It's not easy being a single dad. Managing time, money, and personal relationships can be a major stress point. What's worse, is that there doesn't seem to be a good solution to fix all of these issues.
If you get a second job, and suddenly you have more money, less time, and your relationship with your children may suffer. If you instead opt for more time with the family, and you might be living paycheck to paycheck. That's stressful, and can affect your relationships.
Every parent wants to give their children the best life possible, instead of the bare minimum. So how can you earn extra money without taking time with them?
Today I wanted to reach out to some single dads out there and tell you a bit about what I do for a living, and how you can do the same. I work from home, and though I'm a single guy, I think this could be a pretty awesome job for a single parent. I basically set my own schedule, and certainly make enough for a family to live off of.
I want to be as honest and up front as possible here. There's a lot of scams out there that will try to pitch you the idea of easy money, secret systems, loopholes, and even pyramid scheme type business models like cash gifting and network marketing which can put your DEEP into debt.
That's not my style. You will know everything you need to know to get started, and how much it's going to cost by the end of the post.
To start with, let’s look at a few ways single dads can work from home and make money online. I'll cover the ones I know about first (but haven't tried), and can recommend. I'll end with the style that I do, and you can see if you'd like to try your hand at that.
5 Ways For Dads To Earn Money Online
1. Retail Arbitrage (Buy & Sell)
If you like the idea of running your own online store, you might think about a retail arbitrage business. In this type of enterprise, you’ll be buying low from retail stores and selling your items online.
One of the first things you’ll need to consider is what kind of a store you might run. An Amazon storefront is one of your best bets for an online store whose goods will be seen by shoppers.
Decide whether or not you want to focus on niche, and if so, who you’ll market to. For instance, are you into downhill skiing? Water sports? Football? If you’re marketing to a niche target, you’ll need to source items that fit within your niche.
You’ll need to source your goods from retail stores. You can shop sales in brick-and-mortar stores. End of season sales and close-out sales can be good places to look for items at a deep discount. If you can get items for 50% off or less, there’s a good chance you’ll make a profit reselling them online.
You can also source items from online retail stores, but again, watch for the discounts. You’ll also need to make sure that there aren’t going to be any issues with packing or shipping when the online stores send your purchases to you.
Once you’ve built an inventory and got your online store set up, you can start selling the goods you’ve purchased at low prices for a high enough prices to make a profit.
There are just a few things to consider. You’ll need to take care of storing, packing and shipping the items to your customers as well as sourcing the items in the first place. This means it can be a time consuming, detailed and sometimes tedious job. However, it’s also honest work, and some people do really well with this business model.
2. Online Poker
What if you’re more into card games than selling things? What if you have a good head for statistics and a strong sense of willpower?
There are times when being a professional online poker player can pay off, but you have to be careful to not cross the line into gambling. Gambling is not a good way to make money!
Part of online poker’s draw is the fact that it’s fast. Online poker players can have 90 hands in an hour, while traditional poker players see might see 30 hands in an hour.
Also, online professional poker players generally have six to eight tables going at once, while traditional poker players are limited to one table at a time. Multi-tabling with several tables allows online poker players to recover faster from losses as well as make money faster.
To make money playing online poker, you’ll need software to help you track the ‘tells’ so you can make educated decisions about what to do with your hand. Without the software, you’re basically gambling, and you’ll probably lose a lot more than you win.
You’ll need a deposit to get into an online poker site. This usually costs around $50. You’ll need that poker tracking software, and you’ll need a bankroll of money that you’ve set aside specifically to play poker with. In this game, you can’t make money without having some to invest first. For your bankroll, plan on saving twenty times the amount of your buy-in cost.
If you're not familiar with the game, it can certainly feel like gambling. It does to me. However, I have buddies that swear buy it, and they've turned the statistics of a poker game into a legitimate income.
3. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing can be a great at-home business because there’s such a low start-up cost. If you already have a computer with an internet connection, a good work ethic and some English language skills, you’re set to go.
If you like the excitement of writing news and features, check with your local news sources. Many of them hire freelance writers for community-based features and occasional hard news articles. It’s a great way to get started, even if they don’t pay well, because once you have a byline, you’re official. People seem to take you more seriously when you’ve been ‘published.’ This type of writing is formal—it’s kind of a niche in the writing industry.
Another good option is writing web content for people who run their own websites. Many times these online entrepreneurs are too busy to tackle the writing, which makes your skills valuable. Most of the time, this type of writing is for blog posts. Occasionally you’ll find opportunities to write sales pages or other landing pages, which can be fun and add variety to your workday.
Because there’s always a need for new content, writing content for online businesses can be fast-paced and deadline-heavy, but it’s also very rewarding. If you’re a fast writer, you can put a lot of content out in a short time, which also increases your earnings.
If you’re not interested in working for someone else, what do you think about writing for yourself? Many writers blog or write and sell e-books to make money. Short how-to type of e-books sell well, and if you have a niche topic that you love to write about, you could combine your efforts with both a blog site and a series of e-books you’ve built around the blog posts you’ve already written.
Some types of fiction books sell well, too. If you’re interested in really making money with fiction e-books, contemporary romance novellas are good sellers—but they may not be the most fun for a single dad to write. Writing a book or two won't create a big income right away, but if you can create an extensive enough portfolio of books, it could be a great side income.
One downside of owning a freelance writing business is that it’s a feast or famine setup. You can have a dry spell for a week, and then one morning you’ll have requests from four different clients at a time, all wanting work put out in the next two days.
When the writing feast hits, you have to work hard and fast. You have to prioritize, and you have to keep your environment prepared for times when the workload hits all at once. (Generally speaking, this means keeping your freezer stocked with fast and easy convenience meals, because you WILL NOT have time to cook.)
One other consideration for running your own freelance writing business is that you’ll have to drum up your own clients or otherwise find ways to make money with your writing. Some people can make money by posting articles on sites like HubPages, but it’s not a guaranteed income source because your payment depends so much on advertisement clicks.
A better bet is to sign up with a work-bidding site like Textbroker, Fiverr or Upwork, where you can propose bids for work. After a few weeks, you get a feel for how much you can charge, how many clients you can handle a one time, and what kind of schedule you need to keep in order to take good care of your family.
4. Virtual Assistant
As a virtual assistant, you’ll help other entrepreneurs with various online tasks that they just can’t get to. The work will most likely be varied, from client to client as well as with what a single client might want you to do, so you probably won’t be bored. It also offers the chance to learn new skills based on what your clients need.
For example, some virtual assistants act as an online secretary, answering telephones, taking notes and setting up appointments. Others help with e-mail marketing campaigns, social media postings, tracking website statistics and managing social media sites like Pinterest. They can help with editing, manage other employees, and help install and set up systems like WordPress.
The work is flexible, which means you can have more than one client at a time, and you have the opportunity to practice and learn a variety of new skills that make you even more marketable.
As with freelance writing, you’ll have to drum up your own clients and learn to manage a client list. Work-bidding sites like UpWork and Fiverr are a good place to start. Ask yourself how many clients you can you handle at one time. Also, how much work can you handle from one client and still manage your workload from other clients and on the home front?
5. Amazon or EBay Store
Maybe you’d like to run an online store but want to be smart about it and save yourself as much work as possible. You can do that by leveraging systems that have already been established.
For example, you can set up an Amazon store, source and purchase the goods you want to sell, and then label them and ship them to an Amazon warehouse. When a customer buys something from your store, Amazon will ship that item directly to them. You don’t have to worry about storing inventory, packing or shipping.
You can also use an Amazon or EBay store for drop-shipping, in which you never touch the inventory at all. Instead, you list the goods you’d like to sell from a wholesaler at prices that will provide you with a good product. When a customer buys something, the wholesaler itself ships the product directly to the consumer.
The biggest hurdle for these types of businesses is finding a source for products that you can sell at a higher price. It’s like retail arbitrage, but instead of relying on sales and having a real mix of items to sell, you can be consistent in the products you sell. It’s good for business because customers come to know what to expect from your store.
Having the cash on hand to purchase things in bulk can be a real challenge as well. I'd recommend having at least $500 on hand to buy things your business will need to be profitable!
==> How Do I Earn Money Online?
I work for myself, and I do something called “affiliate marketing”. The broad concept of what I do is build a website, write blog posts for it, and promote products on the website. I don't keep any inventory, I don't have to handle shipping, or deal with customer service.
It's kind of like I'm a freelance advertiser.
Many companies have affiliate programs that allow you to sign up (for free) and get a special link that's tied to your email address. When you make a sale through that link, you make a commission. You get paid via Paypal or bank transfer. The types of products you sell is up to you, and how much each commission is depends on the program you join. You can join just one and focus on promoting one company, or join several programs, and feature a range of products/services related to whatever topic you make your website about.
How Do You Build A Website?
Building a website is actually very easy nowadays. No, there's no coding required. HTML and hand coded websites are way outdated. In fact, you can build your first site right now using the little widget below. Try it.
See? Easy. You first website will probably be pretty ugly, but it will work. A working website is better than no website. As you continue to build your affiliate marketing business you can make small improvements to your site, or hire someone to make the changes for you.
Surprisingly, design isn't one of the huge things you need to concentrate on. Many people start out with grandiose ideas of websites that can do this or that special thing, but many times those types of websites don't make money. The websites that make the most money are going to be the ones that have the best information.
What Should You Write On Your Website?
I'll say that again. The websites that make the most money are the ones that have the best information. 90% of what you do on your site will be writing. You will write so much that you get sick of it. Eventually you will learn to love it (I did, and do).
They key to avoiding that burnout zone and quitting before your business is profitable, is choosing a topic that interests you.
Yes, you can make a website about anything you want.
This is usually called a “niche”, and it's why sometimes people refer to this type of work as “niche marketing”. Instead of making a website about “dogs” or “fitness”, you pick a very specific part of the market like pampered dogs or fitness for men over 50.
This not only reduces the level of competition you have to deal with, but it also means that you can make very specific recommendations to people that visit your site.
For example, if you want to get ripped and land on a general fitness site that has one article about body building but lots of other articles about women's yoga, you will likely read it, then leave. It's information overload, and not quite your style.
But if you land on a website specifically about reducing body fat and building lean muscle you might join the newsletter, bookmark the site, or even contact the owner and ask for tips.
Choosing a Website Topic For Yourself, And Making Money
I can dig really deep into how to choose a profitable niche, but I want to move on so we can cover what else you need to know before you get started. But here's one more example.
Let's say you've always loved fishing. If you made a general fishing website, it would be impossible to cover everything. Lake fishing, ice fishing, sea fishing, fishing for kids, and TONS of other types of fishing would fit into that site. You could never do all the work, and people that land on your site might be confused as to what your “brand” actually represents.
But if you started a site about sea fishing for single dads, you could really relate to your target audience. You could give some decent product recommendations, and connect with the guys that land on your site. Those fishing rods aren't cheap, so if someone bought a $300 rod and you make a 10% commission, that's $30 per sale you're earning.
If you make 10 sales in a day and that's $300 per day!
Why Affiliate Marketing Is Great For Single Dads
The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it frees up your time in more than one way, and has infinite earning potential (yes, infinite).
A normal job means that you have to drive to and from somewhere. That takes up a chunk of time, and it also costs in gas. You can do affiliate marketing from home, on the computer. You can do it whenever you have free time, and wherever you have a computer. 2AM on Saturday is not any different from 1PM on Wednesday in internet time. The whole world is online 24/7.
With a normal job the issue that you can only work X hours in a day, and only make X dollars per hour at a normal job. Time is limited because you cannot work two jobs at the same time. You can only work more hours to make more money.
When you are writing for your website, the money you earn can actually grow. Write 10 articles that make you $1 per day, and you are making $10 per day. It's not much, but if you work on your site for a year and get 300 articles on there making you $1 per day, you are now earning $300 per day. The articles you write don't disappear. They can continue to earn money every day after they are published.
*Clarification: These numbers are just for example to show you that earning from a website can actually GROW instead of be “flat” like other types of work. Some articles will earn nothing, others will earn $1,000's.
Remember that your website will be earning at all hours of the day: Early in the morning, late at night after you go to bed, when you are driving your kid to school, and when you are at your day job. Don't' get me wrong – it wont' be like that right from the start – but you can work to create a solid foundation for your business, it really will be able to generate profits even while aren't sitting at the computer.
Alright, What's This Gonna Cost Me?
A lot of guys would leave you hanging at this point, and say, “sign up here!” and send you off to a sales page. That's not me.
I wasn't always an affiliate marketer, and I didn't always work from home. I used to teach English to kids overseas, and got into online marketing as a way to supplement my income. After a year and a half I was making enough money to quit my job, move back to the US, and buy a house.
So all this stuff I've just described to you today, I learned at an online business training center. It's a course on how to get your first business up and running, as well as a community of people helping each other out. There are complete newbies, and experienced members, all sharing ideas and working together to figure out problems.
They charge $49 per month for access to the training modules and community. That's it. No “back end” upsells, expensive mentor programs, or other fees. You will also have to spend $14 to register a .com domain. Usually you would have to pay about $11 per month to host your website somewhere (where you store the website files), but you can do that for free with your membership to this community.
So the total cost for your first year of operation would be between $400 and $600 dollars. It's certainly not money that all of us have lying around the house, but it's nowhere near the cost of a brick an mortar business, which usually requires a loan from the bank and upwards of $100,000 dollars or more.
One last thing I have to mention about the cost – please know that it's likely you won't see a profit from your website for a few months. I'm not your money manager, but please do not spend your rent money or grocery money to start an online business. I get comments now and then from people that have turned to the internet as a last resort to pay their mortgage. A few weeks is not enough time to establish a website as an authority on information in any industry. It takes time to build, rank, then make sales.
So this is what we know so far
- You need a website
- You need to find a niche
- You are going to be writing articles for your website
- It will cost you $47 per month for training + hosting
- It will cost you $10 per year for a domain
Here's what you need to learn
- How to find a good niche based on your interests
- How to find affiliate programs for your site
- How to write good content
- How to improve your website
- Where to ask questions
My Free Email Course & The Business Community
One thing I do on One More Cup of Coffee is introduce people to the idea of affiliate marketing. I've spent some time developing a pretty comprehensive email course that will cover all of the basics (in a little more detail than here). I think the best way to get started at this point is to enroll in the free course.
In the 5 day affiliate marketing beginner's course you will asked to create an account at this training center I mentioned. It's a starter account, which is free. That will give you access to the beginner training, and help you get a free website set up. Yes, you read that correctly. Everything is free when you get started. If you decide to move forward with your new online business, then you will need to upgrade.
I make commissions from sales. If you join through my link I make a 50% commission. As my referral you will be able to get 1-on-1 support from me, plus monthly exclusive training material not available to other members, and not available to visitors of my blog.
The internet is full of scams that will tell you to buy before you know what it is you are buying. Not here. You are encouraged to make use of the free websites, training, and support for 7 days to get a clear idea of what this community offers.
I'm sure you have lots of questions. Fire away, I'm happy to answer! Remember, this day could be the day that you change your life forever. It will take dedication, work, and a bit of creativity, but know that it's 100% possible for you.
I challenge you to spend just 1 year building a strong foundation to an honest, helpful web resource, and I think you will be very surprised at the results.