Spark Your Money-Making Creativity
Are you wanting to homeschool but feel you can’t afford to quit your job? Or are you already homeschooling but under a seemingly never-ending squeezing budget? Inspired by an email I got from a mom who desperately wants to homeschool but needs financial stability, I put together this quick list of money-making tips. I hope they will help you beat the budget blues, and allow you to follow your homeschooling dreams!
Weather you’re contemplating to start homeschooling, or are a seasoned homeschooler, I hope you will find something in here that will spark your money-making creativity!
(This post contains some affiliate links)
1. Shoot for the best scenario –working from home!
I think working from home is the best way to go. Hands down! I should know, I’ve been working from home for the last 13 years, way before we began homeschooling. Working from home, especially if you work for yourself, grants you great freedom and flexibility which are key in the homeschooling lifestyle. Throughout this article, I will include some ideas that make working from home, with your own schedule, a plausible proposition.
2. Think outside the box
Think differently as far as schedules are concerned. We are so used to thinking that learning happens during “school” hours. But learning doesn’t have to be set on that schedule. Learning’s best on your own schedule. Think outside the box. Let your imagination inspire you. Can you perhaps workout a deal with your current –or future employer? Can you telecommute a few days out of the week? Telecommuting reduces overhead, and keeps employees happy. Hence, employers are willing to accommodate.
I once read on a blog somewhere about a lady who used to work for 4 days straight, then rest 3. She made arrangements to leave the children with relatives while at work. And she homeschooled them during those 3 free days. If your child is mature enough, you could talk to your boss to let you bring him to work. I have a friend who used to do that when her daughter was younger. Now she’s a teenager and doing wonderfully well. If you have a part-time job, you can work during the mornings and homeschool in the afternoons or vice versa. There’s no telling of the ideas you’ll come up if you direct your mind to it. Just set the intention of finding a viable solution, have faith and relax. Eventually, some good idea will pop up!
3. Freelance online
Just google “freelance jobs”, and you’ll get a dizzying array of websites, your challenge will be to select one out of so many. As an employer, I’ve used Freelancer.com quite a bit to hire a variety of programmers. Regardless or your skill set, you can find a suitable projects on this or others like Elance, Guru or oDesk. There are opportunities for photographers, writers, designers, accountants, translators, musicians, proofreaders, virtual assistants, and oh-so-many-more.
Fiverr.com is yet another of these freelancing sites but with a twist. Post anything you’re willing to do for 5 bucks. If you can get 5 or 6 jobs you can do in 5 or 10 minutes each, you’ll make up to $30 in an hour. You need not limit yourself to what you can do for 5 bucks. That’s just a start! You can list other services at higher prices. The $5 just opens the door to more. (Use this link to get a free $5 gig 🙂
4. Teach a class
Teach something you’re good at! Whatever this is, there are others who will want to learn from you. If you like kids, then super, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to teach them. You can teach at your local homeschool coop. If you haven’t joined a coop yet, do it soon, whether you want to teach or not. Coop friendships and support are priceless! Here’s our very own directory of homeschool coops to help you get started. Or, you could teach homeschoolers online via CurrClick.com, a very popular educational marketplace for homeschoolers. You can either develop your own self-paced course, or teach a live class. I haven’t developed any courses –yet, but I did post my homeschool planner there. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly. They will hand-hold you throughout the entire process of getting set up.
If you’d rather teach adults, you can pick just about any topic under the sky for your course and post it on Udemy.com. From cake decorating, to knitting a scarf, to writing, getting organized, marketing and Java programming, the options are endless. Udemy.com is a vibrant, relatively new site, with over 5 million students eager to learn and pay you for your nuggets of wisdom. According to its stats, Udemy’s top 10 instructors earned $1.6 million last year. Wow, that’s a big pie!
If you check out Udemy, you might fancy a course or two. It’s a good thing they’re having a New Year’s Resolution sale –tons of courses at $10 each. The promo code “JAN15” will knock 65% off almost any course, just in case what you want isn’t part of the $10-deal. (Promo valid through 1/31/15, 11:59 PST.)
Anyhow, lots of such elearning sites have sprung up lately. Skillfeed is similar to Udemy, although not as vast in scope and with a slightly different model. Instead of paying per course, users subscribe to learn anything they want for only $19 per month. You as an instructor, get paid by the length of time your videos get watched. Easy-peasy!
So there you have it. Teaching what you love can’t be hard to do. I, for one, think it’d be a fun experience to share my passions, contribute my 2 cents, and get paid on top of it. Udemy and Skillfeed, here we come!
5. Tutor online
I see tutoring as a blend between freelancing and teaching a class. If you’re not ready to make the commitment to teach a formal class, you can explore becoming a tutor online in sites such as tutor.com. You could also set your in-person tutoring services and promote them through wyzant.com. Or you can tutor online on your own (without going through tutor.com) with handy tools such as scribblar.com. If you live in a remote location, or even a big city –read lots of traffic!, online tutoring can be a godsend. You could even have a hybrid between in-person and online tutoring. Perhaps an in-person lecture once a week, and an online class or Q&A session once or twice a week.
6. Run your own homeschool mini coop
My friend Yashica (hi Yashica!) from the homeschool coop at Miami Beach, setup her own mini coop at her house. It started kind of casually during the summer. It evolved into her schooling 6 children, ages 7 to 12, at her home 3 times per week. She and her son are loving this new “extended family” arrangement. She gets paid for her work of course. But more importantly, she gets to command a nurturing environment for her son and the other children. The size and dynamics of the group are such that all children are eager to share and learn from one another. A win-win deal for all, I’d say.
If a mini coop like Yashica’s strikes you as too much structure, tweak it to suit your preferences. You could, instead, set up an hourly semi-private class for only 3 to 5 children at a time. You could have the same group or different groups, say beginners, intermediates, and advanced. Once, twice or more times per week, whatever works for you. This size a group allows you to still devote plenty individualized attention to the children. Plus, there’s something magical about a small group like that. It tends to ignite enthusiasm and high energy in all the children.
7. Sell your creative masterpieces
If you’re artsy – craftsy, you can set up shop at Etsy.com. When I say masterpieces, I mean anything that comes out of your creative soul. You need not be a Picasso to produce a masterpiece! You may love to paint, draw, knit, sew, bake pottery, design cool graphics on photoshop, or create beautiful jewelry. So go ahead and share your works of art with the world. If you love creating them, your passion will show through –the world has a special way of rewarding that passion! You can trust that!
If you like to design learning materials for your own children, you can explore selling them at TeachersPayTeachers.com, and Currclick.com (I mentioned Currclick above on “Teaching a Classs”). TpT is, you guessed it, yet another online marketplace for K-12 educators. It claims it’s paid a whooping $76+ million to sellers. I’m sure this figure refers to TPT’s lifetime finances. Being a relatively new site, this number is plain impressive. They just featured a “New TpT Millionaire Teacher” on their blog. On her interview this new TpT millionaire said:
“It is a privilege to know that so many teachers and homeschoolers choose to purchase and use The Moffatt Girls products on a daily basis. Teaching is my passion and I LOVE that I can create resources that make learning fun, hands-on, and effective for others.”
Annie Moffatt of The Moffatt Girls
WOW! See? Homeschoolers are buying, so why not sell too?
8. Clear your closet or that of others
This is something you can do once or occasionally if you’ve got the goods. Or, if you’re a fashionable gal, make it a more consistent endeavor. You can sell your latest or no-longer-wearing fashions in places such as poshmark.com. If you have some luxury brand things then you can sell them at shop-hers.com. What if you don’t have a ton of fashionable items, let alone the luxury brand stuff? Well, then you can buy them and sell them right there. All it takes is a little imagination. I know first hand. I used to sell Victoria Secret’s overstock on eBay many, many, many moons ago. Lots of eBay sellers did that. They’d find a fine lot with ugly pictures or a poor description right there on eBay. They’d buy it, take gorgeous photographs and spruce up the descriptions with keywords, colors and html styles and voilá! A happy and handsome profit! You could even scour your local consignment shops or garage sales on wealthy neighborhoods. Just make sure to get a feel for what’s selling first. Do your homework on these sites, study what’s hot or what’s trending. Then you’ll spot a good deal when you see it!
9. Join a MLM
MLMs usually get a bad rap, but it need not be so. Really. They may offer a viable alternative, especially since homeschooling affords you the opportunity to mingle with all sorts of people. (Yes, we homeschoolers do socialize quite a lot, contrary to popular belief!) Most MLMs require a very affordable initial investment to get started, and provide a solid business infrastructure. No need to reinvent the wheel. Everything marketing, sales and customer support is done for you. You just gotta follow their lead. And be or become a good seller of course.
From Tupperware, to Herbalife, to Stella and Dot, and Mary Kay. There are literally hundreds of such companies for all preferences. Some of these have been around for ever, and not just surviving but thriving. Since their major sales channel is their own salesforce, they must deliver the good$. Don’t you think?
If joining something like this sounds appealing to you, do your homework first. Locate a consultant, attend a party, ask questions, and read reviews online. This will give you a feel for the MLM you’re zeroing in. Is this company truly interested in the well-being of its customers? Is it a progressive, sensitive, earth-friendly organization? Ultimately though, go with what your intuition tells you. Ask God, the Divine Spirit, or however you call It, for guidance in selecting the company most aligned with your core beliefs, interests or passions.
The Nitty Gritty
Whatever idea you take away, I dearly hope will prove helpful. However, I think the most important thing is to heed your own guidance and intuition. Stick to what seems the most interesting to you, regardless of how the money outlook might look like from the outside. As the saying goes –follow your heart and the money will come. I sincerely believe this to be true. Trust yourself and trust that God, the Divine Spirit or Higher Power IS delivering what you want to you now!
And Now, It’s Your Turn
If you have any tip that you’d like to add. Or if anything here resonates with you, or sounds like something worth trying, please tell us in the comments below. Thanks!
Happy adventures making money while you homeschool 🙂