I'll just go ahead and say it — there is nothing harder than being a single parent. Even if you co-parent and only have your kid a certain percentage of the time, being a fractional solo parent is way harder than parenting in a two-adult household 100% of the time. Come at me, fine. But this is from my own experience. Adding to the complexity of single parenthood is how to make money as a single mom. Particularly if you are going from a two-income household down to one, finagling your finances and new net worth can be challenging.
Whether you are adjusting to life as a new divorcee or simply looking for ways to make money as a single mom to combat inflation, read on for more tips on how to expand your income.
How to Make Money As a Single Mom
As a single mom every dollar counts. Sometimes if you want to get your kiddos those little extras, you need to find a way to bring in more money.
Enter the side hustle.
What is a side hustle? Anything you do to bring in extra money on top of your primary job.
It’s no wonder single mothers are adding side hustles to their already busy schedules. According to Single Mother Guide, “only half (of single mothers) were employed full-time all year long, about one in five (20.8%) were jobless the entire year. 41% were employed in low-wage jobs. Even if a single mother is able to work, her earning power still lags significantly compared with men’s, about 83¢ to the $1 for the same job — leaving a wage gap of 17¢ on the dollar.”
Whether you're looking to cover unexpected school expenses, money to live on your own after divorce, save up for a family vacation, or just buy groceries, these side jobs can provide you with the flexibility and income you need.
The Best Side Hustles For Single Moms
The name of the game when it comes to earning more money as a single mom is picking something where you can earn money from home in the off hours after your kids are taken care of.
Are you one of those people who is constantly catching grammar mistakes? With an eye for detail and a solid grasp of grammar, you can earn money as a freelance proofreader. Companies and individuals are willing to pay for someone who can catch and correct errors before their content goes public.
Before you get started, take the time to develop your skills. Take online courses or read books on grammar and proofreading.
Next, build your portfolio. Offer to proofread for friends, family, or local businesses for free or at a reduced rate. Then you’ll be ready to market your services. You can create a website or social media page, or build a profile on websites like Upwork and Fiverr.
If you have a knack for storytelling and excellent writing skills, freelance writing could be a perfect fit. From blog posts and articles to social media content, there's a demand for various types of writing. Websites like Freelancer and ProBlogger Job Board regularly post freelance writing gigs.
If you're interested in becoming a freelance writer, there are a few things you can do to get started. First, build up your portfolio by writing for online publications or your own blog. Second, network with other writers and editors. Third, learn how to pitch your work to clients.
Once you are established with your first client, ask them to recommend you to associates to continue to build your business.
Virtual Assistant Work
As a virtual assistant, you can provide administrative support to businesses and entrepreneurs from the comfort of your home. There are tons of different tasks that VAs do, such as:
- Social media management
- Email management
- Customer support
- Calendar management
- Data entry
Online Tutoring or Teaching
Are you great at explaining math problems or maybe you work as a scientist? If you have a bachelor’s degree and a semi-flexible schedule, teaching or tutoring online can be another lucrative side job. The test-prep market alone is expected to grow at a rate of 6% annually until 2027.
Some English as a second language sites report paying between $14-$25 per hour, and if you teach students overseas, the hours will fall outside of your 9-5 job commitments. Here are some great resources to explore:
Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
If you love animals, consider offering dog walking or pet sitting services. This side hustle allows you to stay active and spend time outdoors while earning money. You can even bring your kids with you to help with the animals. It can be a great learning experience for them too! You can either build your own pet-sitting side business with friends and family or use online services like Rover.
Delivering Food and Groceries
Apps like UberEats, DoorDash, and Instacart, have revolutionized the gig economy, providing earning opportunities perfect for moms who want to supplement their income while juggling busy schedules. Working as a delivery driver or shopper allows you to capitalize on prime earning hours, such as evenings and weekends.
Selling Digital Products and Online Courses
If you have a specific skill or area of expertise, why not monetize it by creating and selling digital products or online courses? Websites like Amazon, Etsy, and Teachable make it easy to sell digital goods, ranging from e-books and templates to comprehensive course materials.
Building a course will take a lot of time upfront because you have to create the content, and then find students. But once the course is made there is very little upkeep unless you need to update content.
I’ve seen courses on a vast variety of topics. People teach pretty much anything they are good at, like:
- Knitting, crocheting, and sewing
- Bookkeeping, proofreading, and blogging
- Gentle parenting, sleep coaching, and homeschooling
- Dating and relationships
- Money management and budgeting
So what skills do you have that others might want to learn?
Blogging, Podcasting, and YouTube Channels
Content creation has emerged as a popular and potentially lucrative side job in the digital age. It involves creating engaging and valuable content for various online platforms like blogs, podcasts, or YouTube channels. While it takes time to build an audience, successful content creators can make serious money.
- Advertisers like Google AdSense pay bloggers and YouTubers every time an ad is viewed or clicked on their platform.
- Sponsorships are where companies pay to have their products or services featured or reviewed in your content.
- Affiliate marketing (see below!) where you earn a commission for promoting and generating sales for another company's product.
- Selling digital products such as e-books or courses, merchandise, or premium content like exclusive videos to their audience.
The key to success in content creation is consistently producing high-quality content that resonates with your audience, thereby growing your follower base and increasing your earning potential. With hard work and consistency, you can make thousands of dollars per month. Some people even go on to surpass their day job income!
And as a big aside – THANK YOU for reading this blog. Every eyeball on this page helps me support my own son as a single mama, and I appreciate it more than you know.
Affiliate marketing involves promoting online retailers' products on your own website or social media account and earning a commission for any sales made through your referral link.
Amazon Associates is one of the most well-known affiliate marketing programs. Once you sign up and are approved as an affiliate, you can create custom links to any Amazon product. If someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase within 24 hours, you earn a commission ranging from 1% to 10%, depending on the product category.
In order to be successful in affiliate marketing, you need to have an established blog or a large social media following. You also need to choose the right products to promote. Make sure that you are promoting products that you believe in and that your audience will be interested in.
Once you have chosen the right products to promote, you need to create compelling content that will encourage your audience to click on your referral links. You can do this by writing blog posts, creating videos, or even just sharing product images on social media.
If you can generate enough traffic to the retailer's website and make enough sales, you can earn a significant income through affiliate marketing.
While you won't make a fortune completing online surveys, they're an easy way to make some extra cash in your free time. Websites like Survey Junkie and Swagbucks pay you for your opinion on a variety of topics and products. Some survey sites also offer other ways to earn, such as watching videos, playing games, or participating in online focus groups.
These surveys typically take a few minutes to complete and reward you with points or cash that can be redeemed for gift cards or PayPal payments. The amount you can earn from each survey varies, but it's usually a few dollars per survey.
Renting Things Out
For those who feel a little skeeved out by allowing strangers into their home or car, be sure to work with reputable companies that require renters to submit a profile photo, government-issued ID, confirmed phone number, and email address.
It isn’t just spare rooms that can be rented these days. Anything from cars to camera equipment to surfboards is now up for rent thanks to the app and sharing economy. Below are just a few ways you can earn passive income by renting out spare items you already own:
- Boats, jetskis, or surfboards
- Cars for other people to drive for Uber or Lyft
- Storage spaces such as a vacant lot, boat slip, or parking space
If you want a side job that allows you to spend time with your child, consider offering childcare services. If you're already caring for your own children, watching a few more may not be much of an added burden and in fact, can make it easier since your children will have friends to play with. You can charge an hourly rate or weekly rate for your services.
Websites like Care.com and Sittercity connect babysitters with parents looking for childcare. It's important to have experience and a good rapport with children, as well as basic first aid and CPR training.
Part-time jobs, such as retail or customer service roles, can provide a steady source of additional income. Many of these jobs offer flexible hours to accommodate your busy schedule as a single mom.
If your children are school-age, consider jobs with built-in “mother’s hours” such as school bus driver, daycare worker, or school aide. These types of jobs often have schedules that align with your children's school hours, allowing you to be available for drop-offs and pick-ups. Additionally, these positions may offer benefits such as health insurance or retirement plans.
Driving for Uber or Lyft
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft offer the opportunity to earn money on your own schedule. All you need is a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, and a suitable vehicle that meets the company's requirements. Driving for Uber or Lyft can be a flexible way to make money, as you can choose when and where to work.
Plus, you can make a few dollars driving to places you’re going to anyway. If you plan accordingly and leave a little early then it should be no problem to get a $5 to $20 dollar ride driving the direction you were going to go anyway.
It's important to consider factors such as gas expenses, insurance, and wear and tear on your vehicle when determining if this is a viable option for you.
Becoming an Influencer
If you have a knack for creating engaging content and have built a sizable following on social media, becoming an influencer could be a rewarding side job. Companies often pay influencers to promote their products or services to their followers.
As an influencer, you can collaborate with brands through sponsored posts, product reviews, or affiliate marketing. It's important to choose partnerships that align with your values and interests and to disclose any sponsored content to maintain transparency with your audience. Building a strong online presence and consistently creating high-quality content is key to becoming a successful influencer.
Flipping Items for Profit
Buying items at a low cost and reselling them for a profit, also known as flipping, can be a profitable side job. This can be done with a range of items including furniture, clothing, and electronics.
I’ve even made good money by flipping houses over the last few years.
Get started on:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Offer Up
- Sell gently used old clothing with thredUP
- Consign designer goods with TheRealReal
Setting Yourself Up for Success
It can be hard to balance a side hustle on top of full-time child care or a 9-5 job. But one thing I do know is that if there is something challenging, a single mom is going to get it done no matter what. I swear there is some type of magic “single mom energy” that enables stuff to happen that ordinarily would not work. Like the time I built my son a wooden play house with zero prior experience.
Don't let negative thoughts get in the way of your earning potential. If there's a will, there truly is a way.
Set Up a Schedule
One of the challenges of having a side job is finding the right balance between work, family, and self-care. Setting up a schedule can help you manage your time effectively and prevent burnout. Determine how many hours per week you can dedicate to your side job and block off specific times in your calendar for work. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you have enough time for your family and yourself.
Build a Strong Network
Building a network is crucial for finding clients and opportunities for your side job. Reach out to friends, family members, and colleagues who may know someone in need of your services. Attend networking events or join online communities related to your field to connect with potential clients or collaborators. Building relationships and word-of-mouth referrals can be a powerful way to grow your side job.
Master Time Management
Time management is vital when juggling a side job, your primary job, and family responsibilities. Tools like Google Calendar, Asana, or Trello can help you stay organized and on track with all your tasks.
You might feel that a side hustle will take you away from your kids but look for times when you can fit in an hour or two of work without missing out on kid time, such as:
- Work in the morning or evening: If your children are at school during the day, you could work in the morning before they wake up or in the evening after they've gone to bed.
- Work on the weekend: If weekdays are too hectic, consider working on the weekends when you might have more free time.
- Work during child's activities: If your child has an activity such as a sports practice or music lesson, you can use this time to work.
- Share responsibilities with older children: If you have older children who can help with household chores or look after younger siblings, this could free up some of your time to work.
The key to successfully fitting a side job into your life is flexibility, communication, and good time management.
Invest in Yourself
Investing in yourself and your skills is essential for long-term success. Attend workshops, conferences, or online courses to stay up-to-date with industry trends and developments. This will not only make you more marketable but also give you the confidence to excel in your side job.
Make a Plan For Your Income
Managing the extra income from your side job is just as important as earning it. Keep track of your earnings, expenses, and any taxes you may need to pay. Set aside a portion of your income for savings or emergencies. Consider consulting with a financial advisor or accountant to ensure you're making the most of your earnings and are in compliance with tax regulations.
Find Support and Resources
Don't hesitate to seek out support and resources. Recognize the signs of burnout and take steps to manage stress. This may involve self-care practices, seeking support from loved ones, or even considering therapy or counseling.
Connect with other single moms in similar situations through online communities or local groups. Seek out mentors or join professional organizations related to your side job field for guidance and support. Remember, there's a wealth of support available to help you succeed in your side job and as a single mom.
How can I get started with a side job?
1. Assess Your Skills and Interests:
Start by evaluating your skills, experience, and interests. Consider what type of work you enjoy and what skills you can offer to potential clients or employers.
2. Research and Explore Opportunities:
Once you have a clear idea of the type of side job you want to pursue, research different platforms, websites, and offline opportunities where you can find work. Look for reputable sources and read reviews or testimonials to ensure you are choosing legitimate and trustworthy options.
3. Create a Professional Profile or Resume:
Depending on the side job, having a professional profile or resume can be crucial. Highlight your relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments. Tailor your profile or resume to showcase your expertise and include a professional photo and client testimonials to build credibility and trust with potential clients or employers.
4. Market Yourself:
Utilize social media platforms, online forums, and local community boards to promote your services. Create engaging content related to your field of expertise to attract potential clients or employers. Networking with others in your industry can also help you find new opportunities.
5. Set Reasonable Rates:
When determining your rates, consider factors such as your level of experience, the complexity of the work, and the market demand for your services. Research what other freelancers or professionals in your field are charging to get an idea of the average rates. It's important to set fair and competitive rates that reflect the value you provide.
6. Deliver High-Quality Work:
To build a strong reputation and attract repeat clients or referrals, it's important to consistently deliver high-quality work. Meet deadlines, exceed expectations, and strive for excellence in every project or task you undertake. Providing exceptional service will help you stand out and differentiate yourself from competitors.
7. Continuously Update Your Skills:
To stay competitive in today's job market, it's important to continuously update your skills and knowledge. Stay informed about industry trends, attend workshops or webinars, and invest in professional development opportunities. This will not only enhance your expertise but also increase your value as a side job worker.
What are easy side hustles for single moms?
Side hustles that allow you to spend time with your kids are probably the easiest to get started with. Consider childcare, pet sitting or dog walking, virtual assistance, or blogging. All of these are easy to break into and will work with your kid's schedule.
How can you make six figures as a single mom?
It’s hard to imagine making six figures at first, and everyone has to start small and start somewhere. Riches aren't made overnight, but if you work consistently, blogging, content creation, and selling courses or digital products are probably the best ways to get there. The women that I’ve seen do it, work for years to make it happen, so don’t expect it to be an overnight success.
Take small steps, educate yourself on your chosen niche, and don’t give up!
What obstacles will I face as a mom with a side job?
Common obstacles include finding the time to work on your side job, dealing with irregular income, and managing additional stress. You will probably feel like giving up at least once on this journey. Don’t get discouraged! Take a step back and take care of yourself if you are feeling burnt out, then make a plan to get back out there.
What are the downsides of starting a side hustle as a single mom?
Juggling multiple responsibilities can sometimes lead to stress and burnout. It's important to recognize the signs of burnout and take steps to manage stress. This might involve taking regular breaks, practicing self-care, or seeking support from friends, family, or a professional.
With determination, creativity, and the right resources, single moms can find side jobs that not only provide extra income but also offer flexibility and fulfillment. Whether you choose to tutor online, start a blog, or rent out your spare room, the possibilities are endless.
Remember you are capable, you are resilient, and you have what it takes to succeed. The road to financial freedom may not always be smooth, but with determination to make the best of things, it is indeed attainable.
By taking advantage of these side job opportunities, single moms can enhance their financial well-being and provide a better future for their children.
Lauren Bowling is the creator of Financial Best Life. Writing about money since 2012 (formerly as L Bee and the Money Tree), Bowling is an award-winning blogger and money and real estate expert whose advice has been featured on CNBC, Forbes, CNNMoney, Elite Daily, Business Insider, Redbook, and Woman’s Day Magazine and more. After selling the site to a division of The Motley Fool in 2019, Bowling is now back as the owner and primary voice behind FBL and is excited to continue educating elder millennials everywhere about how to afford their best life.