From wrapping gifts to writing toy reviews to creating holiday cards, these savvy women have found easy ways to earn money during the giving season. Learn their secrets so you can too!
“I bring in up to $300 an hour wrapping gifts!”
Michelle Hensley, 56, Orange, CA
“My husband passed away when I was 50, and while I had a stipend for running a nonprofit organization, I was a stay-at-home mom with no real income. My children encouraged me to reopen a gift business I had previously owned, and after I prayed about it, I felt that I should move forward, so I started Nifty Package Co (NiftyPackage.co).
“In the beginning, I sold corporate gifts and gift baskets, but then two years ago, I decided to use the van I owned to offer mobile gift-wrapping services as well. As soon as I added it to my website, people started inquiring about the service! We set up the mobile pop-up wrapping stand at businesses and homes and wrap the gifts inside or outside their location. We also offer pick-up and drop-off services. Before working with a client, we ask about the recipients and why they’re getting the gift so we can wrap them in a personalized way. Then we prepare prototypes and the client picks out what they like. Our wrapping is high-quality, contemporary and trendy.
“I charge between $40 to $300 an hour, depending on the service — money that pays the bills, goes back into the business and allows me to take my 13 grandchildren out to fun places around the holidays. Also great: The nonprofit I founded now offers a micro-grant program for widows who want to start their own business.”
“I earn six-figures a year writing toy reviews!”
Aly Biggar, 39, Boston
“I used to work in advertising, but I left when I became a mom. I have four children, and by the time I had my third, I was looking for a way to make money but needed a flexible schedule. I wanted to start a blog with helpful content for moms, like product reviews, but I had no idea what I was doing. I watched YouTube videos and learned everything I could, then four years ago, I created WhatMomsLove.com.
”I created WhatMomsLove.com. “I found a theme, purchased the domain name and a hosting plan and focused on writing great content about products that make moms’ lives easier, like screen-free toys for guaranteed quiet-time play. Then around Christmastime, I spent so much time looking for gifts for my own kids, and I couldn’t find any guides. I decided this would be a great addition to the blog, so I started to write toy and non-toy gift guides, which are divided by interest, such as building and blocks, princesses and dolls, cars and trucks, and by age. I also review books and gifts that spark creativity and imagination and help families make memories. I often reach out to companies and they’ll send samples for me to review. I also distribute the products to family and friends in my community so they can give feedback as well.
“I use Pinterest and Instagram to market my business —I have more than 300,000 subscribers! I make money with an ad network, sponsored posts and affiliate revenue — some of which is saved for my kids’ college tuitions. The best part? I make my own schedule while building a community and helping other moms.”
“I make $70 an hour writing holiday cards and putting up decorations!
Libby Kinkead, 56, Chevy Chase, MD
“I had been a stay-at-home mom, but about 15 years ago, I wanted to find a flexible way to earn an income. I had talked to a friend of a friend about the need for a business that offered help with personal tasks, home organization and moving. Since our area is very transient and has many people that work long hours and don’t have time, we knew our services would be needed, so together, we launched Potomac Concierge (PotomacConcierge.com).
“We created a website and used search engine optimization (SEO), such as using keywords on our website, and paid for Google AdWords so people can find us, but we got a lot of word-of-mouth referrals too. As the business grew, we received many requests for help around the holidays with tasks like writing and addressing holiday cards, so we added that as a service. Families provide us with their photos, then we design, print, address and send the cards out for them. We also offer holiday decorating services, like putting up trees, garland, nativity scenes and menorahs. Plus, we work with a partner to hang lights on the exteriors of buildings and homes. After the holidays, we take everything down and put it away until the next year.
“The holidays are a stressful time, and we love to help people so they can spend time with family and friends. Our rates vary, but start at around $70 an hour. The money I make pays the bills, goes back into the business, pays for my children’s holiday gifts and is donated to charity.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.