Right now, many families are facing financial hardships. From lost jobs to decreased hours, finding other sources of income might be more important than ever.
That said, finding other legitimate sources of income could prove challenging. With school closures, finding the time to go to a day job might be difficult while the children are home. Working from home has many benefits, but also has disadvantages.
For those of you who don’t know, I started The Budget Mom from my home and just recently moved into a new building as the business expanded. The interesting thing about The Budget Mom is that I did not set out to start a business. I wanted to start a community to help others who faced the same kinds of financial challenges I did.
Here are several ways you can work from home and legitimately make money. I can’t guarantee that you will launch the next successful online business, but it might help you increase your income to fund important financial goals during this uncertain time.
The advantages of working from home
When you decide to work from home, you will enjoy a lot of benefits. Here are just some of them, and you might be able to think of more:
● Flexibility: You can create your own schedule. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to bed, you can knock out some work and then sleep later. You can take a nap after lunch. You can take the morning off to take care of your aging parents and work in the afternoon and evening. It’s up to you.
● No dress code: When you work from home, feel free to work in your pajamas or robe. If you are on a video conference, throw on a decent top. It’s casual Friday every day.
● No driving: Unless you need to pick up some equipment or supplies from the store, you will not be driving as much when you work from home. Your gas costs will go down; your car maintenance bills will be lower; and your car will not wear out faster.
● Save money on lunches: Unless you are preparing filet mignon or serving up lobster, it is usually much cheaper to prepare your own lunches. Most of the time you will cook more than needed, so you will be able to enjoy leftovers.
● Less stress: Depending upon where you live, the morning commute and the rush hour traffic can be quite stressful. You will avoid all that. When it’s pouring down cats and dogs, you will be nice and dry inside. If it is snowing, forget about clearing the windshield. If it is foggy, no worries. It’s clear inside.
● More family time: Because you will not be caught up in traffic, because your boss will not ask you to stay late, and because you will not get caught in the hall talking with a coworker on your way out of the building, you will have more time with your family.
The disadvantages of working from home
While I loved working from home, there are some disadvantages.
● You need to be motivated: There will be nobody looking over your shoulder to make sure you are staying on task. When you are alone, it is easy to get distracted. You know, you are just going to check out how many likes your photo got on Instagram or see who responded to your post on Facebook. You might get caught up to see that new show just released on Netflix. It will be up to you to make sure you stay on task.
● You might feel lonely: If you don’t have any kids home during the day and it’s just you, then you might feel lonely or get bored. When things are chaotic, we want peace and quiet. When we finally have that peace and quiet, it can be difficult. You need to be comfortable working alone.
● You might put things off: When you set your own schedule, it is easy to think you can put something off and get to it later. A lot of times, you can, and there will be no issues. However, when you keep pushing things back, and an emergency arises, then it can be difficult to lift yourself up.
I think the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, and you should really give it a try. However, before you decide to do this, you need to make sure the work-from-home opportunity is legitimate.
How to determine if that work-from-home opportunity is a scam
Unfortunately, you will encounter bad actors as you look for ways you can earn some decent money from home. I want to share with you just a few things to look out for:
● Too good to be true: What’s the No. 1 thing our parents told us when we got all bright-eyed about something we thought was just awesome? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is no easy way to make money. It requires work and effort. You will not make $50,000 a year, “working very part-time.” Be very careful about opportunities that sound too good to be true.
● Weird email addresses and websites: Businesses generally have a few styles when assigning email addresses. They all involve some version of the employee’s name. Sometimes large companies need to use numbers because they might have several Jane Smith’s on the payroll. But, look out for email addresses and websites that just have a funny look to them.
● They want money upfront: Usually, employers pay workers, not the other way around. You might have to purchase equipment, but look out for those promises of earning a high income. I would not recommend paying a company you never heard of money for a starter kit or to get certified.
● No online presence: In this day and age, every legitimate business should have a website. There are some small mom-and-pop outfits where it might not make sense, but be cautious if the company with the work-from-home opportunity has no digital footprint.
● Is it a multi-level marketing opportunity? A lot of people have made good money with multi-level marketing opportunities, but they are not for everybody. You need to know before you decide whether you want to go down this path.
● If they ask for your personal financial information: If you are going to get paid by a company, they will need a Social Security number and other personal information. But, they should not be asking for it upfront.
These are not the only warning signs, but this covers most of them. Now, are you ready to explore some legit opportunities?
20 ways to legitimately make money from home
- VIPKid: This is a great way to earn up to $22 an hour teaching kids in China how to speak English via video learning. VIPKid has been recognized as a leader in working remotely. You can read more about VIPKid and how to make decent money or fill out a form to get the VIPKid process moving.
- Look for work on the Steady app: If you want to be a freelancer, in the sense that you pick up gigs and work remotely, several opportunities are waiting for you via the Steady app. You can find work or gigs in four areas: Work from home, anytime work, part-time or full-time work, and recently added work.
- Work as a freelance writer: A good freelance writer can make some serious money. I am part of a group of bloggers and podcasters, and there is more than one earning a six-figure income. Some writers make $150 a day, while the top-performing ones are earning more than $1,000 a day. You might try writing for your local newspaper. You can do searches online for digital publications and pitch them to write for them.
- Be a CSR from home: A lot of call center work is now done remotely. You can provide customer service support on the phone from the comfort of your home. You can do a search on Indeed.com.
- Try tech support: Just like you can be a customer service representative from home, you can also provide tech support from your residence, too. You can search on Indeed.com.
- Look for work a job board: Many companies use Indeed.com or ZipRecruiter.com to post job openings. And, you can get creative with your searches to find just the right work for you. When you do a search, just start typing in “work from home,” and you will discover a number of terms people have searched for. Some recent ones included “work from home customer service,” “work from home nurse,” “work from home online,” work from home data entry,” “work from home no experience needed” and “work from home pharmacist.” I don’t know how a pharmacist works from home, but people are looking for that kind of work.
- Work as a freelance graphic artist: If you have skills with Photoshop, Illustrator, or similar programs, you can find work as a graphic artist for bloggers and businesses with websites. Search for work on Indeed.com.
- Do social media management: Similar to a graphic artist (and touching on the skills of a freelance writer, too); you can handle the social media accounts for businesses in your town. You can charge a flat rate for each social media network. There are free resources, like Canva and Stencil (both have a paid tier, too), that will help you with designing social media graphics.
- You can become a virtual assistant: This is developing into an excellent option for many moms because they can provide all kinds of support to business owners, bloggers, and more. A virtual assistant helps out leaders and bloggers with a variety of tasks, and they can be anything from screening emails, handling schedules, publishing blog posts to websites, social media management, creating PowerPoint presentations, and more. You can look for virtual assistant groups on Facebook to figure out who might need your services.
- Develop websites: Designing websites is getting easier all the time. There is a free page builder, Elementor, that will help you design WordPress websites. (WordPress is a free content management system for websites.) If you are not sure how to build websites, please read about starting your own blog, which is next on this list.
- Start your own blog: Remember, I didn’t start The Budget Mom to be a business; I did it to start a community. This blog and business grew out of sharing my heart on Instagram. I didn’t know how to do this stuff, but I figured things out, and I found people who could help me. I wrote a tutorial about how you can start your own blog. If you are interested in designing websites, be sure to read it. Think about this: If you build your own website, you will be learning how to design websites. You can then charge others to build theirs. Most people need only basic, four- or five-page websites. A friend of mine built one for him and later his wife. Next thing you know, he was earning $2,000 to build simple WordPress websites. So, start your own blog and see where it leads.
- Sell your stuff on Mercari: If you find yourself restless and start decluttering and clearing out the house, why not make a little money with clothes and items you no longer need. Maybe your kids grew out of their clothes too quickly and are still in good condition. Make money by selling on Mercari. Learn how to sell Mercari step-by-step or sign up for Mercari now to start selling.
- Sell crafts you make on Etsy: Do you have a talent at designing jewelry? Sell on Etsy. Considered the global marketplace for creative goods, you can set up your own online shop on Etsy and sell your wares. People design greeting cards, jewelry, personalized gifts, decorative planters, rings, earrings, and so much more. Start to build your Etsy store today.
- Sell your stuff to Decluttr: Have smartphones, tablets, or other tech items you no longer use? You might be able to sell them to Decluttr and make some money. They will also pay you for DVDs and CDs, but don’t expect to make too much money for them.
- Sell your smartphones and devices to Gazelle: If you have a smartphone or other tech device, you no longer need, check into selling it to Gazelle.
- Sell your stuff on Facebook Marketplace: If you are spending time lurking around on Facebook, why not shift your focus a bit and sell some stuff on the Facebook Marketplace. If you are interested, read this post on How to Sell Unused Items on Facebook Marketplace.
- Flip shoes, clothes, or anything else you love: The fancy title for this is retail arbitrage. You buy something at a reasonable price on Amazon or eBay, and then you resell it at a higher price. One guy from Iran who came to this country knew a lot about Persian rugs. He was able to find good deals on old, dirty rugs because he could see the value of the rug. He then cleaned them up and sold them for a nice profit online. You can do that with athletic shoes, designer clothes and more.
- Take online surveys: Market research is so essential these days. It is so critical to a product’s or service’s success, and companies will pay you money for your thoughts and opinions. There are several of these you can sign up for. If you are interested, try these:
- Start your own delivery service: Talk to a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers, and you will discover a surprising number of them have started their own transportation services. However, if you start a delivery service, then you don’t have to worry about strangers in your car. And you can offer contactless deliveries. Design some cool graphics using Canva or Stencil (the same apps mentioned in No. 8), letting people on Facebook know you will pick up groceries for them. (I am not suggesting you shop, but some grocery stores will shop for you, and you just pick it up.) While I know this is not a true “work from home” opportunity, you do get to set your own schedule, work when you want, and, let’s face it, you have to get out of the house sometimes! Or if you don't want to start your own business, you might want to check out DoorDash and work through them.
- Let your money make money for you: If you have some extra cash, then you can look into investing your money. Learn How to Start Investing with Little Money; discover What You need to Know Before You Invest in Mutual Funds, and automate your savings in a high-yield savings account.
Be sure to mix and match
I wanted to share some ideas with you that will get your mind thinking about how you can take control of your finances by working from home. The nice thing about all of these opportunities is that you can mix and match them. You will develop multiple streams of income.
Freelancing can be scary, but if you work with several clients or you engage in a number of different activities, then you really are building up job security. If you lose one client, you will still have work with others.
I loved working from home, and I hope you do, too. What are you waiting for?