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Your Ultimate Guide to Making Money Working from Home

Carolyn is a stay-at-home mom and knows the struggles of trying to make money while still being there for her children.


Are you a stay at home mom or dad interested in making money working from home? If you Google "work from home" or "make money at home" you will be bombarded with hundreds upon hundreds of websites that claim to have the answer you are looking for. Unfortunately, many of these sites are misleading or outright scams.

As a former single parent and a current stay at home mom, I've explored many (but not all) of these avenues and I will share with you my own personal opinion based on my experience. By far, the stay at home parents of young children or single parents with children are the ones who have the most difficulty finding work that can either fit their lifestyle or schedule (limited spare time or limited working hours that revolve around school hours). I've been there and done that as a single parent so I completely understand how frustrating and sometimes hopeless it can seem.

So if you are fresh out of ideas on how to make money from home, this Hub should set you on the right path!

What's a Stay at Home Mom or Dad to do?

Let's face it, there are so many different ways to make money it's hard to know where to begin. There is freelance writing (Hubs, Lenses, greeting cards, product reviews, etc.), blogging, painting, crafting all sorts of things from sewing dresses to making jewelry, surveys, consulting, daycare, customer service jobs, data entry, mystery shopping, app making, direct sales, online work, photography and even YouTube!

The best thing you can do is to sit down and brainstorm at your kitchen table or at your computer and jot down what comes into your mind with regards to working at home such as:

  • How many hours are you able to "work" in your current situation? Do you have children under the age of 5 at home with you full time that leaves you very little spare time to devote to making extra income? Or are your children at school during the day?
  • How much extra money can you spare monthly? Extra money for sales starter kits, or arts/craft/sewing supplies, shipping materials, Internet, etc.
  • What sort of degrees/certificates/training/experience do you currently have that you could make use of? What set of skills do you currently possess (sewing, writing, programming, teaching, etc.,)?
  • What sort of work do you enjoy doing? In other words, what kind of work wouldn't seem much like work if you were to do it? Are you a people person? Do you prefer to work alone?
  • What resources do you currently own? By resources I mean do you own a car? Do you have a computer/printer/Internet at home? Sewing machine? Digital camera? Etc.
  • What kind of resources do you have in your neighborhood? By this I mean, are you close to a post office or shipping center? Are you located close to thrift stores or second hand shops? Is there an art supply/craft store nearby? Etc.

Making Money with Art

Ok, so you've done some brainstorming and decided that making money from art is best for you.

While I won't want to go into too much detail or else this Hub will go on forever, you will need certain materials such as paints (acrylic, watercolour, etc.,) or pastels or clay, etc. If you are a beginner or haven't worked in art in quite some time, it's probably best to use less expensive materials (not poor quality though) such as student grade paints and so forth. You may even be able to pick up paints and other art supplies cheaper on classified ad sites such as Craigslist or Kijiji. You will also need some space to create your artwork.

The downside to selling artwork is that it can be hard to make your first sale, especially if you are unknown. You may not make your first sale for quite some time and it may cost you money in the beginning to get exposure and list your works before you see any money coming in.

Art Supplies:

Cheap Joe's Art Stuff

Art Supplies Online

Curry"s Art Store (Canadian)

Sell Your Artwork to Art Galleries

Working from home as an artist

Working from home as an artist

Sell Your Artwork Online

Sell art on eBay and Etsy

Scroll to Continue

A great example of selling artwork online

Make Money from Home in Direct Sales

Are you naturally a people person? Then sales might be a good way for you to make money from home. Many of these companies require as little as $10 to start up to $500 or more, depending on the size of the starter kits available.

Along with a starter kit you usually have the help of someone in the company to give you support and encouragement as well as access to a wide network of fellow direct sales consultants. You no longer have to feel that you are alone in your struggle to make money. Having additional support and people you can turn to is very comforting to some people.

The downside is that you are constantly under pressure to make a sale or else you don't make any money! There may be other down sides such as travel, requiring space for stock, and someone to watch your children if you have young ones at home or if you have to go out in the evening to attend a sales party. Technically your office is home, but the kind of work you do is mostly outside your home.

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Make Money from Home by Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is probably one of the more popular way of making money at home. The best part is that you make your own schedule, you can write about what you want and all you need is time, a computer and Internet access.

Freelance writing covers a broad spectrum. The more popular ways of making money include:

  • Writing for sites such as Hub Pages, Squidoo, InfoBarrel, etc.
  • Magazine articles
  • Poetry
  • Writing reviews
  • Blogging
  • Novels
  • Kindle Books
  • Greeting cards

These are just to name a few. The Internet is full of possibilities and unfortunately, scams. Unless you are signing up with a company for direct sales, it shouldn't cost you anything to be able to write for money on most websites.

The upside to freelance writing, especially by blogging or writing for Hub Pages for example, is that it becomes a steady source of income long after you published your writing online. It's nice to sit back and watch your money come in.

The downside is that in order to get to a point where you are earning enough money to pay your bills, it will take you a fair bit of time and patience. You won't be able to make much money right away.

This kind of work is really good for stay at home moms or dads with little ones at home. Write when you have the time (3 am if you so desire) and as you keep writing, blogging, etc., by the time your kids are off to school you may very well be able to live off the money you make from all the writing you have done.

What to write?

Some people feel more comfortable focusing on just one area such as blogging, but many more people do a variety of freelance writing at the same time. Here is some further detail about the different avenues available to freelance writers.

Canadian Authors Association - The Canadian Authors Association (CAA) is a national organization with a local presence dedicated to promoting a flourishing community of writers across Canada and to encourage works of literary and artistic merit.


Most popular magazines such as Cosmo, Ladies Home Journal, etc., have writers guidelines if you are interested in submitting an article for publication. To the best of my knowledge many still accept submissions. You can go to the website of the magazine you are interested in and look for where you can find the writers guideline. You will also need to submit a query letter

How To Get Published In A Magazine: A Step by Step Guide


Always wanted to write a book and get it published? It has gotten much easier with the Internet, you can publish the book yourself as an Ebook or even as a Kindle book and offer it on your blog if you have one.

There are so many different books to choose from; non-fiction, fiction (various kinds), cook-books, do-it-yourself books, graphic novels, comics, children's books, picture books, etc.

With regards to making money writing, it takes time to write a book and get it published. This is not a get rich quick scheme, you may want to hang on to your 9-5 job for a little while longer.

If you are interested in writing romance novels, Harlequin is always willing to accept novels, just check out their writing guideline on their website

For more info on writing books:

Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing

How to Write a High-Quality eBook in 30 Days

Poetry/Short Stories

There are many ways to make money writing short stories or poetry. Many people choose to enter poetry contests for the chance to not just win cash but also an opportunity to be published and gain exposure. The downside is the entrance fee to ward off people who are not serious writers.

You will probably want to begin submitting your work to literary magazines and journals, and as you are published, build a manuscript worthy of being submitted for publication by a major publisher.

The ability to live off one's income solely from poetry is extremely difficult, if not impossible unfortunately. It is however, a great way to supplement one's income.

League of Canadian Poets

Writing and Publishing FAQ from

Prairie Fire (Canadian literary periodical featuring poetry and short stories - see their listing of literary journals and publishers under "links").

Prism Magazine


Greeting Cards

If you have always had ideas on what would make a great greeting card, you may be interested in making money by submitting artwork for greeting cards or writing them.

You won't be able to submit work to most of the major card companies such as Hallmark, Shoebox, 123 Cards, etc. You can however submit your work to lesser known companies and get some exposure and build your portfolio. You can also create your own cards on sites such asZazzle.

What are the lesser known greeting card sites you can submit your work to? They are:

Blue Mountain Arts

Graphique Boutique (scroll to the bottom of the page)

Oatmeal Studios

Web pages/Articles

These include HubPages (of course), Squidoo and Infobarrel to name some of the more popular sites that allow you to write an article about whatever topic you like and make money from it!

I'm not going to go into much detail here because there is so much already written about how you can make money on Hub Pages and other websites. I will just summarize for you.

You make your money (residual income) by revenue-sharing. On Hub Pages you can make money when someone clicks on your ads, buys your Amazon products or wins an eBay item.

Making Money Online

There are many different ways a person can make money online. Unfortunately, many of the advertisements and websites out there are scams. Writing articles for sites such as HubPages is a good way to start making money online (although it takes some time and you need to do some considerable writing, not just one Hub), but there are other websites that will pay you to do some work for them online as well.


There are people who make a considerable amount of money from surveys. They take as little as 5 minutes to as long as 45 minutes to take. I also take surveys, but I my average cash-out is $20-$40 every second month or so. I take surveys from 5 different sites. They are:

  • Angus Reid
  • Ipsos Reid
  • Harris poll
  • My Survey and,
  • Leger

Another much talked about site for earning money online is Swagbucks. I haven't used this site much so I can't say how good it is or how much you can make in a month.

Other sites include:

  • Cashcrate
  • Lightspeed
  • Valued Opinions
  • Pinecone Research
  • SurveyHead
  • Survey Lion
  • Mindfield
  • Opinion Outpost

Other Ways to Make Money Online:

Here are some other sources of income you can tap into online, depending on what you are interested in or what you have time for:

  • Write reviews online (places such as Ciao)
  • Create apps for phones
  • Sell crafts on Etsy
  • Sell items on eBay
  • Sell books on Amazon
  • Sell your photos (shutterstock, plus 11 other places to sell your photos)
  • Blogging
  • Consulting
  • Medical transcription jobs
  • Data entry jobs
  • Virtual assistance jobs
  • Design your own items and sell them (zazzle and cafepress)
  • Micro jobs (cloudcrowd or Amazon mechanical turks)
  • Other legit sites for online work include: leapforce at home, demand studios, textbroker and liveops

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is someone who provides various services to business from a home office.

The difference between someone who does this work in an office and a VI is that the VI can specialize in what kind of services they wish to provide, how much they wish to charge and what hours they wish to work.

Don't get too excited though, it takes more work to try to negotiate a contract with a business for work than the work itself. You have to know how to market your business or you won't end up making any money. It is also slow to start. Do not make any big plans to quit your day job before you make a go of this business.

Also, some businesses want V.I's to have some kind of certification (that costs money).

Skills you should possess:

  • At least 2 years real world administrative experience
  • Excellent word processing skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Good writing skills
  • Excellent Internet skills (researching, emails, etc.,)
  • Quick thinking
  • Strong organization skills
  • Desktop publishing
  • plus more
  • Proficient

Telecommuting Jobs

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in trying to find special jobs for working online that we forget that businesses in our own city sometimes offer telecommuting jobs which allow us to work from home commuting via the computer rather than with our cars.

Last summer while I was in Calgary visiting my in-laws, I met a work from home mom who is married to one of my husband's friends. She has twin boys and I asked her what she did for work because I would love to make money from home. Turns out the company she was working for was flexible enough to let her keep her job and just do it from home instead of coming into the office.

If having a telecommuting job is something that appeals to you, I would suggest looking into the company you last worked for (assuming you are still on good terms) or you are currently working for and find out if there are any positions that can be done via telecommuting that you would qualify for. This is a great place to start.

You can also look for these jobs on the Internet. They are listed as "telecommuting" jobs. Sites such as Flexjobs has telecommuting jobs listed on their site for example.

You can also query of the businesses in your city to see if any of them offer such positions too.

And if you're really creative...

You can always create and post your own videos on... YouTube!

My 14-year old tells me all about who's been making money on YouTube all the time... but basically, you just post videos about popular topics, promote them so they become popular and then apply for the YouTube partner program. You earn money from the ads that pop up on the videos, or you can also make money by presenting reviews for products.

Need more ideas?

There are other jobs out there as well that allow you to work from home or at least be at home most of the time, and they include:

  • Paid clinical trials (get paid to test clinical products or be part of a focus group)
  • Mystery Shopping
  • Open a home daycare or provide before and after school care
  • Tutoring
  • Personal fitness trainer (yoga, pilates, aerobics, ballet, etc)
  • Teach classes in your own home or at a local community center on cooking, sewing, painting, etc)

© 2012 Carolyn Dahl


Madhu R Padalaa from Kancheepuram, India on July 13, 2020:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Very informative. So many ways you have described to make money. I am glad it would definitely be of immense help to the ones who are struggling to make their ends meet as well as moms who are having kids to look after would be of much help to them too. :)

E Kyle Morris from Tennessee on May 26, 2020:

Wow! This was not just 'about' making money online, you give so many useful ideas on the 'where's' and 'how-to's'. Thank you for a great article. I'll be breaking this down little by little.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on May 03, 2020:

Thank you for sharing :) Lots of choices :) I would love to create greeting cards :) Have a wonderful and safe week :)

Aastha Chandankar from Mumbai on April 28, 2020:

Well I got to know more about the niche through your article. Thank you so much.

Dominique Cantin-Meaney from Montreal, Canada on January 02, 2020:

This is a good and informative article. Thanks for sharing this info.

Md Mosherof Hossain from Chittagong ,Bangladesh. on October 13, 2019:

Very good writing it is .Need to elaborate process how to get a job for the post of Virtual Assistant .Thanks.

Nona Weeks from Florissant, CO on August 15, 2019:

Thank you for this, there is a lot of helpful info here

lavenderLove from Philippines on June 10, 2015:

loaded with information..great job...

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on June 01, 2014:

Hi, renegadetory,

Great piece of reading and writing. Voted up and away on this in-depth hub. Loved the ideas, graphics and way this was laid-out. You are a very talented writer and artist.

I cordially-invite you to check a couple of my hubs and then be one of my followers . . .I would love that.

Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Al.///Keep up the great work.

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on October 23, 2013:

Thanks! I sure hope so! I'm writing on a few more books now including a cookbook and a book on parenting. I'm super excited about them!

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on October 23, 2013:

Great job VVanNess! Selling items on eBay can really help you bring in some cash! Keep up the good work writing, it will certainly pay off int eh end!

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on October 23, 2013:

Since I last commented, I've started selling items on ebay and craigslist, and I have also published my first book. I have almost 250 articles now and am writing even more every day!

Love the motivation! Great article!

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on September 17, 2013:

Brent, I think it can be, but it would depend on how much traffic your own website or blog was getting...the more traffic, the more likely you will have visitors clicking on your affiliate links.

Brent on September 17, 2013:

Thanks for the load of information here. Do you think affiliate marketing is another good avenue to making money online?

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on June 24, 2013:

Nice article. I chose to write books and online articles. I just wish that it would make more money faster than it does. :) I'll keep you updated! Thanks for the tips!

Gabriela Hdez from Valencia, Spain on April 21, 2013:

Very complete!

This is going to ve very useful in the near future. I'm moving to another continent soon and I will try a few of these options. I will bookmark this hub for reference and will let you know how it worked for me once I try it.


Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on April 11, 2013:

You obviously spent a lot of time on this aricle! It's detailed and easy to read. As well, it has so many different ways to make money from home, that could potentially lead to a full-time income. With the exception of surveys.

I'm sure you covered every skill out there, so anyone looking for a way to work from home, is sure to find something.

I first got hooked on working from home when I was a legal assistant and started telecommuting when I worked for a lawyer in Vancouver. But then I moved back to Alberta, lawyers in Edmonton aren't into that, so I started working from home as a virtual legal assistant.

Great Hub...Voting up and useful and Tweeting

cbarbar on April 07, 2013:

This is a great collection of ideas! I have been trying a lot of things, and just thought about making YouTube videos of my music and lyrical poetry. Wonderfully written hub!

Stephanie from Canada on April 05, 2013:

Interesting! There are lots of good ideas here. It isn't hard to find ways to make money online...but it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out how to put them in practice!

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on April 05, 2013:

Thank you Crystal, I'm glad you found my hub useful! I appreciate the vote up!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on April 05, 2013:

Wow, you've covered a lot of information here! This hub must have taken ages to write. Thanks for all the great tips and links. I am voting up and sharing and will be using this as a resource.

webscripts from Chicago on April 01, 2013:

Great article. Another idea is to look into pre-made software with built in business models. For instance, instead of selling on Etsy, you could start your own site like Etsy using a multi-vendor shopping cart software.

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on March 19, 2013:

Thank you for all the awesome comments!

RicheWrites from Thonotosassa, Florida on March 18, 2013:

very great ideas.

Aravind Balasubramanya from Puttaparthi, India on March 18, 2013:

Super Hub!

I have been wanting to publish an ebook for so long now! Thank you for pointing out to the Kindle link!

Rated up and awesome. Following you too!

Patricia Colie from New Jersey on March 03, 2013:

Awesome article, great advise.

Thank you!!

Kierstin Gunsberg from Traverse City, Michigan on February 27, 2013:

Awesome article! Thanks for posting = )

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on February 27, 2013:

Thank you all for the kind comments, they are much appreciated!

Joanne M Olivieri on February 27, 2013:

Many good ideas and tips on this hub. Thank you

Patricia on January 29, 2013:

Great info. Thanks :)

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on January 22, 2013:

very interesting Hub :)

Thanks for sharing

Have a bless day

Angelo52 on January 22, 2013:

Great Article! So many ideas, well presented, on making money by working from home.

Braydon Moore from Canada on January 21, 2013:

Best hub for making money at home and superb examples explained here. Good Work and keep it up.

Giselle Maine on November 29, 2012:

Superb article, very well-researched and helpful.

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on November 27, 2012:

Chewy Mommy,

I hope that my Hub gives you some ideas and just remember, don't be afraid to think outside the box! There are a lot of opportunities out there, some are just easier to find than others and sometimes you have to try different things. I don't make enough money from just one source, so I do several at the same time such as surveys, writing Hubs, selling on ebay, etc.

I wish you the best, from one stay at home mommy to another! :-)

Chewy Mommy on November 27, 2012:

There are some excellent ideas here! As a current stay-at-home mom my goal is to earn enough money to be able to work from home after my youngest start school. I will be looking into some of your suggestions :-) I voted up!

Simon Lam on November 27, 2012:

This is great information! Enjoyed reading it!

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on November 27, 2012:

I hope it helps you Anil :-)

Anil from Kerala on November 27, 2012:

Hoooooooo, what a wonderful hub. I had a habit 'searching', for getting a good job by online, but even now I not get any thing ( I am a member in hubpage but I didn't get anything from it because I am new) this is a helpful one I am a painter, so I am going for search that sites according your advise. If I get a suitable one I will sent a thanks message to you.ok

Thank you very much

georgescifo from India on November 26, 2012:

A great list of different ways of making money from home. Really appreciate the way you elaborated it.

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on November 26, 2012:

thank you au fait for your comments... I know that when I needed to make some money from home, thinking outside the box helped a lot!

C E Clark from North Texas on November 26, 2012:

You've collected a big list of possibilities for people who want to work at home. I haven't seen some of these before. People wanting to work from home should definitely take a look at this hub.

Voted up, useful, and will share.

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on November 22, 2012:

You're welcome Chin chin!

Chin chin from Philippines on November 21, 2012:

Lots of ideas here. Thanks for sharing all these make money from home tips.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 20, 2012:

Well, I don't usually spell that poorly. I'm using my new iPad. I believe I need some practice.

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on November 20, 2012:


I'm glad you like it.... I will continue to update this Hub in the future as well, so be sure to check back!

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on November 20, 2012:

Thanks for writing such a tharough and useful hub. I hav exta time to devote to earning money online so I will be referring to this hub quite a bit in the coming days and weeks.


Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on November 19, 2012:

Thank you Robie! Much appreciated!

Robie Benve from Ohio on November 18, 2012:

What a load of great information and resources you have compiled here! Great hub, voted up and useful, and will share. :)

Carolyn Dahl (author) from Ottawa, Ontario on November 18, 2012:

Thank you! I've been working on this Hub for a while.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on November 18, 2012:

You really put some extra hard work into this. Great info.

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