Looking To Earn Some Cash? Selling MLM Sh*t Isn’t Your Only Option

by Wendy Wisner
Originally Published: 

First of all, I get it.

Trying to raise a family today is stressful AF, especially from a financial perspective. Reports reveal that child care, on average, costs American families up to 30% of their incomes. Holy crap. And yet, this statistic doesn’t really surprise any of us, does it?

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It makes sense, then, that so many parents — especially moms — end up staying home with their kids. But even that isn’t an affordable option for most of us. It is virtually impossible to raise a family on one income, which is why so many SAHMs take on side-hustles to make ends meet.

But what pains me is that so many mothers think that getting into sales — usually in the form of multilevel marketing (MLM) — is the way to go. The only way. For some women, I suppose the idea of selling makeup, weight-loss shakes, leggings, and that lipstick that stays on for 24 hours a day sounds totally fun and appealing. I can understand that.

In many cases, however, women invest a shit ton of cash in one of these companies, with the promise that they’ll make it back (and then some), but we all know how that story often plays out. They are almost all scams. What usually happens is that you keep investing and investing and get little back in return. Of course, there are exceptions, but the majority of women do not last in these companies, and many end up losing money instead of making any.

Not only are you likely to lose cold hard cash, but you’ll probably piss off off your friends in your attempts to convince them to buy your stuff so you can recoup your “investment.” Again, there are certainly exceptions, but really? Most of us are either deleting your requests to join your company Facebook group or nodding along absentmindedly so we don’t destroy friendships and can just move the heck on with our day.

The thing is, I know that many moms feel like they have no other choice but to get into sales. What better way to make some money than to do it from home with your kids in tow, right? You can work from your phone, after all. That’s a big selling point.

But you know what, there are better ways to make money from home. MLMs aren’t the only solution to the financial quandary. There are actually quite a few totally legit ways to make money from home that don’t involve you investing your savings in a sketchy company or shoving your products down your friends’ throats.

If you’re interested in earning some extra money, without going into hock to sell leggings, here are a few work-from-home jobs I’ve come across over the years, along with some resources to get you started.

1. Freelance Writing

There are a ton of opportunities out there for people who like to write, especially online. If you don’t have any clips yet, you might have to start writing for free at first. But once you get some good clips in order, you can start sending your work out to paying sites. Contena is a great way to find online content gigs, and Mediabistro is a place where you can get pitching info for most online publications.

2. Virtual Assistants

If you have any office experience or are just a disciplined, organized go-getter, you can become a virtual assistant. Services virtual assistants offered include data entry, social media services, email marketing, website maintenance, appointment scheduling, and more. This article from The Work At Home Wife (which is, by the way, a fantastic resource for all this stuff) offers a million tips and resources for starting a virtual assistant business.

3. Online Teacher/Tutor

There are so many opportunities for people with education backgrounds to teach online. You can teach entire college courses online, teach classes for homeschoolers, or work for tutoring companies. VIP Kid is a popular place to find online teaching gigs, and and Chegg Tutors are places to start when looking for online tutoring clients.

4. Translator

If you know a foreign language, you can totally put your skills to use. It’s a specialized skill that is hard to find and in demand. FlexJobs is a good place to start when looking for translation jobs.

5. Transcription

Writers, PR people, and others often need interviews, meetings, and more transcribed. It’s good for someone who is a relatively speedy typist and has a good grasp of punctuation and grammar, but really anyone with those basic skills can do it. Again, you can start by hitting up FlexJobs and searching for transcription work.

6. Social Media Management

Managing a company’s social media accounts has become a job unto itself. With a little background and training, most people can learn how to do it. And the demand is big and growing. Again, Contena is a good place to start as you begin looking for social media gigs.

7. Customer Service

So many businesses are realizing that they don’t need their customer service personnel to be housed in an office and are allowing their employees to work from home. And I’m talking about big, legitimate companies like Amazon and Priceline. Smaller companies hire for these skills as well. Totally worth checking out.

8. Blogging

Making money as a blogger doesn’t happen overnight; it can take years. You have to accrue good content, learn how SEO works (search engine optimization, so your site will come up when people google stuff), and build up a following. But if you are able to make that happen, you can make quite a bit of money from blogging, usually via advertising and sponsorship.

9. In-Home Child Care

This is not for everyone, of course. But if you wouldn’t mind filling your home with a few more kids on a regular basis, most families are fine with babysitters or nannies who bring their kids along for the job. In fact, some welcome it and are happy to have their kids cared for by a fellow mom.

10. Website Design

If you have any design or visual art experience, you can probably learn to make a pretty kick-ass website. And businesses are almost all online and need help with that. With most things like this, you might need to design a few websites for free or at low cost as you build up your resume. But once you’ve got a good catalog of work to show off, you can start charging and make a good living doing website design.

There are other options out there. And these are only a few of the most popular ones. Of course, getting this kind of work can be a job in and of itself and requires motivation and a bit of know-how. But here’s what I want you to remember: You are talented, you are strong, and you are a mother, which basically means you can do anything because you are a total freaking badass.

It’s not easy to balance working from home and caring for kids at the same time (believe me: I do it, and I am a hot mess most days). But there is a absolutely a way to make it work and to find that ever-elusive balance (most days!) we crave. Most importantly, there are legit ways you can make money for your family without badgering your friends on social media or taking out a second mortgage to build up your printed leggings (or lip gloss) inventory.

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