Four Ways to Work from Home

working from home

I see plenty of people, both online and off, who are desperate to work from home. Despite the fact that working from home is definitely not for everyone, many people idealize the lifestyle and want it for themselves. It’s funny, though, that many people seem to be seeking some sort of magical work from home job that doesn’t exist.

Usually I’ll see a post on a message board that goes something like, “I need to be home with the kids, so how can I work from home?” Or, “I hate my commute so how can I work from home?” When people start offering suggestions, though, the enthusiasm dwindles. When someone suggests starting a business, the answer is often “That’s too hard.” If someone suggests asking if their current employer will allow working from home, the answer is often, “No way!” If someone suggests sales, the answer is “But I hate to sell.”

After a few pages of this, the original poster will usually come back and say something like, “Come on, isn’t there something else?” I really don’t know what they’re looking for. None of the choices presented are acceptable, but yet they still want to work from home. Unfortunately, there are really only four basic choices if you want to work from home. If none of these work for you, working from home might not be for you. Here are the four basic categories of work from home opportunities.

Start Your Own Business

Whether you call it running a business, freelancing, or consulting, the end result is the same. You’re responsible for getting your own clients, managing projects, and handling tasks like billing, marketing and taxes. It’s a lot of work and carries some risk, which is why some people don’t like the idea. However, this is the option that gives you the most control over your vocation and your income.

Work for Your Current Employer

You can see if your current employer will allow you to do your job from home, either part-time or full-time. Some people are afraid to even ask, and some know that the answer is likely to be “No,” but if you don’t ask you won’t know. If you do ask, go in prepared to show your employer how you’ll handle things like child-care, availability, etc. The more you present it as a well thought out option, the more serious your boss is likely to take the request. If you hate your current job, though, don’t expect that bringing it home will make you feel any better about it.

At-Home Sales

If you don’t mind sales, you can sell items like Pampered Chef, Tupperware, Avon, Mary Kay, etc. You may also be able to get a job with another company doing cold calls and sales for them from home. Many people, though, don’t want to do sales and dislike the idea of pressuring friends and family into buying stuff. They also don’t like the idea of cold calling. The commissions might be good, but the work can be tough.

Work for a Company Using Work-at-Home Labor

There are some companies that hire people specifically to work from home. These are usually call centers, sales centers, or companies that contract out work such as medical transcription or billing. The downside to this is that you might not love the work and end up taking it only because “It’s something to do from home.” This is also the area of the work from home job market that is the most laden with scams. If you decide to seek out a work-from-home employer, you have to do a lot of research and be cautious.

Yes, you can also do things like take surveys or work for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to make money at home, but nothing like that will pay you anything close to a living wage. If you want to work from home and make a living that can support you, you are really limited to the four options listed above.

Nothing is easy and nothing is perfect. There is no “wonder-job” that you’ll love everything about and which will require you to put in very little effort, even if it is work from home. You have to decide if working from home is something you want badly enough to overcome your reservations about the types of work that are available and, if so, put in the effort to pursue the right option for you.

(Photo courtesy of Fabio Bruna)

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5 Responses to Four Ways to Work from Home

  1. Gregg says:

    There are people who want to do the marketing thus start their own business. Look up the company that professes that you can have your own business .Put
    the word scam next to their business. You will see which websites are scams when you read articles. You will fInd out if these companies will actually help you to start your own business or you will realize they are scam sites.

  2. Great advice. While I technically could do my full-time job at home, my employer won’t allow it at this time (yes, someone asked about options). There are definitely jobs that can be done from home full-time and options out there, but like you said, people sometimes (often) react with excuses as to why it can’t work for them.

  3. Gailete says:

    I was just talking with my husband about this today. There are a few forums on Saving Advice one of the threads being “How can I make a living on line?” I see so many people throwing out advice that have never even attempted what they are saying. Especially the fallacy of you can make money with a blog. Yes, some people that put lots of time and effort into a blog, work hard on finding affiliate partners, might be able to ‘make a living’ with their blog, but most of us don’t.

    So many things get mentioned, but rarely does anyone even admit any kind of numbers as to what they are earning, and I keep remembering that part of the topic is ‘making a living’ not how can I make spare cash on line! Get the difference? But I agree, most people don’t want to put in the time and effort to do what needs to be done because working on line to earn a living takes as much if not more effort as earning a living off line!

  4. cindyoh says:

    I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’ve worked from home as a medical transcriber for the past 16 years (have done MT for a total of 36 years). I took for granted I’d be able to ride my current position at my midsized company right into retirement, but what with my work being eaten up by India and systems like EPIC being implemented in the hospitals, my steady work is fading fast. I give up. I made a reasonably decent living for many years and will definitely miss it, it’s been a great ride. Working from home can be even more demanding than working in-house was. I did mandatory overtime on this current position for the first 2 years I worked. You can be truly chained to your PC, and I have always found that friends and family don’t take your work seriously, so you must be disciplined.

    Rather than try to find another at-home opportunity in sales or something similar, which I rather doubt anybody can make a decent full-time living with, I made the decision to train to be a nurse’s assistant. It’s doable for me, not expensive, not a lot of time to complete, but yes, I will have to leave my home. I was not planning on this second “career” at my age. The upside is that I live within walking/bus ride distance of several long-term care facilities, two hospitals and an orthopedic rehab facility. I now feel pretty good about being hired pretty quickly and being able to pay my mortgage off.

  5. Mark says:

    Those are 4 great ways to work at your own home. I would just like to add another way which is by starting a blog or website yourself. That can earn you some extra bucks or even thousands of dollars, if you do it the right way. It’s like starting your own business online, it requires your time and dedication.

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