Being a parent is the most rewarding - and hardest - job you've ever had, but unfortunately, it doesn't come with a salary. In fact, having kids causes you to spend a ton of extra money.
To be specific, families spend approximately $12,980 annually per child in a middle-income, two-child, married-couple family, according to 2015 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In this case, middle-income is defined as $59,200-$107,400 per year.
You want to give your little ones the world, but your current household income isn't cutting it. Whether you're a working parent or one who stays at home with the kids, you're looking for a side hustle to earn extra cash in your spare time - not that you have too much of that these days.
Thankfully, there's no shortage of flexible gigs to choose from, allowing you to rake in the cash on your own schedule. Here's a look at the seven best side hustles for parents right now.
Last updated: Sept. 2, 2021
You've likely mastered the art of getting organized and following a schedule, so use these skills to become a virtual assistant. You'll provide remote support to your clients by performing a variety of tasks, such as responding to calls and emails, scheduling meetings and booking travel.
"As a parent, one needs flexible hustles that can accommodate the demanding caretaking duties," said Alina Clark, co-founder and marketing director at CocoDoc, a U.S.-based software development company. "At least, this was the case when I decided to work as a virtual assistant for two years."
She said this can be a great way to earn money, while navigating child care.
"Being a virtual assistant can be fun and engaging, while also flexible enough for you to take care of your kids at the same time," she said. "I was making more than $30 an hour by taking on virtual assistant gigs on the side."
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If you have stellar writing skills, consider finding a niche topic and starting a blog.
"Blogging gives you the freedom to choose when and where to work," said Simon Brisk, co-founder of Click Intelligence, a U.K.-based digital marketing firm. "This is extremely important when you have a full-time job and children to look after."
Both a dad and a seasoned blogger, he knows from experience how much this side hustle can pay off - if you're willing to devote the time and energy.
"Through affiliate marketing and on-page advertisement, you can make about $2,000 a month," he said. "I was able to hit this mark after one year of blogging."
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From web design to online tutoring, there's no shortage of freelance gigs to be had. Brisk has also taken this route to earn extra cash, and recommends using sites like Fiverr and UpWork to connect with clients.
"Find gigs related to your skills," he said. "Income is dependent on the number of hours you put in or your hourly rates, but this can make up a good side hustle if you put in the effort."
If you're currently on hiatus from your career, this can also be a great way to keep your skills fresh and minimize your resume gap.
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If you have the space, consider turning your garage into an equipment rental business.
A father of four, J.J. Haglund runs JJ's Paddleboards, an inflatable paddleboard rental business, out of his Utah garage. He said his business earns up to $1,000 per week.
"It's a lot of work in the beginning, getting the website up and running, buying the inventory and making sure you can get found locally on Google and Google Maps," he said. "But now we have the rental process relatively automated using Peek.com to manage our bookings, payments and inventory."
He said a similar business model could be used for any type of outdoor activity or sporting equipment. To increase your chances of success, he recommends focusing on what's popular in your local area.
More: 11 Best Lucrative Side Hustle Ideas
Being a parent means doing a lot of creative DIY work, but some people are better at this than others. If you're a crafty person with some serious skills, consider opening an Etsy shop.
Whether you crochet booties or make seriously impressive wall art, turn your hobby into a lucrative side gig. For each item, you'll pay a 20 cent listing fee, 5% transaction fee and a 3% plus 25 cents payment processing fee.
This is a fun way to earn extra cash because you'll be doing something you're passionate about.
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You're already watching at least one kid - your own - so if you think you can handle it, consider adding at least one other to the mix by babysitting. Find parents who need child care that fits your schedule and start earning money.
Babysitters charge an average of $17 per hour, according to Sittercity, so this can easily become a profitable side hustle. As an added bonus, your kids might make new friends out of this venture, serving as an all-around win.
Learn: How the Costs of Child Care Have Increased Over the Course of the Pandemic
If you can't walk past a dog without petting it, consider starting a side hustle as a dog walker. This is a great way to enjoy your fill of cute pooches, while actually getting paid to spend time with them.
The average pay for a dog walker is $15.84 per hour, according to Indeed. Your clients will likely offer flexible hours and they probably won't mind if you bring your kid along for the walk, making it easy to fit this gig into your day.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The 7 Best Side Hustles for Parents