Last Updated July 23rd, 2018

Don’t Feel Bad About Learning to Work at Home in the School of Hard Knocks

Don't Feel Bad About Learning to Work at Home in the School of Hard Knocks
Working at home successfully doesn’t come quickly to all of us. Many people have to try several opportunities, whether they are stay at home jobs or home business opportunities before they find the right match for their availability and income needs. Learning to work at home doesn’t come that easy for many people.

It’s often a school of hard knocks before you really get it. You may feel like a failure for months or years before you really get things moving the way you’d like to.

Don’t be Ashamed of Falling for Scams

Falling for a work at home scam is perhaps one of the hardest knocks you can take when you’re looking for the right way to work at home. It’s embarrassing when you realize that you’ve fallen for a work at home scam. It happens to lots of us. That doesn’t mean you’re destined to fail as a work at home parent. It means only that you made a mistake.

uncertainty cloud

The only way you fail by falling for a work at home scam is if you don’t learn anything from the experience. It may be painful, especially if you have to admit monetary losses to a spouse or other family members, but it’s something you have to do.

If you fall for a scam, look hard at what made it possible. There are a lot of different reasons why people fall for scams. Here are a few:

  • Greed – the money looked so good you had to try.
  • Deception – the scam successfully imitated a legitimate opportunity
  • Laziness – the work looked so easy!
  • Scarcity – you believed the marketing hype that told you it was limited.
  • Too trusting – you were too willing to believe.
  • Desperation – you need money badly.
  • Fear – the scam hits right on something you fear.

Some people find avoiding scams to be the most difficult part of learning to work at home. I once had someone contact me repeatedly, concerned that a particular opportunity was a scam. I confirmed that it was, and explained why.

The person then asked me if another opportunity was a scam.

Not only was it a scam, it was essentially the same scam. I explained the warning signs again. They sent me a third opportunity to look at for them.

You guessed it. Same scam.

Some people want so badly to work at home that they have trouble being sensible about it. They can’t see what’s right in front of them. You have to learn how to look at these things carefully so that you catch the warning signs.

The prevalence of work at home scams is why it is so very important to really think before signing up with any opportunity. Do your research. Ask around. This will help keep you from falling for scams.

You May Not Always Earn What You Hope to Earn

Whether you find a work at home job, do freelance work or start some other sort of home business, you probably won’t always earn what you hope to earn. It’s not a good feeling to come up short on your goals, but you have to be realistic. It takes time to get things to where you really want them to be.

Be realistic with your financial goals, and don’t give up on them easily. You probably wouldn’t make your dream income working outside the home right off either. Most of us have to work up to it.

Sometimes you may have to accept lower pay to get started. Don’t do this for too long, and don’t go absurdly low.

It amazes me how often people suggest doing online tasks that pay well under minimum wage. Sure, they’re saying to do it in your free time, but isn’t it better to find work that pays better even then?

Some jobs have a learning curve where you’ll earn less than minimum wage at first, but as you improve, so does your income.

Transcriptionists often face that problem. I remember when I first started out as a medical transcriptionist. It was difficult to earn more than a few bucks an hour. But I quickly improved to where I could earn $15+ per hour.

The learning curve was worth it in that case. If your pay won’t increase significantly with experience, the low pay won’t be worth it.

You Won’t Always Have Perfect Cooperation and Respect for What You Do From Family and Friends

Supportive family and friends are a huge help when you work at home. It’s hard to get everyone to take you seriously when so many people you know are certain that you’re getting scammed, or it won’t work out, or just don’t think what you’re doing is real work.

What matters is that you take it seriously.

The people you know will take their cues from you on how to treat your work. A few may never get it, but the more seriously you take your work, the more seriously most others will take it too.

Talk to your spouse and children about what you need from them. They’re the most important part of your support network, as they are the most likely to be in the house with you when you need to work.

Working at Home Doesn’t Always Mean Working When You Want

There’s the old bit about how you can set your own hours when you work at home. It’s one of the most appealing parts of working at home. The problem is that it’s not entirely true.

Many people are dismayed to find out how many hours it really takes to successfully work at home. It’s not easy. You may work more hours than you would have outside the home. You can’t always choose which ones you want, at least not if you want to bring in an income. Sometimes your work hours are set by the needs of the kind of work you’re doing.

trouble ahead

Working at home also tends to blend into daily life and family time. Your work is always right there. Learning to separate work and family time takes practice.

It’s even rougher when you have infants and toddlers who really need your attention. You may find their needs and the needs of your job or business don’t mix too well. Despite any intentions otherwise, many work at home parents do resort to paid childcare so that they can get work done. That’s not a failure. That’s dealing with reality.

Fortunately, you often will have flexibility. Be prepared, however, to deal with the times when you need to sacrifice some of the fun times to earn a living.

Self Discipline May Not Come Naturally

It takes a lot of self discipline to work at home. There are a lot of distractions. Little things eat into your schedule. If you don’t have the self discipline to minimize these problems, you will have a hard time learning to work at home successfully.

You can’t rely on feedback from your employer if you have a work at home job. It may not come in time.

Self discipline is even more important if you’re running a home business. Your success depends in large part on your self discipline. If you don’t have it, working enough hours to make money from home will be very difficult.

Setting up a comfortable home office is a huge help when it comes to self discipline. It won’t solve all of your problems, but it gives you a regular place to work.

Ideally, your home office should be quiet and have a door you can close. Closing your door when you need to work can close out a lot of distractions. Depending on what you do, you may or may not need to work in your home office every day. But it should be available to you.

But you need more.

You need the discipline to start work on time, and to work hard through the hours you need to work. Distractions abound, such as:

  • Television
  • Chores
  • Online games
  • Social media
  • Friends and family
  • Pets.

If self discipline is a challenge, set goals and rewards for yourself. Some should be relatively easy (but not too easy) to hit. Others should take steady effort over days, weeks or even months.

Teach yourself to work even when you don’t feel like it. You’d have to do that if you worked outside the home, after all. Take your work at home job or home business just as seriously.

Overwork Comes Too Naturally

If you have enough self discipline to work at home, you may find that you also have the tendency to work too much. Finding the right work-life balance can be difficult.

overwork

Now, this may sound like a great problem to have. And there are times when the ability and willingness to work long hours will be to your advantage. But there can also be too much of that.

When you overwork yourself, you become too tired to do a good job. This can impact your creativity, accuracy, and how fast you can work.

It also impacts your life outside work. What happens to family time when you work too much?

Boundaries matter when you work at home. You must learn to stop working and be a part of your family when your work day is done.

Sure, there may be times when those long hours are necessary, and even a benefit to your family in the long run. But they shouldn’t happen all of the time.

Expenses Catch You By Surprise

Working at home can save you a lot of money. You don’t drive to work every day. You can dress however you like most days. But there may be some expenses you haven’t considered.

Work At Home Job Expenses

Some work at home jobs will provide you will all the equipment you need. They may even help pay for your internet connection.

Others will require you to provide your own equipment. This is especially true if you’re considered an independent contractor rather than an employee.

If you provide your own equipment and need to repair or replace something, that’s on you. When it’s time to upgrade, that’s on you. If you don’t own a piece of equipment you need, you guessed it, that’s on you.

Some work at home jobs provide on the job training or will help you keep up your skills with ongoing training. Others will require that you get your own training.

These are some of the work at home expenses you might not be expecting:

You’re working at home, kids in the background. Over time, you come to realize that it’s just not working. They’re too distracting.

Trading childcare or having family members help out turn out to be not enough. It’s time to pay for daycare.

You may have to spend some money getting set up to your employer’s standards:

You have a nice home office setup, and a solid wifi connection. But your employer requires a wired internet connection. You have to pay to run a cable to your home office.  This may be as simple as finding a long enough cable for the job, or as expensive as having a professional set you up.

Home Business Expenses

If you are running your own home business, of course all of these expenses will fall on you. It can be a very good idea, in fact, to budget for training to improve your skills. You can improve your business much more quickly if you learn new skills from someone else than if you try to figure it out on your own.

You’ve tried your hand at social media marketing. Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram… you’ve tried, but you just aren’t getting results. You’ve heard about the amazing results other people get from social media, so naturally you want to do better too.

Time to figure out which social media training course is right for your needs.

Don’t forget basic advertising expenses:

Social media marketing isn’t enough.  Time to buy some ads!

Home business expenses can add up, even though the basic costs of hosting your website are quite affordable.

Some things can wait on your budget, which is nice when you’re starting on a shoestring. But many of the things you can do to improve your home business a little more quickly will cost money. They also aren’t guaranteed to work, so your risk is increased.

Successfully advertising your site, for example, often has an expensive learning curve. You can take a course that will teach you to run successful ads, but you might not find the right mix right away.

Don’t Let Learning To Work At Home Get You Down

Learning to work at home can be frustrating, especially if you do have to go through the school of hard knocks to find success. You have to keep trying or you’ll never find the right way to earn money from home.

Don’t let the naysayers get you down. They probably mean well, but telling you over and over that you’re going to fail isn’t helpful. There may be a fine distinction between a naysayer and someone who sees something you don’t however, so don’t dismiss all criticism out of hand.

Don’t let your mistakes get you down. Learn from them. A mistake isn’t a complete failure if you learn from it.

Learning to work at home takes time. Not everyone succeeds at the first thing they try to do from home. Even if you start the perfect work at home job or home business right from the start, there are plenty of other mistakes to make. Give yourself time to make the progress you need to do better. You’ll get there.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 19th, 2018

How Can Your Teen Earn Money From Home? Teen Online Jobs & More

How Can Your Teen Earn Money From Home? Teen Online Jobs & More

How hard is it in your area for high school age teenagers to find a job? It’s pretty tough in my area – even the local pizza place only hires ages 18 and up. While there are a few places that hire teens younger than that, it’s hard for 16 year olds in my area to find work. With my oldest hitting that age, I’ve decided to take a look at teen online jobs and other ways for teenagers to earn money from home.

One challenge teens face with any kind of online work is their age. Sites may not allow anyone under a certain age to have an account. That’s not so difficult when the limit is 13, but it’s more of a problem if the company requires that they be 18.

This means that parents may need to help kids get accounts for some things. Paypal, for example, requires users to be at least 18 years old. A teen getting paid through Paypal will need to use an account created by a parent.

Once you’re 18 and have a high school diploma, you’ll have relatively few restrictions on where you can work if you meet the education and experience requirements. Most companies don’t care about your age once you’re legally an adult unless they have specific laws to deal with.

Make Sure You’re Paid Enough

One problem I have with a lot of suggested ways to earn money from home at any age is the very poor pay rate. Too many “opportunities” pay well under minimum wage. Many feel it’s okay to earn that little if you’re just doing them in your spare time, but I still find it problematic.

This is especially true when your teen is just starting out. Teach them to expect an appropriate pay rate, minimum wage at the least, and increasing as the difficulty of the work increases. Don’t fall for the notion that a gig doesn’t have to pay as well as a regular job.

This is why I rarely list surveys or Get Paid To (GPT) apps as work at home opportunities. Very few people make much at all with those, especially when you consider the time spent. It makes more sense to me to use that spare time to build something that makes more money, rather than chasing pennies or a dollar here and there on sites that don’t pay well at all.

Some things by their very nature won’t pay well at first, of course. If your teen wants to start a blog or YouTube channel, they won’t earn anything at first. But then it’s their choice. They’re starting a business, and that involves risk. What is acceptable when you work for yourself is different from when you work for someone else. If things go well with a business, the low income time will be well paid back when money comes in… or it’s time to try something else.

cash

Which Companies Offer Teen Online Jobs?

While most remote companies only hire people over the age of 18, there are some that hire teens for online jobs. If your teen is looking for work, he or she may want to consider these options.

Tutoring

Enroll – Must be 13 to sign up and have parental permission if under 18.

Teens can sign up as a student on Enroll, and tutor other students in whatever subjects you’re strong in. Peer to peer tutors must be at least 15 years old and can only tutor other students who are under age 18.

Care.comTeens ages 14-17 can register as providers so long as a parent has registered an account connected to yours, so that they will receive copies of all communications to and from the teen account.

Teens can offer tutoring services as well as childcare services on this site.

SameSpeak – Must be at least 16 and a native English speaker. Pay is $10 per 30 minute session. It may take some time to get verified.

Freelance Work

Freelance work can be ideal for teens. Pick up jobs when you have time for them, and build great experience you can use later. While some sites may require that you be 18 or older, others will not have an age requirement. Here are some to consider.

Rev – Rev has no age requirements, and offers freelance positions as a transcriptionist, captioner, subtitler, or translator.

Freelancer.com – Requires freelancers to be at least 16 years old. Possible jobs include website design, coding, writing, data entry, social media marketing, and more.

Userlytics – Test websites and apps and speak out loud during the experience. You must have a webcam and microphone, Windows 7 or newer, and MacOS 10.9 or newer. Users must be at least 16 years old. Pay starts at $5, with some tests going as high as $90. Pay is through PayPal. Tests should take 20-40 minutes to complete.

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing in general can be a good opportunity for teens. While freelance sites may care about their age, teens can also pitch individual publications with their ideas. If you don’t emphasize your age, they may not care that a teen is doing the writing, so long as the quality is there.

money in pocket

Home Business Ideas For Teens

Starting a home business can be a great idea for a teen. They can work their business around their school schedule with relative ease. While your teen may need you to sign up for some programs with them, they can still handle many of the details.

Etsy

If your teen loves to make crafts, draw, or otherwise be creative, sites such as Etsy can be a great choice. Etsy requires that a parent directly supervise the account of any user between the ages of 13-18. Minors under the age of 13 are not allowed at all.

Your teen does not have to make physical products to sell on Etsy. Some people do very well selling digital products, such as printable invitations, wall art, educational pages, coloring pages, logos and more.

Zazzle, Teepublic, etc.

Custom t-shirts, mugs, posters, and other products are very popular right now. There are a number of places where artists can upload their designs to be printed on t-shirts, posters and more. Check each site’s terms of service to see how old an artist has to be before signing up. Here are a few sites to check out. Some may require parental permission.

Zazzle
Teepublic
Society6
Redbubble
Cafepress

Fiverr

Fiverr is an online marketplace where you can sell a service for as little as $5. As you build a reputation, you can offer addons and more difficult services for more than $5, sometimes quite a bit more. Fiverr requires that users be at least 13 years old. If your teen has a bank account, they can have their money direct deposited, but payment through Paypal is also an option. Remember Paypal’s age limits.

The tasks people do on Fiverr range from fairly standard writing, marketing, programming and so forth, to more unusual tasks that can be great attention getters. If your teen wants to try to make money through Fiverr, have them look at what other people are doing in their category first, and brainstorm ideas to help them stand out.

Blogging

Blogging may come natural to some teens. It’s a great, flexible home business that doesn’t take a lot of money to get started. You can even start for free, although that’s not the option I recommend. Paying for hosting has real advantages over free hosting in the long run.

The first challenge with starting a blog is getting an idea. Take the time to brainstorm and get some great ideas for your blog first. Money generally doesn’t come flowing in right away, but you can make it happen.

You’ll have to learn to monetize to make money from a blog. Once again, many opportunities will require an adult to sign up for the account, but some companies may be willing to work directly with the teen.

YouTube

Lots of teens dream of making big bucks on YouTube. You’ve probably heard of some of the people who make a lot of money making what look like pretty simple videos in some cases.

While it is possible to make money as a YouTuber, it can be very hard work. It takes time to learn how to get your videos found in search and build a following. But if your teen is doing something they enjoy, showing it off on YouTube is a pretty nice business to try.

If you want to earn money as a YouTuber, watch some videos in the nice you like first. Get a feeling for what people are already doing, and figure out how to stand out. A YouTube account that does exactly what others are doing probably won’t stand out, but add in your own touch, and you may do well.

Start A Webcomic

This is what my oldest wants to do. It’s not easy to make money from webcomics, but a few do well. You have to consider several monetization options to have your best chance at making money.

Monetization can be from ads on your site, running a membership program through Patreon, creating products to sell on Zazzle and similar sites, and so forth. This is a great discussion on Tapas.io on the subject. Tapas.io lets artists earn money through ad revenue and tips from fans.

Remember The Local Teen Jobs

While your teen may want to work online, there are usually a number of local possibilities they should consider as well. It starts with the traditional jobs such as babysitting or the local fast food place, but there are so many more possibilities out there.

Our local public pool, for example, hires teens as lifeguards and swimming instructors. Most of these kids have been on the swim team, but it’s not a requirement. I don’t doubt that it’s helpful in our area, though – the swim team coach also runs the swimming lessons program.

Teens can start local businesses doing yard work for neighbors, pet sitting, tutoring, being a DJ for local events, and much more. These can be excellent opportunities if your teen really goes for it. Don’t dismiss them just because your teen has to go somewhere to work.

Have you learned about any teen online jobs I’ve missed that earns enough to be worthwhile?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 1st, 2018

11 Ways To Prepare To Work At Home Over The Summer

11 Ways To Prepare To Work At Home Over The Summer

School getting out for the summer presents some challenges for work at home parents. Suddenly the kids are home all day and want to do things with you. This makes it really difficult to work sometimes, while still being the mom or dad you want to be. It’s time to make plans and prepare to work at home over the summer so that you can continue to be productive.

1. Review your work routine.

Taking a look at your work routine is an important part of preparing to work at home over the summer. Is it going to work for you with the kids at home? If you’re used to getting all your work done when they’re at school, for example, how will you cope when the kids are home all day? When will be the best time for you to work now? How will you keep up with what needs doing?

Working at home during the summer often takes a bit more flexibility than when the kids are at school. Be prepared and think about what’s about to happen in your daily life.

If necessary, work more when the kids are sleeping. Pick late evening or early morning, whichever you prefer, and focus on work when the kids are in bed. Working when your spouse is home and able to be in charge of the kids can also help. Use daycare if that’s what it takes.

2. Talk to your kids about your work needs.

Hopefully, your kids are used to you working at home if you’ve been doing it a while. Even so, it’s a good idea to remind them that during the summer you still need to work even if they’re on vacation.

If you’re planning set work hours and a set location in the house, let them know about it and explain that they aren’t to bother you unnecessarily when you’re working. Lay down some rules so they know when they can interrupt. They may not get it perfect, being kids and all, but it should help.

This shouldn’t be much of a problem with older kids but can be challenging with younger ones. Your younger children may need more attention than you can afford with your work at home requirements. Consider if daycare is necessary. It can be better for all of you. Do what’s necessary to have a productive work at home day.

3. Encourage age and location appropriate independence.

climbing rocksI’m a big believer in encouraging my kids to do things on their own. When my kids were young, they could play out back on their own. They’re old enough now that they can play out front, ride their bikes around the neighborhood, or even go to the store for a treat on their own. The youngest can’t go to the store yet on her own, but with the prospect of getting some candy or ice cream, it’s easy for her to get a sibling to take her when she wants to go.

These are privileges they’ve earned. They’ve shown they’re capable, and it’s a generally safe neighborhood. They also have rules about how they can play on the computer and know the consequences of breaking the rules.

Children need time to play independently. They do not need their parents participating in everything they do. Participate some of the time, absolutely, that’s just fun, but remember how much fun you had just being a kid with your siblings and friends, and let your kids do likewise. Hopefully without getting into too much trouble. After all, if they’re happily playing you should be able to get some of your own stuff done.

4. Encourage outdoor play.

Summer’s hot, and sometimes it’s hard to get the kids to play outside. They’re too used to air conditioned buildings. But outside play is healthy and should be normal. Think about how much of the summer you spent outside as a child, despite the heat.

I usually push for my kids to go play outside first thing in the morning. The sun’s rays aren’t quite so strong then, it’s cooler, and they have energy. Sunscreen is still a generally good choice.

There are a lot of things you can do to encourage outside play. When my kids were younger, we would walk to the playground in the morning. That got the urge to go there handled at a time of day we all could stand. The walk would also tire them out a little, as it was over a mile and mostly uphill. Funny thing, no matter how tired they were on the walk, they always had plenty of energy for the playground itself.

Make sure you set up a lot of ways for your kids to play outside at home.  If you have a sandbox, make sure you have some great toys for it. A cover is also a good idea to keep any local cats from using it as a litterbox. If you keep your sandbox in a shady area, it can be used for much of the day.

diving

A Slip ‘n Slide, sprinklers, water guns and other water toys also help get kids outside and playing. Most of these won’t cost all that much money. Water play is the perfect way to get kids to outside and play no matter how hot it is. If you have a swimming pool or easy access to one, so much the better.

You may also want to set up a screen time rule for the summer. Have your kids play outside before they can watch TV or use other devices. No heavy buildups of screen time with the promise to go outside “soon” either. No carryovers to the next day. This rule keeps them wanting to play outside earlier in the day, with the promise of being allowed to relax indoors when the day is at its hottest.

One trick my kids tried early on was to each claim screen time separately, and watch the shows someone else had picked. They soon found out that it didn’t matter who picked out the show – if you watch it, the time counts as your screen time.

5. Know where their friends live.

You really want to know where your kids’ friends live, especially the ones who will be home during the day. That way, you can encourage them to all play together at one house or another. Don’t be the parent always sending your kids to someone else’s house; take your turn. Kids with friends over are usually too busy playing with friends to bother you other than for the occasional snack or when an argument breaks out. Hopefully, that’s less often than when your kids are home with just you.

If you’re lucky, your kids will have some friends within walking distance. That’s not something my kids have had often, but it’s such a help when friends have been that close to us.

Of course, the time it takes to drop kids off with a friend can be worth it if you get more work time.

6. Get the kids out of the house without you if possible.

When my kids were younger, we lived close enough to grandparents that we could send the kids off to see them. It was a huge help. These days, I have to come up with other plans.

While we don’t live close enough for daytime visits to grandparents, we sometimes send the kids to spend several days with them. This works pretty well, although the planning is difficult at times.

One alternative is to look at local day camps if that’s in your budget. While these can add up fast, it’s one way to get the kids out, doing something fun and still giving yourself the day to work. The big question is whether it will be worth it financially. Many camps are expensive. Of course, the kids will enjoy the experience as well if you choose the right camp.

As they get older, of course, expect your kids to do things on their own in the local area without you. It’s good practice for when they head out on their own.

7. Have craft projects available.

kids painting

Most kids love to do crafts, so have the materials for their favorites readily available. My youngest loves to paint, for example, so her supplies are often just right there on her table, although the water for rinsing the brush doesn’t stay out too much.

We keep better craft supplies for the older kids, as well as a soldering kit and other challenging activities. The craft supplies you need will depend on age. The older they get, the better quality the paints we get for them.

Make sure your kids understand the safety rules for crafting as necessary. My kids are allowed to use a glue gun, for example, and that gets very hot. They know that they can get burned by it and that if they ever leave it plugged in after use, they will lose all use of it.

Crafting sometimes means allowing them to use a computer, phone or tablet to look up ideas or instructions. So long as that’s what they’re doing, I allow it. Our screen time limits aren’t meant to limit their access to information, after all. They’re meant to limit the time spent sitting, staring at a screen and doing nothing else.

8. Be ready for “I’m bored!”

There are many ways to cope with kids who announce that they’re bored. For the most part, it’s a good idea to tell them to go figure out something to do. This is especially important when you need to work.

Children need to learn to entertain themselves, especially without staring at a screen. If you always give them ideas for what to do, they will keep relying on you for that rather than using their own creativity. The whole point of having a lot of things available to them is so that your kids can find things to do when they’re bored.

But there are times when it’s easier to give them ideas. That doesn’t mean your kids will like your ideas. My own favorite is to suggest a chore that needs doing, as there are always chores that need doing. Kids will usually think of something else they’d rather do, really fast. If not, the chore gets done, and the kid learns to not complain too often about being bored. That said…

9. Have kids do daily chores.

When school’s out, there’s no reason for kids to not help out more around the house. During the school year, chores depend on time left over after homework is done. If homework is heavy, there are fewer kid chores to be done.

During the summer, there’s no such excuse, and kids need to do chores so they can learn to cope with all the things a home needs to be done. Decide what’s age appropriate for your kids.

We have some chores that must be completed on certain days. Dishes are daily, of course. Some of their assignments alternate weekly, so the same person isn’t responsible for the same job all of the time. This keeps away arguments over whose chore list is the hardest. I found that alternating weeks saved arguments over alternating days. It’s amazing how easy it is to lose track of who did what when it changes daily. Change it weekly, and everyone knows who’s on duty. Keep it age appropriate, of course.

My kids get assigned weeks to either help make dinner or make it entirely on their own, depending on skill level. The kid on duty also has to help with the grocery shopping, with the oldest being responsible for planning almost the entire list. They also get to plan one dessert a week, which they really enjoy.

10. Plan.

Solid planning can help make a great summer for your family while still giving you time to work at home.

Start out with the things you absolutely must get done, such as the work time you need. Add in planned family vacations. Then take a look at the most important things you want to add in.

I insist on swimming lessons for my kids until they reach a high enough level, for example. While we don’t have a pool, another family member does, as do some friends. The ability to swim is a safety issue and a major part of water safety. You may have other activities for your kids that you consider a priority.

On the fun side, my youngest loves to go to Movies In The Park, a local event where they show a popular movie at the park one night a week. It’s great fun, and we make plans to meet with friends there so the kids can play before the movie.

Libraries may also have fun activities for the summer. Our local library has reading challenges as well as special events. The kids have been able to meet interesting animals there, watched magic shows and more.

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11. Be spontaneous.

If your work schedule allows it, take the time to be spontaneous. Go to the water park on a really hot day. Play tag with the kids. Accept that invitation from a friend. Make a special treat. Have fun during your workday when possible..

It won’t always be possible to be spontaneous. That’s what happens when you work at home over the summer. You have responsibilities. Take care of those, and make time for fun when you can.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 22nd, 2018

30+ Ideas For Working at Home

30+ Ideas For Working at Home

I often hear from people who want to work at home, and that’s as far as they’ve gotten with it. They seem to want me to tell them what to do. Know what? I can’t do that. I don’t know what kind of work at home job or home business is right for a particular person. That’s your problem. You need to think it out, look at your skills and interests, and start researching the possibilities. Once you’re there, I can probably give some better tips. Just get those first ideas for working at home, and you’ve got a start.

With all that said, here are some ideas to perhaps get you going. Maybe one of these ideas for working at home will help you. It’s not a comprehensive list of work at home ideas, but it’s a start. Oh, and yes, there will be affiliate links in the post here, but it’s potential value to readers that gets links in this post, not whether or not I get paid. There will be non-affiliate links too, in other words.

Work at Home Jobs

As always, don’t pay for a work at home job. Sometimes you may legitimately have to pay for a background check, but look into the opportunity before you do so, as that’s always a risky proposition.

You may need to get training on your own for some of these jobs as well. The training isn’t done with the employer – you have to attend classes at a school or find a good online course. You have a lot of options now to gain the skills you need for the job you want.

Data Entry

Data entry is one of the classics lots of people look at when they want to work at home. It sounds easy, and you can find lots of ads promising you big bucks for filling in simple forms.

The reality of this one isn’t quite so simple. There are indeed true work at home data entry jobs out there, but they don’t pay the big bucks, and they’re on the scarce side. I have some companies listed here on this site, but no idea who’s hiring at any point (as with all other work at home job opportunities) so don’t ask me. You may do better with one of the freelance sites, taking on an individual, usually short term assignment.

If the “job” is filling out ad forms for affiliate commissions, get better advice. Affiliate marketing is great when it works, but it’s not a job and it’s not that easy to make a living at it for most people. At the very least, there’s a tough learning curve and if you’re doing pay per click ads it can get really, really expensive before you master it.

There are better alternatives out there if you think data entry is the one work at home skill you have. You can do more than you think if you give yourself the chance. You need to look at more ideas for working at home.

Customer Service/Telemarketing

Customer service is one of the other hugely popular work at home jobs right now. It doesn’t take a lot of special skills, so many people feel comfortable trying for customer service work at home jobs. You need a completely quiet place to work, a desktop computer compatible with requirements set by potential employers (usually Windows of a reasonably recent sort), a high speed internet connection, a landline telephone, and a good quality, noise cancelling headset telephone that connects directly to the wall outlet (no wireless).

The need for quiet makes customer service a challenging job to do at home with children. Kids aren’t always quiet when you need them to be. Neither are pets. Sometimes even your spouse can be difficult, not to mention the folks mowing their lawn across the street. That’s why you must have a headset telephone that cancels out most background noises.

Medical Coding

If you want to do medical coding from home, you will need training and experience. That’s an absolute. I have yet to see any employers that will train you on the job from home. Once you have that, however, there are some excellent work at home medical coding opportunities out there.

Medical Transcription

Medical transcription is where I got my start working at home. I still cautiously recommend medical transcription, but it’s getting trickier as times change. Electronic medical records have really changed some parts, and you have to be prepared for that. That said, there are still jobs out there. Just remember that you have to get a good quality medical transcription education first, and make sure it prepares you for the current situation.

Legal or General Transcription

Legal and general transcription may be options as well for those who type well. While it is possible to get into general transcription without training if you’re sufficiently determined, I strongly suggest you take the free course from Transcribe Anywhere to get a feeling for what’s required.

You will almost certainly want training for legal transcription. Transcribe Anywhere has a course for legal transcription, including a free mini course so you can decide if that’s what you want to do before spending any money on it.

Transcription is a great alternative for working at home. I think it’s a much better choice than data entry, and there are far more jobs in transcription at home than data entry in my experience.

Bookkeeper/Accountant

Lots of people and companies need a good bookkeeper or accountant. If you have the skills, you can take it home. You may need to meet with clients in person at times, but much of the work may be done at home.

Tax season is a very busy time for bookkeepers and accountants, of course. You’ll need to consider how many clients you can handle even when they all need help around the same time.

Computer Programmer/Software Developer

My oldest sister used to do computer programming from home. I know it’s entirely possible, even though she eventually decided it wasn’t for her. You have to have the skills already, but if you’re a programmer, you don’t necessarily have to go to the office anymore. You can find a company that lets employees work from home instead.

Teacher

Not all teachers work at school. There are charter virtual schools which hire teachers to work primarily from their homes. Meetings with students and parents may be required, but the bulk of the work can be done from your home. In most programs, you do need a teaching credential for this work.

Online Tutor

If you don’t want to go all the way to being a teacher, there are also companies which hire online tutors. You may still need that teaching credential, however. There are a number of companies, however, that do not require a teaching credential for their tutors. Read the job description and requirements carefully so that you only apply for jobs that you’re qualified for. You’re only wasting time if you apply for jobs you aren’t qualified for.

Translator Or Interpreter

It’s a big world out there, and sometimes a translator or interpreter is needed to get through it all. Translators can work from home for a particular business or service, or strike out on their own as a freelancer. You will need to be fluent in both languages you deal with as a translator.

Many interpreters work from home over the phone. You’ll want a good setup so that you can hear clearly and be heard clearly. You might be interpreting between a patient and doctor, for example, and it’s very important to get things right.

Mystery Shopper

Most mystery shoppers don’t earn all that much, but the pay per job can be decent if it’s close enough to your home. It’s a nice way to get out of the house while earning some money. Be aware of the many scams in the mystery shopping arena and make sure you deal with reputable companies. Some people do fairly well, but it takes time to get to where you earn good money.

Health Care

Nurses may be able to work from home answering health related questions on the phone. Nurses can also do case management from home. Most positions require that you be a registered nurse in the state you reside in.

Technical Support

Technical support can be like a customer service position in some ways, except you’re dealing with much more technical information. The pay can be better. Some technical support jobs require a college degree or certification.

Be prepared to deal with problems ranging from the simple to the complex. People call tech support for many reasons, and some of them will have very little understanding of what you need them to do to help solve the problem.

Website Developer

Do you enjoy creating websites? Know your HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and so forth? You may be able to set up a business developing websites for other businesses or find a work at home job as a website developer.

This is one option that many people do a lot of their marketing locally. Not all small, local businesses have websites and may be very interested in having one developed for them. It’s a highly affordable marketing tool, even after the expense of the website.

Graphic Designer

Whether you’re creating a logo for a website or a photo spread for a magazine, graphic designers don’t necessarily have to work from a big office. You can do quite a bit of this on your own for clients or be a work at home graphic designer for a company.

Alternatively, make great designs and sell them on TeepublicCafePressZazzle, or many other websites.

Virtual Assistant

Good at doing things around the office, like handling emails, appointment setting, data entry, online research and so forth? There’s pretty good demand for virtual assistants who can handle a variety of business tasks. Take this course if you want to learn how to be a successful virtual assistant quickly.

Photographer

If you love taking photographs, you can make the most of that by becoming a photographer. You’ll need to develop a good portfolio, and it’s often best to specialize. Some prefer being a wedding photographer while others prefer family photos, for example. Certainly, you can do a few different types of photography, but it may be easier to build a reputation if there’s one you really specialize in.

You don’t have to just take pictures for sale to a particular client. You can also take photos and put them up for sale on stock photography websites. The income from these may be small per sale, but it can build up if you provide an interesting, useful selection of photographs.

Writer

There are lots of opportunities out there for writers, whether you want to be a freelance writer or work for a single employer. There’s also a lot of competition because so many people want to work as writers. You have to find a way to stand out.

It’s a good idea to specialize as a writer. Consider your experience to figure out what areas are best for you to specialize in. You can write articles, ebooks, reports, resumes, and much more. You may want to consider this course, 30 Days To Freelance Writing Success, to get things moving.

Marketing

Ever look at the copy on a sales page and pick apart just how they convince visitors to buy? Are you a convincing writer yourself? You may do well running your own website selling products or you can do marketing for others. A great copywriter can earn very good money.

Social Media Marketer

Just how much of a chatterbox are you on Twitter, Facebook, and other social websites? Are you always finding the great links to share? You may do well marketing other people’s businesses on social media for them. You can be a social media marketer as a regular job, freelance and help several companies with their social media marketing, or use it as a strategy to promote your own online business.

Drive

Driving isn’t working at home as such, but if you don’t need to do everything at home, you can work for Lyft or Uber as a driver. These work if flexibility is your goal and you don’t have to be at home all of the time.

Freelance Websites

This is where the plus in the article title comes from. Just about any job you can do at home, you can find through a freelance website. They’re great for building a portfolio or resume when you’re just getting started, and you can make a living just through freelancing when you’re good at it.

Many freelance websites have you create a profile, then you bid on jobs. Don’t obsess over being the lowest bidder all the time. You don’t want the jobs that don’t pay what you’re worth; they’re reputed to be the most difficult customers because they want so much for less.

Here are a few websites you can check out for freelance job listings. Some are the bidding sort, others are set up other ways. You may need to work at the office at least part of the time for some freelance jobs, but many can be done entirely from home.

Guru
Craigslist (beware of scams)
Upwork
People Per Hour
Freelancer.com
Hire My Mom
Home Job Stop
iFreelance
Toptal
Freelance Writing Jobs

And many more, just do a search with your favorite search engine.

If all you put down for your skills are common things such as writing skills, you’ll have a lot of trouble finding jobs. Some freelance sites won’t accept you with skills that are too common, as they have too many people bidding on those jobs already. Give some real thought to how you apply to freelance sites as well as your portfolio. It’s a good idea to have an online portfolio outside of the freelance sites so more potential clients can find you and review your work. Starting a blog can help you put your skills on display.

Home Business Ideas

There are a ton of possibilities when it comes to running a home business. Strictly speaking, freelancing is a home business too, but many people think of them separately, and so I’m treating them separately.

Now, you can combine a few things to make your home business work its best. You can have a blog, do affiliate marketing, and have an email list that you send special offers out to. You can have your own product and do affiliate marketing at the same time. These things aren’t exclusive; just make sure you learn to do each part before you add on another thing. Taking on too much at once with a business makes it easier to fail.

Affiliate Marketing

This is just one form of online business. There are several other models, but affiliate marketing appeals to a lot of people. No worries about taking payments, dealing with inventory or shipping products – it just sounds easy.

As with any other home business, there’s quite a learning curve, and many affiliate marketers make under $100 per month, from what I’ve read. In other words, don’t assume you’ll make a fortune, no matter what the promos say. One way or another, you have to learn to market, whether it’s online, offline, social media, pay per click, buying ads on other websites or creating your own.

On the other hand, you can market just about any product you can think of. Affiliate marketing is great if you want to run a website about your hobby – just refer people to sites that sell the things necessary for the hobby and will give you a commission. Make sure you keep your recommendations honest – there’s no quicker way to lose a reputation than to recommend junk.

I suggest taking an online affiliate marketing course to get going. It’s not quite as simple as throwing a few links on a page or into your social media stream, believe me! You’ll earn more as an affiliate if you know what you’re doing.

Blogging

There are lots and lots of bloggers out there now. It’s a popular home business model. Affiliate marketing can be a part of it, but you can also sell ad space, get paid directly to promote products or use it to build upon another part of your business.

Most bloggers won’t hit it big. It should be obvious that we can’t all be big name bloggers, but with all the dreams people have about their home businesses, I think it bears mentioning. Keep working on your blog, and you get a decent following and earn a good living, if not the spectacular money some bloggers earn. It doesn’t cost a lot to start a blog, making it worth the effort.

Email Marketing

Nope, email isn’t dead. It’s not even suffering too badly. Just because a lot of people enjoy reading blogs and receive posts through an RSS reader, or keep up with things on Facebook doesn’t mean they don’t use email anymore. It’s still pretty strong.

There are a lot of rules to follow as an email marketer. Don’t buy a list. That’s a great way to get in trouble for spamming. Don’t just send emails from your home computer either. Most ISPs really don’t like that, and may limit how many you send, plus if you get accused of spamming, you can lose your entire internet connection.

It’s much better to go with a service such as Aweber or Get Response. They provide the HTML for your subscription forms, handle spam complaints and unsubscribes, and so forth. The main thing you do is write and send out your emails, and work on attracting people to your list legitimately. Keep it legit, as either company will terminate any account they feel is getting subscribers the wrong way.

Make Videos

Video marketing is usually a portion of your overall business. Unless you get a lot of views, you aren’t going to earn a living from your videos without selling something, whether you do so as an affiliate or sell a product of your own creation. Sufficiently popular videos may also earn an income from ads placed on the video. YouTube is the popular site for posting videos, of course, but you have to watch out for the rules. Google’s pretty strict, and accounts can be deleted.

Take a little time to learn YouTube marketing to improve your chances of success with YouTube and similar sites. Learning from someone who knows how to get things moving can help you avoid a lot of the mistakes others will make.

Product Creation

The wonderful thing about online marketing is that it’s really easy to make your own product. Ebooks, software and apps can sell very well online, and may not be all that hard to make. You need an idea, then you need to take action to make that product a reality. Then start marketing. As with any other business, it will probably be tough at first, you may fail a few times, but keep at it and you might make it.

Life Coach

Many people enjoy working with a coach to get their career, life or home business running better. If you’ve had some success and enjoy sharing your skills, you may be able to earn a living as a coach. You can take a course to learn how to be a life coach and get your business going.

Daycare Operator

How about going the traditional way? Running a daycare from your home has been around a very long time. The hours are long, the pay may not be great, but you’re with your kids.

Network Marketing

This is another traditional way to earn money from home. From classics such as Mary Kay, Avon and Watkins, to the floods of newer network marketing companies out there, you can have fun selling products to family, friends, referrals and possibly even online.

Sell Crafts

Whether you sell on Etsy, eBay or elsewhere, it’s much easier than it used to be to make crafts and sell them online. There’s lots of competition now, but that means lots of opportunities as well.

Store Owner

You can run your own store selling physical products. You’ll need appropriate licensing for your area, a wholesale source for products, a way to take online payments (Paypal works, but you may want to consider other credit card processors as well), and a website to display your products.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to have the products in your home. Some people prefer to use dropshippers, so as to simplify the shipping process and the inventory. Getting stuck with a bunch of something that didn’t sell is a pain, after all. You’ll still have to deal with customer service issues, store promotion and so forth.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. What types of work at home do you think are worth it?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 14th, 2018

10 Ways To Make Working at Home More Fun

10 Ways To Make Working at Home More Fun

What do you think about when you think about your work at home day? Is it all of the things you need to get done? Do you worry about finishing your to do list? Do you ever think about ways to make working at home more fun?

Most of the people who hear that you work at home won’t think you need to have more fun. After all, you just sit around and watch TV, and some piddly amount of money just appears with no effort on your part, right? Lots of people don’t take what you do seriously and assume you can’t make all that much money from home.

Don’t know about you, but none of that’s true for me. I work hard, watch very little TV (and I’m generally working at the same time), and the money’s pretty darn good most of the time, with some ups and downs. The downs are painful, but the ups are such a delight.

Some days it’s just so hard to get going. Your day just kind of drags, or maybe you’re frustrated that things seem to be staying in one place. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to spice things up a little to help motivate yourself when you work at home. You need to make working at home more fun so that you can be more consistent. Here are some ideas that may help.

Work Someplace Else

If you have a laptop, work in the backyard, take the kids to the playground, just start working someplace you don’t usually. If you don’t have a laptop computer, think of some of your other work that could possibly be done away from your desk. Even if it’s nothing but brainstorming ideas, getting out of your home office can be a lot of fun and actually help your productivity.

There are lots of places you can work when you work at home unless the job has specific restrictions. Customer service jobs, for example, require that there be no background noise. Other jobs may require that you adhere to strict privacy standards, which includes keeping your work in a closed office.

Play Some Music!

No, not the kids’ favorite CDs, something you want to hear. Although there may be something to be said for the right children’s music – I know people who don’t mind singing along to certain Disney movies, for example.

Some people find music with lyrics too distracting. I know my oldest gets quite distracted anytime something from Hamilton comes up on her playlist. If you find this to be a problem for you, go for instrumental music. Spotify has lots of playlists you can enjoy, for just about any musical taste.

play music while you work at home

Take Time For You

If you’re feeling burnt out, taking a break can actually help you to get more work done. Take a walk. Play a game online. Watch a favorite show – nothing too long, but enough to give yourself a break.

You can also work on a hobby. Painting, reading, making jewelry, building things, whatever suits you. Doing something just for yourself can make your work at home day better.

Learn Something New

Come on, what have you been considering learning but haven’t found the time for? Maybe it relates to your work at home job or business or maybe it’s about a hobby, but learning can give you a fresh perspective even if you aren’t learning something specific to your work.

There are all kinds of courses online, through sites such as Udemy and other places. You could also take courses in your local area. Local classes are especially good if you want a little social time or you’re making something with your hands.

Try Something New

What have you always wanted to do with your home business? Give it a try, even if it’s kind of scary. The change will make your day more interesting, even if it’s a complete failure.

If you can’t do something new, change up your routine. Don’t do the same thing day in and day out. If you run a blog, for example, write blog posts one day, work on social media the next, work on other promotion ideas for your site the next, and so on.

work at home fun with kids

Make Time For Your Kids To Make Working At Home More Fun

Young children do much better if you play with them more often. They’ll try harder for your attention if they feel that they haven’t had much lately. Have a little fun with them and they’ll be happier to play on their own later. Hopefully.

Kids require different things from you as they get older. At some ages, they’ll need more help with homework. At other ages, they’ll resist spending time with you except those unpredictable times when they open up. You have to find a balance between your work needs and what your kids need from you when you work at home. Fortunately, it generally makes for a much nicer day when you do so.

Involve Your Kids

They’ll have a lot of fun helping you and you’re making your work more real to them. It’s a great example for your children to learn that there are more possibilities out there than a traditional job.

At some ages, this is more pretend than anything. When my kids were little, I would give them a keyboard to pound on. They thought it was great. To a very young child, pounding on a keyboard looks very much like working on a computer.

As kids get older, they may be able to help you more. Talk out some of your ideas with them. They may give you new ideas in return. They’ll probably also give you some fun nonsense.

When your kids are old enough, you may even want to teach them how to work directly in your home business. They can help schedule social media postings, for example, or take pictures for blog posts.

Make Your Home Office More Comfortable

How comfortable is your home office or workspace? Do you like the decorations? Is your furniture comfortable?

Find things that will make your home office or workspace more comfortable. Have some fun with the decorations. Get some brainstorming tools, whether that’s a whiteboard on the wall or notebook on your desk.

Rearrange your office for comfort. Do you want to face the wall, or would you be happier facing the door or a window? It’s your space; make it work for you.

You may also want to consider a sit-stand desk. That’s what I have. It’s wonderful being able to change position during my workday. Possibly it’s healthier too, but there are all kinds of arguments about what’s best.

Enjoy Your Pets

You may sometimes need to distract your cats when you work at home. The same goes for dogs. But other times they’ll provide you with much needed distractions. So long as the cat stays off your keyboard and doesn’t mess with your cords, you may be able to put up with them in your home office. Some will even play fetch with a favorite toy.

Taking your dog for a walk is another way to make working at home more fun. You get outside, get some fresh air and exercise, maybe play with the dog a little, then get back to work. Can your day really be all that bad after having fun with a dog? Sometimes, yes, still that bad, but most times it will make your day at least a little better. Taking advantage of the ability to interact with your pets certainly makes working at home more fun.

Find A Water Cooler

Loneliness is one of the huge problems many people have working at home. It’s really hard to cope when you rarely interact with other adults.

Fortunately, there are tools such as Slack to help you find people to chat with. Seek out Slack communities to join, and you’ll have people to chat with. You can also consider Facebook groups and discussion boards. These can be great places to have those discussions with other people that you might have had at the water cooler in an office.

Don’t let these chats completely ruin your productivity, of course. Consider these sessions a break just as you would take at any other job. They shouldn’t occupy your entire day or keep you from getting your work done. They should give you that mental break of chatting with other adults, even if it’s about work.

Anyone who has worked at home for a significant time knows that working at home isn’t the cakewalk some think it is. You can revive yourself by changing your habits, even if it’s just for a day or two a month. You’re working at home – even in the most routine job, you should be able to find some way to make working at home more fun once in a while.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.