Ask LH: How Can I Make Some Extra Money?

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

Freelance mum picture from Shutterstock

Dear CSP,

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.

See also: How To Start A Side Project Without Quitting Your Day Job | How Should I Charge For Site Design? | The Complete Guide To Setting And Negotiating Freelance Rates | Earn Extra Money Even When You Have No Free Time

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    Hi There CSP,
    Selling off things you no longer need/use around the house on eBay or Gumtree can be a great way to get started generating some money. You could save it for the family, or use it towards equipment etc. for another project (such as buying a new camera to try freelance Photography). You will be surprised what sells, check your home and you will find lots of saleable items!

    Your websites and blogs may not have generated ad revenue but I am guessing you probably wrote a lot of content? If so, perhaps it could be compiled into a book for sale somewhere like Amazon's Kindle store.

    All the best for your future financial success!

      eBay tends to suck the profit margin out of selling nick knacks with them these days. Gumtree is marginally better but owned by eBay, Quicksales isn't too bad and the Trading post is better.... :)

      Last edited 01/08/13 3:21 pm

        That is a great point, eBay will take 9.9% of the sale price.

        Yeah that's why you see all those items from Hong Kong listed for 99 cents with a 'postage price' of whatever the item is worth

          Try looking around a bit more...!! If it's too much then don't buy it...! usually the best deal is at the top of the page, try looking there..! I don't know what it is you're looking for but I buy loads of plugs, connectors and leads and I always get them for less than you can find them in a shop and that includes delivery to my door..!! If your not bright enough to look around or maybe change the search criteria that's not my problem...!!

            What the hell dude I was basically agreeing with you and you insult me? You really are the worst troll on this site.

              I don't troll... But it's not like you haven't trolled me in the past it it? Your comment reads as a troll to me. By the way I have no idea why the previous comment was removed, it was not defamatory or hurtful in accordance with the rules, merely a defence of the the reply. Which in short was a pot/kettle remark.

              Last edited 04/08/13 10:38 am

                Yes, you do and I'll give you a hint: it was removed for exactly those reasons. Maybe you should spend more time doing something else instead of trolling on Giz / LH.

                Last edited 04/08/13 12:19 pm

                  Seems strange how they then let pretty much the same comment go through the second time, doesn't it? Anyway my point is that you 'have' trolled me in the past, so why would you not expect tit for tat? Having said that, my original reply to you was because your comment seemed like a troll to me. Also, please point out to me any comment that I have made that could be considered trolling, that was not done in reply to a troll in the first place. I abhor trolling because I don't like being trolled, hence I only troll in reply to same.....!!

                  Last edited 04/08/13 1:24 pm

                  Because it wasn't. Run along now, I don't have enough energy left to care what you have to say.

                  It may not have been but you have to admit, it does come across that way...! And you have definitely trolled me before so why would I not think this was a troll..? Ok now I'm done!

                  Last edited 05/08/13 8:27 am

                He wasn't trolling, just stating a fact. And god, if you're gonna bitch at least learn how to use full stops and exclamation marks correctly.

                  Yes because we really need another Grammar Nazi around here stupid..!
                  As to replying to a comment from last year.. dude get a life...!

      I have had several blogs similar to CSP that have never generated any kind of decent income (Google owes me $20). How profitable can amazon ebooks be? Do you have any experience in this area?

        They can do quite well. Like most things online it comes down to picking the right niches, and with Kindle being (generally) low prices, to make the larger money you will want multiple books running.

    My mum used to iron clothes to supplement her single parent income when I was younger.

    Get into umpiring or refereeing. Could not recommend it enough as an avenue for extra cash. I can make $90 -$120 on a Saturday umpiring a game of football for two and a half hours that keeps you active and doesn't feel like work at all.

    Yes it's not residual money, but you can do it locally and there is no real cost of time or money to get going so not much risk in at least trying it.

    Last edited 01/08/13 4:00 pm

      Now I feel like I've been ripped off! Every sporting club I have ref'd for it has always been only if I can provide my services for free. I have ref'd soccer, indoor volleyball and roller derby and never a cent out of it :(
      Teach me your secrets!

        Yeah don't go to the sporting clubs, go to the league they play in and you'll have more success.

      I know in Adelaide, SAAFL there are always football clubs looking for people to help umpire. Depending on the division will generally determine the $$ but really all you probably need is marginal fitness and a relatively thick skin and you're away.

    If you are a ticketed soccer referee then most local soccer associations should be paying you. I remember as a kid, I got between 12 and $20 just for running the line in Junior soccer. Occasionally i'd get to run the line for Premier League (when I was 17/18) and that paid $30. Was pretty good pocket money!

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