Being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job with long hours and no off days, yet it doesn’t command a full-time salary. These days, it can be tough to make ends meet on a single income and still have a little left over to top up your family savings.
Here are a few ways to earn some extra income without sacrificing too much time with your kids. You may not become an overnight millionaire, but you might make enough for small luxuries like books, weekend activities or a simple family vacation. More importantly, you can pursue these in those precious hours when your kids are at school, asleep or even awake at home (with some self-discipline on your part!).
1. Get Paid to Host a Dinner
If you regularly receive compliments on your cooking, do consider showcasing your culinary skills to people beyond your social circle. Plate Culture helps you fulfill your dream of running a restaurant without having to own one. You can cook for interesting (and sometimes international) guests in your own home through a simple and safe process. Best of all, you will be paid for each meal via a bank transfer or through Paypal.
2. Supply Signature Specialties to Small Cafes
Do you have a few signature dishes or desserts that you are really good at? If you do, focus on supplying these to the many small specialty cafes sprouting up around the city. Everyone loves a good classic curry puff, chicken pie or carrot cake that is done well; and local establishments are always looking for menu items that can help draw in a loyal customer base. Many local food brands like The Last Polka ice cream or Bella & Luca Pasta Fresca started out as home businesses.
3. Go Undercover as a Mystery Shopper
Sign up to shop in stealth mode as a mystery shopper. Get paid for pretending to be a customer, whilst secretly evaluating the quality of products and services offered. Your comments on these and the staff service level at sales outlets can help organisations improve their overall customer experience. Mystery shopping is done for many industries including pharmacy chains, hotels, restaurants, automotive and petrol dealerships. You can approach big market research agencies or do a quick Google search for local organisations looking for mystery shoppers. Some quick links to kick-start your mystery shopping career:
- Popular Malaysia
- Watson’s Malaysia
- Neway Karaoke Box Malaysia
- Cardas Research & Consulting Sdn. Bhd.
4. Use Your Experience as an Expert Interviewer
Market research agencies also want expert interviewers with experience in specific industries like banking and finance, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and hospitality. Expert interviewers can assist with obtaining important feedback from suppliers, corporate customers or employees of particular organisations. Ask local market research agencies if they need someone like you. You can also approach international agencies with a local presence like Potentiate, Nielsen, Ipsos, or TNS for such openings.
5. Get Paid for Your Opinions
Marketers draw out detailed consumer insights through focus groups and surveys. Participants are paid for providing opinions on products, services and brands. You can also join online panels to receive regular surveys relevant to you. Links to look up:
6. Get Crafty for Extra Cash
Good at crafts and sewing? Then create unique items or clothes and sell these online or at craft markets around the city like Arts for Grabs and Mari Market. Look where one stay-at-home mum’s idea got her.
7. Hosting Playgroups for a Small Profit
Playgroups help little kids learn living skills like socialising, sharing and negotiation. As it also allows new parents to make friends and trade notes, people might be happy to pay a small fee if you organise a regular one in your neighbourhood. Search for tips on how to do this online.
8. Helping Kids with Homework
Stay-at-home parents sit down to walk their kids through their homework anyway. Working parents whom you know may want to send their kids over to your household for similar supervision, and be willing to pay for such a service.
9. Odd Jobs Offered Online
There are now online sites that match odd jobs to your capabilities and time flexibility. Jobs on offer include writing, researching for information and services, bookings and reservations, business related tasks, data entry, typing, copying details from business cards, proofreading, transcribing recordings, translation work, handing out product samples and the like.
Try sites like:
10. Peddle Your Pre-Loved Products
One family’s trash is another family’s treasure. Clear your home of clutter (especially things your kids have outgrown) while generating cash through channels such as:
- KL Moms Swap and Shop
- Preloved Baby Groups Malaysia
- Awesome Canteen’s Lelong Vintage Fair hosted at Awe Gallery
- Various flea markets
Whatever you do for more money, remain mindful that your top priority is spending time with your kids. Jobs that you take on should not take you away from them for more than a few hours a day. You can type away on your computer or bake muffins while your munchkins are napping, but be aware of what they are doing and accessible to them at all times.
Any other suggestions on how stay-at-home mums and dads can make money?
Li-Hsian recently left a career in corporate communications to become a full-time mum to twins. She is learning new things daily as she tries to balance the romance of motherhood with the messy realities of her latest role.