Throughout my career, I’ve managed all kinds of people with all kinds of living situations. Out of all my employees, I’d have to say single moms are among the hardest working and most dedicated — no matter what life challenges are thrown at them.
Making enough money to support yourself and your children as a single mom while still handling all of the childcare duties yourself is one of life’s biggest challenges. For some single moms, the traditional 9-to-5 job may not fit their schedule (nor sufficiently pay their bills).
One way around this: Start a side hustle that allows you to earn extra income while still having time to spend with your children. In this post, I’ll share five of the best side hustles for single moms.
I realize you don’t want all the extra money you make to go to additional child care, especially since childcare costs are skyrocketing. That’s why I looked for side hustles that can be run from home or when your children are in school. However, you can also create free childcare by asking another parent (or parents) to watch your children for a few hours (and you can return the favor later on). If you’re lucky, this can become a permanent solution so you can set a regular schedule.
Side Hustle #1: Education and Extracurricular Activities
If you can train or teach, you’ve got lots of opportunities to start a side hustle. Research from IBISWorld shows the changing labor market is creating opportunities for entrepreneurs in the education field. This doesn’t mean becoming a teacher. You can also provide tutoring for local schoolchildren, or teach extracurricular activities such as music lessons, dance or gymnastics, art or science. Yes, you’ll need to do these outside of school hours, but you may be able to take your children along or even enlist them to help, depending on their ages.
With the number of college applications rising every year, there’s also plenty of opportunities to help older teenagers. You can help them write their college essays or complete applications, provide consulting to help with college selection or financial aid and provide test preparation services.
Side Hustle #2: Accounting and Bookkeeping
If you are a CPA, work full-time as a bookkeeper or have a background in finance, starting an accounting or bookkeeping business is another smart side hustle for a single mom. Start by checking with your city’s business development office to see if running a business from home is legal in your residential area.
If you can run your business from home, but can’t have clients come to your house, you can always schedule meetings at their homes or offices. You can also rent meeting space from an executive suite company or co-working space that allows you to rent by the day or by the hour.
Aside from client meetings, most of your work can be done online during hours you set for yourself, which makes this a perfect side hustle you can work on after your kids are in bed. Joining a local accounting society or group like the ones listed on the American Institute CPAs (AICPA) website can help you get new clients.
Make sure you get all the appropriate business licenses and consider specializing in one of the following particularly hot fields: financial forensics, business valuation, information technology or personal financial planning.
Side Hustle #3: Home Services
According to Zillow research, half of today’s homebuyers are under the age of 36, and they have an average household income of $87,500. These homebuyers tend to have more money than time, and many lack the life skills to handle basic home services themselves. That’s where your side hustle comes in.
Whether you consider yourself an expert home organizer, interior decorator, shelf builder or any other kind of do-it-yourselfer, new homeowners are a lucrative market to target. You can do everything from painting a room or installing a ceiling fan to organizing a home office or setting up a nursery for an expectant client’s future child. You can also provide interior design consulting that advises clients on how to make their homes look new with the furniture and accessories they already have.
To get customers, promote your business on social media and sign up with a service like Lula, which offers a mobile app that instantly provides consumers with on-demand home services like lawn care and housecleaning, from home-care professionals. You should also get listed on HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Houzz and other sites that match home services providers with homeowners.
Side Hustle #4: Home Deliveries and Driving
By now you probably know someone who has either used Lyft and Uber or drives for them. Driving can be a great side hustle opportunity since you can do it whenever you have some spare time. For example, if your children’s dad has them on the weekends, use that time to drive.
If you don’t like the idea of having strangers in your car, you can still have a side hustle providing food take-out services. Uber Eats lets consumers order food through their Uber app from any restaurant and get it delivered wherever they want. You can also look around your community to find food delivery services you could work for.
Do you have a truck or trailer? Dolly is an Uber-like service that allows users to request help with local deliveries from their smartphones. You can earn money by using your truck for deliveries.
The best thing about being a “gig worker” for home delivery and driving services is that you can work when you want and as often as you want. This makes it ideal for single moms with unpredictable schedules.
Side Hustle #5: Crafts
If you love crafting, you’re in luck. Whether you make jewelry, clothing, home decor, hair accessories or knitwear, there are more ways than ever to sell your wares.
You could start your own e-commerce website, or you can save a lot of time and hassle by setting up shop on Etsy or Amazon Handmade. With 1.9 million sellers, Etsy is one of the most popular online marketplaces for handmade products, vintage items or artwork. And with some 250 million regular shoppers, I don’t have to convince you of the marketing power of Amazon. Both marketplaces make it easy for single moms to set up a storefront and create a listing.
Selling online is an ideal side hustle for a single mom since you don’t have to leave your house to do it (well, except to mail your products). You may even be able to get your kids involved making or packaging the products. You can also sell your crafts at local crafts fairs, swap meets or crafts cooperatives on weekends. Finally, reach out to local boutique retailers to see if they’d be interested in selling your products. Offer to put a trial display on consignment so they only pay you if products sell.
Ready to Start Your Side Hustle?
These are just a few ideas to get you started brainstorming different ways to make money as a single mom. Who knows? Play your cards right, and maybe one day that side hustle will turn into a full-time business.
One note of caution. Just because you’re operating a side hustle, doesn’t mean you can gloss over the business aspects. To protect your personal assets, make sure you have business insurance and incorporate your business.
Do you have other ideas for single moms side hustles? Share them in the comments.