Work from home ideas – everything I have done to make money
Even as a kid I looked for ways to make money on top of my pocket money. As a mother of two young daughters, I bought items to resell on eBay, did Tupperware and other party plan options, hairdressing, babysitting and more. Now, I make most of my money through blogging, speaking and writing.
As a mother of two, over the years, I left an abusive marriage, ended up homeless, they were both diagnosed with special needs and I had health issues including paralysis. Working outside the home wasn’t always an option and I had to get creative. Fortunately, we live in a time when there have never been so many ways to make money from home! Here is everything I can think of which I have personally done to make money from home.
My blogs make money, but blogging was the gateway to freelance writing, public speaking, being an author, consulting, coaching, mentoring, being paid to travel, being an MC, a brand ambassador and so much more. If I focus purely on the blogs themselves most of the money has been made through affiliate links, sponsored posts, my own products, adsense and other ad agencies.
I have also learnt a lot about blogging, bought blogs and flipped them for a profit plus spoken at various blog conferences.
To get started with blogging, I recommend using SiteGround as your host (I’ve used a few others but now all my sites are with SiteGround and they’re highly recommended by others.) Download WordPress (it’s one click to install and you can be stepped through it.) Choose a theme, set up your blog and do it this way. It might seem like a lot to learn in the beginning but there are a lot of free templates, plugins and resources to make it happen at virtually no cost.
Check out this post on blogging for more information.
2.) Freelance writing/Editing
I’ve been freelance writing since I was first approached to in 2011. Clients typically reach out to me, I don’t do a lot of pitching and never pursued it as a main source of income but over the past 7 years it has been one of the regular income streams I have. My love for writing, along with a strong interest and experience in particular areas has seen a steady amount of work come my way.
If you want to get into freelance writing, you don’t need a degree, you need to write! One of the best ways to improve your writing is to do it, edit it, get feedback on it and learn some basic tips, which you can do online or take the shortcut and do a great course to help develop your skills plus get yourself clients. My favourite is from Holly – Earn More Writing.
For more tips on freelance writing, where to get paid gigs etc. Check out this post.
3.) Reselling things online
Living in Western Sydney was fantastic for finding amazingly priced brand items for bargain prices. I had a couple of specific op shops I went to for clothing, Tupperware and books. Back then postage was less, fees were less and op shops didn’t charge as much. Many items were picked up for $2 or less. I have a few here in Melbourne I find bargains at, but overall, not as often as I used to.
My favourite place for selling now is Facebook groups, specific and niche ones for rockabilly clothing or similar. Next is Facebook marketplace, then Gumtree and lastly, eBay. I have found many people are time wasters or jerks, but I have made over $10,000 a month doing it. You can find out more here, though I am not currently reselling items as I travel too much.
4.) Online surveys
As a new mum, online surveys appealed to me, but it took a bit of time to work out the legit ones from the scams. I put together a list of the best ones in Australia, some pay in USD and are open internationally, which you can find here. In a nutshell, my favourites and top-earning ones are Swagbucks (you can get USD into PayPal or get gift cards), Octopus Group (highest paying in Australia), Prize Rebel which pays USD cash into your PayPal account and Vindale.
If done right, Airbnb can be great! I made over $1,000 in 5 days over Christmas with it and rooms always rent for more per night on Airbnb than if I rented the room out privately to a long term tenant. I’ve done both and discuss them separately as they each have different needs.
For Airbnb, I have all my tips listed here. It’s easy to get started and you decide how much the room will cost, what is included with your listing, when it is available, who can book it etc.
6.) Rent a room to a boarder
Renting a room to a boarder or house sharing is something I have done more of than Airbnb, but I made more money per night with Airbnb. When choosing who to rent a room to I decide what I want it to include, which room I will rent out, how much for and who to.
Check how much rooms are renting for in your area and whether it includes all bills or bills are split. Post your room on Gumtree, real estate sites, Facebook groups and similar then do thorough checks and interviews with anyone who applies and seems to fit what you want. Personally, I have rented to people I know or people who have been referred by friends instead of renting to strangers. I have kids and am female, so erred on the side of caution with it.
Check their background, their rental history, why they want to rent with you, look them up on Facebook to see if they’re a party animal etc. You are letting someone into your home, so you can be as thorough as you need for this. Trust your gut as well, if something feels off, even if you can’t put your finger on it, trust yourself.
7.) Rented out my garage
Yes, only the garage, nothing else in the house. People rent garages to store project cars, boats or other stuff, though I rented mine to a mum who had a dress business and nowhere to sew or store fabric. I have friends who have rented their garages to people simply needing somewhere to park. In one complex I lived in, car spaces rented for $100 a week. If you live in a city, close to offices or public transport you can rent it to office workers, alternatively, list it on Gumtree to anyone.
I’ve seen ads on Gumtree from people looking to use a garage to store a model car or boat, usually offering $50 a week. Check your local area or look at Spacer which I have used successfully.
8.) In-home workshops
When I lived in Canberra, I had a huge house and sometimes did workshops from the ‘studio’ aka front lounge room with a wall-mounted screen and chairs we had specifically for this purpose. Classes were on things such as photography, social media, marketing and business. It can be set up through Meetup, Eventbrite or TryBooking with you deciding what you are offering and how much it will cost.
365 Ways To Make Money was published in 2011 with Wiley, Australia. It wasn’t a book I loved, but it was a great opportunity to publish with a large publisher, get the experience and become an author. In 2015, I negotiated the rights for the book back with the intention of editing it to be relevant and relaunching it. Instead, I ended up paralysed and sick, so it was shelved.
I have also published 26 Ingredients which was featured on Win, How To Make $10,000 A Month Reselling Stuff plus got another contract with a large US publisher back in 2014 and have finally submitted my manuscript in full for that to be published.
Being an author can be done from home and there are so many ways to get into it. Most publishers will expect you to have a large platform to promote it, you need a point of difference and your pitch needs to be spot on. You can enter writing competitions or pitch on specific days e.g. Allen&Unwin have The Friday Pitch or get an agent.
Besides book sales (which unless you have a wildly popular book, are statistically pretty low), you can make money with speaking, use it as a tool to direct people to your site or services, coaching and other opportunities. The book is usually an extra to whatever you are doing, not a huge income on its own.
10.) Product testing
Since my early blogging days I have done product testing for different companies. Soup used to be great and I’d get boxes of items or once I was paid $125 cash for some market research. Now it’s $5 for a box of crackers and you have to do a lot for it. The Black Box sends great boxes of stuff, usually worth $50+ and you have opportunities to win items. It’s not exactly cash, but it reduces your expenses and shows you new items.
11.) Market research
Farron Research has been the best option with market research usually being $100 hour. You can find out more about how to do market research here. It’s minimal effort in my experience and decent pay but not something you will get every time.
12. Hairdressing and makeup
Not everyone knows this but I am a qualified hairdresser and beautician. I no longer work in the industry, but have managed salons, had my own business and after kids did a lot of friends and family from home who paid me cash (which I did declare on my tax, because I felt guilty otherwise). Hairdressing isn’t something I enjoy anymore, but it’s a great skill to have. Makeup and spray tanning can be easily learnt and set up from home if you wanted to do similar. You need to check council regulations for your area before setting up a beauty business as the insurance, council restrictions and legal requirements can be quite strict.
13. Tupperware and other party plans
I made the most money from Tupperware but also tried Nutrimetics, a saucepan one and a few other party plans, along with friends trying different ones. Overall, I didn’t want to go out and do parties because then it wasn’t really making money from home. Once you included the cost of materials, petrol, the expectations for being at meetings, training and doing other things, it was quite a lot to build up and that time for me was better spent elsewhere.
However, now, you can sell online, use Facebook and similar so you don’t have to have parties all the time. Be careful with how you promote it, respect others boundaries, don’t pm and spam people and you could do well. Also, think outside the box. The top-selling Tupperware demonstrators in the US are regularly drag queens who essentially provide entertainment and personality making the party fun, while they sell Tupperware.
14. Selling eggs
Random, but when we had chickens we sold the eggs a few times. With 3 chickens who were incredible layers since they roamed the backyard free all day, ate bugs and were treated like royalty by their owners (my daughters), we had extra eggs at times. They were so good too, store bought does not compare!
Aprons and similar items were sold on Etsy and markets almost 10 years go by me. My sister has done well with her Etsy Store, MiniPeas and her kids have Ninja Monkey as their business. I loved sewing and enjoyed designing the aprons, but my life was a little unstable at the time. It’s a great option for you if you though and it doesn’t have to be sewn.
16. Cloth nappies
A friend taught me to make cloth nappies around the time my first daughter was born. The modern cloth nappies were easier to make than I thought they would be so I invested in a snap machine and made them to sell online. After a while, I grew tired of it though. It made ok money at the time for me.
17. Garage sales
Clear out all your junk in your house and have one big garage sale. Each time I did this I made a few hundred. Now, I find it easier to simply sell my stuff on Facebook. A garage sale took work to set up, put signs up, I had to be there all day and it took hours plus people wanted everything for nothing.
If you choose to have a garage sale, talk about it with neighbours and try to have a few in one street to generate more interest.
I have been a landlord a few times and while I love property I’d be more particular about where I have a rental property and why. At the time, it was originally my home, then I moved to Canberra and rented it out. It was ok for a while, then the first lot of tenants had to be evicted for smoking, the next lot had pets which damaged the property then the third lot left it mouldy and cockroach infested. The house was in Western Sydney and I was glad when it was finished and sold.
Mainly in finance or marketing, particularly when I had my own marketing company. National and international governments, corporations, not for profits and small businesses were all clients. I also occasionally did sessions for people on ways they could make and save money based on their personal circumstances.
What Do I Do Now?
We travel so I no longer work from home, instead, I am classed as a remote worker, someone who can work from anywhere. Travel journalism and tourism marketing are how I get paid to travel. The Thrifty Issue is a profitable business and my main income now.
Occasionally, I do speaking, financial writing and other things. Soon, I am launching another business and in a year or so I start work on another new business overseas. I’m an entrepreneur, I love founding or buying businesses and expanding them. This is what I will continue to do with the aim of having a selection of businesses and continuing to expand.