This post is written by Craig Ford, writer at Money Help for Christians.
As part of your 2011 New Years resolutions, many of you are looking for legitimate ways to increase your income by working at home. For some of you, an extra few hundred dollars a month will give your budget some much needed breathing room. Others of you might want to supplement several thousand dollars a month by working from home. The extra income might be needed to help you get out of credit card debt. Regardless, this post focuses on offering specific suggestions for mothers who have decided to earn some extra income in 2011.
But this post is not just for ordinary mothers. It is for those who want to have their cake and eat it, too (without gaining any weight). Since kids come first, you need a job that will fit around your schedule, not a job that is going to compete with your family. The jobs I’ll suggest in this post will allow you to:
- Work from home.
- Have a flexible schedule.
Red Flags When Looking For Extra Income
- Avoid using Google as a starting place. Yes, of course, you will eventually need to do some research online to get information about a work opportunity, but I highly recommend starting with personal contacts and people you already trust online. A lot of people get online and type “how to make money at home” or “make money online”. The problem is that there is no Google quality police. Generally speaking, she with the most links to her website gets the top position in Google. If I have a product that is a scam, I can easily work for links or buy links and get a top ranking in Google.
- Avoid anything that requires you to put money down or buy a ‘secret’ starter pack. Yes, many legitimate home business will require you to purchase inventory. However, if you are being forced to buy more than you want ($500 minimum start up package), or you’re not sure what you get for your money, avoid that business “opportunity”.
- Avoid pyramid schemes. A pyramid or multi-level marketing business is one where others make money by teaching you how to make money. There is a lot of hype around these type of businesses because in many ways the hype is the business. Many of these businesses offer little of actual value, but instead there is only a smoke screen of actual business transactions. As long as people are referring others the business makes a profit, not necessarily when they are actually selling the product.
(Laura’s Note!! Several of you have pointed out that not all multi-level marketing businesses are schemes. You are absolutely right!! I was involved in selling Stampin’ Up! products for several years when my kids were babies and that certainly wasn’t a scheme…and it falls right into this category. Please accept my apologies for any frustration the above paragraph may have caused. The point is to avoid SCHEMES…not to avoid all businesses of this nature.)
Tips for Finding the Right Side Business
Personally, I’m a big fan of teaching people to turn a hobby into a side business. The reason is quite simple – you’ll do a better job and feel better when you make money doing something you love. Besides, what if you figure out how to make a lot of money doing something you hate to do? That doesn’t sound like any fun, does it?
A successful business will do one of the three things:
- Sell a product or a service that is better than what is currently being offered.
- Sell a product or a service that is cheaper than what is currently being offered.
- Sell a product or a service that is currently not available.
A List of 15 Legitimate Work From Home Jobs
In this list you’ll notice I favor online businesses. The reason? You usually have 100% control over your schedule. If your little baby is sick you can work late after the child is in bed. Furthermore, I believe most small business growth involves a hefty component of online business.
- Blogging. You can make money blogging as long as you select the right topic and are willing to work hard. Here’s my 7,500+ word free guide on how to make money blogging.
- Virtual Assistant – With the explosion of web based businesses and online entrepreneurs, there is a huge market right now for qualified virtual assistants. What is a virtual assistant (VA)? A VA is a person who does secretarial type work from home. You get an email of tasks and you complete them for a boss you may never meet. You can advertise your services on either Odesk or Elance.
- Baking – Sell cake, cookies, or any other goodies from home.
- Freelance Writing – I believe this is a great time to be a writer. Many online blogs and businesses are looking for good quality content. Guess how they get that content? They pay someone to write for them. I’ve spent some time over the last few years doing some freelance writing in my field (personal finance). My first paid writing offer was for $5 per article. On average (depending on the niche), you can make $20 per article to write online. Learn more about how to make money writing.
- Tax Filing Business from Home – For anyone who has tax experience and the proper licensing, you can set up your own home based business and generate clients whom you will never meet in person.
- Selling items on eBay – This style of business has been around for a long time, but it can still be profitable if you make wise purchasing decisions. Basically, you buy items at highly discounted prices and then sell them on eBay. You can either purchase products wholesale or just stock up on inventory when your favorite store has their next 85% off clearance sale.
- Tutoring – If you can fit tutoring into your schedule, you might be able to spend part of an evening helping a struggling student.
- Teach a Skill – Do you know how to play the piano? Do you know how to do a craft? Teaching people how to do the skills you already know is a great way to earn a few extra dollars.
- Mystery shopping – Yes, get paid to shop. You too can learn how to be a mystery shopper.
- Sell eBooks – If you have an online audience, you can produce your own products and earn some extra income selling eBooks. Of course, you would first need to build up an online audience through a blog or a similar medium.
- Sell Photos – Amateur photographers can start selling their pictures online. All you need to do is to go to a popular site that sells photos and get an idea of what type of pictures sell well. Use the popular pictures as a standard to help direct your own freelance photography business. Check out Shutterstock.com as an example of one of many websites that allow you to sell your photos online.
- Social Media Consultant – You mean, get paid to use Facebook and Twitter? Exactly. In November last year, one of the largest personal finance blogs, WiseBread, was looking to hire a social media consultant. Once again, Odesk and Elance would be a good place to start advertising your services.
- Web graphics and logos designing – If you are artistic, you might want to invest in a Photoshop program that will allow you to do graphic designing for blogs and websites.
- Learn how to do something you normally pay for. – OK, this isn’t a specific idea, but if you pay for something, don’t you think others would too? At the very least, when you learn how to do something new, you don’t have to pay for that service any more. But then you can also build up a client list and provide that service for others.
- Sell plasma. You’ll never find me doing this to make an extra buck, but my mother-in-law thinks this is the best way to earn some extra cash. As for me and my household, we’ll pursue other methods to supplement our income.
Alright, you’re officially equipped to start chasing your dreams. Find an opportunity that interests you and fits your scheduling limitations. Chase it with your full energy and passion, then go, go, go.
What other suggestions do you have that can help someone else make an extra few dollars by working from home?
Be sure to visit Money Help for Christians where Craig promotes a frugal, simple, debt-free, and generous lifestyle so Christians can faithfully maximize their resources by putting them at the disposal of God’s Kingdom.