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Through most of my twenties I was a single mother with two young children. One of my children has Asperger’s Syndrome. Leaving him in daycare while I worked was out of the question. As a result, I became very, very good at figuring out creative ways to make a buck. That forced ingenuity has served me well in our current economy, even though I’m no longer a single parent and that little boy is now a 17-year-old high school senior.

When you need to make money but a traditional 9-to-5 job isn’t in your cards, put on your thinking cap. The key is to develop multiple income streams, rather than rely on a single paycheck. My income streams, as a young, single, work-at-home mom, included teaching Saturday morning writing classes at a community college, preparing legal documents as a lay person, taking in kids whose parents worked an over-night shift, and freelance writing.

An added benefit is that if one of your streams stops producing, it isn’t the end of the world. The others will hold you over while you work to dam the leak in your finances. These ideas will help you develop your own, unique system of income streams.

Teach What You Know

Sit down and make a list of all the things you’re good at. It will serve you well as you think about all of the ideas in this article, but especially when it comes to teaching. If you are an expert, self-taught or otherwise, in any subject, you can find someone willing to pay you to teach them.
Try contacting a local community college and inquire about their continuing education program. I’ve taught frugal shopping and creative writing courses this way. An ad in a local paper or on Craig’s List might bring in students for less formal classes.

Do What Others Don’t Have Time For

If you’re willing to spend your time doing something that others doesn’t want or have the time to do, you have the start of a small business. Kids do this all the time, offering their services as babysitters, lawnmowers and general go-fers. Elevate this type of business to an adult level by offering services on a professional level. Rather than knocking on doors and asking neighbors if you can mow their lawn for $10, make up a flier offering a landscaping service. Start an in-home daycare center, rather than babysitting. If you have a car, start up a grocery delivery service. Use your coupon skills to turn this one into a real money maker by splitting the savings with your clients.

Learn to Do Something Most People Don’t Think They Can

There are some tasks that most people can do themselves, but they either don’t want to or are not confident they can. For instance, if you learn how to prepare basic divorce or bankruptcy documents, you have what you need to start a lucrative business. Preparing taxes is another idea. Part of learning how to do this work is researching local and federal rules governing lay people providing these types of services.

If you’re the type of person who can research and figure out how to do things, from small auto repairs to desk-top publishing, all you need to do is find a need in your community and then educate yourself so you can fill it.

This has been a guest post by Shaunta from Reno, NV
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