Income ideas for stay at home mom?
November 18, 2016 10:07 PM   Subscribe

I have a sibling who is in her mid-30s and is a full-time mom to two young kids. Finances are tight, and she is looking for ways to make some money from home while she watches the kids.

My sister is home all day - her partner uses their car for work, and their rural location means public transport is very poor - and she has plenty of free time to devote to a money-making activity.

She has internet access through a smart phone and a tablet, although I can get her a laptop if it will help. Her work experience includes roles as a clerk in a law office and a photo technician, but she would like to avoid activities involving a lot of writing or reading. Manual labor, or something craftsy, would be fine.

I've looked into Mechanical Turk, but that seems like very, very little return on effort. That said, my sister's income goals for this are very modest - even a few dollars a day would be helpful. Ideally, this would be something she could work on daily, at her own pace, and where it would be easy to predict how much she would expect to make based on the effort she can put in.

She would also be interested in activities that earn her credit or coupons that she can put towards goods. She would be content completing surveys if that was one way to earn credit or save on some expenses, for example.

Thanks for your help - please let me know if I can clarify anything!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
My local paper did a list of 30 part time/WFH options for the holiday season recently - 30 side jobs. I can't attest to the income return on any of these - and some of the suggestions "babysit!" "Pet sit!" are a little pat - but it's a start to review some of the links and what not.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 11:03 PM on November 18, 2016

Suffocating Kitty's link isn't working. Try this one.

The article is a collection of micro job sites. Micro jobs are essentially tasks. Each micro job typically doesn't take much time or earn much money, but it adds up.
posted by meemzi at 11:23 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Transcription? I have a friend who does this as a side gig and enjoys it. It's tiring and you need good hearing and typing skills, but it's good money. The kids would need to leave her alone while she's doing it. My friend works with a company that isn't currently hiring, but there are many options out there.

Does she have any capital and any land space? If they are rural, it is possible that chickens or a vegetable garden could be an option? If there is a larger town nearby, there are probably people who want to pay and travel for eggs or meat that is humanely raised by an individual.

How good is her handwriting? Any calligraphy skills? Addressing wedding invitations in nice handwriting or calligraphy is good money but hard work and you can do it via Etsy.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:46 AM on November 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

Pet sitting really isn't a bad gig. I do it not to make money but to get my kids familiar with dogs (we are dog people but don't have dogs now; we expect to have dogs again when the kids are a little older). I make about $30/day with several restrictions - only take dogs from one family at a time, no over-lapping visits, some other limits. There are people in my area that take 3, 4, 5 dogs at a time and make several hundred dollars per month. That being said, it's generally a seasonal gig. We get a lot of requests for Christmas break and during the summer, with fewer requests the rest of the year. Then again the lack of requests that I see can probably be chalked up to the restrictions that I set on my profile.

She can check out or to learn more.
posted by vignettist at 8:26 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

- Find a niche on Etsy and start making things. (the first part is the hardest)
- Troll craigslist for cheap items with poor pictures, clean them up, and then resell them for a profit.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:07 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not sure if her location means there might be a yuppie-ish farmer's market nearby, but a friend of mine is in a similar situation and has done well selling home made dog biscuits. A niche, of course, but a high return apparently, and the kids could help.
posted by heavenknows at 11:11 AM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, I wonder if she could take in another kid sometimes? I know people are often looking for after school care, in particular, or half-day, etc. I know a stay at home dad who does this. Not sure how this works with regulations, etc. -- she could advertise on and see what comes up.
posted by heavenknows at 11:13 AM on November 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

She should look into perhaps getting a machine like the Silhouette cameo, which cuts stencils, vinyl decals, t-shirt graphics, fabric, paper, etc. If you look on FB there are a lot of pages for people that have small businesses based around what the cameo can do. It's so versatile, too, and only around $250 or so.

For example, here are a couple of signs made using a cameo.
posted by Ostara at 5:09 PM on November 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I work professionally in the craft industry. I cannot stress enough that Making Stuff to Sell on Etsy isn't a particularly good strategy. I know people who make a good income from that, but they have spent years building up a following on social media, amassing a good newsletter mailing list size etc. Making the Stuff isn't enough - they also need great photography, distinct branding and a willingness to spend a long time on marketing. If your sister wants to make some extra cash, Etsy is not a quick fix but something she needs to look at in terms of a long-term business plan. Most people who Make Stuff to Sell on Etsy end up losing money on supplies an go out of business rapidly.

I second pet-sitting and also look into afterschool care.
posted by kariebookish at 4:26 AM on November 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

Data entry is a simple, monotonous job that can accommodate kid-related interruptions. I'm not sure where to look for it except on Craigslist, though.
posted by sibilatorix at 9:27 PM on November 21, 2016

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