Dear LH, I’m a single parent, I work a full time job, and travel an hour each way every day. While I do enjoy my job, it doesn’t pay as well as I would like leaving my family with little in the way of spending money after all the bills and general expenses are paid. No promotion opportunities coming up any time soon. What are some things I can do on the side to add to my earnings with minimal initial overhead, and still allow for minding and spending time with my children?
I have tried a few times to set up websites and blogs to earn advertising money but never ended up earning anything for the huge amount of time invested in these projects. Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks, Cash-Strapped Parent
Naturally, the type of side-projects you can embark upon will depend on your existing skillsets. Are you a decent writer? Are you a dab-hand at photography, mobile applications or graphic/web design? These are the kinds of tasks that could conceivably be done from home in your spare time — all you need to do is choose a job you’re good at and own the required tools for.
Pay a visit to freelance exchange sites like Freelancer.com.au to see what kind of jobs are in high demand. You can then add your services to the website and wait for offers to come rolling in. Just be aware there will be plenty of other freelancers bidding for the same project, which can bring
the agreed price down to pretty pitiful levels. It’s therefore a good idea to use an expense-tracking app like Was It Worth It or MyPrice to monitor how much time and money you’re actually spending.
You can read some in-depth tips on how to make the most out of these websites here. This guide to working out your on-the-side freelance rate is also worth a look.
Another option is to find a part-time employer and sign a contract. Unless you currently work night shifts, you’ll need to find a business that’s willing to accept your freelance services outside of the traditional 9-5 time-frame — this is easier said than done. (For example, most freelance journalists need to be on top of breaking local news and important announcements, which tends to be announced in the daytime when you’ll presumably be busy with your regular job.)
It’s also important to be realistic about these things: embarking on a freelance career is going to take time away from the kids, no ifs or buts. Although depending on your occupation, it might be possible to occasionally involve them. Whatever project you decide to put your hand up for, make sure that you strike a good Work/Life balance or burn-out is sure to follow.
If there are any freelancers reading this who have additional tips of their own, let CSP know in the comments section below.
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