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If you're a single parent, then you probably have a lot on your plate. From changing diapers to helping with homework to serving nutritious meals and teaching valuable life lessons somewhere in between, single parents have to shoulder a lot of responsibility, and that's not even including holding down a job and making ends meet.
So what are you to do when you're a single parent that's short on cash but needs your work to be flexible and kid-friendly? Take on a new side hustle that works for you and your schedule. It's not only possible, but it can also offer financial, professional and personal rewards.
With these 13 unique side hustles for single parents, you can earn some extra money while setting your own hours and still putting family first.
13 Little-Known Side Hustles for Single Parents
Whether you want to tutor students, get into dropshipping, make deliveries or cash in on your car's ad space, there's a side hustle that can work for you. Here are 13 little-known options perfect for single parents.
1. Virtual Tutoring
Got a knack for math, English, history or any other subject typically taught in schools? Then online tutoring might be the perfect side hustle for you. You'll get to share your knowledge, help students improve their grades and supplement your income, all without needing to leave the house.
While this gig might not be suitable for single parents of young children (you'll need to be able to make it through at least one tutoring session relatively uninterrupted), it's ideal for parents of kids who are elementary school-age or older.
You can look for virtual tutoring jobs on traditional job boards such as Indeed, and you may even be able to find local clients on sites like Nextdoor. Alternatively, you can apply to join a platform like Tutor.com or Skooli that finds students for you (both require you to have a certain level of higher education).
Pay: $18.97 per hour on average; $15–$20 per hour on Tutor.com or Skooli
Requirements: Subject matter expertise, some level of higher education (usually a four-year college degree at minimum) and possibly teaching certifications
2. Using Apps That Pay You
Do you find yourself staring at your smartphone for a decent chunk of time every day? You're not alone. In fact, one survey of 2,000 parents found that they spend almost as much time on their devices as they do with their children.
So if you're spending an hour or so on your phone each day, why not make some extra cash while you're at it? With the help of apps that pay you, you can do just that.
For instance, these apps pay you to take surveys on a variety of topics:
Don't have time for surveys? No worries — these apps give you cash back for the everyday purchases you already make:
Pay: Varies depending on the app you use — taking surveys via Qmee, for example, can net you about $1–$5 per hour
Requirements: A smart device with the ability to download and use mobile apps
3. Flipping Items
Whether you love scouring thrift shops for deals, desperately need to clean out your and the kids' closets or have a penchant for re-painting old furniture, we have good news: You could be making additional income from flipping items.
From cameras to jewelry to sneakers, you can flip just about anything for extra cash, and you can do so on a dizzying array of platforms. These are just some of the best items to flip for profit:
- Smart devices and tech accessories
- Exercise equipment
- Household appliances
- Secondhand books
- Designer purses
- Video games, DVDs and Blu-ray discs
- Gently used baby gear and kids' toys (you're sure to have at least some lying around!)
As for where to sell those items, you have no shortage of options. These include:
With so much flexibility, this side hustle is practically made for single parents.
Pay: Anywhere from $100–$5,000 per month, depending on the volume and value of the items you're flipping. This is one of the highest-paying jobs for a single mom or dad.
Requirements: Items to flip and access to the selling platform of your choice
Have you ever wanted to start a profitable ecommerce business but didn't want the hassle of manufacturing products, managing inventory or shipping orders? Then you're going to love dropshipping.
Here's how it works: A customer places an order with your store, paying full retail price. You then order the same thing from a supplier, paying a discounted wholesale price. The supplier then ships the order directly to the customer, leaving you with a nice slice of profit.
And as an added bonus, the types of products you can dropship are nearly endless. In 2021, for example, trending dropshipping products included everything from eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes to electric air purifiers to dog beds.
Best of all, you don't have to use any of the kids' bedrooms for inventory space.
Pay: It all depends on the types of items you're selling and how many you can sell, but per Shopify, it's possible to make $1,000–$2,000 per month within 12 months of working about 10–15 hours per week. This is another high-paying job for a single mom or dad.
Requirements: A computer to access the dropshipping platform of your choice
If you like learning about a variety of topics and are comfortable typing, you might want to look into becoming a part-time transcriber. If you do so, you'll be paid to listen to recordings of people speaking and accurately convert them into written documents.
The recordings you're assigned to transcribe can come in many forms, from college lectures to business meetings to job interviews. Just keep in mind that you'll likely need to wear headphones in order to hear and correctly transcribe them, so if you want to be able to hear your baby cry from the next room, then you'll need to find a workaround.
If you decide to make transcribing your new side hustle, you can begin your journey by applying to a platform such as:
Alternatively, you can use a site like Fiverr to advertise your transcription services and let clients come to you.
But as a single parent, the part of transcribing you'll probably appreciate most is that you can set your own hours.
Pay: Varies based on the platform you choose and your level of experience, but the average hourly wage is $15.37.
Requirements: A computer with access to your chosen transcription platform, a firm grasp of grammar and spelling and the ability to type quickly and accurately
6. Delivery Driving
If you have a driver's license, a car and a little spare time in between parental duties, then you're already equipped to make some extra money as a delivery driver.
Thanks to platforms like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates, becoming one is easier than ever. As an added perk, you can even bring your kids along while making deliveries.
You don't necessarily have to leave your children in the car, either — getting them out of the car at each stop is an option too. Delivery Crazy has found that:
Drivers who bring their children in a responsible, caring manner often report more polite customers and better tips, as the customers realize how hard they are working to provide a pleasant experience for the customer and a good day for his or her child.
Pay: Varies by platform but typically comes out to about $8–$15 per hour plus tips
Requirements: A driver's license, a car and a smartphone
7. Selling Handmade Goods
If you're a skilled maker or passionate craftsperson, you can make some supplemental income by selling your handmade goods. Depending on the items you're selling, you may even be able to recruit some help from the kids.
Feeling inspired to turn your DIY proclivities into a handmade business? You can do so by selling handmade products of all kinds, including:
- Home décor
- Clothing and accessories
- Furniture and wooden items
- Knitting, embroidery and crochet
- Pet accessories
You'll be able to choose between several platforms, too, each of which offers its own benefits. These include general marketplaces such as Etsy and Amazon Handmade, as well as more niche options like Ravelry, Spoonflower, and DeviantArt.
Just be sure to evaluate the cost of materials and the time it takes to make each item when choosing what to sell.
Pay: The average Etsy seller reportedly makes about $3,000 per year, but the amount you make will vary greatly depending on the type and quantity of the items you sell.
Requirements: The right supplies, plenty of DIY spirit and access to your chosen selling platform
8. Offering Child Care
Wouldn't it be nice if you could get paid to host playdates? If you decide to offer your own child care service, that vision can become your reality. And as an added plus, this side hustle comes with built-in entertainment for your own kids.
Or if you want to create a fully-fledged daycare from home, you'll need to:
- Create a business plan.
- Research your state's child care licensing requirements and get licensed if necessary.
- Get your home ready to accommodate for the children's playtime, nap time, educational activities, bathroom breaks, first aid needs and more.
- Establish your daycare, either as a sole proprietor or by filing an LLC.
Daycare not your thing? If you have a knack for throwing fun birthday parties, you might prefer being a children's party planner. Start by posting fliers at local kid-friendly spots like karate and dance studios, and try networking with parents on Facebook and Nextdoor to find your first client.
Pay: $17.73 per hour on average for babysitting; for running a daycare center, income varies based on location, the number of children in your care and your chosen hours of operation
Requirements: A love of working with children and access to the child care platform of your choice
9. Advertising on Your Car
If there's one thing almost all single parents have in common, it's that they tend to be busy — like, really busy. If that's true for you, then perhaps you'd like a totally passive way to earn some extra money.
Luckily, there's something called car advertising. You simply drive your car as needed like you normally do, but companies pay to have their advertisements displayed on it. In short, this is just about the most low-maintenance side hustle for the single parent life.
Here's how it works. First, choose a car advertising platform (each has its own set of basic requirements, so be sure to check those thoroughly). Leading options include:
After you've signed up and the platform has verified that you meet the minimum car and driver requirements, they'll apply a branded wrap or decal to your car. That's it! Simply continue driving as you usually do and you'll earn a passive income each month.
Pay: Varies depending on when, where, and how much you drive, as well as the platform you use. With Wrapify, for example, you can earn between about $250 and $450 per month with a full car wrap.
Requirements: A valid driver's license, a qualifying car and any other basic requirements specified by your chosen platform
10. Doing Laundry
Here's how it works:
- Sign up to work with your preferred service.
- Use their app to accept orders at times that work for you.
- Pick up laundry from a client's home.
- Return to your home to wash, dry and fold the laundry.
- Drop off the laundry back at the client's home.
It really is that simple, and your washing machine will be doing most of the work for you.
Pay: About $20 per bag of processed laundry with Laundry Care; about $15 to $20 per hour with SudShare
Requirements: A washer and dryer, clothes washing supplies, a vehicle to pick up and drop off loads of laundry and a phone to use the app of your chosen service
11. Shopping for Groceries
If you want a side hustle that can get you out of the house, consider becoming a grocery shopper. You'll receive an order for groceries, go to the specified store, shop for the items and drop them off at the customer's house.
Depending on the program you choose to become a shopper with, you might not even have to deliver the groceries — just shop for and pack them.
You can get started quickly and easily with the help of services like:
The best one for you depends on how you want to work. If you want maximum independence, Instacart can't be beat. But if you want to minimize the time you spend driving, Amazon Fresh might be more your speed.
Pay: Varies based on platform and tips received; on Instacart, for example, shoppers reportedly earn about $14.22 per hour on average
Requirements: Varies based on platform, but you'll generally need to have a car and a valid driver's license, be able to lift about 30 pounds and have a smartphone
12. Walking Dogs
A flexible, part-time job that involves getting exercise, working with animals and setting your own hours sounds pretty good, right? Those are the types of perks you can enjoy by walking dogs in your area.
If you have plenty of dog-owning neighbors, you can get started right away by advertising your services on platforms like Facebook or Nextdoor. Or, if you'd prefer to let an app handle all the logistics for you, you can look into signing up with ones like:
Each one takes a different approach to payment and organization (for instance, some don't charge a fee until you make a certain amount of money, while others take a cut of every payment), so be sure to evaluate the pros and cons before jumping in.
Pay: Varies based on platform and other factors; on Rover, for example, walkers report making an average of just over $18 per hour
Requirements: Confidence working with dogs, as well as the ability to take dogs on walks of varying length
13. Becoming a Stylist
For fashion-conscious single parents, getting paid to help other people pick out stylish outfits sounds like a dream. But if you become a virtual stylist, it could very well be your new side hustle.
That's thanks to companies like Stitch Fix that hire virtual stylists to help them offer remote styling services. The hours are flexible, and you'll get to spend time helping clients find clothes they love from the comfort of your home.
Amazon also hires part-time virtual stylists, but note that they specify candidates must be able to work a variety of shifts, including nights, weekends and holidays. They also require candidates to have at least two years of fashion experience. In other words, this might be a gig best suited to single parents of older kids who already have a couple of years of experience under their belt.
Pay: Stitch Fix stylists have an average pay of $15.98 per hour.
Requirements: A computer with reliable internet access and an eye for fashion
Resources for Single Parents
Just because you're a single parent doesn't mean you have to go it alone. With these resources, you can get help with everything from budgeting to parenting to organizing.
There's no denying that being a single parent comes with its own set of challenges, but being short on supplemental income doesn't have to be one of them. With creativity and drive, you're sure to find a single parent side hustle that works for you and your schedule.
And once you're ready to start your new gig, we've got you covered with our handy side hustle checklist.
Carrie Buchholz-Powers is a Colorado-based writer who’s been creating content since 2013. From digital marketing to ecommerce to land conservation, she has experience in a wide range of fields and loves learning about them all. Carrie is fond of history, animals and beauty in equal measure. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, playing video games and exploring Colorado's prairies and mountains with her husband.
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