If you’re a mom looking to bring in a little extra income -- and who isn’t these days -- it’s important that you can tell the difference between a legitimate work-at-home opportunity and a scam. There are dozens of work-at-home schemes that will do nothing but cause frustration and heartache. If you;re looking for ways to earn money from your home base, around your family’s schedule, there are dozens of real opportunities out there. Here are five of the best ways that moms can earn money from their home office, couch or dining room table:
1. Customer Service and SalesIf you have the gift of gab, you may enjoy working as a virtual sales or customer service agent. Companies like Arise, LiveOps, ACD Direct, West at Home and Working Solutions hire telecommuters to man phones for pledge drives, provide customer service and even sell products. These jobs are great for busy moms who can’t work eight hours a day. Most of these companies let WAHMs, or Work-At-Home-Moms, schedule themselves in 30 minute blocks. This can be fantastic if you can only work when the kids are in napping or while they’re in school, etc.
2. Freelance WritingWhether you choose to write for a content mill or create your own blog, freelance writing can bring in as much or as little income as you desire. While content mill sites are frowned upon by some writers, they can be a reliable source of income as long as clients are ordering articles. Blogging, on the other hand, can take several months to start generating income. One bit of advice when it comes to freelance writing is this: Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. The more avenues you use to sell your writing, the more likely you are to receive a steady stream of revenue.
3. Open an Etsy ShopIf crafting is a way for you to unwind and relax, why not take your love a step further and turn it into a money-making opportunity? Etsy.com is a virtual store that allows crafters to set up shop and sell their wares. You can find hand-made jewelry, knitted and crocheted items, candles and homemade soaps on the site. In fact, if someone made it by hand, you’re guaranteed to find it on Etsy. The best thing about opening an Etsy shop is that you won’t be taking any additional time away from your family. If you’re already crafting, it takes only minutes to open a shop and start earning money.
4. Fill a NeedThere are many things that people need but don’t have time to do for themselves. You can write resumes for job-seekers, sit a neighbor’s dog, iron someone’s work shirts, handle their errands and grocery shopping, or even create a website for a local business owner. If you’ve got a special talent or interest, try to think of ways that you can use it to start earning money. When you’ve decided what type of service you would like to offer, create flyers, business cards or even brochures to pass around your local community. Additionally, you can create a website or a Facebook page to advertise your new business and bring in more customers. Check out MakeMoneyFast.org for more ideas on making money.
5. Sell TreasuresYou’d be surprised at the income moms have been making simply by selling items on eBay and Craigslist. If you have a good eye for antiques and in-demand items, spend one week-end a month touring local garage and yard sales. You can easily spend less than $10 and turn it into $100 if you know what you’re doing. Remember that this is simply a case of someone’s trash being someone else’s treasure. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet selling on eBay, you may want to start attending estate sales and visiting flea markets. Both of these can be untapped sources of highly-sellable items. While some things will sell better on eBay, other items will sell more quickly on Craigslist. The key to turning this practice into a financial gold mine is practice.
While there are great ways to earn money at home, there are also dozens of scams out there. There are unscrupulous people who prey on the frustrated, uninformed and cash-strapped. Before you accept any type of work-at-home position, make sure that the offer is legitimate. You should never be asked to pay money up front for anything other than a background check; this is a sure sign that you are about to be scammed. If you are looking to make a bit of extra money, use your common sense, put your skills to use and start earning. You can have money in your pocket by the end of the month by using any of the ideas above.
Karen Boyarsky is a freelance blogger writing for MakeCrazyMoney.org. You can follow her on Twitter @Boyarsky_kareni.