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.

carousel

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 30th, 2018

How Do Stay At Home Parents Get Back In The Workforce?

How Do Stay At Home Parents Get Back In The Workforce?

When you decided to become a stay at home parent, did you give thought to how you would get back into the workforce? It’s an important consideration for most families. Difficulty in returning to the workforce has always been one of the risks of staying home with the kids. You can’t overlook the challenge when it’s time to get back in the workforce.

Most stay at home parents will eventually return to the workforce. Few parents want to stay home once the kids are in school. Part time, if not full time, employment becomes more appealing at that point, and even more so as the kids grow up. But with months, years, or even more than a decade out of work, how do you get back in the workforce?

How Bad Are The Stats?

I came across a study in the Harvard Business Review that shows just how difficult it can be for stay at home parents to get back into the workforce. The study author, Kate Weisshaar, sent out 3,374 fictitious resumes to real job openings. These represented “three types of job applicants: currently employed applicants with no employment gaps, unemployed applicants, and stay-at-home parent applicants.” The study looked at which groups of resumes received callbacks for interviews or more information.

If you’re a stay at home parent trying to get back in the workplace, the numbers aren’t terribly encouraging. “Stay-at-home parents were about half as likely to get a callback as unemployed parents and only one-third as likely as employed parents.”

Ouch.

The study found that stay at home parents were perceived to be less capable, less reliable, less deserving of a job, and less committed to work. These are the obstacles you’re facing when you decide it’s time to head back to work. What can you do to improve your chances of finding a job after being a stay at home parent?

Keep Up Your Skills

Keeping up your professional skills is especially important if you’re out of the workforce for more than a few months. Some industries change rapidly. If you don’t put in the effort to keep up, it will be much more difficult to resume your career.

You can take courses online or at a local college. Many schools now have online programs available, even if you’re after a new degree.

Other times simply taking a course to update your skills is enough. You can use sites such as Udemy to keep up with many professional skills or learn new ones.

You can also improve your education and target a new career if you like using these resources. A break in employment is an excellent time to consider a career change.

Network Professionally

Networking professionally can be difficult for many stay at home parents. You will be at a very different point in your life than your friends and coworkers who still work outside the home. It will be more difficult to get to industry events and networking events as well.

But professional networking is one of the most important things you can do. One of these connections might be the one that alerts you to a job opening when you’re ready for one.

LinkedIn is a very popular choice to network professionally from home these days. You can start with friends and old coworkers, and increase your contacts with people who work for interesting companies. There are also groups you can join to meet people in similar industries.

Get A Work At Home Job

I’m a huge fan of working at home. My income saved my family financially when my husband was laid off from his job. Without that money coming in, that would have been an even bigger problem than it was.

If you can find a work at home job in your industry, even a part time one, you show that you’re committed to your career and capable of doing the work. You may be able to turn it into a full time job when you’re ready.

Best of all, you aren’t out of work at all. You don’t have the gap that other stay at home parents do when they decide to return to work.

Take some time to prepare your resume for a work at home job hunt. When you want to work at home, you need to show more than just the skills for the job. You must demonstrate that you can work unsupervised. Remote work has some challenges that are very different from working in an office. Depending on their ages, the children alone can make working from home all but impossible without outside help. Be realistic about your needs.

Start A Home Business

Starting a home business is risky, but it can work. Most businesses of any sort fail, but there are many success stories of moms and dads who started a business in their home while raising their kids and turned it into a full time business.

Be picky about your home business, and learn the risks before you start anything. Don’t listen only to the hype from someone trying to recruit you into an opportunity.

Blogging is a popular choice, and it’s easy to start a blog. The hard part is bringing it to a level where it earns enough money. Some people have amazing success with blogs. Others find that theirs never brings in more than a small amount. Blogs are so cheap to run, however, that I consider them worth the risk.

Finding the time to run your home business can be as difficult or even more difficult than finding time for a work at home job. It’s rough when all the accountability is on you. If you don’t work hard, your home business will not bring in the income you need or provide the work experience to show for a future job.

It is a true delight when a home business works out so well that you don’t need to get a job outside the home later. You will still have ups and downs – that’s business for you – but the ability to keep working from home even as the kids get older is a true delight.

Volunteer

Volunteering is another way to keep using your professional skills as a stay at home parent. Look around and find a cause you believe in that can also use your professional skills.

Not everything you can do as a volunteer will do much for your resume. Do your best to find something relevant to what you want to do in your career. I volunteer at a local shelter, helping to socialize the cats and doing assorted chores around the place, but that wouldn’t do much for my resume if I were to write one up. The only thing it would show is a willingness to volunteer and the ability to work with animals. For the careers I would consider, that’s not terribly relevant.

Will These Things Make It Easier To Get Back In The Workforce?

There’s no guarantee that any of these will make it easier to get back in the workforce after you’ve been a stay at home parent. The benefits you gain depend on the kind of work you’re looking for when you no longer want to be a stay at home parent. Lower paying jobs with simpler requirements may be easier to get into than jobs that have higher requirements.

The point of doing all these things is to have something to put on your resume to minimize the gap caused by being a stay at home parent. You can show that you are capable of the work you want to do, and committed to a good career.

Of course, if you have a work at home job or a successful home business, you may not need to find an outside the home job as the kids get older. You might have already found what you want to do to earn money.

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 29th, 2018

How To Find Work At Home Proofreading Jobs And Editing Jobs

How To Find Work At Home Proofreading Jobs And Editing Jobs

Work at home proofreading jobs can sound like a fun and pleasant way to earn money from home, especially if you like to read. But as with any other work at home opportunity, you have to convince an employer to hire you first, by showing that you have the skills they’re after. Becoming a work at home proofreader or editor can take some time.

As with most jobs, at home or elsewhere, having experience helps a lot. You’ll find far more opportunities as a proofreader if you have already worked as a proofreader or editor. Entry level work at home jobs are much harder to find.

What Skills Does A Work At Home Proofreader Need?

If you want to find work at home proofreading jobs, you need a keen eye for finding errors in written work. Your eye for spelling and grammatical errors cannot depend upon automatic checkers – they miss too much.

While a degree in English or Communications may help get into this field, they may not be required. Many editor positions require a Master’s degree or even a PhD, as editing jobs are frequently for academic papers.

What is required is that you enjoy reading and regularly spot errors that others miss. You also need to be familiar with common word processing software. When you work from home, you must also be comfortable with how work is sent to you, which may vary by employer. It also helps to be comfortable troubleshooting your own equipment, so you don’t lose a lot of time waiting for someone to help you with minor problems.

Proofreaders should also be familiar with the popular writing style guides, such as APA, AMA, and Chicago Style. Which one the client prefers will determine which one you follow.

What Equipment Does A Work At Home Proofreader Need?

You will already have most of the equipment you need to work at home as a proofreader. Your computer is an obvious need, as is a good internet connection. A comfortable home office is a help in keeping out the distractions.

You will also need either the physical books or online access to a dictionary, thesaurus, style guides and reference materials. A Dropbox account is often useful for proofreaders as well. Grammarly can be a big help in spotting obvious problems, although it’s not a replacement for what you do as a proofreader.

Which reference materials you need will depend on the kind of proofreading you do. McGraw-Hill’s Proofreading Handbook is a good choice if your focus is on proofreading, but you may want to consider The McGraw-Hill Desk Reference for Editors, Writers, and Proofreaders as well. You may also need one or more style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style, depending on the needs of your specialty.

Some proofreaders like to use an iPad and the iAnnotate app for proofreading, and find it a more effective combination than proofreading on a computer. At least, that’s what Caitlin Pyle of Proofread Anywhere recommends. She has a free webinar you can check out to decide if this is for you. I haven’t taken the course myself, so I can’t review it. I’ve seen people love it and people dislike it. Her focus is on legal transcript proofreading.

Editing Vs. Proofreading

The line between editing and proofreading can be a fine one, which is why I have grouped them together here. Proofreading is mostly about correcting errors in grammar, spelling, syntax, and formatting.

Editing jobs may require some extra care with fact checking, as well as the overall quality of the writing. Editors may rearrange information or change the tone of a submission.

Requirements may be somewhat higher for editors than for proofreaders. Experience in a particular field may be required.

Who Hires People For Work At Home Proofreading Jobs?

There are many possible places to look for work at home proofreading jobs. Newspapers, authors, bloggers, graduate students, marketers and more may all need a proofreader at times. These companies all offer remote proofreading jobs. Most will require an editing or proofreading test to demonstrate your skills.

American Journal Experts – Mostly hires independent contractor editors in various fields, but may also have proofreader and translator contractor positions. Work may include editing work by non-native English speakers, so that the research done is clearly communicated.

Cactus Global – Cactus is based in India, and some of the jobs require that you be in India, whether you telecommute or work in their office. Other positions require that you be in Asia or Africa. Worldwide locations may be available, especially in their freelance positions.

Edit 911 – Applicants must have a PhD in a writing-intensive discipline and be a published scholar.

EditFast – EditFast connects freelance editors to jobs. You must pass the EditFast review to be eligible for jobs. They send projects out to the most qualified editors for those projects. EditFast keeps 40% of the total project cost – the rest goes to the editor who does the project. It can help if you have specialized knowledge.

Enago –  Editors must be proficient in English, as some of the submitted work will be from ESL authors. They are seeking at least 5 years of relevant academic copyediting/substantive editing/proofreading experience. Enago also hires freelance peer reviewers and journal experts.

Gramlee – Says they’re always looking for new contractors to add to the team. They link to a Google form for your application.

Hello Essay – Must have a college degree, and a graduate degree is preferred. Must be a native English speaker. You also need evidence of writing and editing experience. Positions can be part or full time.

Kibin – Sometimes has openings for freelance editors and proofreaders. Their main service appears to be editing essays for students.

Kirkus – May have openings for freelance proofreaders and editors for books. They also may offer freelance reviewer positions. Titles may be in English or Spanish.

Life Tips – Life Tips editors edit the content produced by their freelance writers and help clients develop their content strategies for their sites. Benefits are a possibility.

Managed Editing/Wordfirm – Sometimes needs experienced editors. Prefers at least five years of experience, but states that they often hire people with even more experience. These are independent contractor positions.

OneSpace – OneSpace works with freelance editors, writers, data entry, product researchers and transcriptionists. Some work requires that you speak a foreign language or have experience with the subject in a particular country. Payment is daily.

Paper Check – Applicants must be employed by or enrolled in an accredited university in the United States, with at least a 3.6 GPA, or have a graduate degree and at least 5 years of professional editing experience.

Polished Paper – To apply, you upload your resume and take a 35 question editing test. They encourage you to use resources such as MLA, CSE, APA, and Chicago formatting guides to take the test.

Proofread Now – Proofread Now states that they have very high expectations of their proofreaders. They require at least five years of professional proofreading experience and must perform well on a challenging battery of tests.

Proofreading Pal – Applicants must be a current graduate or postgraduate student with at least a 3.5 GPA or have a graduate degree and five years of experience. If they like your initial application, you should hear from them in about 5-10 business days for the next step.

ProofreadingServices.com – This company accepts applications from any country, but you must demonstrate superlative proofreading and editing skills. They state that their pay is above average and hours are flexible.

Pure Content – Pure Content hires freelance editors and writers. You don’t have to speak English, but will only qualify for projects that are in your first language. Editors must complete an editing test, and they prefer some editing experience. They hire all around the world.

Scribbr – This company is based in Amsterdam, and offers freelance academic editor positions. You must be a native English speaker to apply. You can work from anywhere, and they have an exclusive Slack community for editors to discuss issues. They expect some experience as an academic editor.

Scribendi – The telecommute editor/proofreader positions with Scribendi require that you have a relevant college degree and at least three years of editing, writing, document production, or language teaching experience. A graduate degree is preferred. They offer free training to all of their editors.

ServiceScape – ServiceScape is an online marketplace for freelancers looking for editing, translation, graphic design and writing jobs. The company has been around for more than 15 years. They allow you to integrate predefined services, and you can set up custom projects as needed for clients.

Sibia Proofreading – Not always hiring, but requires significant editing experience and knowledge of your field. Sibia mostly offers editing services for academic, scientific, and medical journals and reports.

SmartBrief – Some of their editor positions are telecommuting positions. While positions may state that they are in a particular location, many can be telecommute for the right candidate. Overnight positions may be available as well. Freelance writer positions may also be available.

Student Loan Hero – This company sometimes hires editors to help improve their writers’ content. The company is fully remote and offers benefits.

WordsRU – Requires at least a Master’s degree or equivalent professional experience in any academic discipline, as well as two years of experience editing or proofreading. They especially like experienced editors who can work on weekends.

Wordvice – Wordvice hires freelance editors as well as freelance translators and content writers. Editors must be enrolled in or have completed a graduate program, and have at least two years of editing experience. Editors will edit and proofread academic papers, admissions essays, and other documents.

Other Places To Find Work At Home Proofreading Jobs

You can find proofreading jobs on some of the general freelance boards, such as Upwork or PeoplePerHour, along with any other freelance jobs you may qualify for. Requirements will vary by client, of course. You may have to bid for the jobs. Make sure you charge enough for your time and increase your rates as you gain experience.

You can also set up an offer for proofreading on Fiverr and similar gig sites. Don’t offer too much for $5, and increase your rates when you qualify to charge more.

It may be a good idea to join the Editorial Freelancers Association, as they have a job board. They also offer resources for members to get their business going.

If you want to search for proofreading or editing jobs on your own, you need to use the right keywords. Which ones are best will depend on your specialty.

Proofreader or proofreading are both great keywords if that’s what you’re after. If you have the qualifications to be an academic editor, use that as a keyword.

If you’re interested in legal transcription editing, you can search for scoping or scopist jobs as well as searching for jobs that simply call it legal editing transcription. Be aware that scopists may start with shorthand transcriptions and type out and edit the full document.

Be sure to use the right words to find work at home positions. Remote, virtual, home based, telecommute, freelance, and contract can all help you find jobs.

Beware of scams. If a job listing looks too good to be true, it probably is. I left out some of the companies I found because I didn’t feel right about listing them. Sometimes it was because the pay was too low to be worthwhile for most people, even though reviews show that they pay. I don’t like recommending jobs to people that don’t pay a fair rate.

Be particularly careful if any opportunity asks for money, even if it’s for a membership. Be absolutely certain that any money you spend is reasonable. Check reviews before you spend anything. These jobs won’t usually cost anything, but some resources might cost something.

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 16th, 2018

How To Refresh Old Blog Posts The Right Way

How To Refresh Old Blog Posts The Right Way

How long have you been running your blog? I’ve been running this one since 2004 – and I can hardly believe it has been that long. If you’ve been blogging a long time too, you might want to take a look at your older blog posts. Odds are that you will want to refresh old blog posts that need some help to remain current. Take some time and do the job right.

Sometimes refreshing an old blog post won’t be the right choice. Some things don’t need to be brought up to date, while other posts will need so many changes that it makes more sense to create an entirely new blog post. This has risks, as the new post won’t have the links to it that the old did, but sometimes the change makes sense.

Don’t change the URL if you can avoid doing so. If you feel it’s important you can do a redirect, but it’s better to avoid this change. You don’t want to risk breaking links to that page. A new URL is likely to get less traffic, at least for a time.

Analyze Your Traffic

Check your analytics and see which of your old blog posts are getting traffic. These are the most urgent posts you need to update. They’re the ones that are still doing something well enough that you’re getting search engine or social media traffic on them, but are maybe a little on the old side.

Updating these posts should bring more traffic to them. Search engines like updated content. Visitors like high quality content, and the whole point of updating your old blog posts is to increase their quality. Increasing the quality of these posts should be done with the goal of getting more search engine traffic and more social media attention.

Analyze Your Traffic

Check Your Facts

The most important thing to do as you refresh old blog posts is to make sure that they’re factually correct. Sometimes this will require significant changes, depending on your topic. There may be a newer survey on the subject, for example.

Other times, you will find that very little needs to be changed. Many subjects don’t change all that much through the years. If you’re refreshing a recipe, for example, there may not be any changes at all to how it’s made, while a post on search engine optimization may require significant changes.

Fact checking your old blog posts is vital. You don’t want to have information on your blog that has been debunked or is simply out of date. You want to be a great resource for your visitors. If they catch you sharing outdated information, especially on a post you’ve just updates, they won’t see you as a good resource.

Add Fresh Information

Adding fresh information does a lot to refresh a blog post. Many subjects will have new information you should add. Other times it will be your perspective that has changed.

For example, when I’m updating old blog posts, they will sometimes make reference to things my kids have done recently, from the perspective of the original post. Obviously, those references go out of date in a short time. My kids aren’t babies and toddlers anymore – my oldest is a teen!

Some stories still work in the new post, but the phrasing should be changed to reflect that they happened in the past. Others won’t work anymore.

If you have specific examples to add to a post, those work great as well. A well chosen example makes things much clearer.

Quotes from experts may help as well. You can use HARO to find experts if you have the time, or try contacting people you’ve networked with already. Expert quotes can increase the authority of your blog posts, which is always a good thing.

Length may be another consideration. When I started blogging, most of my posts were 300-600 words long. These days, that’s way, way too short. Most people recommend at least 1000 words. Others recommend 2000 words or more. Your ideal length will depend on your industry and what your readers enjoy. Any length recommendations are only recommendations, and are not written in stone.

My rule of thumb is to use as many words as needed to get the point across rather than focus on a word count, but I still write much longer posts than I used to. When I look at my old posts, I see posts that could have been way more informative if I had taken more time with them. I don’t want the same to keep happening, so I do my best to add more information now.

Rethink Your SEO

Both as you write and once your content has been updated, think about the SEO of that content. What keywords are you targeting?

Don’t target a single word or super common phrase. You probably won’t rank very highly for terms such as “blogging,” for example. But if you get more specific, you’ll have a better chance to rank.

Use your keywords a few times throughout your content. Do not overuse the keyword, or you’ll annoy your readers. You can’t forget them in your efforts to be found online.

You should also use appropriate variations on your keywords. Google and other search engines are getting better all the time at figuring out normal variations on keywords. This is called semantic SEO, and can help your posts be found for a wider range of searches.

You may also want to update the blog post title so that it’s more informative. This helps encourage people to click through when they see a link to your post. There is a risk to this, however, as the new title may not perform as well as the old did.

Rethink Your SEO

Check Your Links

It amazes me sometimes how fast links can go out of date. When I check links on my work at home job board, many have gone bad in under a year, as sites change link structure or companies go out of business.

Sometimes you will be able to figure out where the information you were linking to has moved on the website. Other times you will need to find an entirely new resource to link to.

You may also want to see if there’s a newer version of the information to link to. I have posts that link to statistics on certain jobs, for example. If I update one, I would want to check the current stats and link to those, rather than to the ones I originally used.

If you didn’t do so previously, you may want to consider whether you want to make links to outside sites open in a new window or tab. I do this routinely now. This increases the chances that visitors will stay on my site and maybe read something else.

You may also want to add rel=”noopener” when you open a link in a new window or tab. Opening a link into a new tab can be a security vulnerability, as the new page will run on the same process as your site. Adding rel=”noopener” makes it run in a separate process.

If you aren’t familiar with how to handle these, it’s quite simple. Look at the Text tab of your WordPress editor. Links will be something along the lines of:

<a href=”linktoanothersite”>

To make the link open in another tab and use noopener, you would add the appropriate code, so it looks like:

<a href=”linktoanothersite” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>

Make sure you also add links to your own relevant content. Linking within your own site is an important part of SEO and encourages visitors to check out more of your content. This keeps them on your site longer, which gives you more chances to earn something and looks better to search engines.

Also take a moment to consider if any other posts on your blog should be linked to the the one you’re updating. It only takes a few moments to add a link while it’s on your mind. A quick scan of blog posts in the same category on your blog can help you remember relevant posts.

Can You Make Money Off The Post?

Sometimes your older blog posts aren’t making the most of the income generating opportunities you now know about. They might lack affiliate links or even links to products you sell yourself.

Don’t skip these opportunities. Add appropriate links to give your blog more chances to make money for you.

For any existing money making links, consider how well they’ve been converting. Can they do better? Maybe you can make a better sales pitch for whatever you’re selling there.

Make New Images

How do the images look on your old blog posts? Are they a good match for current social media guidelines? Do they look professional? Are there enough of them? Do your old posts even have images? Is the branding on them current or an older style for your site?

If the posts are really old, you may not have even used images very often. I didn’t, back when I started. Then when I did start, it took me a while to find out that certain sizes are better for social media. There are also ways to have some images hidden away for social media use so that you don’t have excessively large images making your posts difficult to read.

Consider current social media image size guidelines. You don’t have to make every size, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few options. There are some wonderful, free tools out there that make creating your own blog graphics easy.

I especially make sure to have Pinterest-ready images, as Pinterest is so visual. Vertical images do far, far better on Pinterest than horizontal ones do. Most of my older posts, if they had images, had horizontal images, so this has been an important step for me. Some bloggers get huge traffic from Pinterest. It’s worth taking the time to market your blog on Pinterest.

You can control which of your images can be pinned to Pinterest, which is a big help. You will sometimes need images in your posts that won’t look right or do well on Pinterest, after all. It is even possible to make it so that people only see your pinnable images when they click on the Pinterest logo on your site.

Pinterest likes it if you have a few images to use on their site, not just one. It’s also a good way to test and see what works best. After a while, you should be able to identify a style that does best and use that most often on your primary images for your posts.

Check Comment Quality

Take a look at any comments on your old posts. Are they relevant? Are there dead, inappropriate or spammy links in the comments?

If the comment is good, but the link is bad in one sense or another, you might decide to remove the link on the comment, but keep the comment. Many times when I’ve reviewed comments, I’ve found a number that link to dead sites. There’s no need to keep such links, even if the comment itself was relevant.

To Republish Or Not To Republish Old Blog Posts

To Republish Or Not To Republish Old Blog Posts

Just because you refresh old blog posts doesn’t mean you have to republish them. I often do, but not every time.

The first thing to consider is how old the refreshed post is. If this is something you posted long ago, it’s often worth republishing, as few of your current readers have ever seen it. If the post is more recent, I’ll just update it and not republish.

This is a big part of why I don’t use dates in my blog permalink structure. I did in the early days, but came to realize that it wasn’t a good idea. It makes for long URLs, and doesn’t add value. It also means you have to do a redirect anytime you republish, due to the change in date. It’s better for SEO if you can keep using the same URL

Share On Social Media

It’s not going to do you a whole lot of good to refresh old blog posts if you don’t share them on social media. A number of mine were from before I used ANY social media. Running a blog has changed so much in the years that I’ve been blogging. Social media wasn’t really a thing at first, but now it’s vital.

Work the refreshed blog post into your social media schedule, just as you would a brand new post. Do this even if you don’t republish the post on your blog. You want fresh attention on these posts after you’ve put in the work.

I use Hootsuite to schedule my posts. It has even finally added in a Pinterest scheduler. The Pinterest scheduler is perhaps not so smooth as the one Tailwind offers, but it’s available. If you have Hootsuite and don’t want to pay for multiple social media schedulers, this is a wonderful thing. I’ve been using the Hootsuite Pinterest scheduler to try it out, and hope to review it after I have more of an opinion on it.

If you don’t already have a social media strategy, you need to develop one. Know which platforms you’ll post to and how often. Some social media platforms do well with heavy daily posting. On other platforms, you’ll annoy people if you post more than 1-3 times a day.

All of this may seem like a lot of work on your old blog posts when you could be writing new ones, but it can be worth it! The time spent to refresh old blog posts can be better spent than the time spent on creating new ones, as you already know something of how they’re performing. If you want them to work even better for you, take some time and update your old blog posts.

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.