Confessions of… a stay-at-home mother
Four tried and tested ways to improve your bank balance from the comfort of your own home
By Charlotte Maslen
It was January 2011. I had a two-month-old baby and no maternity pay. With our household income halved I needed to make some money, but with a breast-fed baby who wanted to feed every two hours I couldn’t see employers knocking down my door with job offers. Instead I researched ways to make money from home. I was surprised by what I could do from the comfort of my sofa. I sold what I considered to be junk on eBay; I got together with another new mum and we designed an iPhone app together. I also freelanced from home and I blogged. So if you’re looking for some extra cash look no further. If a sleep-addled new mum can do it, anyone can.
1. Create an app
Smartphone apps are big business. Draw Something, a game where players guess what their opponent has drawn, was sold to its rival six weeks after it was launched for £120 million. It’s not alone: Angry Birds, a simple game in which you shoot, you guessed it, angry birds, has been downloaded 25 billion times. And here’s the great news… You don’t need to be a computer whizz to create one. All you need is a great idea.
What’s It about?
I was passionate about positive birthing so I got together with a friend and created iHypnobirth for the app store. You can create an app about anything. Simply think about what you’d like to buy. Once you have an idea put together a briefing document that explains what the app does. Finally find a developer to create the app for you. There are thousands of developers out there looking for freelance work. Try eLance.com or peopleperhour.com. Once the developer has created the app you’ll need to upload it to Apple/Android stores. The developer can help with this. If that sounds like too much hard work why not contact a company such as appiction.com. They take your idea, develop it and give you a share of the revenue.
Where’s the money?
The amount of money you make depends on the type of app you design. Basic, niche apps such as my iHypnobirth one could make you two to three thousand euros a year but a game or a more mainstream app can make anything up to millions of euros. Before you start making money you’ll have to pay a developer and designer to create your apps. The more complex the app the more expensive it will be to make. The biggest app market is currently iTunes. To upload an app to iTunes you’ll pay £60 per year for a developer account and they’ll take 30 per cent for each app you’ve sold. The rest goes straight in your pocket.
2. Sell on eBay
The most popular online site for selling unwanted items is eBay. Millions of people visit the site daily, which means you can turn your junk into serious money. It’s estimated that most of us have at least five hundred euros worth of stuff that we don’t use, want or need in our homes. So why not make money from it?
What’s it about?
It’s simple. Sort through all the stuff you don’t want: clothes, books, electronics toys, furniture. Photograph each item and remember: the better the photo, the bigger the profit. Then sign up to eBay and get selling.
Where’s the money
I mainly sold clothes and I made around six hundred euros over a couple of months. eBay charges an insertion fee for each item. However, if you have a low start value, you can often upload items for free. The better the picture and description the more money you’ll make. You can increase your profit by using clever search terms. For example, instead of describing your item as a “lady’s dress” you could say “Zara, short, pink, button dress, size 10”. eBay charges a percentage of the final sales value but the rest goes to you.
3. Start a blog
Get blogging. It’s free, easy and you can start making money straight away. Simply use blogger.com or any of the free blog sites, pick a template and get writing. You never know: you could be the new Julia Powell. Her blog about cooking got turned into an award-winning Hollywood film.
What’s it about?
When choosing the theme for your blog choose something you’re interested in. The blog could be about gardening, films, your life, work, anything that you’ll be compelled to write about a couple of times a week. The more you update your blog, the higher you’ll appear on Google, and the more visitors will visit your site. Visitors equal money.
Where’s the money?
With a blog you can make anything from one euro to one million euros if your blog is turned into a film or book. Advertising is the main source of income for bloggers yet to be the next big thing. On blogger.com you can opt into ads that appear at the side of your blog posts. You get paid every time a person clicks on the ad. You can also use links in your writing. Again you get paid per click. Both of these methods require a high number of visitors to your blog. If you have 1,000 visitors per day you could make around two hundred euros a month, though this varies, so it’s worth checking the most up to date information.
4. Freelance from home
Sites such as peopleperhour.com and eLance.com make it easier than ever to work for yourself from home. Graphic designers, writers, marketers, PR people, developers and babysitters, to name a few, are making money through sites such as these.
What’s it about
It’s simple. Create an account, include your work history and examples of your work, sign up to email alerts in your category and bid on jobs. Companies can also invite you to bid on jobs they have posted.
Where’s the money?
Pay varies from job to job. I found an agency through PeoplePerHour and worked with them directly on an ongoing basis. Recruiters usually suggest a higher and lower bid price and you’ll be expected to bid between the two prices. Some recruiters have a s