If you are taking a break from the rat race but still need to earn some money there are ways it can be done. Maybe like me you are having a long sabbatical whilst you decide what is next for you. We are living in times that are vastly different from our parents and now people often have more than one career. Or maybe you are a stay at home mum whilst your children are young. Balancing school and work is such a challenge especially during the school holidays that maybe it makes sense to be working for yourself. Over the past few years I have built myself some additional income streams and I finally seem to have that elusive work life balance. All of these ideas are things that I do or have done, and they have enabled me to have the same standard of living that I had when I had a regular income.
So how have I done it?
1. The internet has made it so much easier to be a bit entrepreneurial and there are opportunities out there to make money and fit when it suits you. It may not be enough to radically change your income but it can often pay enough to give you what you need. It is not a passive income though and you still need to put the hours in.
2. Entering competitions. Yes this is an actual thing which I discovered six years ago when I was on bedrest and pregnant. There are websites like Prize Finder, Loquax and MSE that all list open competitions. You simply pop in your details and wait for the prizes to arrive. It is a numbers game and if you enter lots you will win, the only thing is you won’t know whether you win big or small but over the years I have won plenty from bikes, vouchers, holidays to toiletries and dvds. The prizes I don’t need are often used as birthday and Christmas presents. Prizes are tax free so no declaring or anything is required. I have a new washing machine on my ideal win list!
3. Mystery shopping. Again people often think this will be a scam. It isn’t, as long as you use reputable sites like Gapbuster and React Surveys. Never pay anything to be registered – these sites are free. You do the assignment and are then reimbursed and paid. You will not get rich for mystery shopping but you can get nice treats like meals out at chain restaurants including Strada and Green King Pubs. In the past I have had three month gym memberships, hotel stays and countless meals out. After your experience you fill in an online questionnaire and then claim your expenses and receive a nominal payment. This is a great way to have some of life’s luxuries for free.
4. Blogging is another possible income stream. If you set up a successful blog you can monetise it through advertising or by reviewing products and places. However, blogging is not for the faint hearted, it takes a huge amount of time and dedication but you can do it around other family commitments. We have been incredibly lucky and had holidays both abroad and in UK off the back of blogging, it has changed my life beyond belief. If you want to consider a blog look at Tots 100 for advice on setting one up – but don’t assume it will be successful quickly. I have been doing this for five years now and whilst it has given me the freedom to leave teaching there is a lot of admin and pitching for articles involved.
5. Selling your skills. If blogging and writing is not one of your skills consider what skills you do have. Can you bake amazing cakes, take amazing photos? Do you sew? Or what about childminding? There are many ways that you can sell the skills you have, but take the time to research any steps you need to take before pursuing them professionally. For example, childminders need to be registered with their local council. Now that I work for myself I seek out others doing the same. I use local friends that bake and decorate birthday cakes rather than go to a shop. Taking the time to build this community can mean you have more work from others. Alternatively there are also roles as party hosts for companies like The Bodyshop and Partylite that are commission based. You can earn in the evenings which ensures that you are around for the school run.
6. Sell what you no longer need.
Car boots, Facebook selling sites, Ebay… It is amazing what you have lying about that you no longer use and need and there are plenty of places to earn some money for it! As the children outgrow clothes and toys I sell them on. If it doesn’t sell it then heads to the local charity shop. My children have so many clothes and they are rarely worn out they just outgrow them. This is the same with toys – we have so many now that things are not overly used. Therefore selling them on can be easy as the quality will be almost as new.
One last thing, remember that if you make money it needs to declared and you will need to keep accounts. This is really easy to set up and you will pay tax if you go over your personal allowance so do keep account of everything.