Five "Work from Home" Options that Might Surprise you

Whether you're a stay-at-home mom or dad, or are currently between jobs, there's always space in your life for a little extra cash. And even if parenting feels like a full-time job, there are ways you canmake money without compromising on your time with the kids, or any of your other day-to-day responsibilities.

With a little energy and determination plus a touch of savvy, you can make some extra cash during those spare moments you steal when the kids are asleep or at school, or while they're keeping themselves occupied. All you need to do is think a little outside of the ol' box. Here are a few thought starters to get you going.

Direct selling

Are you a people person? Are you determined and patient? If you are, direct selling is something you can do on your own time. And the amount of money you make is directly linked to how much time you put in.

Direct selling has been a proud American tradition for decades. It was popularized by companies like Avon, Mary Kay, and Tupperware. In some cases, in order to start selling, you may need to invest in a training program with the company, or buy a starter kit. But this small investment is often a motivator for people to make their money back. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

The most convenient thing about direct selling is that you can use your existing network to start. Family and friends will probably want to support you, so start by selling to them. This is one of the reasons that it's best to sell a product that you believe in. You wouldn't want to sell your family garbage. It's also a lot easier to sell a brand you like. Check out the Direct Selling Association's website for a list of reputable companies.

Become a beta tester

Want to get paid for playing games, using mobile apps or surfing the web? Well, you can; yes, really. If you're permanently attached to your desktop or mobile device, why not make some cash while you're at it?

Payment rates vary. You can make from $10 per test or even make a decent living at a more professional level. Start by visiting sites like AppCoiner, Game Testers, or Gaming Jobs Online to see what's out there. You may not make a fortune to start with, but if you persist - as with most jobs - you can work your way up to earning more. You're playing on your phone anyway, so why not?

Become a virtual assistant

If you're great at multitasking, have a computer, have adequate typing skills and are a good communicator, you could bring home some extra bacon by being a freelance virtual assistant.

Small to medium companies often can't afford to hire someone fulltime. So, they will get freelance virtual assistants to handle their everyday office administration duties, basic communication tasks,data capture, social media, and booking of appointments - depending entirely on the nature of their business. To be a virtual assistant, you often need to be kind of a chameleon.

A good way to start, as with most things nowadays, is the web. Sign up on a site like or to connect with people and companies that are hiring. Being a virtual assistant is also potentially a good way to find long-term career prospects if you're looking; either by building up a regular freelance client base, or by making contacts who might want to offer you something more permanent.

Flexible online work

The internet has opened up a world of possibility for people who want to work remotely. You can take online surveys and get paid by a site like RealSurveysThatPay. Take a look at some of the online review's. Surveys really are a legitimate way to make extra cash.

Appen is a technology company that has several "Work from Home" jobs available in translation, transcriptions, search media evaluations, and more. And you decide your own hours.

Data entry is another flexible "Work from Home" option that thousands of people sign up for. FlexJobs is a great place to look for this kind of flexible work and other home-based, self-employment options. In the information age, if you have strong internet surfing mojo, you can and will find things you can do at home for money. All it takes is a little time.

Teach English

More than ever before, we live in a completely connected global community. People travel more, do more business internationally, and communicate with others all over the world. But with that, in many cases, comes a language barrier.

And many English-speaking people have turned that language barrier into a way to connect with non-English speakers on the other side of the world,while making some money at the same time.

VIPKID is a Chinese company with headquarters in both China and the States(San Francisco). And they're one of quite a few companies that allow English speakers to teach English to Chinese people on a remote basis.

There are other sites you can check out, too, like GogoKid, CafeTalk and quite a few more. If you're good with people - or kids - and great at communicating; teaching English online may just be the perfect thing for you. Be sure to do your research before you sign up for anything, though. Here's a recent list of legitimate sites that may help your search.