How to Make Money Working From Home - ToughNickel - Money
Updated date:

How to Make Money Working From Home

A professional career coach, Marcy has helped hundreds refine their resumes, improve their interviewing skills, and advance their careers.

There are legitimate jobs that allow you to work from home. You just need to do some research!

There are legitimate jobs that allow you to work from home. You just need to do some research!

There Really Are Legitimate Work-From-Home Jobs

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. We will also cover how to spot scams and 'opportunities' that 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.

Home-based jobs are good fits for some people—and are not suited for others. Do some reality checks on the jobs you're considering.

Home-based jobs are good fits for some people—and are not suited for others. Do some reality checks on the jobs you're considering.

Is a Telecommuting Career a Good Fit for You?

Get a pen and some paper, grab a few quiet moments, and answer the questions on this self-test. 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 (8-5) to a 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 JobDutiesSkills & TrainingEquipment & RequirementsFlexiblity

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.

Web Developer/Designer

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.

Medical Coding

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.

Pay-Per-Task

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

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 Companies Hire Workers Who Telecommute

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.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Jamiel Lamont Burrows on November 05, 2015:

This was very informative

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 02, 2015:

That's exciting, Hazel! Hope you are able to get it launched, and that you'll let us know how your new business goes! Thanks for reading and commenting here!

Hazel Abee from Malaysia on June 29, 2015:

.. As I was reading your hub ... an interesting inspiration just flashed through my mind .... and if it is successful dear ... I will owe it all to you ...

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 09, 2015:

Hi, Rayne - Oh, I am so sorry to hear you were scammed with one of the fraudulent work-from-home schemes. Those are still out there, and they keep coming up with new ones. You're right - anything that requires you to spend money in order to work from home is very suspect.

Thanks for reading and commenting - people need to know of experiences like yours. Blessings to you, too!

Rayne123 on April 08, 2015:

Excellent hub Marcy. Thank you.

Quite a few years back, a friend and I lost money. It wasn't much but we kept sending a bit for this and that. We learned.

I now know (even book publishers) should never ask for money up front.

Blessings

Laurie

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 08, 2015:

Great hub Marcy. Excellent advice and tips. When I was doing my job search for a couple of years, my job coach and I looked for WAH jobs. But I didn't apply for them, since most of them aren't Mac compatible, including for 1800 Flowers. So we had to pass on them. Voted up for interesting and useful!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on February 13, 2015:

Thanks, Writer Fox - I agree with you; the Internet has opened up a huge arena of opportunities. If people know what to look for (and what to avoid), they can find some great opportunities, though. I know several people who work from home (as I do). Web designers, people who work for call centers, sales reps, schedulers, and others - they're all able to work out of their homes.

Most of these people have to maintain set hours, which is understandable, but some people think 'working from home' means your life doesn't change and you can do what you want all day, but get paid for it. Not so!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on February 13, 2015:

The combination of personal computers and the Internet has opened so many employment opportunities. There are many online networks, such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk, which provide employment for people. I wish there were some kind of 'seal of approval' to separate the good from the bad with this online positions. Enjoyed your article and voted up.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on January 28, 2015:

Thanks, Robie! I appreciate your reading and commenting here. There are indeed ways to work from home - but, as the four-letter word says, it requires work! So rewarding to be able to achieve that goal, though!

Robie Benve from Ohio on January 28, 2015:

Great hub Marcy, very informative and helpful. Voted up and useful. :)

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on January 15, 2015:

Good for you, Poetryman! I work from home as well, and I know others who do, too. You're right - it can be done, and can be a steady and good way to support yourself. Thank you for reading and commenting!

poetryman6969 on January 15, 2015:

I work from home now so they jobs do exist. It can be done!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on January 05, 2015:

JoyfulCrown - I know just what you mean! I've worked from home for about six years this time around, and several other years in the past. It requires a lot of discipline to avoid being on duty 24/7 & always checking email & websites, etc. I think the advent of the Internet helped us find ways to work at home, but also harnessed us to our work more than before. *sigh*

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Joyfulcrown on January 05, 2015:

Very informative hub with useful information. I've been working from home for 5 years now. I love it, but I can tell you that I work harder then when I was working for a corporation.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on December 24, 2014:

Thanks, Peggy - I agree, if you start out with a plan and work hard at it, you can indeed work from home. For many people, it's best to get a position that is steady and has a predictable income, because self-employment is far more difficult to grow. Thanks for reading and posting a comment - all the best to you!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 24, 2014:

Well written hub regarding this subject Marcy. Home based jobs can be an excellent fit for many people as well as the companies that employ them for the reasons you stated.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on November 28, 2014:

Thanks, Persycacious! Glad you enjoyed the Hub!

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on November 26, 2014:

Surely the emphasis is on "work" and anything else can follow. The peace and quiet of some homes permits concentration and application. Some other homes might be the last place that effective work could be accomplished. Fine Hub. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Tamara14 on October 28, 2014:

Good ideas and tips, thank you for this hub :)

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on January 14, 2014:

Thanks, tobusiness! I hope the tips here are helpful to those trying to decide if working from home is a good choice!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on January 14, 2014:

There are so many people looking for stay at home jobs but it is hard to see the wood for the trees. You've done a marvelous job of explaining the pros and cons. Useful and very well done.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on November 15, 2013:

Thanks, Paradigm - I'm glad you like the ideas here, and I appreciate the share!

x on November 12, 2013:

An extremely worthwhile article. An excellent list of work-at-home ideas. And excellent info on avoiding scams and other traps. Shared this one.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on May 27, 2013:

Thanks, StoneCircle - I truly hope you find some ideas here that work for you. And you will be in my prayers as you go forward; hope you stay strong and have no further health issues. Best of luck!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on May 27, 2013:

Many thanks, Suzie HQ! It's indeed possible to have a home-based career and income - more so now, than ever before. I hope you're able to find your perfect niche, and I hope I get to look back several years from now and say, "Hey, I know her!!!"

Susan McLeish from Rindge, NH on May 27, 2013:

Glad to read this hub. I have a medical situation that is pushing me out of physical working for a living and opening the work at home option. I have been trying to research the pros and scams, but this hub has saved me some time! Thumbs up!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on May 27, 2013:

Hi Marcy,

What a comprehensive look at possible opportunities and all they entail including being realistic. Good tips and info throughout which I will be taking on board as I would like to be my own boss earning from different avenues if possible. Voted up, useful, interesting and shared on!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on May 13, 2013:

Hi, Christy - congratulations on being able to work from home! It can be a real blessing for families, or people who cannot easily commute. You are right - it takes a special type of dedication. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on May 12, 2013:

This is a great hub for anyone thinking of working from home. Many practical tips. I work from home and love it, but it does take dedication and motivation. Vote up!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on May 10, 2013:

Oh, i truly hope you will reach that dream, Jeannie! I know you will - you're such a talented writer, and you have so much to offer in every way. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on May 10, 2013:

Excellent advice! I dream of the day when I work from home full-time and work at an office only part-time. Unfortunately, right now I am doing the opposite. Maybe I will get there one of these days!

Voted up and useful!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on May 04, 2013:

Hi, My Cook Book! Glad you like the ideas here - it's becoming more and more popular to have a home-based career. Hope you are successful in all you do!

Dil Vil from India on May 04, 2013:

This is a highly informative and very useful hub. Thank you for such a good hub with good tips.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on May 02, 2013:

Hi, Alison! You are so right about the discipline! If I'm working on a project I don't like, I can even get interested in cleaning my closet to avoid it! And a warm, sunny day can be a real deal-breaker. Thanks for commenting here!

Alison Graham from UK on May 02, 2013:

Great information here. I love working from home but it does take self-discipline - especially on a sunny day! Voted up and shared.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 30, 2013:

Hi, Agapsikap! Thanks so much for reading and commenting - and I hope your research leads you to a career outlet that suits your talents and needs!

agapsikap from Philippines on April 30, 2013:

Hello Marcy, for the past few months I've been reading more and more about online works. Still figuring out if it is really worth it. Your hub is great. It contain useful tips and wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 29, 2013:

You are so right, Rachna! People sometimes think you don't work, because, after all, you're home. There can be plenty of interruptions if they don't understand.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 29, 2013:

Glad to meet you here, Wiqaralishah!

Wiqar Ali Shah from Peshawar Pakistan on April 28, 2013:

Many tnks for your kindness.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 28, 2013:

Hi, wiqaralishah - many thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 28, 2013:

Hi, ChitrangadaSharan - so glad you found some interesting ideas here - thank you for commenting, and for sharing!

Wiqar Ali Shah from Peshawar Pakistan on April 28, 2013:

nice hub Marcy Goodfleisch tnks for sharing

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 28, 2013:

This is a very helpful hub for those who want to look after their home as well as work from the comfort of their homes. These days, it has become very common, especially among women, who have small kids to look after. It can be very disappointing, if one has to leave jobs, because of commitments at home. Home based jobs give a satisfaction of managing both home and job.

Thanks for sharing some very useful information and tips. Voted up and shared!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 28, 2013:

Many thanks, AliciaC - I appreciate your kind comments here!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 27, 2013:

This is a very detailed hub with great information, Marcy! I'm sure that your hub will be helpful for many people.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 27, 2013:

Hi, Pamela - you are fortunate to be able to write in peace and quiet at this point in your career! And we are fortunate to have you here on this site. I often wonder how moms can write with very small children around, but I know many do it. My kids were young when I started writing full time, but they weren't that young!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 27, 2013:

Hi, Sis! I think you and I have similar work-at-home patterns! And I'm not surprised at that, as you can imagine. I agree; at a certain point in our careers and lives, it's a logical transition to work from home and be flexible.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 27, 2013:

Many thanks, Careermommy, for the votes and for sharing - and for letting us know these tips hit home for you! I love to hear of women who have created careers that allow them to be with their children!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 27, 2013:

Hi, Janet - best of luck in transitioning to a home-based career! I know you can do it! Let us know how it goes, okay?

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 27, 2013:

I think you covered many important aspects of working at home. I do a fair amount of freelance writing, but I have no small children or crying babies. I can choose when to write. I do think sometimes family does not realize that you need uninterrupted concentration time, but otherwise I am quite happy. Voted up and awesome.

Angela Blair from Central Texas on April 27, 2013:

Actually I work from home in 3-4 different fields of work in varying capacities and requiring different amounts of time/energy. It works out well for me and is probably a good thing as there's not much of a job market available for folks my age no matter one's skills/experience. Excellent research and writing! Best/Sis

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on April 27, 2013:

Marcy, these are great suggestions and tips. I work from home three days per week, so a lot of the information is applicable to me. This is voted up and pinned.

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on April 27, 2013:

Thank your for sharing these useful and informative tips about working from home. At the moment I'm still in parental leave but during this time I have decided to become a full work at home mom and start a freelancing career. It's a pity that a lot of people still don't accept alternative ways of earning money. They only think that a 9 to 5 job is the real thing.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 27, 2013:

Hi, Sheri - thanks for your comments and information on your personal experience! I had similar reactions, and still do. Not long ago, a guy implied I didn't really 'work,' since I was based at home. Sorry - it sure feels like work to me!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 27, 2013:

Hi, Lastheart! Yes, often what people want is to get a source of income without working full time. And that's possible, but there are fewer predictable opportunities than for jobs that allow telecommuting. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on April 26, 2013:

Hey Marcry, great hub! I started my last biz from home, and had a hard time making people believe I was "working" and that I was available...now here I am again, starting this new life and again find people think I can drop everything and visit or whatever. I also find the work at home rather lonely...but the benefits outway the challanges.

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on April 26, 2013:

Marcy Goodfleisch this is a well written and helpful hub. I see that the poll says that what people want is extra income without a full time job...that is interesting.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 26, 2013:

Hi, Glimmer Twin Fan - I'm glad you found ideas to research here. And bless you for being there for your mom or dad. They're fortunate to have you in their life.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 26, 2013:

There are definitely 'scams' out there, bredandagnes - I've seen so many claims of people getting tens of thousands a month in the first few months, or millions after one year. That's just not the way it works.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 26, 2013:

So glad you chimed in here, Ann - I agree with you; I have absolutely no desire to return to the 9-5 thing again. I'm able to support myself working from home now (various consulting gigs, and teaching part-time at a university), and it suits me well. Thanks for your comments!

Claudia Mitchell on April 26, 2013:

Very useful article. I am always looking for ideas for working from home. Right now I am dealing with an ailing parent, but have pinned this for future use. Nice job!

bredandagnes from Ireland on April 26, 2013:

Its hard to make the change to working from home-although its got so many advantages. Its also hard to navigate all the scams that are out there.Thanks for the practical advice.

anndango on April 26, 2013:

Great hub, Marcy. I work from home as a freelance writer and editor. I have steady work from newspapers, magazines and corporate clients, plus it gives me time to work on my own projects. Working from home suits my lifestyle and personality. I have given up 9-5 jobs outside the home that would pay more but I'd be giving up a certain amount of freedom that comes with freelancing. Working from home isn't for everyone, but I love it and the thought of having to work outside the home makes me cringe!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 26, 2013:

Thanks for the personal testimonial, bydojo - I think that sort of information helps others see that it's truly possible to work from home in legitimate ways.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 26, 2013:

Many thanks, Billy! I know you have an extensive background as a private business person and in working from home; I appreciate your feedback here. You have a great weekend, too!

Ramona Jar from New York on April 26, 2013:

Good detailed information and tips. I work as a freelance web designer and can agree with you. The hours are flexible, the pay is good and you can really earn a decent income from it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 26, 2013:

You have covered it all my friend. I think many people think it is easy to work at home, but it takes a certain kind of person to remain dedicated and focused each and every day. I have found it satisfying but then I have a personality suited for it. Nice job, Marcy, and have a great weekend.

Related Articles