You did it, Mama! You’re now the proud owner and caregiver to a tiny human who is depending on you for survival. Between all the sleepless nights, poopy diapers, and endless feedings, you’ve realized this much: Maternity leave is EXHAUSTING! Raising a baby is hard… and expensive too.
Benefits of Starting a Side Hustle
According to a 2017 survey by the US Department of Agriculture, it costs more than $233,000 to raise the average American child from birth to 18 years of age. That works out to about $13,000 per year — and that figure doesn’t even include the cost of a college education.
Depending on where you live in the world, you might be privy to some nice maternity benefits from your government or employer. Or, you might be a single mom who’s rocking it solo and has had to inevitably take some time away from work to care for your little one.
Either way, wouldn’t it be nice to make some extra side income from the comfort of your own home without having to step out of the house?
Maybe you’ve considered side-hustling before, but you’re not sure which ideas will work for your limited time and depleting energy levels?
Good news, you ambitious Mama! We’re lucky to be living in a time when starting a side hustle from home is definitely doable. Maternity leave is the perfect time to try something new and shake up your routine.
Here’s what side hustling from home can do for your life:
- Enable you to stay home to care for your kids, and work in your PJ’s! 💻
- Earn side money to pay for home expenses, grocery bills, and that cute baby outfit you’ve been eyeing! 👗
- Afford some additional downtime or a family vacation you’ve been wanting to take forever 🏝
- Take up a new hobby you’ve always wanted to do but never justify spending money on
- Use your creativity and problem-solving skills 🧠
- Have adult interactions through servicing your customers, and reduces feelings of isolation 👋
- Start your own business you can be proud of! 👏
Here’s a list of Side Hustles Every Mom Can Start on Maternity Leave. Whether you’re off for a few weeks or a few years, these ideas will enable you to work from home, set your own schedules and allow for flexibility as you figure out how to keep winning at the motherhood game! 🙌
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12 Best Home-Based Side Hustles for Moms
1 Teach English Online
Income Potential: $14 – $22 per hour (many teachers are earning $1000+ per month)
Do you have a passion for teaching and interacting with school-aged children?
VIPkid is a company that offers the opportunity to teach English to Chinese children aged 4-12 through their online platform. They’ve been featured on Forbes, CNBC, Wall street Journal and more.
It’s FREE to get started, and you can earn $14-22 per hour working on your own schedule from anywhere!
When applying, you’ll go through a 30-minute online interview process to determine your ESL and time management skills. You’ll also need:
- An undergraduate degree
- Minimum one year of traditional teaching experience or equivalent in mentoring, tutoring or alternative education
- Access to the internet and a computer
- Passion and a fun approach to teaching children!
The best part is that VIPkid prepares all the class material and coordinates with parents and students. All you have to do is review the material and show up to class ready to interact on a one-on-one basis with your student! Apply to teach through VIPkid here.
2 Become a Transcriptionist
Income Potential: $15 – $25 per audio hour (ie. 60 mins of audio). Experienced transcribers can earn $60+ per hour!
A transcriptionist is basically someone who converts speech into a written or electronic text document. Transcriptionists are tasked with listening to audio files, then typing out the words into a document to be downloaded by users or kept on file.
These services are often provided to businesses, or companies in the legal or medical field. You know that podcast you love? If there’s a transcript to download, chances are, a transcriptionist prepared that!
There are three main types of transcription: general, legal, and medical. Legal and medial typically requires schooling, but general transcription does not. Even though you can technically jump right in, it’s always helpful to learn more so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Real Life Example – Transcription Business:
Janet Shaughnessy, a veteran transcriber, makes six figures providing professional transcription services. She began working from home as a medical transcriptionist, and later branched out into other fields and started her own company, Zoom Transcription Services.
While running her company, she struggled to find qualified transcriptionists, and decided to create training courses that would enable people from diverse backgrounds to pursue a career in transcription. Read Janet’s full story.
3 Social Media Manager
Income Potential: $10 – $27 per hour (according to Payscale.com)
Are you savvy with all the main social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat just to name a few? Do you enjoy mastering your skills related to blogging, email marketing, SEO and graphic design?
Social Media Managers or “Community Managers” help businesses grow their online communities across all the major platforms. Tasks usually include:
- Content creation: writing posts, captions or creating graphics
- Planning: researching and scheduling posts
- Engagement: replying to comments, and new follower outreach
- Marketing: executing campaigns, testing, running ads
Your duties will depend on your job description, time and expertise, and the budgets established by your clients.
Before getting started, you’ll definitely want to build up a community and solid social following of your own, just to showcase what you can do. After all, if you can’t market yourself, you’ll never be able to market for others!
Real Life Example – Social Media Management:
Kelli Tobin + Kristen Van Horn are best friends, mamas, and health coaches who launched The Biz Runners, a virtual assistant and social media management company passionate about supporting online health + fitness coaches.
As business owners and health coaches themselves, their approach is to help business owners build through systems, strategy and support so that they’re able to scale their businesses while still having time to have a healthy family life.
Income potential: $100 – $600 per hour depending on their skill and their clients (according to School of Coaching Mastery)
Do you enjoy helping others improve their lives and reach their goals? If you’re skilled in solving problems, listing to people’s needs, and taking complex outcomes and breaking it down for people into actionable steps, then a coaching side hustle may be for you!
You can decide to become a coach related to knowledge base you learned from your educational or professional background. Or, you can simply help others develop a skill or overcome a unique problem or challenge in their lives if you have first-hand experience with successfully overcoming the same challenge yourself!
There are coaches out there for every industry, niche, and topic imaginable.
Here are just a few areas you could work in: career coaching, resume and interview coaching, fitness and wellness coaching, self-development and life coaching, direct sales coaching, parenting coach, business strategy coaching, marketing coach, and the list goes on!
Coaches can make money through paid sessions via one-on-one or group coaching calls, email, webinars or online courses, selling eBooks or other information products, speaking, writing books, or hosting seminars and mastermind groups.
The beauty about coaching businesses are that information and services can be packaged in different ways. For example, if you were a healthy-eating or lifestyle coach, in addition to coaching calls, you could also offer a healthy meal-planning service similar to $5 Meal Plan.
Real Life Examples – Coaching Businesses:
- Christine Pham wanted something different from the demands of working as a kinesiologist at her hospital job. She took her passion for good baby sleep and started a side hustle as a Baby Sleep Consultant during her maternity leave. Read my interview with Christine to see how she did it!
- Glynis Tao leveraged her 10+ years of experience running a successful clothing brand and working with clients like Google to start a coaching business focused on helping creatives and product-based business launch, grow and scale. Read my interview with Glynis to learn more about her story.
- Julie Solomon, a publicist by training, started her first blog while she was on maternity leave in a new city. After experiencing success as a fashion and lifestyle influencer, she found her most authentic calling as a coach to aspiring bloggers and influencers. Julie now runs a multi-7-figure business selling online courses, digital products, and hosting masterminds. She also has a top-ranked podcast called The Influencer Podcast, which I personally love!
5 Virtual Assistant
Income potential: $30 – $55 per hour for freelancers, depending on experience and specialization, and $17 – $35 per hour if working through an agency (according to Globe and Mail)
Virtual assistants are multitasking experts who help business owners with a variety of tasks which can include: answering phones or emails, making appointments, writing, bookkeeping, and travel arrangements, and other administrative tasks. You can even assist with creative tasks like marketing, design, or maintaining a company website.
The services you can help your clients will depend on your skills, professional background, prior experience, and what you enjoy doing. While no special training is required to become a VA, it always helps to polish your existing skills, learn new ones, and make sure you always stay organized!
Many beginner VAs can quickly get started selling their services on outsourcing sites like Fiverr or Upwork. For VAs with design skills, you can post your portfolio and bid on design projects on sites like 99designs. As you become more established and in-demand, you can sell your services on your own website and charge more to work with higher quality clients.
Real Life Example – Virtual Assistant Business:
Rigel Jones is a mom who dove into the world of Virtual Assistants as a first-time mom. Not wanting to go back to her job, she looked into various side-hustles suited to her new lifestyle. 8 months into her maternity leave, she started Simply Assist VA Services, which will soon merge with her consulting company as a basis to provide business systems and automation for entrepreneurs.
I’ll be doing an in-depth Q&A interview with Rigel on the blog soon – stay tuned!
Income Potential: $12 – $100 per hour on average (according to Payscale.com)
Do you have an eye for getting the perfect Insta-worthy shot? Weddings, maternity, and babies make the BEST excuses to take tons of gorgeous photos! It’s through these life events that many Mamas discover their passion for capturing photos, and realize they can capitalize on their creative eye!
Chances are you may already have a nice camera, so photography is a relatively easy business to start. You can build your portfolio by doing photo shoots for friends and family, and find clients through referrals and collaborations with event planners, or other media professionals.
By submitting your photos to various publications, you will begin to increase your exposure, gain authority and experience, and begin to charge more for your commissions.
If you have a talent for photographing products or flat lays, consider specializing in product styling photography, or even sell stock images to photo libraries such as Shutterstock or create your own membership site like Haute Stock, selling access and rights to use images.
Real Life Example – Photography Business:
Samantha Ong is a self-taught photographer who started her photography business as a side hustle, then was eventually able to leave her day job in finance to run her biz full time with her husband. Read my interview with Samantha to learn how she did it!
7 Sell Printables
Income Potential: Sky’s the limit! Depends on your products and pricing.
If you’re an artist of you’ve got an eye for design, consider selling your work through printables. People LOVE printables! It’s easy to see from the #quotesofig and #motivationalquotes hashtags and text images that are flooding the social feeds.
Printables could range from frameable prints, posters and canvases, to home goods like mugs, cushion covers and tote bags. You could even have your work featured on clothing like t-shirts, hats and even leggings!
Selling through a 3rd Party Marketplace
On Zazzle, you can upload your artwork and have it be featured on their full range of products. Then, customers can place orders through their website, and they’ll take care of all the production, fulfillment and customer service for you!
The benefit of the drop shipping model through a 3rd party marketplace is not having to worry about stocking any inventory or customer service at all. You could literally be making money while you sleep!
Selling through your own Website
If you would prefer to run your own branded store without having to list your products on a 3rd party marketplace, I recommend checking out Printful.
Printful also does production + dropshipping on your behalf, but the difference is that all the packaging and invoices will appear like your own brand. However, this also means you need to sell through your own website and be responsible for your own customer service.
This option is better suited to you if you want to grow your own brand, or increase sales margins. Typically, sales made through a 3rd party marketplace will have a higher cost, so managing your own store will give you better control over pricing.
Here’s a brief rundown of how the Printful dropshipping service works:
Printful also has easy-to-use mockup generators that made product mockups with your artwork that can be used on your website.
8 Direct Sales
Income potential: $100 – $90,000 per month, with a median annual income of $2,400 (according to Forbes) Note: this number might seem low, but it’s because 89% of direct sellers run their businesses part-time, with most working less than 10 hours per week.
Direct selling refers to selling products directly to customers in a non-retail environment. The products sold are usually NOT found in stores or other retail locations, which means finding a “sales rep” of the company is the only way to buy those products.
Many moms life direct selling because it’s easy to start, and they’re able to provide the personal touch to their selling approach by hosting events at home or in other casual social situations. Many of these companies are well-known beauty and makeup brands like: Avon, Arbonne, Motives, or Monat.
In some ways, direct sales and multilevel marketing (MLM) marketing companies have developed a bad rap due to aggressive salespeople, and promises of “easy money”.
However, if you have a genuine passion for the product you are selling, and treat it like a real business by consulting and customizing a unique product selection or solution for your potential customers, you could definitely overcome these challenges!
Many successful direct sales reps are leveraging the power of social media to showcase their products in the same way fashion and style influencers are. With a strong product and your own unique spin on promotion, you can experience success without feeling sleazy!
Real Life Example – Direct Sales:
Stella & Dot is a household name in stylish jewelry, and their marketing efforts are powered by a strong direct sales program.
Moms who are looking for a fun way to make more money, and love sharing their style in person or on social media could make an average of $160-400 per month by working just 3-5 hours per week as a Stella & Dot Stylist. The more you promote, the higher the earning potential.
You can take your earnings to the next level by bringing in some friends onto your sales team, and you’ll have the opportunity to earn a portion of their sales as well. Some of Stella & Dot’s top Stylists are making $4,500-$90,000+ per month by working 15-25 hours per week and making this their full-time income.
9 Start a Subscription Box
Income Potential: Sky’s the limit! Check out this handy Subscription Box Price Calculator from Cratejoy
If you love trying out and sourcing new and exciting products from all across the web, you probably love the idea of a subscription box that delivers interesting new products to your doorstep monthly, or quarterly. So, why not create your own?
Cratejoy is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that allows you to start, grow, and scale your subscription box business. You can build and host your own website on their platform, plus have your custom box listed on the ONLY subscription box marketplace — this is shopping heaven for potential customers who are looking for brand new boxes to try!
Even if you’re new at the eCommerce game, Cratejoy makes it easy to get started by offering shop owners access to an educational resource library, as well as help with fulfillment and logistics.
Sign up for a FREE 14-day trial with Cratejoy to see it for yourself!
10 Freelance Writer
Income potential: A median rate of $48 per hour (according to this recent Freshbooks survey)
Many beginning bloggers can make money early on through freelance writing. If you genuinely enjoy writing, this could be one of the best side hustles for stay at home moms because you can set your own hours, rates and take on as many clients as you want.
Some online publications will pay freelance writers for high-quality, well-researched articles. You can even help out other bloggers or become a ghostwriter for a well-known author. Freelance writers can use sites like Freelancer, or Upwork to advertise their services, or even Fiverr to post gigs like copywriting services.
Real Life Example – Freelance Writing:
Holly Johnson was a regular mom who struggled with debt before turning to freelance writing to earn enough money to pay off $50,000 in car loans, student loans, and debt.
Today, she and her husband earn a full-time living online as professional writers, earning over $225,000 through freelance writing and her blog, Club Thrifty. Their financial freedom allows them to travel the world with their two daughters, and show them that anyone can achieve their dreams!
11 Become an Influencer
Income Potential: Varies according to niche, size of following, and engagement rates. Check out this handy Instagram Earnings Calculator to get an idea of how much you could earn per post!
It seems everyone these days has dreams of becoming Instafamous like Kim K, or the next YouTube star. If you have compelling content to share, you might consider becoming an influencer yourself!
The last few years have brought a significant rise in the use of Influencer marketing. Small businesses to big companies understand that customers trust influencers, which in turn enables them to impact buying decisions for their followers.
According to Leverage Marketing, influencer marketing is the fastest-growing method for acquiring customers, and has even surpassed print marketing in 2016.
Below is one of my FAVE mommy influencers of all time — Shalice Noel, who makes having 5 kids look so stylish and effortless! 😍 #momlifegoals
How Do Influencers Make Money?
Influencers typically make money through sponsored blog posts or posting ads and other brand-sponsored content on their social feeds.
YouTube influencers can have ads placed in their videos — if they have a large subscriber base, and earn money through their views. Some are also able to use their channels to grow e-mail lists and leverage affiliate marketing as well.
To find your first few sponsored opportunities, sign up for Izea – it’s an online sponsorship marketplace where brands will post paid sponsorship opportunities for blog posts and social media ads. Sometimes the brands set the rates, and on some opportunities, you may have the opportunity to submit a bid and set your own rates.
Since it takes significant time and effort to grow a social following, it’s generally recommended that you start with no more than two platforms to build first before branching out to others.
12 Start a Blog
Income Potential: $100 per month to $100,000+ per month! 😱
Last, but not least is the business of blogging! That’s right — even though “mommy blogs” have been thought of in the past as a hobby, a legitimate case can be made for wanting to start a blog with monetization in mind.
Personally, I’m still very new in my own blogging journey, but one thing that has been reinforced by many successful bloggers before me is this: Blogging success (or income) DOES NOT happen overnight. Often, many bloggers don’t see any dollars until months down the road.
Many of the BEST ones also weren’t motivated just by the money – they genuinely love their niche and helping their readers, which inspires them to create extraordinary content.
Follow along with my monthly Blog Progress Reports to learn why I started blogging, and to get some uncensored insight into the strategies and results I achieve each month as a part-time blogger starting in August 2018.
I will say though, that even after a few months of blogging and beginning to grow my social media followings, I’ve already begun to see so many other benefits that you can’t quantify through dollars!
Some awesome benefits of blogging for business:
- It builds a platform for your business or brand, setting the foundation for other opportunities like freelance writing, coaching, speaking, direct selling, or becoming an online influencer.
- It showcases your knowledge and experience on your blog niche, and helps to establish you as an expert in your field.
- It gives you opportunities to connect with other business professionals and influencers that you would not have normally had access to — I managed to land my first speaking engagement just 3 months after I started blogging!
- It takes very little money to start and run a blog.
- You have complete creative control over where, what, and how often you write!
- With great content, enough traffic and the proper monetization strategies, there is real potential for your blog to grow into a source of passive income.
Real Life Examples – Successful Bloggers:
- Michelle Schroeder-Gardner runs a successful personal finance blog called Making Sense of Cents, and is currently earning six figures PER MONTH 😳 while she travels full-time! Most of her income is made through affiliate marketing and sales of her own digital products and online courses. Check out this interview on Entrepreneur to learn more about Michelle’s journey and how she did it all before turning 30!
- Natalie Bacon is an attorney turned financial planner turned blogger on NatalieBacon.com who started blogging to share her law school debt-payoff journey. After discovering her true passion for helping other women in their 30s to design their dream life, she became a full-time six-figure blogger through a combination of affiliate marketing strategies and selling her own online courses.
- Ruth Soukup is making over seven figures a year at her blog Living Well Spending Less. She is also a best-selling author and podcaster, currently leading a team of 10 employees in her online empire. To learn more about Ruth, read about her on my roundup article: 10 Inspirational Mom Bosses to Follow in 2018.
COMING SOON: I’ll be creating a tutorial article on How to create a blog, and How to set up your first e-mail marketing funnels. These are two of the most important components of setting up a solid foundation of blogging success!
You’ve got everything it takes (and more!) to become a savvy, resilient, successful side-hustler.
Go get ‘em, Mama!
Need some help starting your business?
Grab my FREE Crazy Simple Business Plan template below to get your ideas flowing and start living your dream #MomBoss life!
Crazy Simple Business Plan - FREE Template
Finally, an easy 8-Step Business Plan template that focuses on the no-fluff important stuff! You'll get an instant download of my FILLABLE PDF to get you started fast!