Struggling to make ends meet? Finding it impossible to keep up with a traditional 9-5 job while paying for daycare or after-school care on your own? Don’t despair! There are literally hundreds of options for you to support your family as a single mom.
The decision of how to earn the best income will depend on the age or your children & the schedule that works best for you – but there are some great opportunities out there, here are some of the best jobs for single mothers we’ve found.
We call these ‘the best’ because they are jobs out there that give you a combination of decent money and the ability to scheduled work around the needs of your children (school etc).
Yup. Don’t be shocked – I’m putting this one at the top of the list because you can make a decent living in the food service industry. IF your kids are in school and you can work a 10-3pm lunch shift at a busy restaurant that is able to meet your schedule, you have the potential to earn some serious cash.
Remember, this is not even a minimum wage job: you will be relying on income basically from your tips alone. This is the biggest drawback of any job in the restaurant industry – and may not be worth the risk of not knowing what your weekly or monthly income will be, since busy seasons, customers and tips will fluctuate.
IF you have small kids who you want to stay home with during the day, AND a responsible, reliable babysitter or relative who trust to make your children dinner and put them to bed: consider waiting tables or bartending at nights. Your earning potential can more than cover the cost of an excellent child care provider. It may even be possible for you to only work 3-4 evening shifts per week to make enough cash to cover all of your bills.
(Side note from a single mom with past server/bartending experience: Tips are not included on your paychecks. Take this information and do with it what you will, but it is up to you to honestly declare the total amount of money that you make to social services so you can still receive welfare assistance – food stamps, Medicaid – which can be a pro instead of a con when having to provide paycheck information to Social Services. With serving jobs, your income will vary a little – so you won’t ever have exact numbers to provide).
If you do not have the option of working outside the home, or simply want to be there for your children 24/7, there are plenty of stay at home jobs available.
2 In-Home Child Care Provider
Did you know that you can legally provide day care in your own home FULL TIME for at least 1-2 children without needing to obtain a home child care license?
(Depending on individual state and county regulations!!! Educate yourself first!!) If your plate is full taking care of your own kids, this would not be the best choice for you. But… if you love kids, want your own toddlers or preschoolers to have friends, have a good bit of patience and can create a set schedule – this might just be the perfect job for you.
The quickest way to start out is to care for 1-2 more children along with your own. If you have already done something like this and know that it works for you and your own children, you can expand to take on more children (and more monthly income) by getting your home child care provider license. For info on getting your home child care license start here:
Running a home child care business is just that – a business that allows you to stay home while providing for your own financial needs. Set payments need to be made weekly or monthly and on time – this is your job, not just something you decided to do for fun. It is a huge investment of your time and energy, even though you are doing it so you can stay home with your own children.
3 Salesperson (Direct Sales)
Direct sales in the United States went up nearly 6% from 2013-2014. That might not sound like a lot, but when you look at it in terms of retail sales increasing almost TWO BILLION dollars in the U.S. alone – in a single year, the numbers are staggering. Of the over 18 million direct sales reps, almost 75% are women who run their own home based businesses.
So just what are direct sales exactly? Most direct sales (or DS) companies are set up as MLM’s (multi-level marketing) businesses. Companies sell products to the consumer through independent “consultants” or “representatives” for that company. This is not a new concept – think “Mary Kay” cosmetics or “Tupperware” parties.
BUT the internet has opened the door to direct sale reps in entirely new ways. You will still be looking at companies that pay you a commission on your sales, along with a percentage of everything other people you’ve added (recruited) to your team as your “downline reps.”
With network marketing, DS reps can recruit, sell, even host parties online through Facebook and other social media outlets. Most DS companies require an enrollment fee or purchase of a start-up kit with samples of products and marketing materials, there are also typically personal website fees that range from $10-$30 a month, as well as quotas to meet.
There are some DS companies that don’t require monthly or semi-annual quotas (amount of sales) to stay active, but they are few and far between. There are also plenty of scams out there too – don’t be fooled by “free” enrollment sign-ups or anything that makes you buy into a company that does not provide products or your own personal affiliate websites.
ALWAYS DO YOUR RESEARCH! Read all of the fine print with any company you choose after researching the company and its reviews first!
The amount of time and energy you invest in your own starting your own home business as a direct sales rep is totally up to you. You decide what company you want to sell for and how to do it! The most important things to consider are:
- Is this a product or business that you are passionate about?
- Is there a market for this product in your own area or online (or is the market already flooded)?
- Do you have the self-discipline and motivation to spend hours on the computer to recruit and network?
- Do you want to build your business around network marketing alone, or are you prepared to do home parties to sell your products?>
4 Online Freelancer
Just because you’re a mommy now – that doesn’t mean that your past education, skills and talents just “poofed” away into thin air (even though it feels that way sometimes!).
There are several popular websites where employers post freelance jobs from writing, graphic design and medical transcription to IT gigs and help needed with website building or business promotion. On Freelancer.com you can browse different categories and job listings before “bidding” on projects that you feel confident you can complete.
This is one of the most FLEXIBLE income streams you can build. The advantages here of being an online freelancer is you can do your jobs with a computer (as long as you have internet) from the comfort of your own home AND set your own hours to work (the job depending — some jobs have deadlines).
As to what you can freelance, well that really depends on what skills you have. Freelancing online definitely favors writers and those with technical computer skills. But, even if you don’t have good writing skills or technical skills, there are more generalize freelancing you can do.
Some of the more popular freelancing jobs people make a living doing:
- Article Freelance Writing (highly recommended for single mom types who are half decent at writing. See How to Make $1000 a Month as a Freelancer by SingleMoms.org for more info on getting started)
- Website Developer
- Visual Design
- Graphic Designer
- Virtual Assistant (this is more of a non-technical job. You basically function as a VA for an employer during the day, doing online tasks given to you)
- Data Entry
(TIP: don’t underbid yourself when it comes to payment or your ability. Don’t let yourself get scammed: for any large or long term projects, never accept freelance jobs from an employer that refuses to create “milestone” payments for work as you submit it.)
5 Real Estate Agent
Good with numbers? Ready to invest in a professional career for life? Consider part (or full) time accounting or bookkeeping as a freelance position.
It might even be worth it to become a tax preparer if you are able to keep up with the busy tax season every spring. Getting your state license as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) will take some money and time to study, but will give you the flexibility to make your own hours and charge a significant hourly rate to support your family long term.
Note by author: my own mother was a single mom raising four kids on her own. She went to school to get her Real Estate Agent certification then started working, eventually breaking into the market and making a very good living for over a decade. So you can make very good money as a realtor and it’s a job suitable for single moms. My mom did it and so can you.
Find out more about how to become a CPA from the American Institute of CPA’s here: http://www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/pages/becomeacpa.aspx
6 Public Accountant
Another long term career that comes with a relatively flexible schedule potential for BIG TIME income is to become a professional real estate agent – which also means paying to get your realtor’s license. The time and stress involved in passing licensure exams to become a real estate agent or CPA might be too much for some single mamas to handle with little ones, but if you have school-aged children it could be the perfect time for you to launch a new professional career!
Ready to earn some fat checks by selling property?! You can find all the info you need to get you started from the National Association of Realtors here: http://www.realtor.org/realtororg.nsf/pages/AboutREALTORS
***Don’t forget about all the tax write-offs when you run your own home business – from your cell phone to a portion of rent/mortgage, car payment and utility bills. Fuel and travel expenses, these are all deductions when you are self-employed from home and submit a 1099 for taxes!
No matter what job you decide on, never for one second underestimate your ability to make it happen! You CAN and WILL create the life and income you want for your family! YOU GOT THIS!
7 Go Back to School
IF NONE OF THESE JOBS SOUND LIKE THE PERFECT FIT FOR YOU, then it might be time to consider going back to school online! There are tons of available grants and scholarships for single moms to complete their college degrees in any field.
See the form below to check for a school program near you:
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Taking college classes with small kids at home is far from “an easy way out” – it can be stressful, time-consuming, hard work. BUT – it’s worth it in the end if you are ready to start the career of your dreams once your kids are bigger. If you need cash NOW to pay the bills, get to work.
IF you have enough financial stability to get by with the help of educational grants and other aid, now is the time to think about your long term career goals.