Earn. More. Money.

100 Dollar Bill Buried In The SandShort of scanning the sand with a metal detector, earning extra money as a solo parent can prove elusive. Here are twenty strategies to help you uncover hidden earning potential and bring in some extra cash.

  1. Take in a roommate or boarder.  Do you have an extra bedroom?  A finished basement? Could the kids double up?  A rent check at the end of each month can be a real help in paying your own rent or mortgage. Try listing your space on a review-based site, such as Airbnb, so you can preview whom you might be bringing into your home. (If you are a renter, make sure you check with your landlord/lady first.)
  2. Become a TaskRabbit Tasker. (www.TaskRabbit.com) If you are good at fixing things, running errands or cleaning, TaskRabbit will take care of advertising your services and collecting payments for a small percentage of your earnings.
  3. Use your talents. Could you give music lessons to kids? Art lessons? Tutoring? Teach English as a second language?  How about a half-day play group for toddlers? Depending on your level of expertise and where you live, you can charge anywhere from $10-$50 an hour for your services.
  4. Provide a service. Even if you have a full-time job, there are services you can provide on nights and weekends, such as data entry, editing and proofreading, transcription services and medical billing. Check out www.virtualassistantjobs.com or www.zirtual.com for opportunities.
  5. Pet sitting. Pet sitters charge up to $50 per night for their services, and dog-walkers can bring in some good dough too. Get to know the people with pets in your neighborhood. Put up flyers at the local dog park or pet store, and get your kids to help. All this requires is a love of animals, and permission from your landlord/lady.
  6. Be a companion or chauffeur for the elderly. Many people live far away from their aging parents, and would feel comforted by having someone come in to do light housekeeping, cook, drive their parents to medical appointments, pay bills or just stop by for a chat.  Many will pay handsomely for this valuable service and peace of mind.
  7. Outdoor services.  Lawn services are always needed. Offer to weed or plant a garden, mow their lawn, fertilize, or shovel snow in the winter. If you have a truck, invest in a snow plow attachment, and you can plow driveways in the early morning even before you go to work.
  8. There are various customer service or telephone sales jobs that you can do from home if you have a computer and a landline. Visit www.Arise.com, www.LiveOps.com, or www.WorkingSol.com for some ideas.
  9. Automobile detailing.  If you like washing and working with cars, you could do this at a customer’s location. Find out what the local franchise detailers are charging and offer to do it for less.
  10. Arts and crafts.  If you have a talent for making jewelry or hair ornaments, knitting or painting, it’s now easier than ever to sell your wares online or to local stores. Check out www.etsy.com for a worldwide marketplace.
  11. Coaching. Parents often need help teaching their kids how to ride a bike, swim, throw a fast pitch, or kick a football.  An ad in the local paper could bring in some good business at the customer’s home.
  12. Courier. Attorney’s offices, particularly, need to get documents and small packages from one place to another in a hurry. Send an email to office managers, upgrade your auto insurance if necessary, and pass out some business cards. You can get a lot of repeat business.
  13. Videography and Photography. Offer to take videos of weddings, kids’ birthday parties, high school sporting events, etc. High school athletes and musicians require tapes of their events so they can send DVDs to college recruiters. If you’re good at taking pictures, you can make decent money uploading them to stock photo sites such as www.Crestock.com or www.BigStockPhoto.com.
  14. Home Organizing. Going through your own stuff can be much harder than going through someone else’s. Often a pair of fresh eyes and an energetic outlook can make the process of downsizing, or corralling clutter, a painless process. Offer a service to clear clutter, organize closets or run a garage or estate sale. An ad in the local paper or flyers in mailboxes could get you started.
  15. Buy and sell.   In addition to holding your own yard sale or selling jewelry or other family heirlooms that don’t hold value to you, you can make buying and selling your business.  Many people with an eye for value buy things cheaply at estate sales and then sell them on eBay for a profit. Amazon is also a great place to sell used DVDs, CDs and books you can pick up for a dollar or so at local library book sales.  And if you are good at fixing up old furniture and have a garage or barn to do the work in, antique dealers and homeowners alike will be interested in your wares.
  16. Home monitoring. If you live near a seasonal resort area or a condominium development where people go someplace warm in the winter, offer to check up on their homes while they are away and act as a caretaker.  You can also offer to clean between rentals.
  17. Keeping the Books. Plumbers, carpenters, landscapers, etc. are great at what they do, but aren’t always on top of their books. If you are good with numbers and have bookkeeping experience, you can provide a valuable service. Buying or renting simple accounting software such as QuickBooks, allows you to do this work with relative ease. Advertise your services on www.oDesk.com or www.Elance.com, or round up clients by making a few phone calls.
  18. Home Daycare. Parents will pay well for childcare they can trust and depend upon, even if it’s just for a few hours after school. Contact your local child care licensing agency to find out space and safety requirements.
  19. New Product Testing. Here’s a fun one—companies are always looking for people to check out their new products and will be happy to pay you for your opinion. Visit www.vocalpoint.com or www.crowdtap.com to find out more.
  20. At-home party sales. Don’t knock those Tupperware parties—you can make a lot of extra cash. Arrange get-togethers during the day while the kids are in school, or at night when more sitters are available. Check out Pampered Chef, Longaberger Baskets, Silpada Jewelry, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Cabi Clothing, The Happy Gardener, Melaleuca, or even a 50 Shades of Grey night with Sheer Expressions Lingerie. Once you organize a sales team you’ll be able to reap a percent of their profits as well.

Having extra money on hand is never a bad thing. Whether you need to make ends meet, build a nest egg for your kids, or find some long-dreamed-of financial freedom, putting ideas like these into action can open doors you didn’t know existed.

About author

Suzanne Driscoll

Suzanne Driscoll

Suzanne Driscoll writes from Rochester, New York where she is appreciating the quiet of her empty nest while her son is away at college. She enjoys writing about business, education and parenting, and worked as a ghostwriter for a full length book on credit repair.

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