One of the biggest pitfalls for a work at home mom is accepting very low pay for her work. The usual justification is that any money is better than none. It’s why people do jobs that pay a miniscule amount per click. It’s why they charge low rates for their professional quality work.

I get the desperation, I really do. You want to earn money from home, and it’s easier to to earn a tiny bit than it is to earn a living. But that doesn’t make it the best choice most of the time.

The problem is that too many work at home moms end up accepting rates that are below minimum wage. Not that they’re usually calculating the hourly rate, but when you work it out, it’s often much too low. It’s one thing to have low earnings when you’re starting a business and you just aren’t making a lot of sales yet. That’s the chance you take with a business, and if you’re working hard at growing your business, that should change over time.

It’s entirely different when someone is paying you to do a job for them. If they aren’t paying you what your work is worth, you’re not doing yourself any favors. If it takes you two hours to earn $5 or less, is there a problem with the way you’re working or with the pay you’re accepting?

When you work for absurdly low rates, you’re hurting yourself financially and you’re sending a message that low pay rates are just fine for you. Enough people do this online that many people expect to pay just a little for work that takes a significant amount of time.

I know that a part of the reason low rates are out there is that some people do live in places where low pay is reasonable. Their cost of living is significantly lower, and what’s insultingly low to me may be a great pay rate where they live. That’s the reality of the World Wide Web.

But when you take the jobs that don’t even pay your local minimum wage, or what would be considered fair pay for the job in your area, that’s a problem. You may be spending time on a poorly paying job while you could be looking for something that pays you what you’re worth.

That may be hard to think about when you just need money, any money you can get. Just remember that your financial problems will get better sooner if you can find a way to earn what you’re worth, rather than scraping for every dollar you can get. You may be exhausting yourself working on something that won’t pay much at all, and miss better opportunities.

If you really just need the money that badly, think about your other options. Is it time to work outside the home? Could you spend less time on the low paying junk and spend a little more time seeking out work that will pay what you’re worth? Is there some other way you could earn the money you need with less time and effort? Is there something you could cut back in your lifestyle that would give you enough of a break that you can focus on finding work that pays what you’re worth?