Jasmine Birtles’ tips for making money


It’s the dream of most mothers to be able to make money in a way that fits around the kids. But many companies just aren’t equipped to be that flexible.

However, you don’t have to have a conventional job to make money, as many mothers have found. There are actually lots of ways you can make cash in your own time and around childcare duties. Here are some tips to finding the right money-earners for you.

Start with what you have
The easiest way to make money, at least to start with, is to use the space you have. Obviously you can rent out a spare room (or make one of your rooms a spare in order to rent it out) and now the Government is allowing us to keep the first £7,500 per year that we make from renting a room, which is a bonus. Make even more cash by renting a room out to tourists through Airbnb.com on an ad hoc basis. You can also rent out your loft or garage as storage space. Try Spareground.co.uk to advertise that. Even your driveway could make money by renting it to people who need to park in your area. Try Justpark.com to advertise for car owners. Look around your home to see what else could be used to make money – even the garden could be rented out as allotments if you have no use for it!

What are you good at?
The next stage is to use what you’re good at already to make money. It’s not necessarily the job you used to do though.

For example, do you find other mums begging you for cake recipes (or just cake) at the school gates? If there’s one that is always popular make a small batch each Friday and sell them to other mums.

Or do you have green fingers? Propagate extra seedlings in the greenhouse and sell the plants at local car boot sales and garages.

Or if you have excellent office skills, set yourself up as a Virtual Assistant (VA). Get help finding work with the Society of Virtual Assistants.

If you’re good at selling, the world’s your oyster! Sell your skills as a part-time salesperson working from home through Freelancer.com or Peopleperhour.com or get into networking marketing, where you earn money from referrals as well as from selling items. Find out more from the Association of Network Marketing Professionals.

Where’s the need? All the best businesses start up and thrive by meeting a need in the community. Mumpreneur Rachel Ray set up housekeeping agency Brightandbeautiful.com when her husband was
asked for a cleaning service by one of his clients. She then turned it into a national franchise. So ask yourself, is there something that you’ve noticed is missing locally or nationally (or internationally)? Is it a problem you could solve profitably? Be careful to make sure first that there is profit in it by doing a business plan and getting advice first. There’s a lot of help on www.gov.uk for people wanting to set up in business so start there when researching the possibilities.

Get a bit of training – but not too much. It’s not worth spending thousands and taking months out to train for a new, flexible profession if you need to make the money now. There are new careers that are flexible and can fit in with your time and don’t take too much training to do.

For a start, you can take short courses to be a professional organiser with the Association of Professional De-clutterers and Organisers. Qualified people can earn up to £75 an hour (average rates £35-40).

You can also train to be a doula and make £12-15 an hour or between £250-600 for a birth. Courses run by British Doulas (owned by my mother) are three days long. Details at www.britishdoulas.co.uk.

Don’t undervalue your time
Women are shockers for undervaluing what they do, particularly if it’s part of the caring professions. It’s fine to charge less than the market rate when you’re starting off to get people interested, but as soon as you are getting requests for your goods or services make sure you ask at least the going rate.

Professional associations and unions will always have advice on what you can charge, but don’t forget you can charge more if your service is high quality and something that is much in demand. Stop occasionally and evaluate how much money you are really making per hour and if it’s too low to be worth it, either put your prices up or find a different money-maker. We have a lot of inspiration at www.moneymagpie.com so take a look there if you need some ideas!

*Jasmine Birtles is a personal finance expert and founder of www.moneymagpie.com. She is also author of ‘Easy Ways for Mums to Make Money’, which is free until 15th July and available here.

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