40+ Legitimate Ways to Earn Money as a Stay-at-Home-Mom

Photo by Diego da Silva

You’ve seen the ads floating around the internet. Usually in places like your Facebook sidebar or in pop-up ads on popular sites. Deceptive text shouting promises like: “Earn $6,000/week from home! It’s easy! Sign up here! “scammyfineprintprintblahblahblah

To those I say a big fat “Pfffffftttt, yeah right!”

A few years ago, I was constantly seeing those dumb ads, and every time I saw one I’d sigh wistfully, wishing there really was a legitimate way that I could earn some money without giving up on my desire to be at home with my kids.

Long-time readers here at R+H know that money has been super tight over the last few years as we have gone through hubs’ flight training to become a commercial pilot. He has been employed as a flight instructor (you know – the guy teaching the future pilots of your commercial flights in airlines around the world how to fly…) but it pays abysmally. Absolutely shamefully, really. Most flight instructors are young, unmarried guys who don’t have a family to support, because it is next to impossible.

So… he quit that job last fall, and has landed fortuitously into a contract consulting job in aviation safety (fancy way of saying that he’s working on a pilot safety website on a government grant). He’s also doing audio-visual tech stuff part-time at a large church in the city.


Things are better now. Still tight… but waaaaay better. I know from experience that somehow, in some way – things get better. Whether that be in heaven or on earth – tough times won’t last forever, and for that I am grateful.

As we emerge into a new season and phase of life, I have been pondering the way that every dollar counts.

It’s still fresh for me – the counting out change from the change jar to buy bananas before the next payday… the invitation of a meal shared with friends and knowing that it would give relief to your shrunken grocery fund… the tears of frustration at not being able to stretch the dollars quite as far as you’d like, and making difficult decisions on what to forgo.

I know that there are so many in that boat today. So many of you, dear readers. So many parents sacrifice a lot of financial security in order to stay at home with their kids. So many of you wish that there was something that you could do on the side – in the cracks and corners of your days and evenings and weekends that would earn enough extra money to give a little room to breathe. Something flexible, home-based, and (dare we wish it?) enjoyable.

I have tried a number of different income-earning ventures over the years:

  • Ad manager for a large blog (in charge of procuring and implementing advertising revenue for the site)
  • Digital graphic design (not my niche, but I can make nice-looking, simple images)
  • VA work (virtual assisting – like an administrative assistant, but working remotely)
  • Blogging (this site!)
  • Babysitting/daycare (I had my niece 4 days/week for a year)
  • Photography (I’ve been hired a handful of times to do family photo shoots. My skills are basic, but decent enough to get some nice shots.)
  • Social media assisting (again, working with bloggers)
  • Moderator for webinar panel discussions
  • Placenta encapsulation

All of the things I’ve done have been extremely flexible and most have been temporary. Blogging is currently my “side job” here, and I have discovered over the last 1.5 years that it is most definitely a passion of mine. I kind of always knew that I loved writing… and now I know that I really enjoy the entrepreneurial/business side of it as well.


Let’s be honest: being self-employed and working from home isn’t all flouncy pens and steaming cups of tea in bed… but sometimes it is. And it’s glorious. 

I recently asked my Facebook followers if any of them had any money-making side ventures, and the response was amazing. So many responded with an incredibly diverse array of ideas that I knew I just had to share them here. I decided to link up some of those that responded to the thread, so you’ll see some R+H reader business links below in the list.

If you’re interested in finding a way to earn money from home, you can use this list as a jumping off point to research which type of opportunity might be right for you. There are so many possibilities!

(Disclaimer: money doesn’t start rolling in after just a little effort. These ideas obviously take dedication, perseverance, and hard work. Some of these ideas need certain qualifications – but many need none.)

Money-Making Ideas for Stay-at-Home Parents:

  1. Blogger (holla!)
  2. Doula
  3. Making and selling lotions, soaps, and other bath & body care products (check out this awesome page: Homebody Co., or this one: Purely Essential)
  4. Running an online fitness studio (like Fit2B!)
  5. Selling home or health products as a company rep, also usually known as a multi-level-marketing company. Jamberry Nails (check out another Jamberry rep here, and a third here), Thirty-One Gifts, Mary & Martha, Zeal for Life, Juice Plus, Steeped Tea, AvonNerium International, Scentsy, My Premier Designs – jewelleryOrigami Owl, Younique Beauty Products, Norwex (and another reader who sells Norwex), Lilla Rose Hair Accessories, Wildtree Food Products, Radiantly You – body care products, Avon Products, Plexus Slim, Nikken – wellness products.
  6. Selling essential oils as a company rep (DoTerra, Young Living, and there are others if you do some research to see the options. Readers Ashley, Heather, and Krissa also sell DoTerra.)
  7. Design and sell digital sewing patterns
  8. Elderly care (A reader said: “I do full time home share for a 60-year-old woman who is autistic. She goes to a program 5 days a week and I assist her with food, showering and dressing and some hygiene. We are very thankful because it enables me to stay home while bringing in a full time income.”)
  9. Run a farm share program
  10. Sewing and weaving (Kaitlin of Butters and Bubsie says: “I do headbands, soother clips, lovey blankets, burp rags and most importantly I weave baby wraps.”)
  11. Make and sell knit/crochet/etc. goods (check out this cute page, or this website - she also does wall murals for people!)
  12. Health consulting – “I am a trained homeopath in my career before I had children and so I do some phone and online consulting to assist people with their health issues.” Another reader said: “…and I just got certified to be a Dr. Sears Health Coach! Super excited about that!” This reader at Baby Kale Health is a family holistic health coach. Another health consulting type of business: Nutritional therapist.
  13. Virtual Assisting
  14. Advertising Manager (for a large blog – a growing field!)
  15. Bookkeeping
  16. Reflexologist
  17. Yoga Facilitator
  18. Customer service - My friend has an Amazon business and I do customer service from home for her.”
  19. Social media consulting – “…I also do some Pinterest consulting work for bloggers. It still blows me away that I can get paid for playing with Pinterest.
  20. Freelance writing (like CG Marketing Pro!)
  21. Sewing – “I sew for people…preparing for craft shows at the moment.”
  22. Managing consignment sales – “I manage a twice-a-year consignment sale for our local parents of multiples club.”
  23. Teach dance classes
  24. Placenta encapsulation (Check out my Placenta Encapsulation tutorial here on the blog)
  25. Sell antiques and paint furniture
  26. Hula hoop maker/instructor
  27. Make and sell baby headbands and blankets
  28. Make and sell handmade jewellery (check out these cool ‘tree of life’ necklaces! And this one: Four Little Lady Bugs, making teething necklaces and girly accessories.)
  29. Web design
  30. Babysitting/daycare
  31. Make custom wooden furniture
  32. Pet sitting
  33. Image and Influence Consultant with FanTABulous Women.
  34. Substitute teaching
  35. Photography (Shelley said: “I’ve had my photography business for 6 years. I shoot weddings and on evening and weekends do portrait sessions so I can stay home with my kiddos and homeschool them full time during the week! My business gives me a creative outlet plus helps with the finances, and I am very thankful for it!”)
  36. Baking/cooking (this woman sells her cakes locally – and they look DELISH)
  37. Sell flower arrangements
  38. Sell excess garden produce to neighbours
  39. Sell eggs from your backyard chickens
  40. Start an online shop selling items you love and are passionate about (Check out Delia’s Pantry: “I try and make if affordable for every one to have access to organic herbs spices and teas …and a few other things”, Primal Kitchen Company, selling fermentation/pickling supplies, Country Bums – a cloth diaper shop, Deborah & Co – a clothing company for girls/women)

Have you ever made money on the side while being at home with your kids? What would you pick from this list?

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  1. says

    I’m a fitness and nutrition coach with Team Beachbody. I help people reach their fitness and nutrition goals and get paid too do so. I also get a discount on the products. Which is awesome since I just about buy every workout program they come out with. Hello PiYo! I also drink Shakeology everyday for the weight loss/maintenance and health benefits. My team also receives training from the number 1 coach in the company. She makes in the 6 figure range and she has only been a coach for 3 years. Check out my website and see what you think. http://www.teambeachbody.com/amyfreemon under coach

  2. says

    I sold Tupperware for a few years when my children were young. It supplied me with more than a kitchen full for myself :) as well as wedding gifts, dance lessons, splurges at the salon for myself, and other misc. things. One of my friends sold Pampered Chef at the same time and we would do trades.

  3. Regina says

    DOULA! However, I’m not sure I would recommend this job as a side gig for SAHMs wanting to make a little extra money. For one, it requires a LOT of time, passion, and commitment for birthing families, and for another, you put in a LOT of time for not a lot of return, although it depends a little on your area and market. Just know, it will take a lot of time to get started and you won’t see much of a return on your investment for several years. There are multiple reason for why the doula field has such a high burnout rate.

    That said, I do love my work, it is truly my calling, after that of wife and mother, I’m making it work for us and our lifestyle. However, I’m working on building a business and a career (it “only” takes 4 births a month to be considered a fully-booked doula) and I really don’t think I’ll be able to call myself a SAHM once I reach my goals. Between consultations with potential clients, prenatal visits with current clients, births, postpartum and follow-up visits, etc., having 4 clients a month will keep me as busy as any full time job in the cube farm. I already leave my little ones with a babysitter one day a week so I can work on paperwork, studying, appointments, marketing, communicating with clients, etc., and my fullest month so far has only been 3 births.

    But in this same line of thought, another thing for SAHM who are passionate about informed birth to look into would be becoming a childbirth educator. You get to talk about your passion, but don’t have to be on-call and have regular hours! Plus, if doulaing is something you’d like to pursue, it’s generally pretty easy to move into that with most childbirth education certifications. And easy to market yourself too- who wouldn’t want to bring their experienced childbirth educator and all their knowledge at their birth?!

    Sorry, just realized I sorta wrote a novel…

  4. says

    My most successful stay-at-home money making venture has definitely been in home day care/babysitting. I have tried selling items that I have knit/made, but that is very hit and miss. I am a brand new blogger, so I haven’t made any money with that (not sure that I will?). This is a very detailed list. I’m definitely going to look into a few of these options. Thanks so much! I loved this line in your post – “I know from experience that somehow, in some way – things get better. Whether that be in heaven or on earth – tough times won’t last forever, and for that I am grateful.” This is so encouraging to me!

  5. says

    I’m a mom to four little girls ages 8-2 and for the past two years I have taught a Parent-Toddler class at my girls’schools, two mornings a week. My older girls are in school then and my toddler attends with me. It has been a wonderful way to generate a little extra income while encouraging other stay at home parents.

  6. Valerie says

    I am involved with a great company called Javita, they sell weight loss coffee and green tea as well as energy and mind coffee for those who want the energy with the abiblity to focus during the day without the weight loss (for those who don’t need to ) lol. http://www.myjavita.com/4betterhealth is my website if you are interested.

  7. says

    I write on a site called Bubblews.com. You get one cent per like, view, and comment each. Read other posts and they read yours. You can write up to ten posts a day. When it hits $50 you can cash out. The more active the better and the more connections you have to you the better.

  8. AmyC says

    I have something to add to the list!
    Reselling clothing on eBay!
    I hit up all the goodwill stores by me and out together “packages” of kids clothing (for example, 20 pieces of size 4T girls clothing) and then sell it for a profit.
    I also have good familiarity with popular women’s clothing (J.Crew, Anthropologie) and anytime I find those I sell those as well. I make a really decent amount of money doing it!

  9. says

    I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at home as well. I began my own photography business before we had our oldest child and LOVE it! I’m also a distributor for It Works! Global ( that crazy wrap thing)! My mom started as a distributor and we were using so many products as a whole family that my husband and I agreed that we might as well earn money as well since we both believe in the company/products!

    • shevonne says

      What involves starting your own photgraph business I have the right equipment just need to know how to start

  10. says

    I teach piano lessons!!! It’s great, and because of our current financial situation I am able to offer barter deals for families who prefer that… This week I got a bag of fresh vegetables, as well as fresh eggs and pork from various students. I love it! I also have a few students who pay in cash, which I certainly don’t mind :-)

    • Jaslyn says

      I have a question re: piano lessons. I took lessons till I was told, “there’s nothing left to teach”. I have definite skill. But, how would I go about giving lessons, or teaching someone. I am at a loss at the teaching aspect of it. Any advice, books, how-to-give-lessons help you can offer up to me. I’d be very appreciative! Thanks!

    • says

      Agree Emily! Love my R+D biz! Such an ethical company and it’s definitely not for everyone but their products are amazing.

  11. says

    My crafts (sewing, quilting, knitting, etc.) take a long time and it’s hard to get enough return so I reserve these for my family. Photography helps a little. An evening out here and there and editing while kiddos are in bed. :)

  12. says

    I’ve found that many crafts (knitting, sewing, quilting) take a long time and it’s hard to get enough return. Photography can help a little. An evening out here and there and editing when the kiddos are in bed. :)

  13. says

    I am a stay at home mama to four littles under 7. For all of those seven years, I looked for a way to make a little income on the side- not too much, as we are blessed with a GREAT job for my husband. But just a little. I dabbled on those survey sites, but made peanuts, then I moved to http://www.iwriter.com, where you write articles to drive traffic to sites, and that was a little better.. but I was spending roughly 4 hours a day doing it, which is more time than I had to spare.. I finally found my “happy place” with Jamberry- I started about 2 months ago, and ladies- THIS IS IT. I’ve already made well over 1,000$ with VERY little time- I’d say no more than 2 hours a day. It’s no gimmick- people WANT these, they are cheap, durable, and fabulous; a way to bring the pretty to those who don’t have the time or $$ to get to the salon only to have their money literally chip away within days. I’d love to chat with anyone who wants more information, it really is a “match made in heaven” for us stay-at-home mamas. :) OH, plus the start up is super cheap- 99$, which I paid off (and then some!) at my very first party.

  14. Ruth says

    Just make sure you do your research if you want to sell natural beauty products in Canada. Health Canada requires you to file a separate piece of paperwork for each product you produce.

  15. says

    I am doing the work from home gig too with Beachbody home fitness and nutrition products. Loving helping people with it and the money isn’t shabby either. This is a great list!

  16. says

    I started my own business as a Barefoot Books Ambassador. I fell in love with these gorgeous, high quality books with new and traditional stories from cultures around the world, and love sharing them with other families while creating an amazing home library for my own kids. Our mission is to Share Stories, Connect Families and Inspire Children. Can’t get much better than that! http://www.BarefootMagic.com

  17. says

    What a great article! I love reading ideas of things to do so I can stay home with my kids. I’m generally juggling 5-8 different stay-at-home-”jobs” at a time. My main on is making and selling items on Etsy and Facebook (crochet baby photo props https://www.etsy.com/shop/koreakids ). I also have a business with Young Living. However I do a couple that aren’t mentioned in the list above. I sort and organize for teachers. Basically people drop off boxes of school materials that have been in their classrooms and I organize them and they pick it back up, ready for the next teaching year or to be stored. I charge $10 an hour and am able to do that at home with my kids! I also do some bookkeeping for a small pest control company. She drops off all her receipts for the month and I input everything (income/expenses) in excel files so she has it ready for tax season. Also $10 an hr and I can do at night while the kids sleep. It’s not huge money, but every penny counts!

  18. Brandi H says

    A word of caution about selling baked goods: It is not legal in all states. Texas only recently passed a Cottage Foods bill allowing for the sale of *some* baked goods, but you have to follow certain rules to be legal. Please check your state laws before selling out of your home!

  19. says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE to write, and I started this blog (my second one) a month ago. I would really love to grow it in some way that makes money. Any suggestions on how to make money from blogging? I would be eternally grateful! Thanks so much!

    • says

      It depends on what your blog is about. You can be an amazon affiliate advertise things and get a percentage of what people buy or check out share a sale where you also advertise. Or infolink where a word is highlighted and people may cross over it and you make a small amount of money. Join blogging networks they are also helpful.

  20. Jennifer Chapman says

    The link to the digital sewing patterns did not work for me. Can you repost it or share it in the comments? THank you!

  21. says

    I’m just starting out and want to learn more of Graphic Design, Having PSE do I need to upgrade to advance in this area? I hope to open a mini shop in the future…. Any thoughts or insights?

  22. says

    This is a wonderful list! I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last 7+ years and have attempted many things to fulfill my desire for an “outlet” of some sort. There are many scams out there, so it’s nice to see a list of legitimate ways to make money from home. I am doing #27 on your list. It’s a lot of FUN, and most of all gives me a creative outlet! :)

  23. says

    I am a consultant with Usborne Books & More. Not only am I able to make money to help support my family. I earn lots of amazing high quality books for my kids! My girls are developing a great love for reading and learning while I support our family. I love the life long impact I am making in children’s lives.

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