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Making More Money

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For 8 years now, I’ve been self employed. When I lost my corporate job after I refused to travel any more after my second child was born, I knew I had to find something that would allow me to stay home. After six months of stay at home mom unemployment, I knew I needed a job. During late night browsing sessions, I discovered virtual assistants, and knew that was the route for me. EPOH was born.

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs, taking pay cuts with economy crash, having clients fail to pay, gaining and losing clients along the way. But I’ve been able to support us, that is until last fall, I took a pretty big hit when my very first client had to let me go as their business just couldn’t support my cost anymore, and I couldn’t afford to work for a significantly lower rate.

I thought I could make it, I thought it would be fine. But then I fell behind. Then in November, after putting in a small time of marketing things started to look up again. And since then it’s been a bit of a stressful roller coaster ride of finding work. I’ve got a steady client list still, but I’m playing catch up, and trying to get ahead all at the same time. I MUST make more money, that’s all there is to it!

i love work

So this past week, with that goal in mind, I have been haunting my typical marketing methods:
1. Guru
2. Craigslist
3. Church Community Board
4. Local papers classifieds

But more importantly, I am starting to consider alternative revenue streams, which until now I’ve been very resistant to:
1. Etsy
2. Finding a local part time brick and mortar job (now that the kids are old enough and responsible enough to be left alone for short amounts of time)
3. Going back into the corporate world (really don’t want to, but more than I don’t want to, I want to be out of debt!)
4. Starting a business with my kids that has been burning a hole in my head since this time last year
5. Building my personal blog with writing and affiliate links
6. Product sales – I thought momentarily about selling some product like so many do and like Claire started doing, but I am so much of an introvert and do not do well with ‘house parties’ that have concluded that this is definitely not the route for me.

I can’t remember who said recently that in this debt pay off race you normally have more time than money which is definitely the case with me. So in my time, I am working hard to find the best way to increase my income while maintaining a healthy family life balance. I know I’ve got the skills, I just need to find the right way to go about it. Suggestions?


9 Comments

  • Reply Kili |

    To me – as unappealing as it might be – the most promising seem to be
    – finding additional part time work
    – going back to the corporate world
    Those – it would seem to me – would get the job done most quickly.
    I wouldn’t advise on the etsy path, where you first have to buy material and then put hours of work into it and then maybe not even selling it;
    also i would assume that for blogging really to pay off, you’d need to put a lot of time & effort in it; and then there is still more uncertainty whether it will pay off or not.

    I might be confusing some stories, so forgive me if that doesn’t apply: But are you homeschooling the kids? All four of them? If so would you be willing to send them to public school to have more freedom regarding your choice of work?

  • Reply Angella |

    I’ve always wanted to get into the virtual assistant field, but have no idea how to get ‘in’. All the sites I signed up for basically are a bidding system and I constantly get outbid by folks in other countries willing to work for pennies a day. I can’t do that!

    As for extra income, I do really well on Etsy and Ebay. On average I can bring in $500/mo after fee’s with etsy. On ebay, when I’m listing consistently, I can average about $1200/mo after fee’s and that is just from selling crap laying around the house. Clothing, DVDs, figurines, whatever it may be, so I always recommend it to others.

  • Reply Mary |

    I actually think you have a lot on your plate with four kids and being a single mother. I wouldn’t look for any more work since I think you’d be stretching yourself too thin. In six months, you’ll be in better shape financially. I think you’d be better off just concentrating on executing your plan and refining your current expenses. You have a lot to manage with four kids. There will be time for that later when your kids are older. Hang in there Hope. Remember, the debt didn’t happen overnight and it won’t go away overnight even if you want it to. A lot of small steps add up. Just because you can’t take on more work right now, doesn’t mean you aren’t committed. Your commitment and love for your family is evident.

    • Reply manda |

      “Remember, the debt didn’t happen overnight and it won’t go away overnight even if you want it to.”
      Oh Mary, truer words were never spoken (written). What a good reminder.

      Hope, I think to add on to Mary’s advice, my thought is that it might be best to keep it simple. Focus on your current business, and your kids. Are you confident that you can’t make more money with your current gig? If you can, just focus on that. This post feels a little frantic with all the ideas plus all the other balls you have in the air from your previous posts.

      • Reply Marilyn |

        Hope, I was just listening to a podcast on productivity and focusing on hiring a virtual assistant.

        There are lots of small business that could benefit from a competent virtual assistant. They may just not know they need one. Who are your clients? Can you put together a list of varying tasks you’ve done for them? Are there professional meetings where you could introduce yourself and your services?

        Off the top of my head – local dentists or doctors digitizing records, local healthcare offices needing social media managers, or setting up and maintaining a calender to review equipments safety, professional salience renewal, keeping track of the continuing education credit, finding and registering for CE courses to attend, managing live chats with patients and virtually scheduling them. Many doctors and dentists belong to local medical and dental societies or have publications that go out every month with classifieds. I hope these ideas get your wheels spinning. You seem to be very competent and offer a necessary product people would pay for.

  • Reply Theresa |

    Jobs for everyone at Busch Gardens. Win-win!
    Seriously though is a job realistic with your travel planned?

  • Reply Mary from SC |

    Would it be possible to get on the sub list of your local schools? That way you could pick and choose which days you could work. Granted it’s not big bucks but one or two days a week could make a big difference in your budget. Could you teach an adjunct class at your local community college? Just some suggestions…I signed up to be an Avon rep to try to help pay down debt…I have found as much as I do enjoy it, it takes a huge investment of time for little profit. I am debating continuing that avenue. I think something that has a set pay for set hours, etc. would be better. To have an extra check for 200 or so that could go straight to debt reduction would certainly be a motivator for me. Good luck.

  • Reply jaye |

    I vote for eBay, too, if you’ve got anything to sell. It does take effort, though, to do it well. On top of that, I think I’d go for a “real” job (whether part-time or full-on corporate). Reducing your stress would be the best move, and in my experience, a paycheck that you can rely on is a huge relief.

  • Reply adam |

    Second for substitute teaching. Maybe teaching at a local community college too? Or test prep courses or private tutoring or editing papers.

    Also check the craigslist “gigs” page in your locale. Maybe you could clean houses or rake leaves or mow grass

    You could flip stuff from craigslist by refinishing or repairing and sell on craigslist or ebay.

    We have a relative that does a bunch of surveys while she’s at home with her kids and pays a pretty good chunk of her grocery bill, not to mention getting a bunch of free products to evaluate. I think it takes some time to build up to the better paying surveys but if you have the time, it might not hurt. You could also be a secret shopper.

    I think some call center businesses now allow you to work from home. I know some insurance companies have a home-based inbound sales rep workforce.

    Just a few ideas. It probably would be more lucrative to take a job (the economy is much better now) but if you are committed to staying home then maybe some of these would work.

So, what do you think ?