Back before I started my blog, I had a little bit of free time on my hands. Don’t get me wrong – I was overwhelmed, tired, and super busy as a stay at home mom. But nap time was mine, and I had an hour here, an hour there. One thing I didn’t have: any extra cash to treat myself to something nice occasionally (because, you know, all mamas deserve a treat here and there!) I eventually learned how to earn money online in that spare time, and that was even before I started Moms & Crafters. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
It’s been a long time coming, but I figured I’d share with you some of the side gigs I managed to work with. I’ll share my experiences doing them, as well as recommendations from others I know, beyond what I tried myself.
How to earn money online so that you can treat yourself:
Before I go on with my list, there’s one thing I need to clarify.
There is no such thing as an easy dollar!
You may have heard or seen it advertised – crazy amounts that people earn on side hustles. I’ll be perfectly clear and honest with you: those people, if they are real, worked their tush off to get there.
I’ll tell you the same about me. Moms & Crafters started as a side hustle, and has since evolved into a full time job for me. Every waking minute that I’m not dealing with the children, I’m working on something for the blog (save for a single “sanity hour” before I go to sleep.)
There are a few ways how to earn money online here that can be done as side-hustles to bring in a little extra cash, but my main goal here is to bring you those little ways to earn gift cards and small bits of cash so that you can spoil yourself.
I’m a huge believer that moms should NOT be neglecting themselves the way they do. I’m guilty of it all the time.
Earning that extra cash that isn’t part of the grocery budget can allow you to treat yourself.
I’ve definitely focused this list of how to earn money online on things that will include a little treat here or there…
My top tip for making your online business work: make use of social media! I get lots of traffic to my blog and products by using Tailwind as a social media scheduler. I make sure to pin actively as well, but I participate in Tailwind tribes and schedule my posts out to as many boards as possible using Tailwind. I use it also to keep my account active with other posts so that I’m not JUST spamming my followers with my blog posts and products. Start with a free month to see if you want to upgrade.
How to earn money online – earning extra cash via side gigs:
Starting a successful side-gig isn’t usually FREE (unless it’s something like doing surveys – I’ll get to that later.) I’ve focused on minimal financial investment here.
Each of these ideas is LOADED, so skim the title to see if it sounds right and if it does, read through! I’ve included a section at the end to help you decide what’s right for you.
1. Become a Stella & Dot stylist:
While Multi-Level Marketing can have a bad rap, it’s a totally respectable thing to do if you don’t push yourself on others. To make it, you’ll need to reach out and network with others. You’ll host parties, set up stands at shows, and more.
I absolutely love their accessories and jewelry (my favorite bangle is from them) and so there’s a fun “perk” to being a stylist. You get HUGE discounts on their products…
- Investment: $199 for the basic essentials kit – once. Restock when you run out, at which point I’d hope you’ve earned it back already!
- Perks: You have something tangible in your hand for your investment, so if it doesn’t work out, you keep the stuff! It’s like opening an accessory store but with very little investment. The Stella & Dot team really help get you going, so you’re not in it alone. They provide you with marketing materials, advice, and even your own website (meaning, you don’t need to have stock to sell online!)
- Skills: You’ll need to do some basic marketing – usually socially. This can be by creating giveaways for the product, growing a Facebook page, having a party at your place, or even online parties.
- Disadvantages: Obviously, there’s an investment here, so you need to know if you’re up for that. Some people do very well with such things, however to really earn a lot you’ll have to work a lot. Do this if you’re passionate about it and committed to it.
I know people who make a full time living in this field – but you can go for it, starting small. I’m personally passionate about handcrafted jewelry, which is why this is a great choice. Read their FAQ to answer your questions.
2. Start a blog:
Yes, I blog full time. But you don’t have to!
I absolutely love blogging – it’s my way of reaching out to and empowering fellow moms, while sharing my G-d given skills with the world. The investment is small but recurring (meaning it’s not a one-time investment. You can earn money through display ads, affiliate sales, sponsored posts, and even creating your own printables to sell (more on that later.) It’s also a great way to promote other things that you sell, such as Stella & Dot. Just make sure to start a blog in the right niche – the one you’re an expert on, and the one you’ll want to sell products in!
I use Black Chicken Hosting – you can start with their smallest plan until you need to expand. Don’t go with a cheap unlimited plan, see why here. If you want to be serious at all, you’ll need an honest host.
From there, install WordPress, install your theme, and you’re good to go! I shared some more tips for starting your blog here, and wrote a book on the basics of blog design to get you going! Within a few months of doing it right you should be able to recoup your monthly spend. It can stay a side gig, or become a full time hobby.
- Investment: $15/month about for hosting. You may want to budget another $50 or so for books and blogging education to get yourself going faster. I made so many mistakes in the beginning!
- Perks: Very little investment, and you’re essentially offering a “free” service so it’s easier to pull people in, if you don’t like selling. There are fun side-perks to the job. While I personally don’t accept free products to review, I do participate in fun sponsored post campaigns and get some fun little treats alongside it. Sometimes a brand will send “extras” besides for their products when I’m working with them. You may find yourself working with BIG brands like Walmart and Target. You can do it all from the home. And many times you can get some passive income going so that you don’t have to be fully invested to earn a little extra cash from it.
- Skills: You need to be able to write okay (basic knowledge of grammar…) and to be okay with working on the computer. Besides for that, the more skills you have, the quicker you’ll grow and the better off you’ll be. Graphic design skills, marketing, photography, social media skills all come into play. As a part time job, you really just need the basics.
- Disadvantages: To be a strongly successful blogger, you’ll need to put in a LOT of time. You’ll be pulled in many directions. And it may take a few months (or more) till you see any return.
3. Sell DIGITAL products on Etsy:
If you have a creative skill, why not sell it online? My favorite is to sell digital printables! I sell coloring pages for grown-ups, wall, art, and more – and it’s totally passive! An order comes in and I do NOTHING. Etsy delivers the digital file automatically.
This is a great way for graphic designers or artists to make money online passively – by selling digital prints. Of course, there’s a lot of work in creating them and putting it out there. Build up a store before you expect to start selling anything (I sell through this blog as well, and it took me over ten listings until my listings started selling each other.)
Get 40 free listings – that’s enough to get a good stock going until you can sell some STUFF!
- Investment: Pretty much nothing, considering you get free listings to begin with. After that, Etsy and your payment provider take a small cut, so factor seller fees into your total production costs when pricing your products, so that you earn a sustainable profit.
- Perks: Passive income, you can TOTALLY run your own schedule (but be disciplined! Keep a calendar of new product launches…) No need to keep stock of any sort. Etsy already has a MASSIVE customer database, and people trust it as a point of purchase.
- Skills: You have to have a creative skill to start with. If you’re an artist, you can sell scans of your art. If you’re a graphic designer, you can sell digital party packs (water bottle wrappers, etc.) If you’re an illustrator you can sell clip art and coloring pages…
- Disadvantages: There’s a lot of competition, and you’ll need to get a substantial shop going before you see any sales. Once again, it helps when you have a blog to promote it, or use social media to your advantage.
4. How to earn money online with cash perks, bonuses, and surveys:
Far from a part-time business ventures, there are some small things you can do to earn money online in the 10-15 minute time slots you have, or by conducting your online interactions wisely. What do I mean by online interactions?
- You shop online: I do most of my shopping online – including necessities like groceries and diapers! First compare rates on cash back sites like Giving Assistant and Ebates (you get a sign up bonus too). It adds up over time, and every few months I get a surprise check in the mail with my rebate. It definitely feels like I’m earning money.
- You search for things using Google: Scratch that. Use Bing. I do. Using Bing gives you points if you sign up for their rewards system, and I find it to be on par with Google. Every once in a blue moon I earn an Amazon or similar gift card for doing basically nothing. It’s perfect for little splurges.
Got actual time slots? Use that time to fill out surveys. These surveys are usually big brands doing their marketing research, and you can have a part in it! I used to do this while breastfeeding M since I can usually do it single-handedly. I earned lots of Amazon gift cards, cash, and sometimes got to test new and fun products (perfumes, breast pumps, and other beauty products)…
- Investment: Nothing at all. Not even a lot of time
- Perks: For surveys, there are some perks as mentioned – mainly product tests. Plus the fact that it took no investment at all. For the cash back and search engine rewards, it’s pretty much mindless – things I’m doing anyway, which I can earn from, which is a huge perk.
- Skills: None… unless shopping is a skill? Okay, I had to learn how to breastfeed with one hand…
- Disadvantages: It’s not a lot of money. Surveys don’t pay very well. For the time the single survey takes, you can sometimes get an okay payout, but sometimes it takes a while to qualify for a survey since they are looking for specific demographics.
Some places to sign up to do surveys:
I know people who swear by Swagbucks for cash back, search engine rewards AND surveys but I’ve never really done well with them… Give it a go if you’d like!
How to earn money online doing what you do best:
Yes, the best way to succeed is to make use of the toolbox you were given. This includes skills, budget, and time allowance. Here are some scenarios:
- You don’t really have time to devote, just want something you can do a few hours a month.
Try the surveys listed above! They are your best route to actually earning without spending instead.
- You want to put in minimal financial investment and don’t need to earn right away.
Try Etsy, but give it a good go! If you want to expand on it later, you can start building a blog to help you promote your listings.
- You have a couple hundred dollars to invest and are willing to be disciplined and make it work.
Try the blog or Stella & Dot. Those both have the potential to be real side businesses and can be truly enjoyable.
- You want something that you can start part time and expand to full time if it works out.
An Etsy shop, Stella & Dot stylist, or blog is the way to go! Start with your best skill and work from there.
- You want to earn money off your creative hobbies
For me, my blog was the starting point and it eventually gave way to my Etsy shop with digital downloads.
- You’re the neighborhood fashionista, the one that everyone comes to for fashion feedback
Stella & Dot styling is for you!
- You have $0 to invest and just want a little pocket money.
Do those surveys, search engine rewards, and shop via cash back sites!
- You love to socialize and have a good social network.
Stella & Dot is for you! Be creative in marketing it and you’ll go very far.
- You’re a whiz at marketing and can sell the Brooklyn Bridge to a fox
Go for Stella & Dot. You’ll really enjoy the satisfaction of selling a physical item to an actual person (a lot easier than a fox).
I’ll have to cut this off here, even though, as a successful online earner, I have much more than 2400 words to say about this.
Got any tips for how to earn money online? Comment below!