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
You 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.
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.
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 Etsy.com 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.