I received the following email from a "stay-at-home Mom" last week. I hope you find my suggestions helpful!
Nicole,Are there any legitimate work-from-home jobs or are they all scams? I'm a stay-at-home mom who was laid off about a year and a half ago. I have a background in graphic design.Thanks!Leah
Leah, not all work from home jobs are scams. At the same time, beware of "get rich quick" types of opportunities, or those that you need to pay to be part of. If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS. The worst part is that these con-artists have created compelling sales material, videos and testimonials that make it hard to walk away. In my opinion, the most credible type of work-from-home job is kind that you create yourself.
Before you do anything, read Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Crush It!” This advice isn’t only for Work at Home Moms. Regardless of age or experience level, I tell every one of my audiences to read this book. While you’re at it, watch some YouTube videos of Gary. Do you feel his passion radiating from your computer screen like I do? Gary has proven that passion and hard work trumps just about anything else. “Crush It” gives you straight forward advice and implementable ideas on how to "cash in on your passion." People who are looking for a “get rich quick” solution need not apply.
Income Ideas for Work-at-Home Moms
1. Become a Business Blogger Extraordinaire. Check out your local chamber of commerce, or just pay attention next time you are driving through your hometown. There are a LOT of local businesses out there and I bet most of them have (or know they should have) a blog. Of those that do have a blog, a vast majority have no interest in writing the blog posts themselves.
Ease business owners' pain by writing their blog posts for them. Look for local business sites that have inconsistent or lacking blogs and then email the webmaster letting them know that you can blog for them for a low cost. Teach the business owner that updating their website is important for to stay relevant and fresh with Google, which means more targeted traffic and more customers.
You can also offer to blog for your favorite bloggers. If the blog is big enough, the owner will probably be VERY happy for the help. If you offer your services in a packaged discount, you may end up with a great stable part-time income. If this is something that interests you, I am starting a new website and am looking for reliable and talented content creators. I know I'm not the only one either!
Post your services on sites like odesk.com, elancer.com, and even craigslist (although be careful on this one!). In Leah's case, she should also post her graphic design services on sites like this. Better yet, contact businesses directly. Be ready to show a sample of your work if they ask- this could even be done with 1 free post.
2. Become an Online Marketing Manager: If the idea of writing blog posts bores you, perhaps you are better suited to be an online marketing manager instead. Rather than writing blog posts, you can edit and optimize already written posts. You would advise clients on where to spend their online advertising budget. You can help your clients get publicity by creating lists of relevant bloggers in order to organize blogger outreach campaigns. You can setup, plan and execute email marketing campaigns. You can track traffic trends and setup Google Pay Per Click campaigns. You could help your clients do the due diligence and research required to launch a new product or enter new markets. You could take a word document and turn it into a flowing and visually pleasing e-book (and if you’re interested in putting together an e-book, I have a project for you!).
3. Become a Social Media Manager. From local “Mom and Pop” shops to the world’s largest brands, every company needs a social media manager. Create some marketing material that demonstrates how you can ADD VALUE for your customers via social media. Just remember that you will have many skeptics and that this market is a bit saturated right now. Find a way to create a system or program that sets you apart. How can your efforts get your prospects new customers? Leah has a HUGE advantage on this one as she is also a graphic designer and can create beautiful images. Consider charging a flat monthly fee for a certain amount of tweets, blog posts, Facebook fan page updates/contests, images etc. Then ask for referrals and repeat.
4. Review Products and Services. There are many, ways you can get paid to review products and services. But first, a disclaimer- I would not recommend signing up for random Mystery Shopper programs. Some will will charge you to be part of their network or sell you a silly guide and you will never hear from them again. Instead, consider starting your own local review business. You can review anything from customer service at banks to food at restaurants to service at spas.Remind business owners that today word of mouth is the most effective way to advertise because people trust people they know (and see on social networks), they don’t trust advertisements. Ask your prospects to consider spending part of their advertising budget with you instead of on ineffective newspaper ads and the like.
There are also several websites and universities which you can sign up to be part of product reviews and focus groups as well. There should be no upfront cost to signing up! Generally focus groups pay very well for a small time commitment and can be done in conjunction with several other part-time gigs.
5. Start a speaking business. After a few years of practicing and perfecting your niche, being a paid speaker is a GREAT way for Moms to earn a living. Although travel will be involved, the goal is to accept speaking engagements around your partner and family’s schedule. Chances are if you are a great speaker, you will be able to make a full-time income speaking a handful of engagements per month.
Don’t be fooled though. Starting a successful speaking business is tough. You must first be an expert, THEN a speaker. It doesn’t work the other way around. If speaking is something that appeals to you, create an awesome blog or other platform that positions you as an expert. Also read Jane Atkinson’s "The Wealthy Speaker" for a step-by-step guide to making this dream a reality.
6. Book speeches for someone who already has a speaking business. If the idea of public speaking terrifies you, maybe you are better suited to promote and book speakers instead. Most paid speakers have a lot going on at once and someone like you could be their hero.
Create a clear arrangement with the speakers you serve. Set a commission (whether flat rate per speech booked or percentage of speaker fee) and clearly outline your other promotional duties (writing e-newsletters, creating lists, blogging, tweeting, etc.). If this is something that interests you, I’d love to talk to you. My own speaking business is always the first thing to get neglected when life gets crazy.
7. Become an online educator. People make a LOT of money by selling high quality e-books, guides and classes. You can teach your specialty via teleconference, podcasts, workbooks and even stream live on the web. Some choose to create a “premium content” website about a certain topic and charge members a monthly fee to be a part of it. I’ve also seen people charge for mastermind groups targeted towards a very niche group of people. For example, you could create an online group of WAHM Entrepreneurs in Chicago that meets once a week and gets access to all group members contact info, a specialized newsletter, free e-guides and discounts on local speakers and events.
A WAHM like Leah has the ultimate advantage- she has a niche background in graphic design. Therefore, Leah could monetize each of these ideas in a way that fits her graphic design background. Here are some specific ways Leah can start earning money from home:
- Leah should become a freelance graphic designer- a very high demand work from home gig.
- Leah could review logos, graphics and web designs. She could do this on her own graphic design blog, or she could offer to review business graphic designs for free in hopes that she can inspire change and get her reviewee's as clients.
- Leah should start a professional blog about graphic design and then turn it into a speaking and products business. I know plenty of people including myself who would sign up for a webinar on how to create my own logo or how to use new graphic design technology. Small businesses, Universities and large marketing departments could all benefit from Leah's blog, speaking, logo designs, reviews and classes.
- Leah could start earning commission by selling other peoples' graphic design e-books, webinars and guides on her blog. To sell other peoples' products and earn commission, check out sites like shareasale.com or clickbank.com.
Good luck to Leah and all the other work at home Moms out there who want the best of both worlds!