5 Income Streams for Stay-at-Home Mums

Ryan Ong


Just charge your spouse for it. Childcare should net you at least two grand a month, plus cleaning services are $240 a month, and cooking is…what’s that? Not appropriate? This must be that “marriage” thing I keep hearing about. Honestly, that’s just a bad financial decision. But it’s done, so I guess you stay-at-home mums can try these instead:

1. Virtual Assistant

Most small business bosses want a secretary, but those don’t come cheap. Besides, some administrative tasks are too infrequent to justify hiring one (e.g. compiling bi-annual reports).

Enter the VA (virtual assistant).

VAs provide administrative support, without being employees. The hirer effectively outsources certain tasks to them. VAs can work for multiple companies (they set their own workload), and work flexible hours from home. Typical VA work involves:

  • Writing reports
  • Data entry
  • Finding images for websites. brochures, etc.
  • Making Power Point presentations
  • Typing meeting minutes, so the shredder doesn’t get rusty


Shadow in front of a power point slide
I’m sure your VA did a good job. Now just make sure my face can’t be seen.


I asked VA Andrea Vong about her fees:

I charge about $40 an hour, but it depends on what I’m doing. Often I only charge a one time fee. I’ll do a simple Power Point for $50, or I can type a long report for $200 to $300. 

There’s no real industry standard or market rate, and prices can be very different.”

Andrea also mentions that qualified VAs can charge more, for specialized services:

If you can use Photoshop, or you know how to do sales invoices, you can charge up to $60 an hour. There’s a lot of demand for VAs who have Photoshop skills right now.”

To get started, see how other VAs put their profiles on job comparison sites.


2. Writer

Writing’s an easy source of side-income, at least for the first year (I’ll explain in a minute). I don’t mean novel writing either, I mean corporate blogs and journals, or magazines. They’re always looking for contributors.

And while your first submissions will be met with rejection (or a call to see if the asylum’s missing patients, in my case), you’ll soon get the hang of it. Most local publications pay between 30 to 50 cents per word*. You can expect 500 to 900 word articles as a norm.

(*Depends on experience and portfolio)

So if you can produce at least one article a day, it’s decent money.


Woman writing
“And never did I suspect my article on Singapore mortgages would win Best Horror Novel.”


The difficult part is staying a writer. After your 17,000th article on “How to Raise a Happy Puppy” or whatever, you’ll be making a lot less. Most of the cash will pay the psychiatrist, when you’re ripping out clumps of hair and giggling hysterically.

The burnout rate is high is what I’m saying.

To get started with this job, you should have a blog or website that advertises your services. You’ll be hired based on how well you write that, at the beginning.

You’ll also have to write a bunch of articles on your own initiative first, and then show them around to editors. As your name gets around, you’ll get more jobs.


3. Tutor / Music Tutor


He’s not keeping up with his homework, so I gave him more homework to correct that.


Not all tutors go to their students’ homes. If you’re willing to charge a little less (or if you’re from NIE or are otherwise super-qualified), clients might be willing to use your place instead.

These days, most tutors teach a range of subjects (e.g. Science and English, Maths and History). We have a price range in a previous article. Music tutors, in case you’re wondering, average about $240 per month in Singapore.

I spoke to Vanessa, who tutored in Poly, and now tutors as a SAMH (stay at home mum):

One problem with this job is workload. I can’t take on another student even if I wanted to these days. And my house is full of files, assessment books, test papers…

Another problem is that my six year old daughter doesn’t like it sometimes. It can feel strange, when you’re putting aside your child to talk to a group of other children. If you have children you’ll want to consider that.

But business is very consistent. The good thing is once you have a student, they keep coming back. Some of them have been with me for three or four years now. It’s easier than a job where you have to keep on finding new clients.”

If you’re a tutor, or want to be one, follow us on Facebook. We’ll be doing an article on how to make the most money as a tutor, very soon.


4. Translator


Japanese instruction booklet
It IS exactly like the English one. I couldn’t understand a single page of that either.


Are you literate in anything besides English? Because translation services are a trending freelance job. A lot of companies have a need for one-off translations, especially for technical writing or business proposals.

I spoke to Audrey (not her real name due to corporate restrictions), whose department sources for freelance translators:

Of the four translators we work with, three are stay at home parents. Previously there was one more, who was also an editor and a stay at home mum.

Most of the work is for proposals or instruction manuals, and the most common need is English to Mandarin, Japanese, or Bahasa Indonesian. It helps if they also have copy-editing skills, but it’s not required.”

Audrey says the standard pay is up to $42 per page, with most instruction booklets being 12 to 15 pages.

Hold on, if I translate War & Peace or something, I can buy a new Subaru!

Novel translations go to professional translators. We only give brochures or instruction manuals to part-timers and freelancers.”

(Which might explain why no DVD player has a readable manual).


5. Baking

A necessary warning: You need a license from the National Environment Agency (NEA) to bake food and sell it. Some cooking organizations have a shared license members can use; but that’s not exactly “from home” since you’ll have to use their kitchens.

That said, people do bake at home and sell the products. Angel Kwong, who occasionally sells her New Year cakes, says:

I only do it on New Year. You’ll need to be able to carry the flour and the sugar and whatnot, so I don’t suggest doing this if you don’t have a car. 

You will probably also need two or three people to help. For myself I can actually do a lot more orders, but I don’t take them because I work with my daughter. I don’t want to stress her out. I pay her about $150 when she helps, and we can barely cope.

I take orders of up to 200 pieces per bottle, and I can do maybe 30 bottles a week.”

Angel declined to give exact prices, saying she made between $10 to $20 per bottle sold. She added that a sales promotion is needed:

I get friends to sell them. Friends buy them from me at $20 per bottle, then I tell them go and sell it for like $35. Now every New Year they come back and do it.”

Image Credits:
glenmcbethlaw, Thirteen of Clubs, PalFest, efeewahfah, Special*Dark,

Do you have a stay at home job? Comment and tell us about it!

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Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.