3 flexible side gigs for parents to bring in extra cash from home

  • Many parents have had to leave their jobs to take care of and homeschool their kids during the pandemic.
  • Several people told Business Insider that they’ve used this time to pick up side gigs, such as becoming call center agents, bloggers, or talent procurers.
  • Teresa Fong, a 34-year-old mother based in San Francisco, dedicates just an hour a day to finding talent for the job search platform Wanted and makes around $20 per hour, or $500 to $600 a month.
  • Stephanie Craig, meanwhile, started a third blog focused on local travel, and has brought in several hundred dollars a month in addition to income from her other two blogs.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Many parents in recent months have had to leave their jobs to take care of and homeschool their kids as schools remain closed or remote. The Wall Street Journal reported in September that “as many as 4.3 million employees may have to stay home rather than continue working if they have no other option for childcare.”

In lieu of a full-time salary, some parents are setting up or doubling down on lucrative side gigs to help offset the income drop. These home-based roles also allow parents to earn a substantial living on their own terms while simultaneously managing their children’s routines.

Real parents share how they got their side hustles started.

Virtual call center agent

When the pandemic hit, employees in call centers around the US were among the first to raise objections about the safety issues of working in crowded offices. Yet as storefronts closed customers needed call-center support more than ever, creating an opportunity for call center workers to take their services to a virtual marketplace.

NexRep, a virtual call-center marketplace for agents, offers workers the opportunity to earn $40,000 or more a year while representing big-name brands like Sprint, Glossier, and Sweetgreen. A NexRep spokesperson told Business Insider that pre-COVID-19, the company received around 2,000 applications per week — after COVID-19, this surged to 7,000 applications per week. They added that people in the education field and the restaurant industry are two of its biggest sources of applicants, and 85% are stay-at-home moms. 

Reysie Beekmann began working as a representative at NexRep during the pandemic.

Reysie Beekmann

Reysie Beekmann.

Reysie Beekmann

“Back in March, I was working in education at a hospital in Colorado,” Beekmann said. “Right when schools started shutting down, I had to make the difficult decision to resign so that I could stay at home and take care of my seven-year-old son.” 

Becoming a remote contact center agent for NexRep came to mind since she’d worked for the company previously. Today, she works about 40 hours a week as a remote agent, and sometimes even more depending on her family’s needs.

As a representative for companies that pitch fitness products on TV infomercials, Beekmann is able to earn commissions from sales, plus has the opportunity to make more money if customers add to their purchase while on the call with her. 

“I’ve been able to earn as much as about $1,400 in one week,” Beekmann said. “On average, I pull in two to three times my income from the hospital.”

The busy parent appreciates that NexRep uses technology from cloud contact center solution Five9, which gives her the freedom to pick and choose her hours from the comfort of her own home. 

“Some days I start as early as 3 a.m. so that I can spend the rest of the day with my son,” she said. “There’s no commuting, no risk of getting sick with the virus, and I can easily work around my family’s schedule. If I ever need to take a day off, I’m happy knowing I can make it up later on my own time.”

Another virtual call center services company, Liveops, allows virtual agents to make anywhere from $12 to $15 an hour to $30 for more specialized work involving healthcare and insurance sales. 

Amy Smith, a mom of seven children (four of whom still live at home), has worked in insurance sales for Liveops and currently works as an agent for a healthcare line. Part of her responsibilities include ensuring patients have an ambassador, signing them up for a savings card, sending them needed kits, and connecting them to necessary resources. 

What most attracted Smith to using Liveops was the ability to create her own schedule as a virtual worker. She’d already been homeschooling her children before the pandemic and needed a job that allowed her to balance being a mom, a teacher, and an income earner. Her typical virtual workday starts in the early afternoon and goes into the evening — a schedule she’s been able to maintain through COVID-19. 

“I like to focus on schoolwork in the mornings and getting the kids ready to be able to entertain themselves [while I work] in the afternoon with educational videos, reading books, and being able to play outside,” Smith said. “My goal is to take off an hour in the evening for dinner prep and eating together at the table as a family, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Once I log out at 8:10 p.m., the rest of the night is dedicated to my kids.”

Her 19-year-old daughter also began working for Liveops, and the teen’s flexible schedule allows her to help her mom with her younger siblings.

“Without the flexibility of Liveops, I honestly don’t know how I would accomplish all that I do,” Smith said.

Blogger and affiliate partner

Samiksha S. Rawool, an entrepreneur in her 30s and mother of one, doubled down her efforts on growing her food blog, Yummy Tummy Recipes, using affiliate programs when the pandemic hit. Having starting her blog in 2019 as a hobby, she said today it attracts around 7,000 monthly unique visitors. 

Samiksha S. Rawool

Samiksha S. Rawool.

Samiksha S. Rawool

She said she currently dedicates about 10 hours a week to working on the blog. 

“I found it very challenging at the start to run my blog, as I have a full-time job and I have to watch my kid, too,” Rawool said. She credits her husband as a “great help” in getting it all done. 

“I manage the recipes and the cooking part,” Rawool said. “But my husband takes care of all technical aspects of my blog as well as digital marketing.”

Rawool trained herself in web development and SEO through learning platforms like Udemy and Udacity to turn her blog into a successful side business. 

“The best part is that these courses cost on average no more than $15,” she said.

She now makes a minimum of $300 per day through two ad networks — Google AdSense and Media.net — that display ads on her website, though she shared that at first, the revenue was very nominal, around $10 per day.

“I got my AdSense and Media.net approval in March this year,” she said. “I hit my first approximate $300 per-day figure in early July this year. So it took me about four months to hit my first $300 per day figure.”

In March, she also began partnering with meal delivery kit service Green Chef and makes $150 to $200 a day promoting their products and services. 

Stephanie Craig is a full-time travel blogger who started a third blog — Oklahoma Wonders — during COVID-19, which focuses on travel close to home. 

“I had my first baby in January and started the site at the end of February,” Craig told Business Insider.

Her new blog is pacing to make about $575 dollars in September. Most of this (about $550) is from ads on the blog, but she also made her first $25 in affiliate sales this month. In August, the blog netted $466, all from ads. To help other aspiring bloggers see how much one can make through monetized blogging, Craig has been sharing her blog income report here. 

“Typically it’s easier to earn affiliate income before your website gets going with good ad revenue,” Craig said. “However, with the baby my brain is in a fog, so for me I find it easier to focus on getting traffic through Pinterest as opposed to writing the kind of smart, targeted pieces that bring in good affiliate income.” 

Craig expects in the long run that she will be making much more in affiliate sales on things like hotel rooms, Airbnbs, and Etsy products — though with a new baby in the middle of a pandemic, she emphasized that she will take whatever income she can get right now. 

Her two blogs started pre-pandemic — History Fangirl and Sofia Adventures — had previously been making over $7,000 a month total, but when tourism collapsed her income on these blogs collapsed as well. 

“In April, they only made $700 combined,” Craig said. In addition to creating the new website, she’s also been making more “pandemic-friendly” content for her original two sites to help them try to recover. 

“Juggling three websites with a baby has been stressful, but I know the extra work is helping to build us a bright future as well as just get through this strange year,” she said. “I still need to buy diapers, even in the middle of a pandemic. I have a list of things that need to be done every day, and I try to check off as many items as I can while he’s napping and after he goes to bed. I also get two afternoons to work alone every week when my fiancé is at home.” 

Online talent procurer

Eva Peris is the cofounder and chief marketing officer of Wanted, a talent marketplace that matches candidates looking to switch jobs with opportunities that fit their desired salary. She told Business Insider that the company was founded to create a transparent job market for companies to poach talent. 

“[We] make companies commit on salary first, to keep talent fully anonymous and free from any form of salary discrimination; as a woman, I sadly know how true this is,” Peris said.

Eva Peris

Eva Peris.

Eva Peris

Peris told Business Insider that the team raised $2 million last year to prove their concept with US and EU investors (Hoxton Ventures and Partech), as well as a member of the executive team from Linkedin.

Wanted started operations in February 2020, and Peris said that COVID-19 made them finetune their approach and strategy during lockdown. She hires talent success managers who work 100% from home, and she’s actively searching for people to hire. Wanted currently counts about 100 enterprises and startups on its waiting list, and more than 30,000 people joined the platform thanks to the efforts of the company’s talent success managers.

“The job consists in contacting people through LinkedIn to get them to sign up on the [Wanted] job platform,” said Teresa Fong, a 34-year-old mother based in San Francisco, who was one of the company’s first hires in March 2020. “We have templates for answers so everything goes very quickly and smoothly.” 

Fong dedicates just an hour a day to working for Wanted from home and makes around $20 per hour, or $500 to $600 a month, though some months she makes more.  Peris shared that some people on her team have made more than $1,300 per month dedicating about three hours a day. 

Teresa Fong

Teresa Fong.

Teresa Fong

“What it takes really is enthusiasm, a good routine, and good sense of sales,” Peris said. “Some make $200 a week with two hours’ dedication; some just make about $300 a month by dedicating 30 minutes.” 

She added that what attracts many to the job is that the company doesn’t force people to commit to more than 30 minutes. 

“It’s a low commitment job, 100% flexible (there is no timetable to follow), and of course 100% at home or from anywhere really,” Peris said. “On top of it, we create some challenges and those that end [up in the] top of the rankings get bonuses.”

Fong added that she didn’t need any specific training or skills to do the job; the only requirement was that she had a LinkedIn account that she knew how to use. 

“The platform is always looking for people that do the same job as I do, so I think this is the perfect side hustle to work on,” Fong said. “My schedule is quite flexible. I like to work in the morning while preparing my coffee and then catch up in the evening to catch up on my prospective signups of the day, while I have the whole day to be with my child and do remote work.”

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