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How to Make Money As A Stay At Home Dad

15 minutes

I have been a “stay at home dad” since 2012. I remember that it was quite tough trying to establish a career as a new immigrant to Canada. Most of the jobs available to new immigrants like myself were considered survival jobs or menial jobs, which was a big adjustment for me having have worked mostly accounting jobs back to my then previous home country.

For slightly a year, I’ve tried my hands in so many different jobs, whatever’s available to a new immigrant such as myself; with a 7-month old kid, in a new country, I better put my act together in order to survive. I worked at a Superstore (Canadian grocery chain) branch as a “courtesy clerk”, where you basically pick up and return the customers’ “put-away products” to their rightful shelves, I’m also in charged of sweeping and mopping the floors by the store’s entrance every 15 or 30 minutes, if I’m not mistaken with the time gap. After that, I’ve worked in a call center, then as a telecommunications company field technician where I would connect and disconnect telephone, cable and internet lines… fast forward roughly 1-year in my new adopted country, I was laid-off!

It was a same-day lay off for about 15 of us in the team. I never experienced being laid off before, not to mention being laid off with a day’s notice. Well, it turned out it was common in this part of the world.

dad-teaching-child

My wife was then also starting a full time job in a hospital, so when we were both working, we would have to endorse our young child to baby sitters who would accept a child at their home at around 5:30 am.

While my wife have relatives in our adopted city, we didn’t have close enough extended families who could help us with child care, so we had to rely on friends and friends of friends for child care, since we both had to report to work at around 7 am and my travel time was a bit of a stretch.

When I got laid off, the most practical thing to do is to have one of us stay at home and tend to our young cub, who’s by the way, already 11 at the time of this writing.

Yup, time flies… and they do grow so fast!

So, if you’re in the same situation right now, don’t fret… they’ll be big kids before you know it.

Becoming a stay at home dad in a global culture where the men are expected to be the main breadwinners of the family is somewhat hard to grasp on our ego but as a family man, you have to make it work for the family either way.

On our end, it was practical for me to be the stay at home parent because my wife had a full time job back then but of course, it didn’t mean that I have to settle as a full time stay at home dad since I knew that I can contribute more than just tending to our child and household.

While on the process of being a stay at home dad, I didn’t actually realized that I was already a stay at home dad because I was actively searching for jobs and a possible career that won’t have any lay offs – but of course that kind of job doesn’t exist in Canada because there’s just no such a thing security of tenure in this part of the world. Anyone can get laid off for any reason.

Making Money As A Stay At Home Dad

stay at home dad written on chalkboard

Since being laid off in early 2012, I have tried a lot of ways how to make money as a stay-at-home dad. I traded and lost money in foreign exchange (Forex) – these were episodes where I would wake up at 2 am for the New York markets, sleep a bit between 5 and 7 am then wake up to tend to our child. I’ve also enrolled in a self-employment program offered by our local YMCA where you get an allowance by being a participant. This program helped us keep at bay while I was figuring out what career to pursue that could work around our family’s schedule since, by that time, my wife was the main breadwinner of our young family.

After around 18 months of trying to make my online marketing consulting business work from home. I was introduced to the world of financial services. I was unsure if this was the career that I would want to pursue because I didn’t want a sales career as I didn’t think that my personality was a good fit for it but this was a flexible career that I can do during my wife’s off days.

By now, you would see my pride as a man, gleaming – while it was fine for me being a stay-at-home dad, I didn’t want the feeling of being fully dependent on my wife. I needed to have a career… I needed to make money as a stay-at-home dad.

Up to this day, financial services have been our bread and butter and we have built our small enterprise around it. It’s not perfect but the time is flexible, we’re able to deliver real value to our clients, and we believe in the products and services that we’re offering.

There are many ways how you can make money as a stay at home dad, mine was the financial services industry as a financial security advisor; it was quite tricky presenting yourself as a professional while juggling stay at home dad duties and it was hard to separate these two roles when your home is your office at the same time.

I remember showing up to client meetings with a child in tow, it isn’t the most professional thing to do but you have to do what you have to do. I’m not saying of course that you bring your child in tow when going to work as you can limit your work hours (days) when your spouse isn’t working but there were times when the clients are only available on weeknights while my wife also had to work.

My wife still keeps her then a full-time job as her part-time work but she has since joined me in our business and we try to work around the family schedule. I’ll have to say it again though, being self-employed isn’t perfect, especially when you’re working from home but more and more people have gotten used to their service providers working from home so having kids in the background isn’t really much of a big deal anymore.

Ways To Make Money As A Stay At Home Dad

stay at home dad working from home

There are a lot of ways to make money as a stay at home dad, but since you’re the designated stay at home parent, you will need to work around your family’s schedule and arrange with your spouse that you will have to work on your career when he or she isn’t working.

You may have read various tips on how you can make money from home as a stay at home dad and some of them included selling stuff that you don’t need or taking surveys – while these tips are doable they are not sustainable, what you’re after is a gig that could help you earn money on a consistent basis so you can financially contribute into the family’s coffer.

Self-employment may be the key for you to consistently make money as a stay-at-home dad. You can either offer services or sell products, or work for a company on a part-time basis – preferably, home-based.

The challenge of starting a self-employment career, of course, is the question of when or where the next (or first paycheck) is going to come from, and how you can earn on a consistent basis.

Start With Zero

Yes, you will start with a $0.00 income.

Zero is your starting point but don’t think that you’re a loser. Too many times people think that self-employed dads are losers; if you’re not simply seating around or watching videos all day, you’re not! After all, you’re not a stay at home dad to avoid having to be the family’s breadwinner. Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do because someone has to take care of the kids and the household.

When I say that you will have to start with zero, I mean that you will have to start with no income at first – and you have to accept that fact. Instead of simply being a full-time stay at home dad, you’re going to be a stay at home dad, with a side gig!

You can work on your side-gig a couple of hours a day or simply one or two days a week when your spouse isn’t working where reversal of role is possible.

The fastest way to make money as a stay at home dad is by offering services. You can offer your services, either locally or offer them online to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Sell Your Services

What skills do you have? Skills that you may have picked up from your past work, education, or experience.

When you start marketing your services, you will find that most of the skills that you’ve acquired working for a traditional, others will be willing to pay for. If you’re skilled in the trades or are quite handy, you already have a captured market in your locality and as you may know, skilled trades demand quite a hefty bill from the consumers.

If on the other hand, you’re coming from an office background, you may be able to offer your services on the internet by joining online freelance marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr.

Whatever services that are deliverable digitally can be sold to anyone, anywhere in the world.

In either case, you’re going to work as a freelancer, where you get paid on a per work or performance basis.

If you’re serious about making money on a consistent basis as a stay-at-home dad, it helps to have a website that showcases your expertise as well as a means to document your past jobs or portfolio to build your credibility to potential future clients.

You don’t need a fancy one, and you don’t need to pay thousands of dollars for a 5-pager website as you can actually build one for yourself. Actually, you only need four things to build your business or professional website, and they are as follows:

  1. A domain name
  2. A Webhosting service,
  3. A website platform (free),
  4. A Theme or Website Design

All these would only cost you around $60 US. You can find a lot of tutorials online on how you can build your own website for your business or practice online.

Of course, building your website is half the battle won, you still need to drive traffic to your website, and there are two ways how you can attract traffic to your website. You either pay for traffic or produce content for organic or local SEO (search engine optimization). Organic marketing takes time but it will give you the highest ROI for your business. If you’re in a hurry though, you can dabble with paid ads but it’s quite tricky because while it can bring you traffic right away, it could also be an easy way to lose your shirt trying to promote your business on the internet.

Become A Self-Employed Professional

dad playing toy car with son

Getting a license as an independent sales professional or consultant can be an excellent way to establish a professional career while being a stay-at-home parent. If you’re a stay-at-home dad, it may be wise to take advantage of your downtime and get a professional license. These types of licenses are mostly based on self-phased study courses but once you pass the licensing exams, you will always have your license and you can operate your business around your family’s schedule.

You can meet clients in the evenings or even just on the weekdays but with a sales professional license, you can easily replace your full-time income working an average of two hours a day, helping clients solve problems that your products offer a solution for.

For myself, I got a license for the Life License Qualification Program or LLQP. Many people think that it’s a plan life insurance license but it’s a full-blown financial security license, under insurance council regulations. With an LLQP, you can help your clients protect their household’s financial security and plan their future by putting away money to fund their future (retirement), building an emergency fund, or establishing their children’s post-secondary educational funds.

There are other licenses that you can take such as a realtor, a mortgage broker, or a general insurance license. All of these licenses allow you to operate as an independent broker or sales professional.

There’s a proven demand in all these industries. You can start marketing your services as a licensed professional by letting people in your circle know that you’re working on your license.

Ever felt at a loss whenever people ask the dreaded “what do you for a living?” questions at parties and gatherings?

Well, sadly, people still do that nowadays…

When I was in-between careers, trying to figure out what to do as a stay-at-home dad, I would simply answer that I was “self-employed”, not to get embarrassed with a feeling of being looked down upon because I was a stay at home dad. Well, I still am, but I make a full-time income as a financial security advisor despite working around my family’s schedule. My wife too is a stay-at-home mom because she only works four days a month on a 9 to 5.

When you work on a professional license while being a stay-at-home dad, you can simply tell them that you’re working on your “realtor, mortgage broker, insurance broker, or finance license” while you’re taking care of the kids and household. Who knows, the people asking may be potential clients or may know some people who would need your services.

Buy and Sell Stuff Online

Another way you can make money as a stay-at-home dad is to buy and sell products online.

Buying and selling used or clearance products online are the cheapest and easiest ways to start an eCommerce business. This gig isn’t for busy people because it requires time to research and shop products that you can flip online but mind you, too many stay-at-home parents are making a good living flipping products on Amazon and eBay.

If you’re lured into this business opportunity, I would suggest that you start with a capital of between $2,000.00 to $3,000.00, and yes, please don’t use your credit card because this type of business definitely has a learning curve and the products that you buy to flip may take time before they sell, and in some instance, you may need to sell some of your inventories at a loss just to move your them off your marketplace inventory. Remember, you’re not the only Amazon or eBay seller because while these websites attract millions of monthly buyers, there are also a lot of other sellers competing to sell the same products you’re trying to turn into cash.

The key is product research, the great thing about eBay and Amazon is that there are available product research tools like eGrow and AmzScout (Amazon), and ZikAnalytics (eBay) that helps you find products online to flip and if you grow into a more advanced seller, you can even launch your own brand by using these software tools.

male online seller

Start An eCommerce Business

Flipping retail products is a lucrative business opportunity for stay-at-home dads who don’t mind the hustle of constantly researching and buying products online and off to fill their inventories in marketplaces like eBay and Amazon but an even more lucrative eCommerce business opportunity is having your own eCommerce shop.

Launching your own eCommerce shop requires lesser capital than it takes when you start a brick and mortar retail business because when you launch a shop offline, you would have to sign at least a year’s worth of lease contract, online, you could lease a virtual store for as low as $29 a month through Shopify.

Shopify is an online eCommerce software that lets you build and host your store for as low as $29 a month. Years ago, you would have to pay thousands of dollars for an eCommerce website development, now you can do it on your own with Shopify. All you need is a domain name, hosting, and software is already provided in your Shopify subscription.

One thing to note here is the fact that when you build your online shop, it doesn’t mean that people will be flocking in to buy your products because when you build your shop, no one really knows about it yet. So, you have to market it. In most cases, the initial flock of visitors will come from paid advertising, and like any other business, starting an eCommerce business has its own learning curve, and the most important is product research and marketing.

Product research will reveal products that people actually want so you don’t end up stocking up on products that don’t sell. Marketing, on the other hand, will help you promote and sell your products to people who may be interested in purchasing them.

A lot of eCommerce brands found success with Facebook advertising but you can also investigate Google Shopping Ads as they can work hand in hand.

As you may already know, there are two ways how you can drive traffic to an eCommerce website:

  1. Paid Traffic
  2. Content Marketing

My favorite way of acquiring traffic is through content marketing as it can provide you with the highest ROI, the only problem, however, is that it may take too long for content marketing to kick in. Paid traffic, on the other hand, can bring you traffic instantly but as I mentioned above, paid traffic has its own learning curve and it could hurt you (financially) if you don’t know what you’re doing so you must be willing to take the time to learn and experiment. Like anything else in life, the best way to learn paid traffic is through experience, so don’t be afraid to do trials and errors as you’ll eventually figure it out.

Start Dropshipping with Shopify

The fastest way to test products is through Dropshipping with Shopify. You may have product ideas in mind, or you may have even done your research and think that your product of choice is going to kill it online, so you bought 1,000 units, then – crickets! You have 1,000 units in your garage or basement that you can’t move. You can avoid this eCommerce trap by testing products through dropshipping first.

Why Shopify?

Shopify allows you to build a full-fledged eCommerce store for less than $30 a month. Sure, you can pay a web developer thousands of dollars to build a custom-designed e-commerce store but you’re not sure that your new business is going to work yet, Shopify lets you test and experiment while cutting your losses at the same time, should your first couple of attempts fail.

They say that in business, you just have to be right once. You may try and test 10 products and 10 niche eCommerce stores and they may all fail. You can quit after that but if you continue on and learn from your experience, trying it one last time may just change your life.

You can start your Shopify subscription here for a free 14 days trial.

Conclusion

stay at home dad with child

There are many ways how you can make money as a stay-at-home dad. The easiest way is to offer services based on skills that you already know, skills that you may have learned from your past job, experience, or education.

You can offer services locally or internationally with the use of the internet. If you’re offering services that are deliverable through a digital mediums such as graphic designs, website development, article writing, or even administrative assistance, you can join freelance marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr to land your initial clients.

If on the other hand, you need to be physically present to deliver your services, you should offer your services locally, instead. If you consider yourself handy, then the services that you should offer are obvious – you just need to spread the word that you’re indeed open for business and are offering your services to anyone who may need it from within your contacts list (check your phone and email contacts).

You can also come up with some sort of referral arrangements with people who already trust you and who would like to see you succeed like your relatives and friends. Don’t be afraid to ask – you’re offering a service, not begging!

If you’re active on Facebook, you can also post your services on the Facebook Marketplace or local Facebook groups that you may be a part of. You can also post on classified ads like Craiglist, Kijiji, and Carousell. These are the major classified ads websites that I’m familiar with (US, Canada, and the Philippines). Your country should have its own version of these websites if you don’t hail from any of the countries served by these Classified ads websites.

Another way of finding clients for your local services gig is by posting on newspaper classifieds, yes, people still read the paper!

Finally, the best way to attract traffic to your offer and build credibility is by launching your own website. It doesn’t have to be a complicated one as you can start with a 5-pager website and grow it by producing content articles related to your services.

If you’re a handyman, for example, you can publish articles related to construction and renovations. As an example, here are my two local business websites that attract leads to my partnered service provider:

  1. Bathroom Renovations Winnipeg
  2. Basement Renovations Winnipeg

Yours need not have matching domain names as it’s quite difficult to brand them.

Another way that you can make consistent money as a stay-at-home dad is by becoming a licensed professional. As a stay-at-home dad, you can be the one with a variable income while your spouse has a fixed income. If you’re not aware of it yet, fixed income and variable income work hand in hand because even if your income is variable, you can actually make more money than your fixed-income earning spouse (depends on how hard you work) because you can bring home almost a full-time income by working part-time on a consistent basis.

Licenses such as a Realtor, Insurance Agent, and Mortgage Broker will give you a good career once you get the hang of it.

You can also buy and sell products online through marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. The cheapest way to get started as an e-commerce seller is by buying and selling products that are on clearances and even second-hand items that you can find on garage and library sales.

If you’re not already busy with another career, buying offline and selling online can be a lucrative business opportunity for a stay-at-home parent such as yourself. It requires a lot of hustle but makes it a habit to work during your spouse’s off days so you technically have 8-hours of the workday to hunt for items you can sell online.

There is software that you can use to find products offline and online. If you’re scouting goods offline, you can simply use the Amazon seller mobile app and arm yourself with a reliable Bluetooth scanner that you can connect to the app.

The tricky part of selling products be it offline or online is that you don’t know whether or not it’s going to sell that’s why product research is vitally important. If you’re selling in Amazon US, you should ideally find products with a best seller rank of below 15,000 for consistent daily sales but if you’re just finding one-off items, they could sell within a month if they’re ranked below 100,000.

The only problem that you may encounter with selling on online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay is the fact that you’re not the only seller on the platform. This is where launching your own e-commerce website may come into play. If you would like to build an e-commerce brand as your stay-at-home dad side gig yet with a very high potential of becoming a full-time gig, launching your own e-commerce brand may be your ticket to an income-producing career.

Like any other e-commerce business, launching your own e-commerce brand requires a lot of product research and testing. As stated, the best way to start is through drop shipping so you could test products first via paid advertising before actually committing to buying items wholesale.

I hope that this article was able to help you decide on the possible career path that you can start part-time and make money as a stay-at-home dad. If you’ve learned something, please don’t hesitate to share this post with your social media friends. If you have tips of your own that you think can help other stay-at-home dads who may also be looking for ways how they can make money from home, please don’t hesitate to chip in your ideas by leaving a comment below.

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