Mr. Mom Needs A New Pair Of Shoes!
August 29, 2005 12:30 PM   Subscribe

How can a stay-at-home dad make a bit of cash on the side?

For a number of reasons, my staying at home to care for our new baby boy is looking like it is our best option for childcare, but it will make things very tight, money-wise. I'd like to find some way of generating a small amount of income ($300+ per week) while I'm at home. I'll only have a few free hours during the normal business week, so I'm interested in exploring things I can do evenings and weekends, from home. Do any MeFite stay-at-home-fathers have any tips or personal anecdotes they'd care to share?
posted by mds35 to Work & Money (24 answers total)
Small amount of money? That's what I make working full time, after the tax etc. is taken out.
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:27 PM on August 29, 2005

What can you teach me?
posted by Wild_Eep at 1:31 PM on August 29, 2005

Lots of good advice in this thread.
posted by GaelFC at 3:22 PM on August 29, 2005

poker. If you're willing to make ~ $50 investment for two books plus an investment of $500 for starting bankroll, online casinos offer enough in bonus money you can be a very average player and take in $1,000-$2,000 extra a month for 10-20 hours a week of play (More money is possible obviously but that's a baseline.) is a great place to research what's out there. Check out their bonus whoring 101 section.

The only real disadvantage to this is you can obviously lose money as easily as making it. However, with the level of bonuses casinos are giving away, you can earn with a very low level of risk. I do not recommend this route if you have a temper or are very emotional. It takes a level head to win at poker, even at the low levels. But it's been good side income for me, despite my poor emotional control.

e-mail is in profile if you want more info. No, I'm not affiliated with bonuswhores in any way.
posted by Happydaz at 3:26 PM on August 29, 2005

Do you know anyone at a local college or university who may need data entry assistance? The work is boring as hell but is flexible and tends to pay reasonably (but by no means well).
posted by lumiere at 3:37 PM on August 29, 2005

Babysit (daycare) someone else's kid(s), I think daycare is $30-60 a day. I think most states have relaxed rules for very low numbers of kids.
posted by 445supermag at 3:47 PM on August 29, 2005

If you have extra rooms, you can put up homestay students.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:06 PM on August 29, 2005

mds, what do you know how to do?
posted by SpecialK at 4:17 PM on August 29, 2005

Response by poster: Well, let's see. I have very basic HTML and Photoshop skills. I can bartend (6+ years' experience) and wait tables (3 years's exp). I also have a unique skillset from my current career which I may be able to market as a freelance consultant. But mostly I'm curious about options I may not have considered, especially those that don't require significant investments or caring for other kids. Does anyone here on the Green has personal experience with this kind of thing?
posted by mds35 at 5:09 PM on August 29, 2005

$300/week is a lot of money (more than I make now)...

I know that a lot of school districts are switching from paper records to electronic ones. Some school districts are outsourcing the grunt work of running paper through scanners and touching up the OCR. Maybe get in touch with your local school board?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:36 PM on August 29, 2005

I'd say do the obvious: start a website about whatever it is you are most passionate about, and see if Google ads can match that rate. It's not an unheard of amount, but it could be a hell of a lot of work writing to get it there.
posted by mathowie at 6:26 PM on August 29, 2005

A friend of mine started an offensive t-shirt site and now he makes $200 a day. (iirc. That's about 40 shirts)

He had to invest ~$10,000 or so to get started. Basicaly, he came up with a few (really horrible!) tshirts, and a crappy design and kept at it. He did all the programming for the site himself, though, but you might be able to get like "PHP for dummies" and come up with it, or get an open source package like OSCommerce.

Anyway, if I were in your situation right now I would definetly try emulating him.
posted by delmoi at 7:10 PM on August 29, 2005

regarding HappyDayz's suggestion... it's actually true (believe it or not) that it's easy to hit online casinos for a dime or two a month, by taking advantage of their bonuses.

The problem is that to do so requires quite a bit of knowledge to avoid getting burned by clauses in the terms and conditions or what not... and it's still gambling.

As an example: $100 deposit, $100 bonus, 3,000 wagering, blackjack allowed. If you play blackjack, your average cashout will be $185. If you play with $5 bets, there's a 67% chance that you'll cash between $50 and $320... 95% between losing it all and $430.

I just can't recommend bonus whoring to anybody who isn't already comfortable gambling.
posted by mosch at 8:04 PM on August 29, 2005

Dunno if this is up your alley, but I see a whole bunch of ads on craigslist for ebay listers -- essentially html monkeys to take pics of things and throw them into a nice display template for auction. It's certainly something that anyone with a little bit of photoshop knowledge and some html skills could handle and might be a good introduction to more advanced areas of web work.
posted by ph00dz at 8:28 PM on August 29, 2005

ebay, my friend, ebay.
A buddy of mine checks the papers etc for garage sales, calls up the sellers ahead of time to find out what they're selling. He then checks ebay to research how much the garage sale wares tend to auction for. Based on that, he goes to the garage sales, buys stuff for next to nothing, then resells it on ebay at a mark up. It's not just garage sales, either. Sometimes, people default on their rented storage units and the facility auctions the unit contents. Make a couple phone calls to your local storage facilities about that (some do, some don't. UHaul does, as a policy, I believe).
posted by Jon-o at 9:16 PM on August 29, 2005

Medical transcription is a traditional field for stay-at-home types. Good if you're good with typing and medical terminology. It does take a bit to get into; most take a class to start.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:34 PM on August 29, 2005

Start Blogging. Blogger is free (with tools)
Use Adsense to make money. Some people are nearing a million dollars per year on Adsense. Also use Adbrite which works with Adsense.
posted by webmeta at 4:10 AM on August 30, 2005

eeesh. delmoi. I can't believe your friend makes a living selling those things. I also can't believe there are people who think rape jokes are ironic or funny.
posted by glenwood at 5:19 AM on August 30, 2005

I asked a similar question about a year ago.
posted by Otis at 5:29 AM on August 30, 2005

Betting arbitrage?
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:36 AM on August 30, 2005

A million dollars sounds over-the-top and is obviously not possible for the ordinary blogger; how much can a non-A-list blogger realistically expect to make from AdSense?
posted by languagehat at 6:03 AM on August 30, 2005

Response by poster: These are some pretty good ideas, folks. Much thanks! Not to belittle the rest of you, but I must kiss some MeFi butt and mention that I'm honored that No. 1 stopped by to help. I've gotten some good ideas from links on AWLN lately.

Anyway, I think I have some idea of just how I will make this work. I look forward to having some more time to devote to my passions and maybe make a little scratch on the side.

My current commute equals 3 hours per day at the cost of just over $300 per month. I won't miss it a bit. Even if I am naive to think I'll have "free time" while caring for my son (well, he'll nap sometimes, right?), I'll be glad to get those 3 hours back.
posted by mds35 at 12:14 PM on August 31, 2005

I am also a stay-at-home and per my experience and tangibly connected to your question...divide the amount of time you think you'll have available by half.

Never gamble while responsible for children. Players frown at requests for "poopy breaks."

How are your editing skills? Do you know anyone in the publishing industry?
posted by ?! at 10:26 AM on September 2, 2005

Response by poster: ?!, I'll not be gambling. I have never edited before, but I have written copy for small businesses on a freelance basis.

I do have some friends in publishing, and my English is pretty good (better in meatspace than online). Do you think I could familiarize myself with the Chicago Manual, learn editing marks, and get some work? Also, does it pay by the hour or by the page? What pay-rates should I expect?
posted by mds35 at 8:03 AM on September 6, 2005

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