6 More Virtual Income-Generating Ideas for Mom Entrepreneurs

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Motherhood is not just a state of being – it is probably the best career training out there! Even women who wonder before giving birth when their motherly instincts will make an appearance, find themselves becoming a nurturer, teacher, protector, counselor, role model (aka leader), and much more once their little one arrives.

 In our increasingly virtual world, mothers have the opportunity to apply these skills outside of the traditional workplace, and many are finding entrepreneurial online endeavors to be the ticket.   It turns out that moms – creative song-maker-uppers and game inventers, choosy consumers, and relationship builders– are great at running web-based businesses as well. Below are seven ideas to get you started in and  serve as a launching pad for something all your own.

An upfront tip – for many of these ideas, it really helps to have a PayPal account and access to a computer you don’t have to share.

1.       Sell your photos

Did anyone else perfect the art of one-handed photo taking (really one-handed anything) during maternity leave or those first few months after your child was born? Amateur photographers and those who have practiced their art more seriously can contribute photos to a number of online sites and make money each time they’re purchased by another web user.

Anyone with a blog, website, or online marketplace has a need for photos and illustrations to make their content more attractive and eye catching. Visit sites like Fotolia, Shutterstock, Bigstock Photo, and iStockphoto to view their submission criteria and find one to try.

2.       Write for others

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There are countless opportunities to put your writing, copywriting, and editing skills to use on the web. An easy one to start out on is CloudCrowd, which connects companies who need projects small and large completed with people who are up to the task. You select the tasks you’re interested in working on and usually get paid the same business day. CloudCrowd uses a Facebook work application so it’s a familiar and easy tool for anyone with Facebook experience.

 Another option for budding writers is Demand Studios, a site that promotes itself as a place for more experienced writers to set their own schedule working for premium publishers. Bloggers, copywriters, filmmakers, and anyone who considers themselves an expert in a particular field can also find work here.   

 3.       Write for yourself

 Most of us are sitting on a book idea (or ten) that we know could be a hit. The idea of getting a book published for actual consumption is just a little daunting, isn’t it? The advent of the eBook has changed that threshold significantly. 

 Once again, there are several services ready and waiting to assist with your eBook venture; here are two. Booktango helps you translate your ideas to a final product through its publishing and selling tools, cover design assistance, and access to retailers. You receive 100% of the royalties for sales through Booktango and 90% when you sell through their distribution and retail partners.

 ClickBank is another site with low start-up costs (a one-time $49.95 product activation fee) and an advertised global reach that helps writers sell their virtual product. They claim a massive affiliate network and customer support with experience promoting niche products. That means that your eBook on how to make Japanese paper lanterns might have a built in market!

 Two of the web’s largest freelance sites are Elance and Odesk, which act as a medium for clients and contractors of various types to connect and agree on projects. Writers can search for work, propose a timeline and rate for their services, and use a project workspace to complete the assignment. Odesk jobs tend to be based on an hourly rate, while many Elance jobs are fixed rate. Writers searching for online work would benefit from creating a profile on both.

4.       Be a personal assistant

I first read about Personal Assistants in the book The Four-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, and I remember thinking both “wow, that would be wonderful to have,” and “hey, I could do that myself!” I’ve included it as a job idea for a mom with terrific administrative and organizational skills, great research abilities, and excellent communication skills – all of which would put you at the top of the virtual assistant game. But it is also something a mom pursuing a different kind of entrepreneurial endeavor might want to consider for taking on tasks that aren’t core to your business in lieu of hiring an actual employee.

Sites like AssistU.com can help you determine if being a virtual assistant is a good fit for you and even offer flexible mentoring and training programs to enhance needed skills. 

 5.       Offer a less-common service

 This is a fun way to start generating a little income without investing a lot in a new business venture. Take a few minutes and list out any little thing you’re good at or seem to know more about than most of your acquaintances. Every one of those items has the potential to become a Gig you offer on Fiverr.com, a site that lets you offer a very specialized service to anyone and everyone for $5 a pop.

Think what you have to offer is a little too goofy? Not useful enough? Think again. One of Fiverr.com’s top-rated sellers offers to call and deliver a happy birthday message as James Gandolfini aka Tony Soprano.

6.       Flip a domain

This one can take a little more time and strategy, but the pay-off is worth it. Flipping a domain (the unique web address you type into the browser when you go to visit a website) is much like flipping a house. You find what looks to you like a hidden gem, buy it, make some improvements, and sell it later for an amount exponentially higher than what you originally paid.

You may be able to come up with some unused but catchy domain names on your own right off the bat – or visit sites that provide tips on buying domain names, like this blog. Once you’ve purchased a domain, read up on the art of flipping websites and on link building strategies to generate traffic to the site. The resources I’ve linked will provide guidance regarding when you’re ready to turn around and sell the domain on a site like Flippa.com.

Flippa functions like an eBay for web domains, where sellers can set a reserve price and a buy it now price and the domain is awarded to the highest bidder. When I last visited Flippa, there were 3,244 other buyers and sellers on the site – proving how valuable finding the right domain (and for many buyers, a well-developed domain) can be.

See how easy it can be to dip your toes into the water of web-based business? I’m terrible at impersonations, so I won’t venture into the business of selling custom birthday messages anytime soon, but I can offer my intimate knowledge of “food on a stick” to anyone visiting the Texas State Fair for the first time – and there may just be someone willing to pay $5 for that advance information!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns FreelanceMom.com, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.