the one-hour space because I knew I was going to quit.
The point is, from the time I was old enough to work, I always did. The ability to make money was, to me, directly tied to freedom. It meant the ability to pick the clothes that I wanted to wear, hang out with my friends, and put gas in my car. So when, at the age of 22, I decided that I couldn’t bear to leave my child in daycare and I would stay home with him instead of working, the thought of being without a way to make money was terrifying.
It felt like giving up all of my independence and freedom to fully rely on someone else—my husband—to support our family. Though my spouse ended up being the primary breadwinner for years, through the intersection of luck, opportunity and drive, I did manage to earn some sort of income for almost the entire time I was home with the kids. Anyone with the ability to recognize opportunity and the ambition to pursue it can make money from home.
The most important part of figuring out how you can make money from home is to take a long look at what you’re good at and what you love to do. Awesome at macrame? Or baking? Hair cutting? Fortune telling? Getting drunk and cooking? Love to spend time with kids? Animals? Go to garage sales? If there’s something that you’re talented at and/or passionate about, there’s a good chance you can make money doing it. Here are some suggestions for things you can do to make money from home:
1. Sell things online
Open an Etsy store to sell those needlepoint pillows you love to make. Hit up garage sales and sell your finds on ebay. List all those old books and CDs on Half.com. Set up a web-cam porn service (ok, don’t really. But, you know, I’m pretty sure there’s some solid cash in that).
2. Babysit/Pet sit
If you’re already home with your own gaggle of kids and critters, what’s a few more? Offer to watch your neighbor/sister/best friend’s child/dog/boa constrictor while he or she is at work/out of town/in rehab. Just make sure they know that you’re charging for the service and don’t take in so many strays that you have to get a daycare/kennel license.
Were you a high-powered attorney in your past life? Or maybe a marketing expert or a killer salesperson? Reach out to your contacts from former employment positions and let them know that you’re still interested in working in the industry. Offer to do a project, take on overflow work, or share your expertise as a consultant.
4. Roadside stand
Have overflow from the garden? Make an amazing peach pie? Set up a stand and sell your wares to passers-by. You don’t have to man it full time, just keep your inventory available and your eyes peeled for customers.
Truth be told, this is a super hard and crappy way to make money from home. It’s a constant fight to come up with relevant content and bring eyeballs to the page. The market is over-saturated and can be cut-throat. Competition for audience is fierce. And even if you do build up an audience, convincing advertisers or brands to pay you for your work can be damn near impossible.
You know what? On second thought, just scrap #5. Go with the web-cam porn service instead. It’s less degrading and you’ll probably make a lot more money.
Have you successfully built your at-home career? Share your tips and experiences!
Audrey Binkowski is a writer, a mother, a digital marketer, and a hoarder of vintage items. Seriously, her closets and cupboards are full of old crap that belonged to dead people. You can read more from Audrey on her blog, Laugh Mom.