With the kids back in school again, you might find yourself with a little more free time now than you had during the summer. You’re no longer focused on keeping your kids from getting bored, getting hurt or burning your house down! So why not turn this free time into paid time by finding a part-time job? Doing so will enable you to earn a little extra money — and keep from getting bored yourself.
Here are eight ways you can make some extra money working part-time, sometimes even from your home:
- Start a direct selling business. Also known as network marketing or multi-level marketing businesses, these are often touted as the ultimate “home-based business opportunity.” Amway, Tupperware, Herbalife, Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and Nu Skin are some of the better-known MLM companies out there.
Legitimate MLM companies — as opposed to illegal pyramid or Ponzi schemes — use distributors to sell products and services. These can range from kitchen utensils and health and beauty products to vitamins, nutritional supplements and even cell phones and plans. As a distributor, you can also make money by recruiting other distributors and building what’s referred to as a “downline,” earning bonuses and a percentage of these distributors’ sales.
- Become a mystery or secret shopper. This is now a $1.8 billion a year industry in which more than 1.5 million people are employed as mystery or secret shoppers, according to American Mystery Shopping Providers. As a mystery shopper, you are paid to shop at retail stores, eat at restaurants and even stay at hotels and then provide your honest input to the company regarding the service you receive.
There are many resources available to help you find mystery shopping jobs — just do an Internet search for “mystery shopping jobs in (your city).” However, be careful, as there are many mystery-shopping scams on the Internet as well. Investigate any potential mystery shopping opportunities carefully before signing up.
- Provide personal services for others. Given the busy and hectic schedules that many Americans have, some enterprising entrepreneurs have built successful part-time businesses providing services and running errands for people who are too busy to do things themselves.
For example, many dual-income couples with children do not have time to grocery shop, go to the bank, post office or dry cleaners, or ferry their kids to after-school activities. Such couples are often happy to pay someone to run errands like these for them. You could charge for providing services based on an hourly rate or charge a specific amount for different kinds of services provided or errands run.
- House-sit and/or pet-sit for others. With so many Americans traveling these days, there is an increasing demand for house sitters and pet-sitters who can watch after people’s homes and pets while they are away. Many people would rather have a responsible individual stay in their home and feed and walk their pets while they are not there rather than leave their pets in a kennel or “pet hotel.”
A number of pet-sitting businesses have sprung up in many cities to accommodate this demand. Therefore, you might be able to get a job with one of them instead of starting your own pet-sitting business from scratch.
- Become a personal chef. This also capitalizes on the trend of increasingly busy Americans, many of whom who do not have time to cook their own meals. Personal chefs cook customized meals for clients (including buying all the necessary groceries and ingredients, if necessary) either in their clients’ homes, or they can prepare them in their own homes and package and deliver them to clients.
If you love to cook and are good at it, this could be a great way for you to indulge your passion and make some extra money at the same time. Be sure to create a contract that details specifically what cooking services and how many meals you will provide, as well as who is responsible for the grocery shopping.
- Build websites or provide other IT services for self-employed individuals and small businesses. In the post-recession economic environment, a growing number of Americans who lost their jobs have struck out on their own as independent contractors, freelancers and small business owners. These newly self-employed individuals often do not know how to build websites or handle the myriad of other IT-related tasks that come with being a contractor or business owner.
If you have some Internet, Wordpress or other IT skills and experience, this could present a great opportunity for you to put this to work in your own side business. Even if you do not, learning how to build Wordpress websites is relatively easy if you are technologically inclined. You could even take a community college or other class to learn these basic skills so you can offer these services to contractors and business owners who desperately need them.
- Become an alternative taxi cab driver. Taxi cab alternatives like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have recently emerged as an employment opportunity for enterprising individuals who want to start their own business driving people around town. As long as you have a good driving record and an insured vehicle and pass a background check, you can sign up with one of these alternative taxicab companies.
This business opportunity would give you the flexibility to work when and where you want to, on a part-time or full-time basis. There is also the potential to earn a lot of money if you are willing to work long hours. For example, Uber claims that the current median annual income of an Uber driver in New York City is more than $90,000. For more information, read our Using Cab Alternatives to Save and Make Money article.
- Rent out a spare room in your house. Since the kids have moved out, turn the spare room into extra cash. The launch of Airbnb.com a few years ago opened up a new income opportunity for many people who are willing to rent out a spare room in their house on a short-term basis — usually nightly, weekly or monthly. This website enables almost anyone to turn their home into a bed-and-breakfast inn. According to the website, more than 17 million guests have used Airbnb.com to book a room, villa or even a castle in more than 34,000 cities all around the world.
These are just a few suggestions for ways to make money now that the kids are back in school. If none of these is right for you, use your imagination to think of other ways to turn your new free time into paid time using skills you have or could easily acquire.