June 19th, 2017

100 Simple Work At Home Tips

100 simple work at home tips

Working at home always sounds great, but it comes with its own challenges. Managing work, family life, household management and self care all in one location isn’t as easy as it seems. Here are some tips to help you work at home more effectively.

Office Setup

1. A door you can closeYes, that's my office door

If you’re serious about being productive while working at home, a home office with a door you can close is best. Sure, you may be able to take your laptop anywhere, but that’s not always the best plan.

2. Ergonomics

An ergonomic home office setup will be a big help in the long run. Repetitive stress injuries are common for people who work a lot of hours on computers, but you can cut down on them with a good setup.

3. Protect your data

Make sure you’re protecting your data when you work at home. Have good antivirus protection, a firewall, and consider backing up your data offsite. There are many reputable services out there such as Acronis or Carbonite to backup your files. Make sure this is something you’re allowed to do with your data if you work for someone else, of course.

4. Be comfortable with the technology you use

When you work at home, it’s best if you’re comfortable with all the technology you use. Learn how to troubleshoot your computer and handle common issues. Maybe even learn to switch out basic parts – I recently had to replace a fan on my kids’ computer. It was easy, 4 screws and a plug. Take a class if it will help you be more comfortable.

5. Declutter

Clutter may easily build up in your home office if you don’t keep it under control. It may be easier at times to allow the clutter to build up, but in the long run, you need to keep the clutter down. If you catch the clutter building, take some time and declutter.

6. Plan your space

What kind of space do you need to work? Is it just your computer or will you need to store other supplies? Give yourself enough room to work comfortably and effectively. Don’t focus on what others say works for them – make it your own.

standing desk in office

7. Consider a sit-stand or treadmill desk

One of the big problems of working at home is how easy it is to be sedentary. A sit-stand desk or treadmill desk may help you be a little more active physically while you work. Make sure you can work comfortably when using your desk. A treadmill desk, for example, can make it harder to do some things.

8. Childproof your home office

If you have kids in your home, you want your home office fairly childproof, not just for the protection of your kids, but for the protection of your work. Cover outlets, make sure your kids can’t play with all the pretty buttons, and control noise levels from outside your home office if necessary.

9. Set up a safe space for younger kids

If you have young children who really can’t be kept out of your work space, set up a safe area for them. For very young babies, this could be a Pack ‘n Play. Toddlers may need a space set up for them. You could block off just your desk area in the room so that your chair doesn’t roll over any little fingers. Remember that this may impact your ability to claim a home office deduction.

10. Have a work computer

A separate work computer is required for some work at home jobs, and it’s a generally good idea for anyone. A work computer allows you to keep your work files safely separate from more casual computer use. Especially make sure your work computer is not for use by children. It’s both amazing and horrifying what they can do with a few taps on the keyboard when they’re tiny. What they can do when they’re older might be even worse.

11. Have a work phone number

Don’t take work or business calls on your home phone number if at all possible. It sounds better if you know to answer your phone as a professional rather than just saying “hello.” It’s easy to set up a free VOIP number with Google. Put the app on your cell phone and you won’t have any extra costs, unless receiving calls impacts your data plan.


12. Get help

Get the help you need to work at home. Ask your spouse to keep the kids busy. See if family or friends can care for the kids for a while. Send the kids to daycare or hire a mother’s helper. How much help you will need is up to you and your particular work and family situation – some don’t need any help with the kids, others need professional childcare.

13. Don’t feel guilty

Many work at home parents feel guilty for working when their kids might need them.Try not to worry about it. You probably see more of your kids than if you worked outside the home, and odds are that your family needs the money you bring in.

14. Plan family time

Make family time a part of your daily and weekly schedule. It’s easy to let your work creep into family time when you work at home. Do your best to prevent this when you have planned family time.

15. Make plans for when kids are sick

It’s not easy to work at home when the kids are sick. Plan ahead so you can deal with sick children as they happen.

16. Balance work and family time

Think about what your work needs from you and what your family needs from you. Somewhere there’s a balance that takes both into consideration. Do your best to keep it all balance.

17. Have activities in mind to keep the kids busy

If you want the kids to keep themselves busy, plan some activities for them and have supplies ready. The easier it is for them to have fun, the less they’ll bother you about being bored. I posted 30 ideas for keeping kids busy over the summer some time back, and that’s a small sampling of ideas you could use. Consider the ages and interests of your kids when you plan.

18. Talk to your family about the support you need

Talk to your kids and your spouse about how they can support you when you work at home. They need to understand how important your work time is. Come to an agreement about the things you most need from your family.

This includes how the kids behave while you work, when it’s okay to interrupt you, and how your work space is treated when you aren’t working.

19. Take time for your marriage

Your marriage is important. Don’t let working at home take too much time from your marriage. Your work at home success won’t feel as good if your marriage has trouble due to it.

20. Have everyone pitch in on household chores

You aren’t the only one who can handle chores around the house. Get the kids and your spouse to help at appropriate levels. Working at home doesn’t make all household chores your job too. A chore chart or chore sticks are helpful for children.

21. Plan meals

Don’t wait until it’s almost dinner time to figure out what you’re going to feed your family if you’re the one who’s going to make dinner. Plan meals out at least well enough that you know when you need to start cooking and won’t have to worry about whether you have all the ingredients.

22. Crockpots are wonderful

If you know you’re going to have one of those days where you can’t pay attention to when it’s time to make dinner, use the crockpot. You can start the meal much earlier in the day, and pay almost no attention to it all day.

23. Learn to say no

Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you have time to do everything around the house, take care of other people’s kids, etc. If someone wants you to do something that will make it harder for you to work, don’t agree to do it when you can’t spare the time.

24. Recognize what your kids are capable of

When you’re home all the time, it’s easy to do too much for your kids. You might be amazed at what they can do if you encourage them. Pick an appropriate age for them to walk to school without you if you live close enough, for example, or teach older kids to make dinner. You get more work time and they build valuable life skills.

25. Be prepared for school breaks

Kids in school make being productive at home so much easier… until school goes on break. Plan ahead for school vacations and such so they don’t entirely ruin your productivity. Think about activities the kids can do on their own, friends they can play with, family they can visit and of course things you can do as a family when you aren’t working.

26. Know where to find free wifi

One of the great ways to entertain the kids or give yourself a different work environment is to work someplace else. Keep an eye out for places where the kids can play and you can work. Fast food places may have wifi, but they are loud.

27. Consider hiring a maid

Hiring someone to come in and handle those tedious household cleaning tasks can give you extra hours for work and be well worth the money. You may want to have someone come in weekly or monthly, depending on the work you want done.

money mannequins


28. Know what to do if you need money quick

If you need money fast, take a look at quick ways to earn money. Sites such as Amazon Turk or Fiverr won’t usually earn you a lot of money, but they can be quick. Also consider offering your services other places where you can get paid quickly if that’s what you need. eBay is another good choice if you have some stuff around the house to sell when you need quick cash. You may also be able to sell things in a garage sale or local Facebook group.

You’re better off, of course, if you can give yourself some time to build a nice income, but we don’t all have that option. Try to avoid the kind of desperation that leads to people falling for a work at home scam.

29. Save up for taxes

If you’re an independent contractor or run your own business, odds are that you will need to file quarterly taxes at some point. Save up and be prepared so that it’s not a crushing financial blow when the time comes.

30. Know how much you need to earn

You can save money working from home when you think about gas, professional clothes, childcare and such, but if you run your own business or are considered an independent contractor, that taxes thing may change what you need to earn.

31. Keep your business legitimate

Find out what it takes to run your business legally in your area. You should be able to find this out on your city’s website. You may need to register a business name (DBA or FBN), you may need a business license, and you may decide to incorporate. Find out what legal requirements you need to follow in your area.

32. Get appropriate insurance coverage

See about getting a rider on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for your home business. You will need to check with your insurer to see what’s available in your state. Separate policies for your home business may also be available.

33. Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose on your home business

Most home businesses don’t cost a lot to run, but if you have a physical inventory or do a lot of advertising (even online), expenses can run up quickly. Sometimes it’s necessary to go a little into debt to get things started, but try not to go so far that it’s hard to recover if things don’t work out. Investing wisely in your home business is a good thing, of course.

34. Separate personal and business finances

It’s not always easy to keep these things separate, but do the best you can. It can be very hard to separate things out later, which is a big disadvantage at tax time. Use a separate credit or debit card for business expenses if you can.

35. Keep business receipts organized

When you spend money on your home business, keep the receipts organized. Given the online nature of many home businesses, you may need to create a file in your email and on your computer for any receipts you receive electronically. Separate them by year so you can find them quickly for tax purposes.

36. Consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant

There comes a time where you can benefit from the services of a professional bookkeeper or accountant. They may be able to spot tax savings you would have missed. They’ll still need you to keep your information organized enough that they can use it, but they know more about what you can and cannot do financially.

37. Plan for retirement

Saving for retirement is especially important if you work for yourself or if your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan. Put money aside for your retirement. If you’re self employed, you may be able to save a lot.

home office


38. Don’t be afraid to work outside the home too

Sometimes it takes a while to build a big enough work at home income. Sometimes it’s necessary to work outside the home while improving your income earned at home. That’s not a bad thing.

39. Dress for productivity

Dress in whatever way makes you most productive. Some work at home parents prefer to dress professionally, feeling that it gets them in the right frame of mind for working. Others can wear whatever they want. If you can work in jeans and a t-shirt (or even pajamas), there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as it works for you.

40. Sometimes your current job can become a work at home job

If you a have a job outside the home already, and you think it’s something you could do from home, find out if it’s possible. Some companies allow partial or complete telecommute schedules to experienced employees. Others can be talked into it if you present your case well. Give it a try.

41. Don’t pay to show interest in a work at home job

Employers don’t ask you to pay to prove that you’re serious about a work at home job. Don’t trust a company that asks for money with your application. Some few legitimate companies will require that you pay for a background check (such as Arise), but this is something to be viewed with a great deal of caution.

42. Working at home isn’t for everyone

I’ve seen this in my own family – one of my sisters is far, far happier working in an office than she is at home, even though she tried a home based job for a few years. Don’t feel bad if that’s what you feel after a time. We all have our own ways of supporting our families.

43. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

People fall for all kinds of work at home scams because they don’t recognize this simple truth. If an opportunity looks too amazing, too appealing, utterly irresistible, easy, etc., take a more careful look. Get some good advice from someone not associated with it. There are all too many scams out there for people who desperately want to work at home.

44. Make sure you’re ready to work from home

Working from home isn’t as simple as some people think. Know where you’re going to work, when you’re going to work, and how this is going to work out for your family.

45. Give it time

Not everyone will be successful in working at home right away. Whether you get a work at home job or start a home business, it may take time to be as successful as you’d like. Don’t let frustration stop you.

46. Set your hours and take them seriously

The more regularly you work and the more seriously you take your work hours, the more seriously others will treat your work. This is especially important if you have agreed with your employer to work particular hours. You probably won’t keep working at home long if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do.

47. Take breaks

Just as when you work outside the home, regular breaks are a good idea. They refresh your mind and allow you to move around.

48. Keep in contact

If you have an employer or a client, keep in contact with them. Make yourself available to them during your work hours as appropriate. Let them know what your work hours are so that you can keep in contact with them at appropriate times and you can enjoy your family during non-work hours. You shouldn’t feel obligated to be available 24/7 unless that’s specifically a part of the job.

49. Check email on a schedule

Don’t check email throughout the day without a very good reason for doing so. Most days checking email at the beginning and end of your work day will be plenty. Otherwise, checking email can eat up a large chunk of your day without significant benefit.

50. Keep your email organized

I sort my email. I use GMail, and the filters do a great job of sorting things out for me, so I can check the email that interests me at the time and leave the rest for later. It’s wonderful having personal and professional emails separate rather than trying to spot what needs to be handled now versus later.

51. Give yourself an evaluation

Whether you work for someone else or for yourself, give yourself regular evaluations. They’re a great way to check on your progress and see where you could use to make improvements.

52. Set short term and long term goals

Goal setting is a wonderful way to keep things going. Set goals that will help you to make the most of your work. Daily, weekly, monthly, annual, 5 year goals all matter.

53. Learn to work without supervision

Not everyone can manage to work well without supervision. If you want to successfully work at home, you have to. Learn to motivate yourself to get each day’s work done.

54. Make the most of your work at home day

An effective work at home day is a combination of many factors. Sometimes you will have to work when someone else tells you to; other times you can set your own hours. Do your best to have as many factors as possible in your favor when  you work at home.

avoid distractions

55. Learn to ignore distractions

There are tons of work at home distractions you will face daily. Don’t let them keep you from reaching your goals each day. You don’t have to keep the room completely quiet – in fact, some people work better with background music – but choose the sounds around you carefully.

56. Get any training you need

Not all work at home jobs require training. Some require it and expect you to get it on your own, while other employers may handle the costs and scheduling for you.

57. Avoid procrastination

Know what makes you procrastinate. Identify the activities and times that you’re least likely to be productive, and figure out how to deal with them. Give yourself goals and time limits to help you avoid procrastination.

58. Be a good employee

One of the hardest parts about having a work at home job is showing your employer that you’re a great employee. This is especially true if most of your coworkers are at the office while you’re at home. Make sure you communicate regularly and clearly with your employer, track your hours appropriately and stick to your work schedule as best you can.

59. Think about ways to be more productive

If you want to earn a good living from home, productivity matters. Simple things such as planning ahead, giving yourself deadlines and tracking how you spend your time each day can make a big difference in your productivity in the long run.

60. Set up a workflow

A good workflow can help you to plan things out for your common tasks. It will help you to know what has and has not been done on each project you’re working on. This is wonderful when you aren’t sure what to do next – your workflow will have the answer.

61. Know how flexible your hours are

Many people work at home for the flexibility. The only problem is that not all work at home jobs are flexible. Know what times you have flexibility in your work and which times you really, really need to be right there. This isn’t just about employers – some home businesses are best done at certain times of the day too.

62. Blogging isn’t always an easy home business

Blogging is often recommended as an easy home business to start. That’s true, as far as it goes, it’s an inexpensive business to run, but it’s not always easy. Figuring out what to write about, driving traffic to your site, earning money all take work. Be prepared. It’s great when blogging works, but the path for most is long. Don’t blog if you hate to write.

63. Direct sales isn’t for everyone.

Odds are you can find a direct sales/network marketing opportunity you’d enjoy. It may or may not be the right business for you. There are a lot of rules to follow when you join an opportunity. Do your research and make sure you know what you’re getting into, especially the cost of the opportunity and the reputation of the company. Getting in on the ground floor means you’re getting in when the company has yet to prove its stability. That’s not always a bad thing, just an additional risk.

64. Affiliate marketing is easy and difficult

I love affiliate marketing. No inventory, no sales fulfillment, no customer service required (although sometimes people may send you questions). Find the right way to present a product, and the sales will come in. Finding that right way takes time and effort. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s great when it does.

65. Have a plan

Whether you work for someone else or run your own business, have a plan. Plan out how you’ll be productive. Make a business plan if you have a business. It doesn’t have to be all that formal or follow someone else’s suggested formula – just plan things out enough to help yourself work.

66. Don’t keep switching to the latest and greatest opportunity

The people who have the most trouble succeeding at home are the ones who cannot stick to a given project. Focus. Keep working on what you’ve started on, and don’t take on new projects until you know you can afford the time. For businesses, that means you’re either earning a profit or you’ve realized it’s not viable for you. For jobs, that means you know you can keep up with the requirements of that job and take on your new idea. Adding in new projects too quickly makes all of them more likely to fail.


67. Make the most of your smartphone

What can you do with your smartphone when you’re out running errands? If you’re going to have some time where you’re just sitting around, such as kids’ sports or other activities, try working on the things you can do on your smartphone.

68. Prioritize

Work on the most important things first. If you have a business, work on the things that need to be done first, especially if you have deadlines to meet or they will bring in money directly. Once the important things are done you can work on the other things that make your business go.

69. Don’t compare yourself with other people working at home

It’s often tempting to compare your progress with others, especially if you have a home business. Your situation is not exactly like the situation of others. Even similar businesses will work in very different ways for different people. Focus on where you’re doing well and where you would like to improve, not on how someone else is doing.

70. Grow your skills

The right skills make working at home much easier. Learn more about things that can help you do your work more effectively. But…

71. Don’t get stuck in the learning trap

For almost any kind of work at home opportunity there’s a ton of information available. Learning about different things you can do to make the most of your home business doesn’t do you any good if you never take action. When you learn something new that sounds like it would help your business, apply it. If you don’t have the time to apply a new tactic, file it away until you can use it. Don’t even bother reading up on it until you’re ready to use it. You can bookmark useful pages for future reference. Don’t be surprised if you never come back to many of these seemingly wonderful ideas because you don’t have the time for them.

Remember that doing is far more important to your success than learning. You can know all about how someone else succeeded, but unless you’re working toward your own success, that doesn’t mean a thing.

72. Find a mentor

A mentor can help you make great progress toward success. Their inspiration can help you better deal with the challenges you face in your work. If you admire someone, just ask. They might say no, they might set a fee, or they might agree to work with you.

Don’t get mad if they ask for a fee. Remember that you’re after someone else’s valuable time, knowledge and experience. Some can give that away, but others can’t.


73. Set up template responses for common email questions

If people tend to email you about your business, odds are many of the questions are more or less the same. Set up templates to save you time in responding to these emails. You can customize them as necessary, but the template will give you the basic information you need to respond.

74. Don’t multitask

Multitasking is not as efficient as most people think. You’ll generally do much better if you focus on one thing at a time. This won’t always be possible – if you have small children you may have to watch them as you work, and older kids may come up for help with homework, but avoid multitasking when you can.

75. Don’t be a perfectionist

I’ve seen too many people never get started with a home business because they want everything to be perfect before they launch. Make it good, but don’t expect perfection. You can improve as you go.

76. Keep working when you don’t feel like it

There will be days that you don’t feel like working. That doesn’t matter. Push on through, just like you would if you were working for someone else.

77. Pay attention to your natural schedule

When are you most productive? Least? Do what you can to schedule your work around the times that you’re usually the most productive.

78. Hire an assistant when you need one

As your home business grows, it makes sense to hire a virtual assistant to handle the details that don’t need your personal attention. It’s easier to be productive with the things that earn money for you if someone else is handling the other stuff. Don’t spend more than you can afford, but remember that the point of hiring someone else is to make it easier for you to earn still more money or to have more free time.

79. Keep up your resume

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re going to work at home forever or have your own business forever, keep up your resume. Sometimes plans change, and it’s easier to keep track of your experience as you go. The skills you gain working at home can be highly valuable in other areas.

80. Use the right tools

There are wonderful tools out there to make working at home easier. Tools such as Hootsuite make managing your social media presence much easier. Spending a little money on a tool can help you to work much more efficiently.

81. Try podcasting

Do you have a lot to say about your home business? Try recording a podcast. Not everyone will want to read the information you’re trying to share, and a podcast can be highly effective at getting to a new audience.

82. Don’t be afraid of video

I’m still working on this one myself. Video can be a wonderful way to present your home business to the world. You don’t have to sit and talk to the camera – you can use software to record what’s on your computer monitor as you talk.

social media cloud

Networking and Social Media

83. Keep the personal and the professional separate when possible

Do your professional contacts really need to know what’s going on with your family or how much fun you had on vacation? Don’t overshare personal things on your professional networks. Facebook, for example, allows you to control who sees what you post. If you keep friends and professional contacts on separate lists, you won’t have to explain embarrassing items to your professional contacts.

84. Use social media to find opportunities

Social media is a good source for professional contacts and opportunities. You can use it to find contracting opportunities or regular jobs.

85. Don’t let networking take over your work day

Networking, online or off, can take a big chunk out of your day if you let it. Keep it at an appropriate level. There are more things you need to work on.

86. Social media success doesn’t equal business success

You may have thousands of followers on various social media sites, but that doesn’t mean your online business is a success. Focus on what brings in income, not on your popularity when you use social media.

87. Participate in groups

Participate in group activities relevant to your work when you can, online and offline. LinkedIn group discussions, Facebook groups, Chamber of Commerce meetings in your area… they’re all opportunities to network and demonstrate your skills to build your home business.

88. Promote others

Don’t limit your social media to tooting your own horn. Promote the work of others, especially when it’s relevant to your audience or shows someone using one of your products.

89. Be active

Don’t join any social media site or professional organization if you can’t be active in it. The more active you are, the more benefit you will see and the more authority you will have. Just being a name on the site won’t do you much good at all. You have to be interesting, and that means being active.

90. Use social media buttons on your online content

Make it easy for people to share any content you put online by including appropriate social media buttons. People are more likely to share if you make it easy for them to do so.

You don’t have to put a button out for every social media site out there. Include the big ones, especially if you have a big audience on that site. Include any relevant smaller social media sites. Too many choices won’t encourage people to spread the word on more sites; it will just make things more confusing.


For You

91. Exercise

Don’t sit in your home office all day every day. Get out and exercise. Take stretching breaks at appropriate intervals during the day. You’ll feel better and be more productive.

92. Stretch

Get up once an hour and stretch a little. The Mayo Clinic website has some good stretching videos if you need some ideas.
Neck stretches
Lower back stretches
Forearm stretches

93. Socialize

Don’t be a total work at home hermit. Go have fun with friends. You’re missing out on the socialization that comes naturally with working outside the home; decide how you’re going to get time with others while you work at home. Even taking your laptop and getting in some work time at a coffee shop can help. Otherwise, the isolation of working at home may get to you.

94. Enjoy a hobby

Aside from work and family, what do you like to do? Make time regularly for things you enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it’s reading, watching television, swimming, or whatever. Do something that you enjoy, just for fun.

95. Take a break to eat

You’ll feel much better if you stop working for meals. Meals are a wonderful time to give your mind a break from work. You’ll be more refreshed and productive if you take regular breaks in general.

96. Take a vacation

You shouldn’t work all the time. Once in a while, take a vacation with your family. Leave all your work behind if at all possible. Schedule things around your vacation so you have as few work worries as possible. Hire a virtual assistant if that’s what it takes to keep things running while you refresh yourself.

97. Drink water

Water is usually the best thing you can drink. Keep a bottle of water by you while you work. I use an insulated bottle with a straw so the risk of spilling is minimal and my water stays ice cold.

98. Keep snacking under control

It’s very easy to gain weight when you work at home. Keep healthy snacks that you enjoy more accessible than unhealthy ones, and don’t overdo the snacking.

99. Remember why you work

It’s easy to forget why you work when you work at home. Whether you work because it’s the only way to pay the bills or you work because you find it fulfilling, or some combination or reasons, keep that thought in mind. It makes it easier to keep working even though there’s no one supervising you directly.

100. Don’t try to do everything

It’s easy to overdo it when you work at home. Parenting, housework, work, it can all pile on and leave you exhausted. Get help with things as needed.

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.

June 15th, 2017

How to Earn Money at Home When You Can’t Find a Work at Home Job

How to Earn Money at Home When You Can't Find a Work at Home Job

Finding a work at home job has never been easy. There are a lot of people out there looking for those jobs, and only so many jobs available. But sometimes you need the money but really can’t get a job outside the home while you wait for a work at home job to come available. It can be a tough situation.

How do you make money until you find more regular work you can do at home?

Garage Sale!

Having a garage sale is one way to declutter and get some money at the same time. You can clean out a lot of things you don’t need anymore with one garage sale.

There are disadvantages of course. It’s kind of a one off. Once the stuff is sold, you don’t have any more to sell to make more money.

You’ll also be fighting off bargain hunters who just want stuff as cheap as they can get it. Figuring out when bargaining is worth it versus sticking to your price isn’t always easy.


If you have less stuff to sell, Craigslist is another good way to go. Some things go very quickly.

You may still have to deal with bargain hunters, but you may also get multiple calls on your listing. With any luck you’ll quickly know if standing firm on your price is going to work.

Try Freelance Writing

Serious freelance writers can earn some good money, but if you just want a little to tide you over until you get whatever kind of work you’re looking for, some basic freelance writing can bring in some money.

I have a list of more than 100 freelance writing gigs, and new listings come up regularly on my online job board.


What subjects were you good at in school? Do you think you could find a few students in need of tutoring? There are a number of places that hire online tutors, or you can put up signs at local schools or businesses if they will allow you.

Start a Home Business

Yeah, take a little risk. Or not. You could always go the free route with a Blogger or WordPress.com blog.

Running a blog may or may not make you any significant money, but it will keep you busy and may be good for your resume if you keep your blog relevant to the type of work you’d like to be doing. Show off your knowledge!

You may be able to earn a little from product recommendations with affiliate links. Make sure you have some sort of disclosure about affiliate and other relationships to products mentioned on your blog.

Most bloggers do not earn very much, but it can be worth a try. You can spend money on this if you want to, but if things are that tight, free may be the way to go. But hosting and a domain name aren’t much to spend if you can afford it.

Do Small Jobs on Amazon Turk

Many of these don’t pay so well, but the lower the pay the easier it should be.

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a program through Amazon.com where people ask for small jobs to be done. You complete it, they’re supposed to pay you. Just be sure that you accept the hit before you do the work so that someone else doesn’t beat you to it. It doesn’t matter if the job’s only going to take you a couple of minutes. You don’t want to waste your time and not get paid for something you did just because the opportunity vanished.


Can you think of something you can do quickly that someone will pay $5 for? It has to be quick, since that’s not a lot of money and you get 80% of it. Some people do very well on Fiverr, but for most it’s a side gig at best. Take a wander through the site and see what others have done.

None of these are things that are likely to become your regular source of income. Most people want more. But sometimes even small jobs are just enough to keep you going until things get better. And if you try the home business idea and it takes off, well that would definitely be 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.

May 12th, 2017

Spam And Scams From My Inbox

Spam And Scams From My Inbox

Once in a while I like to check out the spam box of my email account. Not only does this allow me to catch the false positives in there, some of the scams are educational to see. Most are pretty obvious when you look at them carefully, but they fool enough people that the scammers keep trying.

Not all of these are work at home scams. They’re just the ones I found interesting enough to share here. I’m going to ignore all the sex and dating ones. There are just too many. Be ready for lots of screen shots.

Amazon Order Scam

fake Amazon order

Where, oh where to start with this one?

We have the misspelled “Responde.” I can hardly even type it that way.

Next is the pathetic lack of trying on the “Amazon.com” that looks nothing like the logo. They weren’t even trying there. All in all, I’d call that a good thing. Makes them easier to spot.

Then there’s request to confirm the order. By email. Yes, hovering over that link indicates that it will start an email.

Less obvious, perhaps, is that the email is sent to an address starting with “ctedh2i.” I assume the sender used bcc and had to have something in the to: section, because I don’t have any email addresses like that.

Fake ATM Card

fake atm card

I have to admit to some curiosity on this. Just how does an ATM card “in cure demurrage” anyhow? What does that even mean??

It amazes me every time that I see it that this scam is still going around. Sure, they’ve change it some – it’s not a mysterious inheritance or some rich guy just deciding to give you money to avoid the government getting it. This time it’s a CORPORATE ATM CARD ALL IN BOLD from some African bank.

And then there’s poor DHL waiting to get a confirmation on your address. And you can see the pending scam so easily with the need for a Tax/Stamp Duty to be procured before shipment.

Alas, it will be a long wait for them because I’m not replying. I hope no one else does.

As a side note, I still get the standard mysterious person wanting to send me tons of money scam too. Often. Some even claim to be passed through the FBI.

Amazon Secret Shopper Employment

Here’s a long one. They’re trying hard to look real.

Amazon secret shopper scam

I love that Gmail not only put this in the spam file, but warns that this email fails Amazon.com’s required tests for authenticity. Good job all around. The email is painful to read, with the random new paragraphs, usually in mid sentence. I think I can tell how long a line their text editor had, because it’s pretty consistent.

This is an example of the standard secret shopper scam, which is still going strong. This one is quite blatant about saying you will get a money order for more than you need. For those who haven’t heard of it, the money order is fake, but they’ll have you cash the whole thing and send all but your “pay” back to them. Banks and stores are getting better at spotting the fake money orders, but some still get through, and it’s the person who cashed it who is liable. The $800-4500 this email quotes would be painful to pay back, wouldn’t it?

They’re trying hard to push the legitimacy button by claiming membership in the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) and naming their supposed business. There really is a company called “Secret Shopper” and they are listed on the MSPA website, but this is not from them.

Nor is it from Amazon or Western Union. I’m quite certain cares very little about lapses in Western Union services. It’s not their problem. I’m somewhat amused that they want shoppers to find their nearest Amazon and Western Union outlet – I’ve been to the Amazon store in San Diego, and I don’t think they do that. I suppose it’s possible that an Amazon Locker location might also have Western Union services, but I don’t think it’s that common. But, the scammers promise you can spend $100 in the Amazon section, so I somehow think they’re trying for the stores.

Company Rep Scam

Finally something short and, well, not sweet, but at least it’s short.

company rep scam

Trust the red section from Gmail on the top. It’s a scam. They’ll steal your information, and if they get you to do anything else, it will be fake check or money orders, or forwarding packages bought with stolen credit cards. Either way, it’s bad news.

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.

May 1st, 2017

115 Places To Find Freelance Writing Gigs

115 Places To Find Freelance Writing Gigs

Freelance writing is one of the easy ways to get started working at home… or that’s what many people believe. Truth be told, while it’s fairly easy to find poor paying writing jobs, it’s somewhat more difficult to find better jobs. You have to prove yourself first. You may have to do some time with the gigs that don’t pay so well to show that you have what it takes to get the better opportunities.

One thing to be careful of is that you don’t stick with poor paying freelance writing gigs for too long. Do what you can to work up the the gigs that pay better. Your goal should always be to get paid what you’re really worth. Don’t assume that your work is worth less money just because you’re a freelancer or you work at home. Try to get paid what you’re worth regardless of where you work.

A few tips before I start listing places to find freelance writing gigs:

1. Pick a niche.

Your life as a freelance writer will be easier if you pick a niche to focus on. You’ll know your topics better, which can mean much less time spent in research. Writing about things you know is much easier than having to read up on everything you’re assigned to write about.

2. Know your market.

Knowing your market goes beyond selecting a niche. It means you have read through enough issues of the magazine or posts on the website to know what that market is looking for, and the style they prefer.

3. Make sure the market is active before pitching.

Many magazines and websites only accept pitches and submissions at certain times. Check their websites before preparing a submission or pitching an article. If the website doesn’t make it clear, an email or call to an editor to ensure that they are accepting submissions may be a good idea.

4.  Don’t take on more than you can handle.

When you need to earn money from home quickly, it can be tempting to take on a lot of jobs. Don’t  do that too quickly. You’ll be overwhelmed.

Start with just one job and see how it goes. Add on jobs as you figure out how many you need to earn what you need, how many days a week you want to work and how many hours each of those days. Sometimes you’ll have more or less work than you want – that’s how freelancing goes.

5. Focus on quality.

Even when a gig doesn’t pay all that well, focus on providing quality. Anything you write may be seen by potential employers. You don’t want to lose out on a good gig because you were sloppy on a minor writing assignment.

It’s not at all uncommon to need a couple of hours to write a good article. It’s not so common to write a good quality article in a half hour. Assume your writing will take time.

6. Always be ready to brainstorm.

Ideas may come when you least expect them. Make sure you’re ready for them wherever you are. You can use a brainstorming app such as XMind, Wisemapping, LucidChart or many others. Alternatively, carry a notepad so you can write things down whenever you want.

7. Set your rates.

Don’t undercharge for your work. If you’re earning too little per article or post, you’ll be tempted to sacrifice quality, so that you can write articles more quickly. You may need to start out a little low to build a reputation, but don’t stay there long. You deserve a good wage.

Your rates should take into considerate the length of the article requested and how much research you will need to do. Some topics you will be able to write clearly about with little difficulty. Others may require hours of research.

Creating a rate sheet is not as simple as stating what you charge for a 1000 word article. Take a look at the range of rates listed on this website. Avoid the temptation to set an hourly rate – this article explains why. You may be more comfortable starting out with hourly rates, but make the switch to project based when you can.

All that said, often you have to accept whatever the going rate is at the magazine or website you’re submitting to. Setting your own rates can still help you decide if what they’re offering is worth your effort, even if they won’t pay it. Freelance writers often have to approach publications; publications don’t always come to them.

8. Blog.

Run your own blog about your niche. Not only can you earn money from it through ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored blog posts and more, it will get your name out there and visible to potential employers.

Your blog is where you really show your stuff. You can link to work you did for other websites and post original content. Include a “Hire Me” link that is highly visible so potential employers can notice it. You can link this to a list of other places you’ve written for, your rates and other relevant information that will help people decide to hire you.

9. Don’t expect an immediate full time income.

It takes time for most freelance writers to earn a full time income, or even the part time income they may be after. You’re building a business, and it takes time to get the client list you need. Don’t let the time required frustrate you. Freelance writing can be a side gig until you really get things going.

Places That Pay

Now, on to the listings. Not every publication will be accepting submissions at all times. Please, please, please pay attention to posted guidelines on each website. You will waste your time otherwise.

I’ve separated these into approximate categories. Some cover a broad range of topics. I’m not sharing their rates because they are subject to change. I’ve seen anywhere from $10-350 listed. A number of sites don’t list their rates anyhow. They simply state that they pay and that editors will offer an appropriate rate.


  1. Industrial Scripts
  2. Screen Rant
  3. Wide Open Country


  1. Doctor of Credit
  2. Dollar Stretcher
  3. Income Diary
  4. Money Crashers
  5. The Penny Hoarder
  6. Wise Bread

Food and Drink

  1. Cooking for Engineers
  2. Cuisine at Home
  3. Eating Well
  4. IWA Wine Blog

Greeting Cards

  1. Avanti Press
  2. Blue Mountain
  3. Comstock
  4. NobleWorks
  5. Oatmeal Studios
  6. P.S. Greetings, Inc.
  7. Smart Alex
  8. SNAFU Designs


  1. College Humor
  2. Cracked
  3. Dorkly
  4. Duffel Blog
  5. Funny Times


  1. A List Apart
  2. BlogPaws
  3. eCommerce Bytes
  4. eCommerce Insiders
  5. The Layout
  6. Scotch.io
  7. SitePoint
  8. Webdesignerdepot


  1. A Fine Parent
  2. Alaska Parent
  3. Bustle Digital Group
  4. Cincinnati Parent
  5. Love to Know
  6. MetroParents
  7. StorkGuide


  1. Alternet
  2. Boston Globe Magazine
  3. Creative Loafing Charlotte
  4. High Ground Memphis
  5. New Statesman
  6. Sacramento Press
  7. Salon

Science & Technology

  1. All About Circuits
  2. Asian Scientist
  3. Compose Write Stuff
  4. Earth Island Journal
  5. iPhone Life
  6. New Scientist
  7. SQL Server Central
  8. Techopedia
  9. Tutorials Point
  10. Worldstart


  1. Digital Ocean
  2. Linode
  3. LWN
  4. Semaphore


  1. American Angler
  2. Athalon Sports
  3. Horse Network
  4. Outkick the Coverage
  5. The Sportster


  1. BootsnAll
  2. Desert USA
  3. GoNOMAD
  4. International Living
  5. In The Know Traveler
  6. Open Road Journey
  7. Outpost Magazine
  8. Theme Park Tourist
  9. Transitions Abroad
  10. Travelicious
  11. World Hum
  12. Zafigo

Writing, Work at Home & Freelancing

  1. Freelance Mom
  2. Make a Living Writing
  3. Slick WP
  4. The Barefoot Writer
  5. The Work Online Blog
  6. The Write Life
  7. Write Naked
  8. Writer’s Weekly


  1. Back2College
  2. Bitch Media
  3. Cat Fancy
  4. Chicken Soup for the Soul
  5. Craftbits
  6. Curbly
  7. iWorkWell
  8. Listverse
  9. Military Benefits
  10. Online Writing Jobs
  11. Open Permaculture
  12. Photodoto
  13. Smithsonian
  14. Sojourners
  15. Today I Found Out
  16. Woodcraft Magazine

Freelance Writing Job Boards

  1. All Freelance Writing
  2. BloggingPro
  3. Freelancer
  4. Freelance Writing
  5. Freelance Writing Jobs
  6. Guru
  7. iFreelance
  8. Journalism Jobs
  9. People Per Hour
  10. Problogger
  11. Simply Hired
  12. Upwork

Further Resources

There are many resources out there to help you find paying freelance writing work. Who Pays Writers has a long list of publications and comments from writers on what they were paid for the kind of work they did, and how long it took. It’s pretty useful in finding out what a publication pays. The listings are in alphabetical order, so you have to find out on your own how to contact each one, which varies from easy to difficult. In most cases, searching Google for “write for (publication)” works pretty well.

You can go more traditional with the Writer’s Market book. This is published every year, and you may be able to find it in your local library. Amazon also carries a Kindle version. It’s generally considered one of the best resources for writers.

And of course, there’s the Writing Jobs section of the job board here. New jobs turn up there when I find them.

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.

April 10th, 2017

Is Your Job Title The Best Keyword For Your Job Hunt?

Is Your Job Title The Best Keyword For Your Job Hunt?

When you’re searching for a new job, it’s easy to look for jobs with the same titles you’ve had before. They’re jobs you know you probably qualify for. It’s easier to match your skills keywords to the job keywords when the titles are the same. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use your job title when looking for a new work at home job.

Use Your Skills

While the job titles you’ve held can be helpful, what matters more are the skills you have, even if you haven’t yet held a job that used those skills. A hobby you have, a class you’ve taken, whatever the case may be, the skills from those may help you get a better or more interesting job.

Use your skills in your search terms on search engines and job boards. If you’re a web developer and know PHP, that’s often a better search term than “web developer.” A medical coder may want to use his or her certifications or specialties in a search. Employers care quite a bit about the skills you bring to the table, not just what titles you’ve held.

If you’re using a skill you gained from a hobby as a qualification, think carefully on how you’ll present it. It’s often more difficult to convince employers to try you on skills you haven’t used in the workforce, but it is possible. It’s easy to provide links to anything you’ve done online. You can list a relevant hobby and how long you’ve done it – just be sure that it’s relevant. A social media job won’t care that you carve wood as a hobby. They will care if you’ve built up a huge following based on that hobby and can show them your accounts.

If you aren’t sure what you qualify for, use My Skills My Future, a website sponsored by the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training. It will give you more job titles to consider, typical wages, typical education required, and even some job listings. You might be surprised where it leads you.

O*NET may be useful as well. It’s also by the Department of Labor. Use the Occupation Search to find jobs related to the job title you put in. It also has a listing of hot technologies used in job listings, which can lead you to job titles which might use those technologies.

Titles For The Same Basic Job Vary

Some employers get really creative with job titles, and if you limit yourself to the common title for that position, you’ll miss out. Sometimes you have to read the job description to figure out what they’re really after.

Don’t let a fancy job title scare you off. Read the description and figure out if it’s something you can do. Most companies won’t expect that you match the job description perfectly.

To figure out which titles may work best, use Indeed’s Job Trends page. You can put in a few title keywords, and see how often Indeed has seen them used over the past few years. This can tell you if the title you’re searching is current or if an alternative is likely to be more fruitful. Think about the differences between “Virtual Assistant,” “Administrative Assistant” and “Executive Assistant.”

You can also use Indeed to come up with new job titles by searching on your current job title and seeing what else comes us. Some of these will be worth searching on their own.

Use Industry Jargon

If there are terms specific to the industry you’re looking in, especially if it relates to your skills, it can be a very useful search term.

Consider Other Job Categories

The skills from one job may translate well to jobs in other categories. Your customer service skills, for example, may translate well into other jobs dealing with people, such as sales or marketing.

You may be able to combine skills you’ve demonstrated in the workplace with skills you’ve learned in school or as a hobby to jump into a better job. Don’t assume that a lack of work experience or formal education in a job category means you can’t consider it – look for positions you believe you can do, and convince an employer to give you a try. So long as you have a lot of the skills posted and convince them you can learn the rest promptly, you have a chance.

Check Other Industries

You can take a jump into an entirely new industry if you focus on the skills you have rather than job titles. Just because you’ve worked in the insurance industry, for example, doesn’t mean you can’t jump to a technology company or something in the healthcare field that isn’t directly about insurance.

Who Do You Want To Work For?

If there’s a company you would really love to work for, take a look at the jobs they’re offering and figure out what you’d qualify for. Research the company (you should do this for any company you’re considering anyhow) and learn about the company culture and open positions.

If you want to work at home, pay attention to who lets people work entirely at home or partially at home, if that works with your needs.

Don’t limit yourself to a particular company in your job hunt overall – you might not get a job with them. Take the time to see if you qualify for any positions with them, absolutely! Just remember that focusing on them to the exclusion of all other opportunities may be a huge mistake. You can always check back with them over time as a long term goal if you can’t get the job you really want just now.

Target Your Resume

A resume should always be targeted to the particular job you’re applying for. Change your basic resume to better match the employer’s needs when you send it to them. It should highlight the skills you have that they’re seeking. Make it easy for potential employers to see that you have what they need.

The keywords you use in your targeted resume should reflect the keywords the potential employer used in the job description. Many employers search resumes for their keywords first, and if you haven’t used their keywords, they may miss you entirely, even if you’re highly qualified for the position.

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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