What comes to mind first when you think about work at home jobs? Some people still think of the classic envelope stuffing and data entry jobs, even though those are more likely to be scams than not. There are very few companies that legitimately need employees for such jobs. You really can’t work from home stuffing envelopes.
Fortunately, there are lots more work from home jobs you can do, even if you don’t have a lot of experience.
There’s So Much Out There
The first thing you have to do is quit assuming that there are only a few kinds of work from home opportunities out there. It’s just not true.
In fact, not as many people think to look for ways to work from home stuffing envelopes as did back when I started this site. It used to be a common question. I still hear it once in a while, but not like I used to. There’s more awareness of the many possibilities out there. Work from home opportunities aren’t all low level, low paying jobs.
While lots of companies refuse to allow employees to work from home, many do, so long as the job is something that can be done remotely. Once you start looking, you may be amazed by all of the jobs that can be done from home. There are even entry level remote jobs out there.
Better yet, some companies offer benefits to their remote employees, just as they do for those who work in the office. You won’t get benefits if you’re a contract employee, and few give them to part time employees, but if you’re full time, you have good odds of getting benefits.
If you have job experience, just do a search to find out if people are doing the same work remotely. You might be surprised.
If you don’t have experience, take a look at how many possibilities there are. You may have to get some training and/or experience to qualify for some jobs, such as medical coding, medical transcription, software development and so forth, but that’s true if you work outside the home as well.
Many job boards have work at home jobs listed, even if they don’t specialize in them. They may allow you to select “remote” as a location in your searches to help you find such jobs.
The challenge when using any job board is avoiding the scams. Scams are incredibly difficult to avoid, although you can catch the signs of a work at home scam if you’re alert. Some are sneaky, and it may be difficult to catch on until the interview, but there are often warning signs of work at home scams.
There is a remote job board here on this site. I do my best to keep it free of scams, but I have no doubt that I’m not perfect at screening them. New work at home job leads are added weekly, and I like to think you’ll find it a useful resource.
Freelance Job Websites
It’s also a good idea to check out freelance job websites such as Upwork, as well as any of the many other freelance websites out there. They can be competitive, of course, but they also give you access to a lot of leads.
Freelancing doesn’t sound appealing to everyone. You have to keep looking for clients rather than having a single employer, and that may be a pain. But it has advantages too. You may be able to get a small project or so while looking for more steady work. You can use it to build your resume.
It also may not be as different from working from an employer at home as you may think. Many home based jobs are considered contract positions… not always accurately according to the IRS, so be careful. That means you have a lot of freedom as to when and how you get your work done, so long as it gets done. It also means you need to understand your tax position so you get it right when they come due.
Don’t assume that freelance writing is your only option. That’s far from the truth. While there are tons of opportunities out there for freelance writers, there are many other freelance businesses you can start.
Freelancing is not an instant solution for most people. It takes time to build trust with enough clients and to build a solid reputation.
The advantage to freelancing is that you can do it at the same time as you do other work. You don’t have to be otherwise unemployed. Freelancing can be a side gig until you’re successful enough to make it your regular income.
Start Your Own Business
It’s almost cliche, but not all work at home has to be a job. You can start a business, whether you join a network marketing opportunity, make and sell your own crafts, start a daycare, start a blog or something else altogether. Starting a business of any sort is risky, but it can be worth the risk.
Any business you start is going to require some new skills. It doesn’t matter how well you know the basics of whatever your business is or how much you love it all, you’ll be learning all kinds of new things too. It won’t always be easy or fun, but if you succeed, even the tough times will be worth it.
There is so much that goes into starting any home business. Blogging is popular because it sounds so easy, for example, but it’s not as simple as many think. Neither is network marketing. Both have a lot of people trumpeting how easy they are, and a lot of people struggling to make it happen.
Of the two, I prefer blogging. It’s affordable and you don’t have to press friends and family to buy from you. It takes relatively little effort to start a blog, and from there you can figure out if it’s for you. If not, you don’t have a ton of leftover products to sell or use.
If you want to go into network marketing, make sure you get all the facts you can about any opportunities you consider. Don’t just glance at a quick fact sheet on the opportunity. Find out what you can about the churn rate of distributors. See if they include distributors who aren’t earning any commissions at all. Some studies have shown that 99% of MLM distributors lose money. Are you ready for that risk?
If you decide to start a home business – any home business – remember that they all come with risks. No business is a sure thing. You will need to work hard even when things aren’t going right. That’s just the way it is. But you don’t have to accept an excessive amount of risk if you don’t want to.
Turn Your Current Job Remote
This one is a long shot if your current employer doesn’t already have a policy allowing employees to work remotely. If you can make it happen, however, it’s one of the safest ways to work at home.
No worries about scams.
No fears that your own business will fail.
But all that doesn’t mean it’s free from risk.
The big risk is that you will become invisible to your employer. They don’t see you work, so they don’t consider you for promotions. It can mess with your career path if you aren’t good at bringing attention to your accomplishments.
Employers can also suddenly change their minds about allowing employees to telecommute. They can haul you back into the office at any point they want.
If you decide to telecommute from your current job, make sure you know how you will keep in contact with your employers and coworkers. Make sure you understand all the policies you will be working under. Be super productive so they have no doubts that you can keep doing the job no matter where you are.
Free Yourself From Your Work From Home Assumptions
The notion that stuffing envelopes is a possible work from home opportunity isn’t the only bad assumption people make about working from home. They also make incorrect assumptions about what working from home is like.
If you haven’t worked from home before, prepare for the challenges. It’s both easier and more difficult than you think.
The easier part comes in once you get things going and you know what you’re doing. You’re connected to your employer if necessary, and you know what needs done. No commute. No boss looking over your shoulder. When you need a snack, you can raid your own refrigerator and not worry that a coworker has stolen your lunch. It can be amazing.
It can also be pure torture.
Many of the challenges you’ll face when you work at home depend on your particular situation. If you don’t have kids, for example, you don’t have to worry about distracting them. Too bad there are so many other possible distractions. Just consider these:
- social media
- online chat apps
- the whole $&%# internet!
- household chores
- other family members
- the gym
- neighborhood noises
You might be surprised by how much some of these can affect you.
Isolation, in particular, can be bad when you work at home. It’s not an easy thing to lock yourself away in your home office to work all day. If you want to be productive, that’s often what it takes, yet feeling isolated can make you less productive.
Be prepared to face the fact that working from home does not work for everyone. Some people are much happier working in an office with coworkers all around.
If that turns out to be the case for you, that’s fine. You tried, and you learned something about yourself. It’s okay to choose to go back to working outside the home.
But if you continue to work at home, make sure you learn to deal with the distractions and the challenges. Many people find working from home to be highly satisfactory. The only way to find out if it works for you is to give it a try.