No annoying colleagues, no boss looking over your shoulder, a flexible schedule – these are just a few of the benefits of working from home. And if working from home is your goal, all you need is a computer, internet access, and a plan.
STEP ONE – PREPARING FOR WORK
- Take stock
Before pursuing from-home employment, evaluate your expertise, work experience, and goals. Ask yourself, “What skills do I have? What kind of work am I willing to do? How much money do I want to make? How much time am I willing to commit?” Be honest with yourself – this information will help you narrow down your options.
- Start thinking about your transferable skills. Then update your resume.
- If you have a family, make sure that your work-from-home goals align with the family’s priorities.
- Acquire skills
If you have no experience or are looking to start a new career from home, some of the best fields to consider are IT, accounting, and marketing. These are somewhat technical fields, so you’ll need formal training. The good news is that you can earn an affordable associate’s degree in each field at your local community college or through online programs.
If you don’t have the time, money, or motivation to pursue a degree, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to make money from home.
- Avoid scams
Work-from-home scams were the top Internet crime in 2011, and very little has changed since then. If an employment opportunity sounds too good to be true, well, you know the rest.
Legitimate online work opportunities require no initial “investments,” and they certainly do not come in bulk emails.
- Get set up
To maximize your efficiency, update your computer’s operating system and acquire a high-speed internet service. Find a suitable work space in your home and demand that others treat it with respect – this is your new office!
STEP TWO – WORKING FROM HOME
- Become a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who perform administrative services for small-business owners, medical and legal offices, and executives. Among other things, virtual assistants plan events, make travel arrangements, correspond with clients, and manage data, and they do all of this from home. If you decide to become a virtual assistant, consider joining the International Virtual Assistants Association to gain access to networking opportunities and potential employers.
Higher-paying virtual assistant jobs usually require administrative experience. If you have no administrative experience, you may have to start with a lower-paying position. Don’t let this discourage you. You have to start somewhere.
- The IVAA offers certification programs that can make you a more marketable candidate.
- In addition to the IVAA website, you can look for jobs at http://www.virtualassistantjobs.com.
- Develop a content-based website
A content-based website provides information on a specific subject such as baking pies, designing kitchens, or repairing bicycles. You don’t need a product or service to get started – just a good idea. If you know a lot about a particular subject, consider sharing your knowledge with the rest of the world. And while you’re at it, why not make a few bucks?
- To make money, your website will need to attract a lot of traffic. If you have no technical expertise, hire a professional who specializes in web design and search engine optimization (SEO). SEO improves your site’s interaction with users and search engines.
- You’ll have to decide on a domain name and hosting service…and pay for each. Fortunately, this will cost you up to $10 per month.
- Once your website is set up, start adding content.
- You can then advertise related products and services from other companies and receive a commission for sales or leads. Programs such as Google AdSense make this process quite simple.
- Give your opinion
If you only want to make a little bit of money, you can get paid to take part in mock juries and focus groups. Attorneys use these “juries” to survey public opinion and help prepare for actual trials. To participate, you’ll have to join a site and meet some basic juror qualifications. You can then review and respond to case materials at your convenience.
Always read disclaimers.
If you have language expertise or an advanced degree (Master’s or PhD) with teaching experience, you can teach online courses for colleges and universities as a part-time adjunct. HigherEdJobs.com maintains an extensive list of online teaching opportunities. Most positions will require you to fill out an online application and submit a CV.
If teaching courses is too much of a commitment, you could also tutor online. Companies such as http://www.tutor.com are always looking for help. To teach or tutor online, you may need additional audio-visual equipment for your computer.
Quality writing is always in demand. If you are a good writer and have experience blogging, copywriting, or editing, you could become a freelance writer. Assemble a portfolio of your writing (or update the one you have) and start looking for work. A great place to start is within your existing networks. You could also look for opportunities to write newsletters, blogs, or advertisements for local clients.
Spend some time exploring http://www.allindiewriters.com if you’re unacquainted with the world of freelance writing. There you’ll find tips and resources for building a successful freelance career and an extensive job board. You can also look for jobs at http://www.journalismjobs.com
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