Today I want to share just a little bit of my work from home journey: the things I’ve done that have bought our groceries, paid for date nights, and even supplemented our regular income for a season while I stayed home full time with our girls.
I’ve come to truly love the side hustle – honestly I think that everyone should have one, especially stay-at-home moms. As you read, I want you to keep one thing in mind: Every single step of my journey has been bootstrapped, meaning I’ve never had a huge chunk of money to start with or to keep my mini-businesses afloat.
Bootstrapping isn’t the easiest way, but it’s totally possible to make money even with just a tiny handful of “seed.” But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning:
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They say that once you’ve been your own boss, it’s really hard to go back to being an employee. I have found this to be so true. Starting my own business and being semi-successful at it gave me a taste of what it’s like to be able to determine your own income and own your own schedule.
My first tip-toe into that world was when I started my own “green” cleaning company. The work was physically hard and sporeatic at first, but I loved it. I loved owning my own time, and learning the ropes of managing my own business. But after we found out we were expecting our second daughter, I knew I’d need to find something that would allow me to actually work from home. What I didn’t know, was how many things I’d end up doing in the next five years to make money from home.
Here are five legit ways I’ve made money in side hustles as a work from home mom:
I started selling on eBay when my oldest was an infant. I’ve always had a good eye for brands and bargains, and I dipped my toes into the world of selling new and like-new clothing and accessories. I’d scour thrift stores and garage sales for awesome deals and flip them for a profit. This did require me to get out of the house some, but we worked around my husband’s work schedule to make it happen. I really enjoyed reselling, but never picked it back up again (as a biz) after our cross country move in 2013.
Related: Our Journey Towards Minimalism
Direct sales, also known as Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) seems to be a lifeline for some, and a dirty word for others. For me, it was a mixed bag. I loved the product and adored the community I found in the company culture. But I also discovered that as an introvert, that organization’s business model was just not a great fit for me personally. I did make a decent profit for the short time I did it, and overall it was a good experience. (I learned a ton!)
Virtual Assistant (VA)
I fell into virtual assisting by happy accident. An online friend of mine was growing her blog and contacted me to see if I would be interested in working for her a few hours a week scheduling social media and doing a few other blog related tasks. (Um, yes!) Once I’d gained some experience, I started networking in Facebook groups for bloggers and found several other clients online.
Content Writer/Ghost Writer
I discovered ghostwriting opportunities by accident as well. While joining online groups in hopes of finding more clients for my budding VA biz, I discovered that there were people who were writing and selling articles – and making a decent wage for doing so. It was a little tricky to get my foot in the door, but I finally did. The money I made from selling articles was a nice boost to my VA work income – and I totally could have turned it into a full time gig if time had allowed.
Recommended Resource: Work at Home Super Bundle from Ultimate Bundles
I had dabbled with the idea of blogging for profit several years ago, but had chosen too narrow of a focus and ran out of stuff to write about. But working for bloggers, both as a VA and as a Content Writer/Ghost Writer gave me new perspective and the urge to try again. I finally took the plunge and started this site just over a year ago. Like every other opportunity, it’s been a huge learning experience for me. Blogging is also the slowest-growing work from home path I’ve chosen (though I know it will be worth it in the long run). It’s been profitable from the start, and continues to grow.
Where I’m at now:
I still do some content writing/ghostwriting when time allows, but blogging is my main gig these days. Along with full time parenting, and homeschooling, of course. Carving out the time to work from home has been challenging these days. I’m learning how to be productive with bits and pieces of time, because that is all I have to work with in this season. But despite the challenges, I love this! Having a creative outlet and “my own thing” in this consuming time of motherhood is exactly what I need.
The best thing about my work from home journey has been what I’ve learned.
It’s never been glamorous, but the skills and experience I’ve gained are worth far more than all money I’ve made. Just knowing that I can dig in and build something that will increase our income and build time freedom for our family is an amazing thing. It’s given me the freedom to dream big dreams, and the confidence to work towards some pretty huge goals. (Like retiring my husband from his current job in just 4 years – eek!)
So, what about you? Have you ever dreamed of working at home? Is there something you’d like to do, but you’re just not clear on where to start? I’d love to hear about it in the comments – please share!