Make Extra Money: 9 Ways for Women to Increase Cash Flow

There are a number of reasons you’d want to increase your cash flow:  build emergency savings, payoff debt, go on vacation, support a charity.  Whatever the reason, here are some areas that women have excelled.

1. Multi-Level Marketing

Before you run for the hills and turn up your noses at the idea, bear in mind that there are some very reputable MLMs (call them network marketing or direct marketing if it makes you feel better).  Direct marketing is growing as an acceptable business model.  With the variety of products available, it is very likely you’ll be able to find one that fits with your interests.

Some MLMs that women have proven successful in include:

  • Tupperware & Pampered Chef (kitchen products)
  • Avon & Mary Kay (cosmetics)
  • Home Interior Designs
  • Send Out Cards
  • Ardyss International – The new kid on the block selling body shapers, nutrition, and skin care products

With all the choices out there, you should be able to find a product that interests you.  Do your homework before getting involved in any business opportunity.  To become an associate with these services a membership fee ranging from $99-$300+ must be paid.  Most require a monthly subscription or minimum quarterly or monthly sales to stay active.  Make no mistake, as an associate, you are a sales person.  To be successful, you’ll need to be able to sell to more than your family and friends.  In fact, if you want to keep your friends, you’ll make sure every conversation isn’t about your new venture or home party.

The potential with direct marketing is very large.  The reality is less than 1% become the top million dollar earners in the company.  However, many make enough to put their children through school, pay off debt, or generate a significant amount of supplemental income.

2. Mystery shoppers

Make Extra MoneyYou won’t make a ton of money as a mystery shopper; but if you enjoy shopping, why not get some of that money back?  Typically, you’ll pay for items up front and get reimbursed from the company after filling out the necessary paperwork (evaluations and surveys).  If you’re interested in Mystery Shopping, check the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.  Watch out for online scams!  If you are being asked to pay for mystery shopper information, this is most likely a scam.  If you are sent anything, it will be information you could have retrieved for free on your own.  Again, you won’t make a lot of money as a mystery shopper.  Like any job, as you move through the ranks, you’ll be offered better opportunities.  A savvy mystery shopper will get paid to evaluate products that would have otherwise came out of the budget.  (MSN Money article on How to Become a Mystery Shopper)

3. Baby sitting service

If you enjoy working with kids, consider babysitting.  Put the word out to your social network and see what happens.  If you can make yourself available outside of normal day care hours and are willing to travel to the client’s residence you’ll be a precious commodity.

4. Cleaning houses

If you belong to the subset of the population that find cleaning distressing, then you may be able to make substantial income cleaning houses.  Or, you can take it a step further:  build a team and start your own home cleaning business.

5. Writer

If you like to write, there are several ways to publicize your content:


Possibly the easiest way to publish content as there is virtually no barrier to entry.  You can set up a blog for free in less than 5 minutes and start writing.  If you would like to Make Money from Blogging, you should do a little more research and realize that it is a process that will not happen overnight.


If you have knowledge or information that you think other people will pay for, consider an e-book.  The noise ratio is very high, so make sure your book will stand out.  Bounce your idea off of a few trusted friends that will give their honest opinion.

Squidoo & eHow

You can get paid to write articles for sites like Squidoo and eHow.  Most of the common topics have been covered, but if you can find an uncovered area, you may be able to generate some income

Self-publishing & print on demand services

Many authors want complete control of their writing and are turning to Print on Demand (POD) and Self-publishing services (also called vanity publishing).  These services allow you to publish an actual book, complete with ISBN which may be sold directly by you or through 3rd party vendors like Amazon.  Self-publishing services offer a more complete package (editing, cover design, some promotion, drop shipping etc) but also cost more.  Print on Demand allows you to upload your project and they will convert it to paperback as-is.

Traditional publishing

Submit your manuscript & query letter to a publishing house.  If they think your manuscript has potential, they will buy the rights and pay you in advance for royalties.  Sound like a sweet deal?  Get in line!  Getting a manuscript accepted by a publishing house is a tedious process.  More manuscripts are rejected than accepted.  You can always move on to another publisher.  If you do get accepted, you still have a long process ahead of you before your book hits the shelf.

6. Sell crafts

Some of my favorite jewelry comes from personal vendors who have found a knack for creating beautiful accessories.  I have another friend who started crocheting blankets.  Once the word got out, she was on a 3-6 month back order.  If you like to work with your hands, check out to see if that marketplace suits you.

7. Event planner

If you have stellar attention to detail and like social gatherings, you may be able to make side income by planning weddings, parties and other social functions.  Event planners need to be resourceful as they are often responsible for outsourcing many entities of an event on a limited budget.  They also need to be good communicators to accurately understand and present the desires of their clients.

8. Virtual assistant

Get paid to help other people stay organized.  There are legitimate Virtual Assistant (VA) positions out there, but there are also many scams so beware.  You don’t need to use paid directories.  Check classified listings such as Craigslist and turn to your own social network.

9. Braiding hair

Braids, twists, and locks are popular hair styles, especially in the African-American community.  Most states do not require a cosmetology license to braid hair.  You’ll need to build a clientele, but once this is done you can create a steady stream of income from returning customers and referrals.  Also, some styles such as micro-braids require up to 8 hours to complete.  Make sure you have the time before taking on such a task.

The above list only scratch the surface.  Some initiatives, like blogging, require little to no start-up money.  Others may require an initial investment to get started.  Whatever you decide will take work and commitment so increase your chances of success by selecting something you’ll like to do…especially if you are looking to create a long term supplemental income stream.  Be sure to check with your local government to see if any special licenses or certifications are required.  Also, keep track of your income and expenses because you’ll need them during tax season.

About Lakita Fane

Lakita Fane (previously Humber) is an IT Systems Administrator by profession with a passion for the things of God, worship arts, and financial stewardship. She started Personal Finance Journey as a way to help and encourage those on the road to financial freedom. She has been blessed with the opportunity to minister throughout the U.S. and Internationally as a workshop speaker and presenter.  Read more articles from Lakita.

  • Dijamae

    You are really right about MLM Companies. Many women jump into it before they are even sure if its the right one for them.

    They are soo excited about making money that they bypass the important part, the business plan and passion.

    Just like you said, you must be able to sell to more than your family, so do your homework!

    Great Article

  • Lakita (PFJourney)


    The MLM companies are good at what they do. Part of the recruitment pitch is “selling” the potential lifestyle. I’ve been to several of the “business / investment” meetings and they’ll send their top six figure earners to wow you with high figures, cars, rings, vacation photos etc.

    There job is to make you think you and everyone else needs the product and will be begging you to take part.

    You have to ask yourself:
    Do I need this? Do I believe in this? Can I sell this? (Not just recruit people…companies paid solely on recruiting are illegal pyramids)

    If you can answer yes, then proceed with caution.

    Thanks for stopping by!
    .-= Lakita (PFJourney)´s last blog ..Will You Take Advantage of the Homebuyer’s Tax Credit? =-.

    • Jason Price

      Lakita, great advice on how to differentiate between MLM’s and pyramid schemes. You definately have to believe in the product. Many companies are interested in the pyramid approach to just recruiting people and not selling anything. I would also recommend people check the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed.

  • Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog

    Great ideas Lakita! My wife has been considering mystery shopping or being a virtual assistant. Either would be a great way for her to stay home to raise our child while still making a little extra income.

  • Lakita (PFJourney)

    She’ll probably make more with virtual assistant, but they are hard to find. One of my friends is considering hiring a VA because she is so busy, but as far as I know she has not advertised it. Consider brainstorming the busiest people the both of you know and approach them with services she can offer.
    .-= Lakita (PFJourney)´s last blog ..Will You Take Advantage of the Homebuyer’s Tax Credit? =-.

  • Roger, the Amateur Financier

    Great list. Most of these are pretty applicable to us males, as well, although I know from my own family that some like Avon are only for the ladies. Always good to have an alternate income source or two available.
    .-= Roger, the Amateur Financier´s last blog ..Lessons from NCECA and My Family =-.

    • Jason Price

      Roger, I’m sure Lakita will allow you to apply some of these to males too. :) I agree it’s wise to have alternative sources of income, if possible. I like entrepreneurial ideas in which you can take a passion and turn it into income.

  • Lakita (PFJourney)

    You are correct Roger! The fellas can find some extra cash flow ideas on this list as well.

  • Mary

    I so badly need to get myself in gear and build a blog similar to this one.

  • The Money Man

    Hm.. making cash without a job has sometimes really been really hard; most of the time I purchase some e-books and get money from those. But they get extremely expensive! Trying to make money without any sort of job experience is even harder. A lot of ebooks usually are so terrible, although this post really helped. Thanks So Much! :)

  • money

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