With the recent study into working mothers earning less than $3 an hour after paying child care costs (or 60% of their wage), a lot of families wonder if it is worth working outside of the home.
For us, it wasn’t financially viable when the boys were little (they are now nine and twelve years old, so this is going back a fair way now but the problem of child care costs hasn’t changed). By the time I paid for child care and before and after school care (our eldest was seven at the time), transport into the city and we lost a chunk of our family tax benefit, we were actually $50 worse off a week. Ridiculous, isn’t it?
To this day I work varied jobs from home to keep the money coming in. My husband also works three jobs. He is an accountant by day and works for two other companies doing their bookkeeping and BAS by night.
I am asked a lot about how I make money from home, so I will share with you my secrets on how to do it:
Use your pre-child skills
Let’s face it before we had children we used to work. So tap into the skills you learned in the workforce and earn some cash from it. Be it admin services, bookkeeping, social media marketing, copywriting, website development, data entry, telemarketing etc. Set up an ABN, tell all of your friends and family what you are up to, set up a basic website with information on what you do and share what you are doing via social media. You will be surprised how quickly word will get around regarding what you are offering. Also, place a small ad in your local paper and post it in business groups for your local area on Facebook and LinkedIn. The more you put yourself “out there”, the more contacts you make, and the more work you will receive.
I have been running KMA Consulting for fourteen years now. When I was working as a marketing executive for an advertising agency, I was doing business and marketing plans on the side for some extra money. I was the sole parent of my eldest at the time, so the extra work paid for my second business degree in e-commerce (which I did via online correspondence).
Market research and mystery shopping
I started doing this while I was pregnant with my second son. Mystery shopping involves visiting a shop, taking mental notes of what the customer service is like (or whatever the company want you to observe) and then filling out a report. A few minutes work for $50 (this amount varies between agencies and the “mission”).
Market research is a bit different. The agency sends out a questionnaire to see if you fit their criteria for their upcoming group session. Payment varies for the different group discussions you might take part in. You might receive payment, fuel or grocery vouchers.
Many people struggle to juggle work and housework, so help them out by offering ironing, babysitting/child care, and house cleaning (obviously this is outside of your own home but usually it can be worked around your kids, especially if you have school age kids). You will be amazed at how much you can charge and how much money you make from offering these services. Obviously, you will need a police check and references, so maybe start by offering friends and family your services and expand from there.
A lot of my friends are doing party plans selling clothing, underwear, plastic homewares, candles, lingerie, cooking utensils, food, skincare, make-up, bed linen and even sex toys. Whatever you can think of, I bet there is a plan for it. The money, from what I hear, is pretty good too. I looked at joining a lingerie/ sex toy party plan brand just after I had my youngest son and the commission on sales was great.
Of course, if you don’t want to do the party plan thing, you can deliver catalogues to your neighbours and friends for brands like Avon and Home Direct and earn money from the orders they place.
Turn your passion into cash
Can you do craft? A sewer or knitter? Are you good at baking? Are you a master cake maker? Good at gardening?
All of these things can be quite lucrative. I know many people who have turned their hobbies into a business. Sewing women’s, babies and children’s clothing, making toys, growing plants in pots from seeds or cuttings are just some of the products people are making money from. Sell the items on Etsy, markets, social media pages, and buy, swap, and sell pages…… Why not give it a go yourself?
There are quite a few professional competition winners out there and millions in dollars worth of prizes, as they say, “you have to be in it to win it”. No harm in trying.
How many items do you have around your house that you don’t use? Furniture, clothing you haven’t worn for ages, toys and clothing the kids have outgrown, old mobile phones, electrical goods, basically anything you don’t need, sell it!
When we moved house recently, I had a huge clear out of things we didn’t need anymore and made $1000 from it. Not a bad profit if I do say so myself.