Working from home can be the perfect answer to those caring for others, such as children or older ones, as well as for those who want more freedom about how they spend their days. Finding work that allows you to work from home can be frustrating, though. Doing a Google search of job opportunities that allow home work results in a long list of opportunities, some good, some bad and some just downright ugly. So how do you find work you can do at home?
Many companies are offering a remote option, letting you work for them part of the time from home; the drawback is that you have to have worked in the office for a period of time before they let you work remotely. The best jobs for working at home are the jobs you build yourself. Having a little entrepreneurial spirit will go a long way toward creating your own work. Some ideas lend themselves well to working from home, such as:
- Virtual assistant
- Personal assistant
- Data Entry
As always, you can turn almost anything you’re good at into a business. One woman loved baking cookies using her grandmother’s recipe. She started making big batches every day and selling them to parents waiting for the school bus. She met several parents who introduced her cookies into their companies, where she was able to sell even more. Ultimately, she turned her grandma’s cookie recipe into a cookie delivery business.
There were several good opportunities to work at home that have now become bad ideas. Medical transcription, for instance, used to allow you to make as much as $25 an hour even 10 years ago; however, with the advent of electronic medical records, medical transcriptionists working at some of the bigger companies are making as little as minimum wage.
Years ago, companies sprung up everywhere that would answer phones for small businesses and individuals so callers wouldn’t get voice mail; these companies would hire people who worked at home to help. Now, technology has almost done away with those companies as voice mail has now become the norm rather than the exception.
Insurance companies will sometimes hire agents who work out of their homes, but you have to be really careful; some companies will pay you 100-percent of a years’ commission on a policy, only to ask for a portion of it back if the client cancels the policy before the year is up. Commission-based companies can be good if you’re used to selling, but if you need training, you could end up losing your shirt.
The ugly work-at-home schemes haven’t changed much in the last 10 years; there are just more of them. Here’s how to tell if they’re really ugly and not just bad:
- You’ll never earn a lot of money starting out if you don’t work for it, be it sales or any other type of business. If they say you can earn money for doing little or no work, it’s a scam. The only person making money will be the person who sells you a “starter kit.” To earn a living, work is involved, so if it sounds too good to be true, it is – walk away.
- Getting paid to stuff envelopes is not only ugly, it’s just dumb. In many cases, you’re stuffing envelopes with flyers to get others to make money stuffing envelopes. You’ll end up working like a dog and get almost nothing in return.
- Companies are not standing in line to get you to assemble products for them; they’re going overseas instead. These work-at-home schemes consist of someone sending you a bunch of parts for you to assemble, but they have to be up to company standards, which you will never meet, so you don’t get paid. Time + effort = nada.
How to find good opportunities
If you love doing it, you can find a way to make money at it, so creating your own opportunities is best. That being said, if you’re not able to build your own business and want to work at home for someone else, make sure to look for legitimate companies, those with established reputations and track records. Make sure you know up front what’s required of you. Get personal recommendations from someone you know who works at home. Do your research; read both good and bad reviews to get a clear picture of who you’re thinking of working for. Most of all, remember – when it comes to working from home, no one is going to pay you to do nothing; you’ll still need to work and work hard.
Tomorrow, our final part of the series will look at how others who work at home avoid distractions, keep on track and build their lives around their jobs.