Written by: Eric Kelly
In a world where it’s harder than ever to get by on a single income and childcare costs rival college tuition, it’s no surprise that single parents have trouble making ends meet. For mothers and fathers who find themselves parenting solo, the answer to financial troubles isn’t an easy one. Picking up a second (or third) job means more time away from home. Meanwhile, after-hours childcare costs can outstrip a single parent’s earnings — if it’s available at all. So what is a cash-strapped single parent to do?
Take Advantage of Resources for Single Parents
First things first — single parents should utilize the resources available to them. That includes subsidized health insurance, food assistance, and childcare assistance, and Head Start programs. Parents can also claim the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to stretch their budget even further.
What to Look for in a Side Hustle
Side hustles have taken the economy by storm. There’s a seemingly endless array of ways to earn money on-demand from ridesharing to home-sharing and handyman services to personal shopping. For single parents, however, many of these side hustles aren’t feasible. Parents can’t leave the house at a moment’s notice to pick up an odd job, and most parents would rather not invite strangers into a home where children live.
Single parents need side hustles that don’t require shirking their parental duties. That means gigs that:
● Can be done at home
● Have consistent hours and/or the ability to set your own hours
The 10 Best Side Hustles for Single Parents
There are more options than you might think. However, you won’t find side gigs for single parents on popular gig economy apps like Uber, Airbnb, or TaskRabbit. While these side hustles may take more effort to start, the perks can pay off for single parents.
Remote Side Hustles for Single Parents
Remote side hustles offer high earning potential and the ability to work around family schedules. Working parents can find gigs like these through freelance marketplaces and job boards or by marketing directly to local businesses. (Learn more about making the transition to working remotely from home.)
Virtual Assistant– Virtual assistants provide administrative services on a contract basis. While some virtual assistants work full-time, many clients only need a few hours of work per week. This side hustle is best for single parents with office experience and strong computer and communication skills.
Remote Bookkeeper– Bookkeeping is among the most popular side hustles for a good reason. It’s remote-friendly, pays well, and doesn’t require accounting credentials. However, bookkeepers should be good with numbers and familiar with popular accounting tools like Quickbooks Online.
Graphic Designer– Itching for a creative outlet? Graphic design is a freelance-friendly gig. For a super-part-time side hustle, offer logo design services to small businesses. Other graphic design side gigs include: creating infographics and stock images, selling WordPress themes, and designing packaging and publications for companies.
Social Media Manager– It’s possible to make a full-time career as a social media manager working for big brands. However, smaller companies have smaller needs. Curating content and running social media ads for local businesses is a lucrative side gig for single parents with social media savvy.
Blogger-It’s also possible to make money building a brand of your own, although this side hustle takes time to see results. Writers monetize blogs through ads, sponsorship, affiliate marketing, and selling digital content. To succeed in this side hustle, bloggers should cater to a niche and know how to drive engagement.
Online Tutor– Teachers in search of summer or after-school gigs should consider virtual tutoring. While online tutors tend to earn less than in-person tutors, flexibility is a significant perk. Some virtual tutors start their own business, but for occasional work, you may find it simpler to sign up with an online tutoring network.
Offline Jobs You Can Do at Home
Remote gigs are great because they let parents work during hours kids are at school, sleeping, or otherwise occupied. However, that’s not the only option for a single-parent side hustle. These jobs let single parents earn money while spending quality time as a family.
After-School Tutor– Single parents of school-aged kids can turn homework time into a money-making hustle by offering tutoring and homework help to similarly-aged children. SAT tutors, in particular, fetch high hourly rates.
Childcare Provider– Likewise, some single parents find the easiest way to make money is by adding to the childcare they’re already providing. Reach out to other local parents or use online platforms like Care.com to offer regular childcare or occasional babysitting services.
Dog Walker/Pet Sitter– Getting outdoors is a great way to spend quality time as a family, and what better way to do it than walking neighborhood dogs? Dog walking is a family-friendly side hustle that’s well-suited to parents who are home during the day. Alternatively (or additionally), parents can offer in-home pet sitting for extra income.
Artisan or Maker– Crafty types can pad their wallets selling handmade goods. It takes skillful marketing to get a handmade crafts or cottage goods business off the ground, but this side hustle creates a steady stream of income for single parents over time.
Earning a living and raising a family is a constant balancing act for single parents. However, you don’t have to choose between financial stability and being there for your kids. With one of these side hustles, you can earn extra income from home on a schedule that works for your family.
These side hustles aren’t just good for single parents. Stay-at-home parents can also use these ideas to grow their family’s income while out of the workforce. If you recently lost your job, a gig like these will help you get your groove back while networking and refining your resume. No matter your situation, you can find a path forward that feels purposeful and worthwhile.