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 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 simple work at home tips to help you work 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 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.

Family/Home

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

Finances/Legal

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.

home office

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.

job titles

Working

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.

smartphone

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.

email

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.

break at computer

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.

exercising

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.

Last Updated May 5th, 2014

Is Working at Home a Good Career Choice?

Is Working at Home a Good Career Choice?

One of the challenges for many women when they have kids is the impact on their careers. Moms are more likely than dads to take extra time off work, whether it’s a few weeks of maternity leave, a few years off to stay home with the kids, or just occasional sick time when the kids are too sick to go to school or daycare. All this can make working at home a very appealing option. But is this a good career choice overall? That depends on a few factors.

What Are You Doing?

What kind of work you do from home as compared to your current career has a lot to do with how good it will be for your future career. If you’re doing something entirely unrelated, it’s not really going to help you with that original career. If it can lead to a better career, that’s not a bad thing. If it’s a step or so down from where you’ve been working, you probably won’t be able to step back up to that original career path right away.

If you want to stick with your current career, make sure your work at home position goes well with it. You may be able to do more of a telecommuting position with your current employer if you’re fortunate enough to have that kind of flexibility available. You may still find working at home to be a disadvantage in some ways due to the lack of visibility when you aren’t at the office, but odds are you’ll be better off than if you had left entirely.

If you can’t continue in your current position, but hope to stay with the same general career in the long run, look for options that will allow you to go in that direction.

How Are You Keeping Up With the Industry?

If you had a good career before you started working at home, how are you keeping up with the changes in that industry, especially if you can’t work exactly in that field?

The time you spend at home can be great for improving your education for your preferred career. It may even be a good time to work toward making a change of career by getting an education for what you’d like to do when you return to the job market.

You have to be careful about where you get your education, of course. Some online schools are good; others are completely useless. Online classes are easier to deal with when you have small children, but make sure they’re the right choice. It may be wiser to attend classes in person if you get a better quality education that way. Know what will work for you and your needs.

Will Your Experience Take You Somewhere Entirely New?

Especially if you haven’t had much of what you’d consider your choice of career, working at home can take you someplace entirely new. That’s how it was for me. I went from being an at home medical transcriptionist to running my own business, and realizing it could stay this way. I like that a lot.

If you’re ready to take advantage of new opportunities, they may show up unexpectedly. A work at home job you’ve taken just for the income may open other doors.

What If You Don’t Like the Path Working at Home Takes You On?

Working at home won’t always take you on a path that’s good for your career. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the trouble. It can be. When you need the income, and working at home becomes the most sensible way to get it, that’s what you have to do.

Keep your eyes open for ways to get back on the path you’d rather be on. It may not be easy, matter of fact, it often won’t be. Still, continuing to work should be more beneficial than having a big gap in your resume. It will take time to get your career on track if you weren’t able to do so from home. Odds are, working from home will at least look better than not working at all for the years you spend at home.

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 October 3rd, 2011

6 Work at Home Lessons While Halloween Costume Shopping

I took Saturday as a family day. Had some fun watching my son’s soccer game (his team won), then took the kids out shopping for their Halloween costumes. We wanted to get out before the selection was down too far. The older two didn’t want anything I could make myself this year, so I only get to be creative with my youngest’s costume.

Watching the kids shop, though, was kind of like watching someone trying to decide how they’re going to work at home.

1. You don’t always want what you think you want.

My oldest was positive that she would be Cleopatra for Halloween this year. She’d been saying so for months. Instead, she fell utterly in love with a Snow Princess costume. My son was sure he wanted to be Spiderman, but the costume he picked was Optimum Prime.

You can be sure that you know what kind  of work you want to do at home, but just as sure as my kids changed their minds about their Halloween costumes, a little research may change your mind. Keep an open mind as you consider your options.

2. Shop around.

We didn’t just hit the costume shop nearest us for costumes. We started there so that we’d know their prices, but then checked out a few other places. Good thing too, as that saved us $10 on my son’s costume.

A part of finding work you can do from home is looking for the right job or business opportunity. Don’t assume there’s one thing that will work for you. You might find a similar option has better pay, better benefits, a better chance to earn money, or will just be more fun for you. You also improve on your chances of avoiding scams if you shop around a little and get to know what’s more likely to be a legitimate offer.

3. Make sure it’s a good fit.

When my daughter chose her Snow Princess costume, she first grabbed the one right in the front of the rack. She paid no attention to size. It was only when I pointed out another costume that didn’t come in her size that she looked and realized that she had grabbed too small a size. Fortunately, her size was also available.

That work at home job or business you’ve been considering also may not be the perfect fit right off the rack. Make sure you know as much as you can about what you’re getting into so that you don’t have to start your search all over again unless really necessary. Job hunting is tedious, and business hopping is a great way to avoid success if you overdo it.

Of course, sometimes a switch is necessary. What looks good on paper or online isn’t always for you once you get going. Don’t be afraid to try that opportunity on and give it a really good go.

4. Use your imagination.

My oldest is quite imaginative. I usually get comments about that from her teachers, not always in a perfectly positive light. Her Snow Princess costume already has her imagination going. I’ll leave it at that.

Imagination is a great advantage to many of us who work at home. It can help you to think of ways to work at home that others may not have considered. It can help to improve your business or your job performance.

Overdoing it isn’t necessarily a good thing, and you can’t let your imagination take over so much that you never get any real work done. Dreaming of success won’t get you nearly as far as working hard toward success.

5. Make your own.

I get to make at least one of my children’s costumes most years. This year it’s only the costume for my youngest. We bought some silk leaves at Micheal’s, and I’ll be attaching them to a brown hooded top my youngest loves to wear to make her a woodland fairy costume. We got some fake berries and acorns to go along with the leaves. It should be really cute.

When it comes to working at home, remember that you don’t always have to go for the opportunities that are right on the shelf. Don’t stick with the lists of companies that hire people to work at home if you think you can find work elsewhere, or consider freelancing. Don’t assume that the only way to have a home business is to join an opportunity and do it all the way you’re told. Make the work your own. You can improve upon what’s available to you and make a much more interesting home business this way.

6. Decide if you need your own disguise.

Some parents dress up for Halloween, others skip it. What are you going to do?

Online privacy can be a big deal. It’s not so hard if you have a work at home job – your employer needs legitimate information from you for tax reasons, but they shouldn’t be spreading that information all over anyhow.

It’s more difficult if you have a home business online. You have to decide how much personal information you will share.

Some people use a pen name and have private registration on all their websites. Some are fine with a P.O. Box to keep their home address private. Some aren’t at all concerned about using their own names online.

You have to decide what’s right for you. There are a lot of odd people out there and a lot of really nice ones. You have to decide how much you want to maintain your privacy while building a good business. Some find it difficult to deal with a pen name while others wouldn’t go without one. What works for you depends on you and the goals you have for your business.

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.