Committing to a “proper job” can be really tough when you have children. Regular hours on a contract just simply isn’t practical sometimes, especially if it would mean paying for expensive childcare but not working can be equally tough.
I’ve been there myself.
When my first maternity leave started and my normal full time income dropped to half and then to nothing for the last three months, I had that feeling of not being enough to my family. Of course I was! But I still had that nagging feeling of wanting to provide financially and not just depend on someone else.
This was the time when I really upped my game with side hustles and one month I earned three times what I would have done in my regular job – all whilst looking after my new baby! Ok, so not exactly millionaire (not at all in fact) but it showed what was possible to me.
Side gig economy
It is reported that a third of the working population now have a side gig to supplement their full time pay checks so why wouldn’t a stay at home parent get in on these opportunities too?
There’s so much choice and lots of transferable skills to acquire and then add to your CV if you’re looking for something more permanent later down the line, say once they kids are old enough walk home from school and be trusted to have a key so you’re not trying to rush back for 3 o’clock!
All the control
With zero commitment and full control over your hours, here’s a few tried and tested side hustles to give a go and make some money while still being able to be there for your kids.
1. Home baking
This is Andy from Be Clever With Your Cash and his beautiful wife Becky who started a collective bake stand at a couple of markets. He says it was fun but not massively lucrative!
I love the thought that actually it doesn’t require you to bake at all, just be a point of contact for other bakers and do the selling for them. However, Becky is an incredible baker! Her salted caramel brownies are note worthy and no wonder people are willing to pay for them.
If you enjoy baking then setting up a page on Facebook (for free) and specialising in children’s birthday cakes can create a great extra income. There’s always parents looking for last minute cakes to be made and if you can deliver locally you’ll be in demand.
Check out your local council for short adult education courses in food hygiene and cake decoration.
2. Mystery Shopping and Dining
I’ve spent years dipping in and out of mystery shopping when I need a bit of extra money. In fact when I gave birth to Ted, I decided that I wasn’t going to cook for those first two weeks so instead I booked a mystery dining job for every night to cover the paternity leave!
It meant I didn’t need to do a food shop, cook or even wash up. All I had to do was eat out and write a up a short report.
Emma from Mums Savvy Savings started with mystery shopping when her eldest was little. It didn’t pay brilliantly for her but she certainly got lots of free meals and those were life’s luxuries they couldn’t afford at that time so was perfect for them.
Check out Rag Doll mystery shopping agency as a place to start.
There’s a crazy amount of ways to make an income from blogging; from selling advertising space on my homepage, promoting products with a special link that will pay me per click or having brands sponsor full articles I write.
It all means that I’m in control of when I work and if that just needs to be after the kids have been tucked in bed, that’s all I do. As long as I have my phone and internet connection, in theory I can run my business from anywhere.
I do also use a decent camera (when I remember!) and laptop as I find it easier to write and edit on it but everything else is available via apps on my phone. There’s millions of posts online to learn how to set up a site for free and you can pick and choose how much you want to get involved in the technical side of things.
A lot of people like Emma from The Money Whisperer only started blogging as a hobby and didn’t even realise the sort of money that could be made from it. You just have to see it like any other business, it just happens to have no walls! But you get out of it what you put in so if you want to make £££ then be prepared to join the 5am club to get the writing done before the kids wake up!
4. Virtual Assistant
Claire from Daily Deals Blog started working from home as a customer service agent for Arise Virtual Solutions. She found the opportunity over on the Money Saving Expert work from home boards and decided to apply.
She ended up on about £12p/h from home and that was 10 years ago now so good money and ended up quitting her day job. At a lot more than minimum wage, you can understand why!
5. Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
Fiona from Savvy In Somerset use to walk dogs and get paid to pick up poop at a local kennels when I was 13 although only used to get paid £5 an afternoon! Now there are loads of pet sitting agencies online who you can list with and pick and choose which jobs you want to take on. It’s a great way to allow children to experience having a pet without the full term commitment too.