Perkins lives in Texas on Fort Bliss, where her husband is stationed. She began taking classes online at the Axia College of University of Phoenix about 1½ years ago when her husband was deployed to Iraq. She acquired a federal loan, but needed extra income to pay for living expenses such as gas money, groceries and diapers for her twin boys.
While her kids were napping, she would log onto StudentofFortune.com and begin answering other people's questions about psychology, philosophy and science, the topics that interest her most.
So far the Web site has been drawing in new users primarily through word of mouth.
"I told my neighbor about it yesterday since she's just starting school," Perkins said.
By answering 10 to 15 questions a day she makes about $50 a week and uses that money for gas and to help pay off loans. Since she started using the Web site in July, she has made more than $1,500.
She owes about $12,000 after having completed her associate's degree in business, and she plans on applying to the University of Colorado to pursue a bachelor's in psychology.
StudentofFortune.com, which is a little more than 2 years old, was developed by friends Chris Gagne, 27, Nikhil Sreenaht, 24 and Sean McCleese, 24, who says he came up with the idea on the day he graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles.
During his last semester quantum physics class he had been assigned a homework problem that was due the next day that nobody could solve. He tried looking online, but couldn't find any help.
McCleese says his self-financed company is "based off the idea that everyone needs help with something. All college students are experts at something and have no way of monetizing that expertise."
Here's how it works: say there's a math problem that you can't solve. You ask your question on the Web site and list the price you'd be willing to pay the person who comes up with an answer. The person who offers you a solution can modify that price based on what he or she thinks is fair. The Web site then shows you a percentage of the solution online before you agree to buy it.
"The highest price that I can remember was $275. If I remember correctly, it was helping a kid find references to a research paper," McCleese said.
After the transaction is completed, StudentofFortune takes 18 percent of the sale, and the person who answers the question takes the rest. If the same solution is resold, the Web site takes 40 percent of the sale.
McCleese said they try to remove egregious questions that suggest someone is cheating on a homework assignment rather than just asking for help. But McCleese acknowledges that cheating is "definitely something that's going to happen. We all had a lot of moral quandaries about that -- none of us wanted to make a site where people cheated their way through school."
The site gets about 80 to 100 questions a day with the biggest earners being college graduates. McCleese says those numbers are growing dramatically this year.
Perkins said she spends several hours a day perusing the site and answering other people's questions.
"I'm a stay-at-home mom and it felt good to contribute financially," she said.