How to Make Money Working From Home
Home-based jobs can be great!
Yes, there are legitimate work-from home jobs. Really, there are!
Is your dream job to work from home? Do you want to have a career that lets you support your family without the hassles of parking, traffic, a new wardrobe and coming home exhausted?
Read on! You can do it!
Despite the seemingly large number of scams you see for home-based work, there are indeed many traditional jobs that allow people to work from home, and many home-based careers you can create for yourself. Here are ideas on where to get 'real' jobs that let you work from home, and how to spot scams and 'opportunities' you should avoid.
Before you get started, do some thinking about what you can do, what you want to do, and identify your expectations. This will save you untold hours as you explore the many opportunities there are for legitimate work-from-home jobs.
How can I work and stay home at the same time?
Self-test for those who want a telecommuting career
Get a pen and some paper, grab a few quiet moments, and answer these questions. As you write your answers, you will recognize what your expectations are and what you're truly able to give to a home-based job or career.
- Do you have a quiet, dedicated place to set up a home office or desk?
- Do you have a landline phone, a computer and high-speed Internet?
- Do you have a fax machine (most printers are also fax machines these days)?
- Do you have small children who are still at home?
- Do you expect to pick up your children from school each day?
- Is your goal for your life to remain as it is but to have an income?
- Do you have crying babies, barking dogs or other potential noise distractions?
- Are you able to dedicate regular hours to an 8-5 home-based job with a salary?
- Do you have basic office skills?
- Do you have good writing and spelling skills?
- What type of work would you find fulfilling?
As you answer these, you will note things you may have to address in order to work from home. You'll also understand your own motivations and needs, which will help you spot opportunities that are 'right' for you, so you don't waste time scatter-shooting and applying for every job out there.
Common home-based jobs and employment requirements
Type of Job
Skills & Training
Equipment & Requirements
Call Center Attendant (for government agencies, medical facilities or customer-service operations).
Answer calls, provide information, register callers for services, transfer calls, make appointments.
1-3 months training. Accuracy in spelling and details.
Computer, landline phone, high-speed Internet, quiet workspace without interruptions.
Usually requires being on duty for set hours.
Freelance or staff web design.
Courses in web design or software. Excellent skills in client relations.
Computer, specific software or programs for web design, phone, high-speed Internet.
Can be flexible for freelancers. Staff jobs may have duty hours.
Interpret medical records and assign billing codes for diagnosis and procedures.
Training in medical coding, accuracy and attention to details.
Computer, fax connection, phone.
Can often be flexible.
Transcription and Data Entry
Transcribe medical, legal or other records from recorded or other sources.
Training in use of terms, good spelling, training in job-specific equipment.
Computer, phone, fax, possibly equipment specific to type of transcriptions.
Often very flexible and self-driven hours.
Varies with job. Proofreading, quality assurance, surveys and similar work.
Varies with job. Proofing and QA duties require screening test.
Computer, high-speed Internet.
Generally can set or specify own hours.
Tips for stay-at-home moms who want to telecommute for work
Important tips for finding a good home-office job
There are many opportunities for the types of work listed above, but you will need to be prepared in order to meet the needs of the company or agency where you find work.
When your career shifts to home-based duties, there are a few reality checks to consider. If you have active preschoolers or a loud dog, you may not be a good fit for a position as a call-center representative.
If it's important for you to be at all school functions or pick your kids up every afternoon, you'll want to consider jobs that allow that flexibility.
These jobs might require taking specific courses (such as in medical coding), but the payoff in satisfaction and finding a good fit may be worth it.
The types of jobs mentioned above are only a few of the careers you can pursue from home. Do a bit of research on companies or agencies that hire for the type work you want, and you'll likely find openings in your area.
Applying and interviewing for stay-at-home jobs
Even though you'll be working from home, you will likely need to apply and interview for the job. This is especially true if it is based with a corporation or government agency.
The interview may be in person, or over the phone. You may also have to take a skills test or fill out online forms. Each step helps the employer learn whether you're a good fit.
A few tips:
- Check your spelling every step of the way. Many of these positions require entering information into a computer, and accuracy is very important.
- Plan ahead on how you'll answer interview questions about why you want to work from home, how prepared you are for being a responsible off-site employee, and whether you have the right set-up for the job.
- If the interview is in person, dress as though it is for an office job. Professionalism is important, and although you may eventually work in sweats, wearing flip-flops, you need to present yourself well at the interview.
- Don't chew gum! Chances are, your 'presence' at the company might be primarily on the phone. The interviewer will not want to hire someone who might crack gum in the ears of callers.
- Some jobs may require a panel interview. These can be challenging, but you can prepare ahead of time to engage with each person and relax in front of the group.
- If you are new to the workforce or have an employment gap, you can also prepare ahead of time to cover your bases. Anticipate questions about this and plan how you will answer them.
- When asked why you want to work from home, focus on what you can give the employer, not what that advantage offers to you and your family life. Yes, it is often idea for stay-at-home moms, but it is still a job with expectations.
How to avoid scams in "home-based" jobs
You've probably all seen ads for making a ton of money right from your own home. And all you need to do is to send some money to learn how. Right?
WRONG! These are scams, and they're designed to get your money, not give you an income. Unless you are paying money for a specific course of study that will lead to a specific type of job (such as medical coding or web design), you should not have to invest money in a work-from-home venture.
If you see ads for 'proven ways to earn money' that require a 'small fee for processing and handling,' run the other way.
A request to send money to make money is the biggest tip-off that a home-based 'business' is a scam.
If an ad says someone is happily earning six figures after only a few months, it is almost surely a scam.
What do you think? Take this quiz and tell us!
Why would you like to work from home?
Why companies hire stay-at-home moms and telecommuting workers
Because it costs money to run an office building (rent, utilities, garage fees, insurance, etc.), more and more businesses are adapting their operations to allow employees to telecommute.
Obviously, one change that has made this possible is the widespread use of the Internet for commerce as well as office functions.
Offices now allow employees to access corporate websites and servers remotely, over secure lines. This means they can also track online activity, including the time an employee logs on, the hours spent on the site (and whether actual work is being done) and the hours or minutes of inactivity.
When telecommuting works well, it is a win-win situation for employees as well as managers.
If a company has 50 people handling call-center traffic from their home offices, they have just saved many thousands of dollars in the overhead cost of rent, furnishings and utilities for several thousand square feet of office space, not to mention the additional parking spaces that might be required for on-site staff members.
If the expectations are fair and balanced for the employee as well as the employer, there can be higher satisfaction on both sides. Bottom-line profits are better, and employees do not face the stress (as well as the expenses and hours) of commuting each day.
There may be periodic on-site meetings or training sessions, but most days, the commute is an easy walk from the kitchen to the cubby area where the home office is set up.