In today's post: Maternity leave is a great way to start life with your newborn. But what if you’re not sure you can afford it? Here are flexible ways to make money on maternity leave.
Maternity leave (or paternity leave!) is one of the best things you can take to start life with your newborn baby. But what if you’re stressed because you feel you can’t afford it? That’s not good for you or baby!
The great thing about living in the Internet age is how it’s made remote work and earning an income from home into an accessible reality for many, many people. So, I’ve put together this resource to help you find the best work-from-home job to sustain you through your leave. Check out my guidelines and handpicked opportunities below!
Step 1: Set Your Guidelines
When you’re on maternity or paternity leave, looking for work you can do from home – as well as ways to make extra money – it’s important that you establish the correct parameters for your search. Be honest with yourself: you’re going to be short on sleep in a brave new world that refuses to recognize anything approaching a normal schedule. You also need to know how much support you can expect from your partner if they’re working outside the home during this period.
Recommended guidelines for your work-at-home job search:
- Look for a job that empowers you to work at any time of the night or day. When you’re caring for a brand new human being, regular sleep hours become a passing acquaintance. Use that wakeful time after a late-night feeding to get a little work done.
- Look for a gig that lets you choose your own hours. An inflexible schedule just begs to be broken when you’re on maternity or paternity leave; you need something that will be as flexible as your baby’s whims. Find something that doesn’t require you to work set shifts.
- Look for a job that doesn’t require you to have a quiet environment with zero background noise. Your baby could wake any time to cry, and you want to leave your options open as far as having TV on for background noise (which can help soothe your tiny one to sleep).
- Look for a gig that is incredibly portable. Anchoring yourself to your home office desk isn’t ideal when you’re recovering from a birth and/or on leave with your newborn. Find something that can be done on a laptop, at least, so you can work from bed or the nursery or the couch as necessary.
- Look for a job that can be accomplished in chunks. You’re going to have irregular interruptions when you’re caring for your new baby, so look for something where you don’t have to commit to long, uninterrupted stretches of time once you get to work.
Keeping these five guidelines in mind will set you up to succeed when you settle on a remote job. Now let’s look at some work-at-home jobs that fit!
1. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is one of the most flexible gigs out there. If you have any writing chops at all, it absolutely belongs at the top of your list. You can write on any topic imaginable, so if your passion is parenting, cats, or cooking, you can find someone who will pay you to write about it. There’s significant variety in types of writing projects, too – you might specialize as a tech writer, excel as a grant writer, ghostwrite someone’s book for them, or even write copy for catalogs.
You can write whenever and wherever works best for you, so long as you make the deadlines that you set with your client or editor. And you’re free to either build your own client base from private referrals or work with a service that provides content to their clients.
Check out my post “Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners” for everything you need to know.
This is another one that qualifies for top consideration if you can write at all: become a blogger and monetize your website. As a blogger, you set your own schedule and work on it at any time of day or night. You also have full control over your topic – becoming a Dad or Mommy Blogger is a viable choice, but you don’t have to write about the newborn parenting experience if you don’t want to. You could just as easily write about affordable healthcare strategies or the keto diet or your sewed doll creations.
Whatever topic you choose to blog about, make sure to optimize your system from the beginning. When you’re feeding, brainstorm future blog topics. Set yourself up to collect email addresses for a mailing list right way. Immediately start placing ads on your site and setting up affiliate links when you have some computer time. If you can work verbally, set up some voice-to-text software and outline or begin writing your blogs while you’re rocking your baby or grabbing a shower. Just make sure you keep your dictation device out of the splash zone!
Click here to get started and be a better blogger.
I realize the popularity of this suggestion will depend on whether you’re praying for silence once the baby’s finally asleep, or craving to hear another adult talk because you’ve been alone with the baby too long. But transcription is a good choice for making some money on maternity or paternity leave! This often winds up being an “extra money” job since most easily-available transcription gigs don’t pay the best rates and your work hours will be irregular.
When your baby still isn’t sleeping for long periods, work with companies that don’t have strict turnaround policies or that specialize in transcribing brief audio recordings. Once your baby’s starting to sleep longer or you have additional domestic help, you can work with companies that may offer better rates and require or pressure you to be available at certain times.
Haven’t transcribed before? Check out my post “23 Transcription Jobs: Work-at-Home Beginners Welcome.”
4. Get Money Back
When you’re not up for much more than surfing the Internet or buying stuff from the seemingly endless shopping list for families with newborns, make your spending work for you. When you’re shopping online, always check Ebates for an affiliate link so you can make progress on earning that next Big Fat Check. Or use a get-paid-to program like Swagbucks and click on their affiliate links whether you’re shopping at Walmart or Target or Kohl’s – you’ll earn points that can be converted into gift cards from popular retailers or PayPal cash later. Don’t forget to use Paribus so you get the difference back on eligible purchases that drop in price right after you make them.
Also, does your family’s main credit card have a cash back program? If not, consider switching to a credit card that does so you’re not leaving free money on the table. And install Ibotta on your phone while you’re at it – every time you or your partner goes grocery shopping, make sure to check their deals so you can make money back on your grocery purchases.
Finally, you may be binging the heck out of Netflix in those early days with your newborn, but you’re probably not using that gym membership. Use Trim to do a check-up on all recurring subscriptions, then review them and have Trim cancel those that you’re not currently using.
And when you’re somewhat mindlessly surfing the Internet? Do some quick surveys, watch some videos, and even play some games on Swagbucks (`or similar sites like MyPoints) to turn that downtime into points that can later be redeemed for gift cards or cash.
5. Take Surveys
If you’re a big fan of surveys, the good news is that you’re probably in one of the better demographics to qualify – when that survey is looking for consumers who are the decision-makers in their family with a certain level of income and a child. Keep in mind that this is another way to score some extra cash, and these opportunities can be a great way to utilize those short moments of time between feedings and sleep and appointments.
While any get-paid-to program like Inbox Dollars or Swagbucks will offer points for surveys, these are far from the only places to find survey opportunities. Check out some of the most-respected survey companies like Pinecone Research, GlobalTestMarket, or Harris Poll. Learn more about these companies and discover more in my post “10 Opportunities to Take Surveys for Cash.”
6. Get Rid of Stuff
This is something that you can get started on when you’re expecting by exploiting that nesting urge to clean and organize your home. When you’re preparing for your new baby, take the time to identify stuff you can get rid of. This is the perfect time to purge your wardrobe of clothing you no longer want, your closets of unused sporting or musical equipment, or your media collection of unwatched movies and unlistened-to CDs. And make sure your bookshelves aren’t still sheltering any old college textbooks! Set it aside so that you can exploit the many programs online that will pay you cash for your unwanted stuff.
Send your gently-used clothing to Poshmark, and your college textbooks to Cash4Books. Sell your old media to SecondSpin or Decluttr – these are great options for your old smartphones, too. For even more ideas on how to monetize your home’s clutter, check out my “sell your stuff” tag.
7. Make Things
Get crafty with your available moments of downtime during your maternity or paternity leave – and sell what you make online! There’s a reason that a site like Etsy is so popular and has been around since 2005, and that Amazon is trying to get in on the market share with Amazon Handmade. There’s also a movement to support small business owners and independent artists who use their creativity to craft items as varied as quirky enamel pins to crocheted dolls to handcrafted soaps.
You can run your shop by creating and stocking products with regular updates on your storefront; or you can sell commissions by taking private custom orders with guaranteed customers. Determine which way you’ll run your business for yourself based on how long it takes to create your products or how extensively they can be customized. When your work is popular, you may have more orders than you know what to do with!
Are There Work-at-Home Jobs Offering Parental Leave?
When you’re expecting new additions to your family, it’s important to know that your workplace is there to support you. The good news is that more companies, from successful startups to huge brand names, are recognizing this need to invest in and nurture their people – so more companies are offering both maternity and paternity leave to their remote employees working from home. Yes, your work-from-home job can come with full benefits and paid parental leave, too! It’s a great time to build a work-at-home career along with your family.
For those of you interested in virtual assistant positions, Worldwide101 is always looking for Executive Assistants to work with entrepreneurs, small business owners, and the rest of their varied clientele. They ask that you have a minimum of seven years experience in administration, executive assistance, or related roles. Pay starts at $20 per hour and they offer flexible hours, though they're only hiring in 16 states. Additionally, they offer paid vacation and holidays – and paid parental leave!
Now that you feel more comfortable keeping money coming in while you’re on paternity or maternity leave, drop into the comments and tell me how you plan to make money – and don’t forget to come back and share your success.