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How Military Spouses Can Earn Extra Income

Military spouse with family

Military spouses work hard to run their households and keep things in order through all kinds of difficult situations: deployments, government budget cuts, and many, many moves throughout the country and even overseas.

And while you do a lot for your family, you may want to contribute more monetary value to the household. Many military spouses want to work and bring in extra money. But it's tough to hold down a regular job with set hours because of the obligation to the service that you and your family have -- and it can get exhausting having to change jobs every few months or years.

The good news? There are plenty of ways for military spouses to help out with the family finances that don't require being on what feels like a never-ending job hunt. Check out these ideas for earning extra income:

Run a Digital Business

If you're a military spouse, one of the most lucrative and rewarding ways to earn extra income is by establishing your own digital business.

Small businesses that operate on the Internet and are run by one person are becoming more and more common. It's a great way to earn an income from anywhere -- and anyone can start their own.

Internet-based businesses are location independent and are usually extremely low-cost to set up and run. All you need is a website to get started, and you can grab a domain name, hosting, and a good-looking pre-made design for the site for $100 or less. You can set up your one person digital shop and offer a variety of goods and services, although a service-based business is easier to establish, make profitable, and run from anywhere.

Think about what you could offer to the world: what could you teach someone or do for them? Brainstorm what you're good at, what you enjoy doing, and what other people need help with and are willing to pay for, and there's your digital business idea.

Work Remotely

Recent research has shown that by 2020, nearly half of our workforce will be freelancers, contractors, or independent workers. Why not join that growing cohort?

You can do freelance work or consulting for companies all over the globe. As independent workers, military spouses can earn extra income, set their own hours, and work from anywhere in a variety of virtual positions.

If you're not sure about self-employment, you may still be able to secure a position as an employee. As more people leave the land of cubicles and the 9 to 5 in search of work that offers more freedom and flexibility, more companies are responding to this shift and hiring remote workers.

The trend makes this a great way to earn a little extra cash is great for those who had careers they left behind. Businesses are much more open to telecommuting and remote positions, which makes it easier for military spouses to hold traditional jobs throughout relocations and moves across the country.

Direct Sales

Sales representatives have worked for companies like Mary Kay and Avon for decades -- and this model of work is still alive and thriving. The best part is there are way more than just makeup companies that you can work with; you can sell nutritional supplements, jewelry, and housewares and home decor.

While introverted military spouses may enjoy working from home and remotely, extroverts may prefer direct sales jobs for the opportunities it provides to get out and interact with new people and make new friends.

Get Crafty

Although it may be difficult to hold down a steady job when your spouse is regularly reassigned, you can still make extra money with your artistic talent. Art fairs and craft festivals move, too!

Do your research and find events that match up with your skills and specialties. Sign up for a local show and be sure to come prepared to connect with a new audience. Bring your crafts -- and your business cards, a way to accept credit cards and make change for cash buyers, and a great attitude.

And if you'd rather skip researching local events every time you settle into a new area? Try Etsy to sell your handmade and crafted items.

Lend a Helping Hand

As a military spouse, you might find it difficult to hold down a traditional 9-to-5 job. But your neighbors likely do work full-time outside their homes -- and that means there are lots of opportunities for you to help out, be active in the community, and earn a little extra cash.

Depending on your expertise and experience, you can offer landscaping services, housecleaning, watch the neighborhood kids during the day, or run errands for others. Or try tutoring, dogwalking, and even car washing. People need help with all these things and more, and are often too busy or too tired from their full-time job to want to do it themselves.

Not sure how to get started? Try sites like TaskRabbit or Fiverr to pick up gigs either in your area or even around the world.

Some of these ideas military spouses can try to earn extra income can result in significant amounts of cash flow, but also require a big commitment of your time and effort. Others are more modest and can be done in between watching the kids, cleaning the house, and supporting your partner. There are plenty of options -- even for spouses of military members. With a little time invested, you can make a big difference for your finances. And don't forget to use these in-depth resource centers for more ideas.

Whatever your current situation is, you can take action to earn a little extra cash for your family.

Kali Hawlk is a freelance writer and content manager who is passionate about personal finance, careers and business, and all things Gen Y.

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