So you’ve decided you want to stay at home with the kids! The only question now is how you’re going to keep the little tykes fed and clothed while you’re enjoying your time with them.
The era of a one-income family being enough to provide for Mom, Dad and kids (and save for college) is long over for many people, and most stay-at-home parents find that they need to bring home some extra money.
But what jobs can a parent do from home? It can be difficult to weed through the envelope-stuffing scams and pay-up-front “business” plans to find real part-time jobs that will bring in enough money to be worth their time.
The best jobs for stay at home moms and dads allow parents to actually spend time with their kids and generate enough income so they don’t have to take in a sitter. This can range from being an in-home daycare provider to, tutoring, or freelancing.
For clarification, for a job to make my list, it has to be gainful, flexible and consistent.
For example, though telecommuting is technically a “stay-at-home” job, companies generally still expect their telecommuters to be available during regular business hours.
1. In-Home Daycare Provider
You’re already spending your day with your children; why not bring other kids to the party? Running a daycare out of your home is a great way to stay involved in the day-to-day activities of your children while earning money for what you are already doing.
Each state has its own licensing procedure for daycares, so it is very important to know what you need to run one out of your home. Childcareaware.org can help you navigate the logistics of starting your own daycare.
If you love children and know you can handle more than just your flesh-and-blood, this job is the ultimate in multitasking.
Not ready to deal with more kids but want to ensure great care for others? Consider the agency route…
2. Virtual Assistant
This is a 21st Century opportunity for a naturally organized stay-at-home worker.
A virtual assistant helps a professional take care of any number of tasks that can be done from your home, such as handling correspondence, bookkeeping, and website design.
This is a great job in terms of steady income, as virtual assistants often stay with their clients long-term, although sometimes it can be less flexible than other stay-at-home work.
3. Fitness Instructor
If staying fit is already important to you, consider becoming a fitness instructor. Whether you own a Jazzercise franchise or just teach a class or two at the local Y, exercise instruction can provide you with a flexible job that also keeps you fit.
All instructors, no matter where or how you teach, must go through certification, so it is important to research the necessary steps to begin your fitness career. But like running a daycare, this is a great opportunity for making money doing something you already love.
From writing to translation to research to editing to design, freelancing provides many possibilities for you to use your skill set in a flexible and self-directed way.
Pay varies project-by-project, and the income is not always steady, but freelancing allows the stay-at-home parent the opportunity to keep career skills sharp if returning to the regular workforce is a possibility in the future.
There are many different at-home businesses that can be launched for very low startup costs and maintained around your family’s schedule.
In particular, party planning, creating gift baskets, professional organizing, and baking are all business models that can be easily managed while staying at home with kids.
Read Next: Unique Business Ideas to Start Today
If you have any background in education, you can find a job working as a virtual teacher for anything from K-12 students to college students.
Since the work is entirely virtual, you do not have to be in the same part of the country as the school employing you, and you can often plan your virtual classroom schedule around your family’s needs.
Sewing is becoming something of a lost art. If you know your way around a needle and thread, you can capitalize on the fact that most people can’t replace a missing button, let alone sew up a child’s Halloween costume or alter a prom dress.
This is another option that costs you nothing to startup, provided you already own a sewing machine, since your customers will provide you with the items to alter or the fabric to create new attire.
There has never been a greater need for stock photography, and good amateur photographers can make money from their favorite hobby. While it takes time to build up a large enough portfolio to make serious money from stock photo sites like Dreamstime and Shutterstock, this is an excellent option for anyone who is already an avid photographer and is willing to make their images public.
Would you rather make money taking portraits? Here’s a case study with our friend Justin who took family portraits to raise money (more than $5,000) for his adoption:
Case Study: Making Money as a Freelance Photographer
9. Professional eBay Seller
Many people want to declutter their homes, but hate the idea of having to set up their own eBay or Craigslist sales. That’s where you come in.
For a commission (commonly 15% to 25%), you will do all of the legwork of selling their items, from posting the sales to mailing the sold items. Successful resellers often leverage their social media contacts to find customers.
10. Direct Sales Associate
Home-based businesses run by women have evolved a great deal since the days of “Avon calling,” and Tupperware parties (although both of those businesses are still around).
Nowadays, you can sell any number of products (that you may already use) in a social setting. While direct sales does require some upfront cash layout for products (be careful here), a gifted saleswoman can generate a decent (albeit, short-term) income with these programs.
An added benefit is the social aspect of these businesses. They can provide a stay-at-home mom with some much-needed adult conversation and socializing. If you are a born networker and can sell, this is a perfect stay-at-home job for you.
Just be aware that with direct sales, you are building something around someone else’s brand–not yours. Ultimately, you may find direct sales hard to scale or want more autonomy.
11. Voiceover Actor
If you’ve ever listened to an audiobook, you’ve heard voiceover work. What about narrators in TV shows and movies? That’s voiceover too. People with interesting voices make for great voiceover actors. It’s not easy work, but voiceover jobs can lead to great money if you stick with it.
Carrie Olsen quit her day job to pursue a career in voiceover acting and has found great success. She’s worked for large companies like Taco Bell and Walt Disney. Carrie has created a free professional voiceover actor guide that explains how she was able to create this profitable career.
The Bottom Line
Making money while staying home may seem like a daunting prospect, but with a little creativity, parents from any type of job background can find something that will keep them happily changing diapers and wiping noses for years.