Jennifer and Steve made the decision a couple of years ago that Jenn would work as a professional for a local company and Steve would be the full-time, caregiving stay-at-home dad. But while Steve loves this opportunity to raise their two young children, he misses a little of the independence he had before the children came. Steve has been checking online for jobs that he could do from home to earn a little extra money, but finds himself confused by many of the at-home opportunities for the additional income.
Steve is not alone as he tries to navigate the world of online, from home employment opportunities. Some of the websites he has visited make the offers seem too good to be true. Some require him to invest in proprietary software, but he hates to spend the money, not knowing if he will even like the work.
If you are a stay-at-home dad thinking about earning a little extra money online, these ideas should help you think about what you could do, how you could do it, and how to keep you and your family safe from cons and schemes.
Consider freelancing. Just as with any potential career change, to be most marketable, it is good to focus on your existing skills and strengths. Freelancing in your career field is a good place to start if you are looking for flexible, online work from home. Many companies and organizations outsource work to freelancers because doing so is cost effective and is flexible based on the organization's market and workload.
Freelancers who value their stay-at-home status but hope to earn some extra income are a perfect fit that fills this need.
There are many websites that work to connect freelancers to project opportunities. Some of the sites recommended by About.com's Home Business Guide Mindy Lilyquist include:
- Craigs List
Many stay-at-home dads freelance as writers, desktop publishers, web designers, bookkeepers or accountants, resume writers or Internet marketers. One dad I know has become a freelance "virtual assistant." Another one with an engineering background has contracted with a state transportation agency to design traffic signal installations from home as a freelance engineer.
Become a blogger. Many dads are already in the world of blogging; some blog about their fathering experiences, others blog about work-related issues, and still others blog primarily as a self-marketing effort. But several stay-at-home dads I know blog for a living, or at least make money in a respectable "second job." If you hope to monetize your blog, you need to provide content that is well written and engaging to readers. After all, if you can't get page views, you can't generally make money. To maximize your readership, focus your writing to a specific audience that is looking for help or advice.
Put yourself in the reader's shoes and try to write about what would most interest them.
Once you have great content, you can join one of several affiliate marketers. The concept here is to link from your blog to another website that sells something. For example, Amazon.com has a very robust affiliate program and if you read a book and write a review, you can link your review to Amazon and if you are an affiliate, you can earn money for clicks from your site and a commission when an item is sold. Two affiliate sites that are worth exploring are Commission Junction and LinkShare.
You can find others based on your field of interest at AssociatesPrograms.com.
Retailing online from home. Other stay-at-home dads sell products that they make or purchase. Dads who are great photographers can sell their pictures online. Other dads get their kids or partners involved and sell creative crafts on the Web. Other get into online auction sites like eBay and buy and sell items. Even other dads buy used computers and laptops, refurbish them in the spare bedroom and then sell them online. One thing to remember is that in most states, people who sell at retail, even if they sell online, have to secure a business license and a state tax account and collect sales taxes in certain circumstances.
If you are interested in buying and selling online, you should check out these resources on About.com.
- Planning and Preparing for an eBay Business
- Internet Marketing Success with Ebooks
- How To Use IRS Publications to Your Advantage
Keys to Success. Whatever home based business option you decide to pursue, there are a few keys that will help you make it a success and maximize the value of the investment of your time and money.
- Have a plan. Take the time to create a home-based business plan and make sure you know all the pros and cons, opportunities and threats of the business idea you are contemplating.
- Beware of scams. Not every home-based business opportunity is legitimate. You will want to check out the opportunity and follow a few simple steps to make sure that it is real and not just a scam, delivers what it promises, and is credible.
- Create a home for your home-based business. It is important to keep your business items and records in a place that is as safe from the world of children as possible. Make sure that your home is ready for the demands of a business opportunity.