15 Real Legitimate Side Jobs for the Stay-at-Home Parent

By Emily Guy Birken, Wise Bread on 12 July 2018 0 comments
(c)  evgenyatamanenko / iStock.com

15 Real Legitimate Side Jobs for the Stay-at-Home Parent

Staying at home with the kids can be a wonderful opportunity for hands-on parenting and bonding with your children. But it can also potentially put a strain on your family's finances. Long gone are the days when a single income could provide for entire household — not to mention saving for college and retirement.

That means most stay-at-home moms and dads find that they need to bring home some extra money while they are juggling the hard work of raising their kids. But finding a job that offers decent money, consistent work, and the kind of flexibility a stay-at-home parent needs can feel like trying to find a purple sparkly unicorn.

Thankfully, in the internet era, it is possible to find real jobs (with no startup costs) that meet a stay-at-home parent's needs. Here are 15 legitimate side jobs that can help keep your family finances healthy.

(c)  evgenyatamanenko / iStock.com

1. Virtual assistant

A virtual assistant offers support work to individuals who need help with tasks as varied as setting up appointments, managing social media accounts, answering email, completing data entry, and other administrative tasks. This can be a great fit for a stay-at-home parent, because much of the work a VA has to do can be completed on a flexible timeframe, meaning you can schedule appointments while the kids are napping and manage social media and do data entry after bedtime.

(c)  Obradovic / iStock.com

2. Fitness instructor

Getting paid to work out? Yes, please! Whether you want to become a Zumba instructor at your local Y or J, or you hope to become a personal trainer out of a local gym, becoming a fitness instructor can offer you a flexible job that also helps you stay fit.

Nearly all gyms will require you to become certified, so be sure to research the necessary requirements for certification. The ideal situation is to find a gym or community center that offers free childcare for instructors, but since people work out at all hours of the day, you can also potentially just schedule your classes or training sessions around your spouse's availability.

(c)  monkeybusinessimages / iStock.com

3. Proofreader

Stay-at-home parents with a background in writing or journalism can offer their services as a freelance proofreader. With the explosion of self-publishing, there is a big demand for grammar-and-punctuation superstars, and this is a job that can be done from home with nothing more than an email account and an iPad or tablet.

Proofreaders are generally paid by the page (although some are paid per hour), and it's possible to find proofreading jobs through any number of online job boards. In addition, becoming a member of the American Copy Editors Society can also gain you access to its job listings.

(c)  skynesher / iStock.com

4. Babysitter

You're already staying at home with your kids — why not take care of some others, too? Babysitting other children in your home is not only a good way to encourage socialization (siblings often fight less when there are additional children added to the mix) but it also gives you a chance to make money doing what you'd be doing anyway.

Depending on how many children you look after in your home, you may need to look into licensing for in-home daycare. Each state has its own procedures and regulations, and it's better to stay on the right side of your state's legal requirements.

(c)  JohnnyGreig / iStock.com

5. Tutor

It's not necessary to have a past career as a teacher to become an online tutor, although it can certainly help. If you are well-versed in a particular subject, you can become a tutor in that subject for students who need help with their school work. There are sites like Tutor.com and Chegg that match tutors with students who need their help. You will only need to have a computer and a solid internet connection — and potentially a video conferencing program, as many students prefer to meet with you via video call. Generally, you can choose your own hours, which makes this an ideal job for stay-at-home parents.

(c)  AntonioGuillem / iStock.com

6. ESL tutor

Even if you don't know any subjects well, you still may be able to work as an English as a Second Language tutor. While having a background in English education can help with the kind of work, it's not always necessary — many sites simply need native English speakers to converse to ESL students around the world. Italki is one of many sites that pair potential ESL teachers with students looking to improve their conversational skills. (And if you also speak another language, you can sign up to tutor that one, as well!) ESL tutors must have a video conferencing program to be able to practice conversations with far-flung ESL students.

(c)  Wavebreakmedia / iStock.com

7. T-shirt designer

Print-on-demand websites like CafePress and Zazzle have made it possible for anyone with a flair for design and an eye for color to become a T-shirt designer without having to keep inventory or invest in equipment. If you make your own designs or use the free templates offered by the print-on-demand sites, you can get started with this work for free. It's also a good idea to regularly offer new designs to keep potential customers coming back for more.

The best aspect of this work is that it is completely flexible and how much you make depends on you. With savvy social media marketing and regular additions of new products, you can make a nice addition to your family's income.

(c)  nicoletaionescu / iStock.com

8. Mystery shopper

Retail stores need to know that their employees are complying with customer service regulations. For instance, a grocery store might want to check that cashiers are noticing when shoppers leave an item on the bottom of their carts. That's where mystery shoppers come in. They are shoppers who are paid to shop and report their experience. While the pay is low to start, the hours are very flexible and you can choose when to take jobs. It is important to recognize that there are a number of mystery shopping scams out there, so double-check with the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association to determine if an offer is legit.

(c)  shapecharge / iStock.com

9. Transcriptionist

A transcriptionist listens to audio files and types up what they hear. This is an excellent work-from-home option for anyone with good keyboarding skills and great hearing — since sometimes the audio files are not the best quality and you will have to listen closely (or rewind several times) to accurately transcribe the message. As with mystery shopping, you do need to be careful of transcription scams, which will often ask you to pay for an expensive transcription certification course. You can find legitimate transcription work online at sites like FlexJobs.com.

(c)  PeopleImages / iStock.com

10. Rent out your car

If you are a two-car family but often let one of those cars sit idle all day, you may be able to earn some extra cash by renting out your car on a site like Getaround or Turo. According to their literature, car owners can earn up to $800 per month simply by allowing carless drivers the chance to use their vehicle. Peer-to-peer car sharing helps you let your assets work for you, while you get to relax at home with the kids all day.

Editor's pick: How to make money as an Uber driver

(c)  Tzido / iStock.com

11. Professional eBay seller

With the huge decluttering trend across the nation, there are a number of people who want to KonMari their homes but hate the idea of handling their own eBay or Craigslist sales. An at-home professional seller can do all of the legwork to list items and mail them out to buyers. In exchange for doing this work, you get to keep a commission, which is generally 15% to 25% of the sale price. This kind of work can fit around your kids' nap and swim lesson schedule and can be very lucrative if you have a good sense of how to make sales posts attractive to buyers and can leverage your social media contacts to find customers.

(c)  Steve Debenport / iStock.com

12. Tailor

If you know your way around a sewing machine or needle and thread, becoming an at-home tailor can be a great side job. Most people don't know how to replace a missing button or hem a pair of pants, let alone alter a bridesmaid's dress or whip up a child's costume for Halloween. Provided you already own a sewing machine, this at-home business costs nothing to start up, because your customers will provide you with the garments to alter or the fabric to turn into new window curtains.

(c)  elenaleonova / iStock.com

13. Personal chef

It seems like everywhere you turn, there is a new suggestion for how to reduce dinnertime stress and still provide healthy meals. If you love to cook, you can help solve that perennial problem by becoming a personal chef for families that are too busy to make home-cooked meals themselves. You can make yourself stand out by selecting a specific culinary niche, such as the Paleo diet or gluten-free cooking. This can make it easier for your customers to find you.

Stay-at-home parents who decide to become personal chefs should invest in a business license such as an LLC and insurance to protect themselves in case of foodborne illness.

(c)  DragonImages / iStock.com

14. Crafter

Your side job doesn't have to feel like work. If you are never without a pair of knitting needles, spend your free time sewing funny cross-stitch samplers, or have a full woodworking shop in the basement where you make toy chests and doll furniture, consider selling your crafts on etsy.com, the artists' marketplace. The amount of money you make depends on how much you list for sale and how many sales you make. But if you are already spending your time creating beautiful crafts, why not also get paid for it?

(c)  AleksandarNakic / iStock.com

15. Social media manager

You have probably seen some of the cringe-worthy social media fails from various companies trying to boost their brand presence. The problem is that many organizations and companies have a marketing budget to spend on social media engagement, but no idea how to go about using those platforms to their best advantage. If you have a good understanding of social media, this could be a great option for the at-home parent. Your job will involve helping companies with content marketing, PR, and social media strategy. There are many companies that hire remote employees for part-time social media management, and the work schedule is flexible.

This article by Emily Guy Birken was originally published by Wise Bread.