The question I get most often from friends and acquaintances is, "How do you do it? I want to work from home, too!" This is a great question and a popular one. Who wouldn't want to work from home if given the chance? Who wouldn't want to be their own boss with the potential for more flexible hours?
Here's what I tell any friend who asks me this burning question: Working at home is not, never has and never will be easy. But it is so worth it.
Let me just lay it out for you right here. When you start working at home, it is going to be really, really hard. You are going to feel overwhelmed. You won't know which end is up. If you don't educate yourself on the work-at-home opportunities available to you, you might just get let down by a too-good-to-be-true company. But! But! If you stick with it for longer than six months (and probably closer to a few years), I guarantee you will hit that sweet spot — that point in your work-at-home career when everything finally starts going your way.
If you're ready to begin on what may be the most challenging and rewarding journey of your life, check out these legit work-at-home jobs to get you started. It's like career day all over again:
Starting your own blog is vastly different from working as a freelance writer (described below). The primary difference is that, while you are still writing, you are your own woman. A blog can be monetized through advertising and affiliate links once you gain some traction in traffic.
Maria Moser of Change-Diapers.com says, "This is not a get-rich-quick idea, but five and a half years ago I started a blog. I quit my job when my first child was born and really wanted something for myself, and making money was a bonus. Initially, I received some free products, but eventually, I was making good money via advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate sales and so forth."
What started as one small step for a blogger became one big leap for a budding consultant. Moser's initial blogging success paved a new path into a lucrative business consulting career. She tells SheKnows, "For the past four or so years, I've made the majority of my money as a small business consultant for cloth diaper companies and small D.C. area businesses. I do social media management, wholesale and affiliate account management, product development and more. I do it from home with my 3-year-old here. My other kids are in school now, but before this year, I had another child home as well."
Where to start: Consulting jobs may be available in your field from a job search engine like Indeed. If you're a mom with an MBA, a new Boston start-up called HourlyNerd might be the perfect fit. HourlyNerd pairs MBA moms with small and large companies in need of outside consulting help — giving moms the opportunity to keep their résumés fresh and earn extra income.
If you've always fancied yourself an event coordinator without a creative outlet, the internet is your oyster. Tina Thompson of Run With It describes her successful career in at-home event management, "Event management is an excellent field for professionally working from a home office. While on-site meetings with clients are helpful, they are not required to get the job done. Most of the work is coordination, which requires a phone, email, texting capabilities and possibly Skype."
Where to start: Event management will require your own blog or website for online client referral. Local networking to establish a client base is also recommended. Freelance event planning jobs may be found on freelance websites like Upwork.
Here's the true beauty of the internet: It can be anything you want it to be. Meaning, almost any marketable skill you already possess can be sold online — with a college degree as an added bonus. If you already have a booming career in your field, consider working some days at home to set up an independent client base. Jan Patenaude, Registered Dietitian, has worked from home for over 14 years, bouncing between Colorado and Hawaii, with the opportunity to travel whenever she pleases.
Where to start: Do your homework, talk to your boss and determine if your day job can be performed virtually. Patenaude provides her insight on making the virtual health care leap.
If you're an excellent reader with a better-than-average grasp of the English language, professional proofreading may be the work-at-home opportunity for you. Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere says, "I proofread transcripts for court reporters from home with an iPad. I've been doing it since 2009. In 2013 and 2014, I made over $40,000 (before taxes) doing it about 25 hours a week. It takes some work to learn how to do it and to build up the business, but it's really rewarding work using actual skill to earn money."
Where to start: Pyle provides a free 7-day intro course to transcript proofreading to help curious folks decide if it's something they'd like to pursue further. For those wanting to learn the craft, the paid, intensive course is quite rigorous and takes 2-4 months to complete.
Obviously, I am biased since I have been working at home as a writer for over six years, and I absolutely love what I do. Here's what you need to know about the internet writing game: Many websites view writers as a dime a dozen. Yes, you do need to have talent, but an aggressive passion coupled with friendly persistence is even more likely to get you in the door.
Where to start: I freelanced as a writer on Elance and worked my way up to the top 1 percent of providers based on positive client reviews. Word to the wise — review projects carefully as many "clients" would prefer to shortchange a writer to save a buck. Yet from my experience, there are still plenty of good clients to go around.
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