One of the most frequently asked Mailbag Monday questions is some variation of “How do I find a work-from-home job that isn’t a scam?” It’s a good question, because this particular field is rife with people trying to take advantage of you (if, for instance, you’re asked to pay a fee for a job, the answer should always be no). So we were excited when Pauline Paquin reached out with a guest post idea on legitimate ways to make money from home. I know it’s a topic you’re all interested in — read on for a few safe strategies.
Hi Jean’s readers! My name is Pauline Paquin and I just launched Make Money Your Way, a website that helps readers diversify their sources of income with real estate, investing, entrepreneurship and online endeavors. Today I want to share some easy ideas you can start with zero or little money in order to make money from home.
Start a home daycare. The reason many parents stay at home is to take care of their own kid. So why not take on a couple more and make extra money without changing your daily routine much? Depending on where you live, daycare may be really expensive. So expensive, it’s probably one of the reasons why you are staying at home. Offer to look after your neighbors’ kids for 20% less than their daycare center, and they should be happy to leave them with you, especially since you are also saving them time driving to and from the daycare. [Note from Jean: There are various rules and regulations about this, which will depend on your state, city and local community. Make sure when you start any business, you’re doing it by the book.]
Sell your skills. What do you get complimented for? It can be your sewing skills, how good you are at photography, how delicious your lasagna is…how about trying to market your gift? A friend of mine is a talented cake decorator. She started baking custom cakes for her family, and everyone coming to the party wanted one. Now she organizes cake decorating workshops that are a success. You can start informally, gathering a few friends and teaching them for free if they buy supplies, then let them spread the word for your next workshop.
It’s sometimes hard to charge your friends for your services, but you can put up ads on the local ad board and online to get new customers. Some skills you can easily market include computer repair, web design, video editing, home repairs, plumbing, electricity, painting, cooking, catering, playing music, and so on. If you can show a few pictures of your previous work, people are more likely to hire you, so have a little portfolio ready, even if it is just work for your friends and family, to show potential clients.
Tutor. I have made quite a lot of money tutoring over the years. I started as a teenager helping out primary school kids with homework, then taught the piano, French and Spanish to adults and children alike. With corporate clients whose company would pay for language lessons before expatriating them, I have made up to $90 per hour, but my normal rate was around $40. The only thing you need to get started is a quiet place in your house. You can also drive to your students’ home, but it will cost you more and you should factor the commuting time in your rate.
You can also tutor online. There are several sites that offer to put you in contact with potential students in exchange for a percentage of your earnings. On some sites you can even put together a course, and students who take it pay a small fee. It can really add up if you put your course on a popular platform. Udemy, Lynda, Craftsy are a few you can check out to upload an academic or crafts course.
Be the go to person. When I was a teen, if a neighbor needed a baby sitter, someone to supervise their kids’ homework, or an extra set of hands to help them with a simple task, you can be sure they would ask me. Why? Because they saw me everywhere hustling for extra cash. I house sat, pet sat, did inventories for local stores, replaced the lunch lady at school for a few weeks, chaperoned a class on a field trip, taught younger kids the piano…I made sure people knew I was available and able to do a wide range of jobs. If you position yourself as the go-to person in your neighborhood, people will start coming to you when they need a hand with something. Save them time, trouble and money, and you can be sure they will come back. You can offer to grocery shop, walk dogs, help people move or paint their living room. Those odd jobs are highly flexible and allow you to work around your other obligations.
About Pauline: Pauline is the blogger behind Reach Financial Independence and Make Money Your Way. Born and raised in Paris, she writes about how she has been traveling the world for the past 10 years, while trying to build wealth and achieve financial independence, and how you can follow your dreams and reach your goals too. You can follow Pauline on Twitter.