6 ways to make money from home that won't annoy your friends

How to earn extra cash in your free(ish) time.

Photo: iStockphoto

When I was laid off from my office job last year, I had a baby girl at home, a son in preschool and a mortgage on a house my husband and I had owned less than a year. I panicked. I cried. And then, I found a way to make money from home. I became a full-time parent to our daughter by day, and a writer and digital consultant by night (and nap time).

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, or you work full- or part time, you may be looking for ways to make some money from home. Many stay-at-home moms take jobs within multi-level marketing (MLM) companies—think Stella and Dot, Thirty-One Gifts, Rodan + Fields, Scentsy. But MLM usually requires a certain amount of promotion, and you may not be comfortable constantly spamming your Facebook feed with “Contact me to buy XYZ!” posts. We’re not knocking MLM, but if you want to try something that doesn’t require peer purchase, then here are six ways you can make a little extra money from home.

1. Translating
If you’re one of the approximately six million Canadians who speak more than one language at home, translation work could be for you. You could join an agency where work is assigned to you, go freelance and get your own clients, or take the steps to become a certified translator (for better pay). It’s a great option for stay-at-home parents because you can fit work in on your (and your kids’) schedule.

2. Being a customer service rep
Do you like people? Have a lot of patience? Enjoy solving problems? Try customer service. Let’s be real: You’re going to get yelled at. But you’re also going to help people, which can be enormously satisfying. Customer service can be online-only or over the phone, and touches just about every industry you can think of. In many cases, the hours tend to be more 9-5, so this could be better suited to parents with kids in school.

3. Selling stuff on Etsy
Crafty? Sell your wares with Etsy and become your own boss. Do your research first—investigate your competitors, study shops you admire and learn how to take quality photos (or find someone who will do it for you). Etsy offers lots of information and support to new shop owners, and the commission it takes in return is relatively low—only 3.5 percent a sale. Add a 0.25 cent per listing fee and a 3-4 percent payment processing fee, however, and it could add up when you’re just starting out.

4. Doing tech support
Tech-savvy types are always in demand, and you can find part-time work with big names like Best Buy, Apple and Microsoft. Perks can include discounts on products, as well as flexible hours. Similar to customer service, it can be done through different mediums, such as phone, online chat support, Skype support or email.

5. Conducting market research
Delve into the inner workings of your fellow Canadians by doing market research calls. You can bang out a couple of surveys during nap time.

6. Vacation planning
Just because you can book your own travel online these days doesn’t mean everyone wants to. Many people don’t have time to plan a vacation and will gladly pay someone else to do it for them. The Travel Agent Next Door is one of Canada’s leading organizations of home-based travel agents. They provide training, booking systems, your own website and accounting and marketing resources to help get you started.

Read more:
11 things you should never say to a work-from-home parent
“I love working at home with my kids!” (said no mother ever)

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