Take Shoba Viswanathan. The 44-year-old has been doubling as a stay-at-home mom and marketing writer for almost four years. "I really enjoy the flexibility of working from home and managing my mom and work commitments at the same time." A former editor in the 9-to-5 world, Viswanathan now finds social media and copywriting work through Elance.com. She works about 30 hours per week, submitting copy to clients while her kids are in school or napping. She earns less than what she did before, but some of her biggest expenses - namely, childcare -- have also fallen, thanks to her new work lifestyle.
If you're interested in joining this professional trend, start by examining your current skill set. If you're good at scheduling and organizing, a work-from-home administrative job, for example, could be right up your alley. Begin your search online where hiring grew 120% in 2011. Sites like Elance, Odesk, Guru and Freelancer are constantly adding new jobs.
If you have strong knowledge of a particular subject matter, you may qualify to work as a tutor, either in-person or online. At tutor.com, qualified tutors - who work with students via video conferencing and online chats -- earn an average $10 to $14 per hour. Math and science tutors earn the most.
If you love pets and have ample room in your house or backyard, pet sitting and even pet boarding, where you take care of an animal for a few days, is another great revenue stream that can bring in an average $20 per pet, per day. Parents can even involve their kids with this stay-at-home business.
A fast typist? Transcription services in the medical, legal and entertainment fields pay by the line or hour. Or, if you own an up-to-date computer and a landline phone, you could start your own home-based call center. Many companies hire at-home customer service reps, such as Hilton Hotels and 1-800-Flowers.
Regina Aguilar is a San Francisco mom in who's been working odd jobs from her home ever since her son was born in 2007. Her go-to site for finding work is Taskrabbit.com, an online service that connects busy professionals with local "rabbits" who offer help in all kinds of ways from running errands to organizing to data entry. "If I'm going across the bridge to go to IKEA, I will look at TaskRabbit and see if anyone needs anything," says Aguilar. "That was the case last week. I was able to pick up 32 folding chairs for an office party."
The extra cash, she says, helps to supplement some of the activities she does with her toddler son, as well as her monthly gym membership. "I can choose my hours and I can choose my assignments and I can also make sure that it's going to work with the schedules of my family."