I have been working from home for nearly a decade, and people always ask me what it’s like. And I usually tell them “it’s work, but I am at home.” No, I don’t pay for childcare, but I have to take lots of breaks and sometimes work after the kids are asleep.
The Truth About Working From Home
But I also get to be home with my kids. And yes, some days I work in my jammies (though those days are few and far between lately). But let’s totally honest for a minute, ok?
Yes, work from home. Yes, I love it. But working from home requires hustle, stamina, and sacrifice. Likely, you won’t be sipping margaritas by the pool, next to your laptop. Here’s the scoop.
Is It For You?
Deciding to work from home has its pros and cons.
First, you need to figure out if this is the right thing for you.
Sure, you’ll have more flexible hours (sometimes), and you can spend more time with your loved ones, especially if you have kids.
Sometimes, you’ll even get to do this ^.
If you decide to start your own business, you’ll be in control of running the show and setting your own hours.
Keep in mind that doing this on your own isn’t the same as working for a company. For one thing, you won’t get any health benefits or retirement plans.
You may not earn the kind of money you feel like you deserve right away either. I actually took a huge pay cut when I went from working in a law office to working on my couch.
Yes, I definitely make more now, but it’s been a long road and a lot of work on my part.
Define Your Skills
What do you do?
You might be a great accountant, but if you hate crunching numbers, you’ll definitely want to avoid anything that has to do with math.
There are tons of jobs that you can do at home.
You could be a virtual assistant. Virtual Assistants provide support for many online businesses in many different areas:
- data entry,
- website maintenance,
- travel assistance,
- email support,
- customer service,
- and so much more.
Just like your current job, you need to have the skills to do the tasks you claim to be able to provide effectively and efficiently.
If you’re interested in becoming a VA, then you need to hone on your niche. If you’re underqualified, consider interning for a qualified VA to take you under their wing, or attend as many classes and courses as possible. Once you figure it out, the next step is easy.
My friend Gina Horkey has an amazing resource that helps burgeoning VAs get started, and you can get it here.
Working From Home
A word of caution: any legitimate online business requires some type of investment.
You’ll need to invest your time, and sometimes you’ll need to invest money (like the cost of a website and hosting or a membership to a legitimate work from home job sites like HireMyMom or FlexJobs).
Beware of offers for “training seminars” or “free webinars.” These often pitch a promise that once you make an initial “investment” you will have a done-for-you business.
I have never, ever found any type of business, even network marketing to be a true turn-key business. Everything takes time, effort, and an investment (whether it’s time or money).
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about some real opportunities.
Social Media Manager
If you have a handle on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can seek clients who need someone to run the show.
You’ll get to create witty posts, do some basic graphic designs for their business, do ad campaigns, and monitor their social media presence.
If you think social media is for you, Melyssa Griffin has this amazing resource called Social Media Superhero and you can get it here.
You have to have great listening skills to transcribe barely audible conversations into a word document.
Some companies might ask you to have a college degree, but there are plenty of sites offering transcribing jobs. Connect with fellow transcribers on LinkedIn and start networking!
Copywriter or Ghostwriter
If you love to write, you can turn it into a great income (Gina Horkey has an amazing resource to help writers get started and you can get it here).
Copywriters are in high demand for blogs, newsletters, and articles.
Data Entry Clerk
Data entry is perfect for most people because all you have to do is bang away a bunch of alphanumeric digits on your keyboard all day long without having to think too much. You just type up what you see into a system and you’re done.
But you do need to type fast, like 70 words per minute, and accuracy is vital. And for all you digital nomads, some companies do require you to be in the US. But don’t fret. There are other options out there and you could earn $30,000 or more a year if you play your cards right.
You don’t have to be Fran Drescher to be a nanny. You just have to like kids a lot and be willing to look after them. Place ads on bulletin boards, newspapers, and social media like Facebook, or Care.com and SitterCity, which puts you in touch with a potential parent looking for a nanny.
Tap into the potential of the internet and become a travel agent. As long as you have a computer and some connections, you can become the hub between clients and their dream destinations.
I highly recommend you take a travel and tourism course first, which you can do at a community college or vocational school.
Finally, you can help several startup companies build a website that is successful and will attract business to your clients. You don’t need a master’s degree to do this, just the skills to make it work, and if possible, a list of sites you’ve created and have managed.
And there you have it.
This is by no means an extensive list, but it is honest. Now that you know the truth about working from home, are you up for it?