Last Updated October 29th, 2018

How To Claim Your Work at Home Space

How To Claim Your Work at Home Space

Many people who work at home don’t really have a good space for it. Not all homes have enough room for a separate home office, but having a dedicated work at home space makes a big difference.

I know that it’s easy to feel as though you don’t need a separate space. You may be working in your kitchen or living room and feel that you’re doing just fine.

And maybe you are.

But it’s more likely that you could do better if you had your own work at home space. Somewhere that you won’t be interrupted so often. A place where you have more control over the background noise. And where you can keep all the stuff you need to be productive without someone moving it on you.

Where Will Your Work At Home Space Be?

The first question you need to answer is where your work at home space can be in your home. Depending on your home, this may be easy or difficult to answer.

The best solution is to find a room in your home where you can set up a home office. A place where you can close the door has a lot of advantages when you’re working at home.

Some work at home jobs require this, for example. If you’re on the phone with customers a lot, they want you able to close the door so that you have a quiet place to work. You may also be required to have a door you can close if you have to keep information private for legal reasons.

But not every home has an available space where you can do this. And not every work at home job requires it.

It’s not at all uncommon for a work at home space to be a small desk in whatever nook you can fit it into. While it’s not as private as a room with a door, it can be enough.

And if you can’t manage that, there many people who work at home at the kitchen table or sitting on the couch. Do what you have to do to succeed.

Truth be told, this flexibility is one of the great things about working at home. If your job or business doesn’t require that you stick to one spot, you can work in a lot of different places. You can even head out to the coffee shop or coworking space if that suits your needs.

corner home office

What Are The Basics Your Work At Home Space Needs?

The next thing you need to consider when planning your work at home space is what you need in there. This can vary quite a bit, depending on what kind of work you do at home. Start with the basics. You can upgrade later.

If your business is primarily or entirely online, such as blogging, the main things you need are your computer and desk. If these can be separate from what the rest of the family uses, that’s a big step in the right direction. There are few things more frustrating than having to sort out conflicting priorities that keep you entirely from working.

When you have only one computer in the family and the kids need the computer for their homework, what do you do but give it up? That’s why you need your own if at all possible.

A space to work on your business also makes it easier for you to set rules about when you are working. Even if you aren’t in a separate room you can set rules about what the kids can and cannot bother you with while you work.

The biggest challenge comes in when you can’t claim a separate space directly and you have to set up your home office in a shared area, maybe even a shared computer.

No matter whether you share your workspace or have a quiet home office separate from everything else, you have certain needs in order to work productively. This can include a calendar, reference materials, telephone, writing materials and so forth.

Your computer needs the software that you use in your business. You may also find that a dual monitor setup helps with productivity (seriously, try it if you can, it’s amazing!). These things require space.

laptop home office

Talk To Your Family

When you know which space you want to work in and what you need for it, talk to your family about it. It doesn’t matter how simple your needs are or if you need to claim a full room. Talk to them.

Sometimes they’ll be happy to let you have the space. Other times you’ll meet up with resistance.

It can be hard on a family to give up a portion of the house to be used as a home office. There are always other things the space could be used for.

This is why many home offices are also guest rooms. It’s a good way to compromise on the space. You may still need to talk to guests about your needs during their visit, but you’ll have the room to yourself much of the time.

Even when your family is understanding about your needs, you need to ensure that they will respect what this means. Just because they want you to use the space you need doesn’t guarantee that they truly understand what you will need from them when you work at home.

bedroom home office

Go Beyond The Basics

My work at home space has changed a lot through the years. What I’ve been able to claim has depended on the space we had available and the needs of the family.

When my kids were little, my home office was shared with my family. I had my own computer, and a shared desk (big desk). Much of my work time was with either one of the kids or my husband on the other computer. It made for a bit of a challenge when working.

With this little space I kept a part of the desk and a file cabinet for my work. As I do work entirely online, my needs in terms of space are relatively few.

But the real hardship was having other people underfoot when I wanted to work in peace. Sharing my space meant that I had to claim my space mentally as much as physically. I couldn’t let what the others were doing on the computer distract me overmuch. Playful children didn’t make that easy.

These days, I have a lovely home office with my own desk and a door I can close. Working in there is so much more comfortable and productive. And of course, my kids are older and much better at letting me work most of the time.

Think about the little things you need to keep your workday going smoothly. Throw in a water bottle and for the most part, I’m good to go most days. But other people need more.

Some people like some background noise as they work, for example. I always suggest streaming music rather than turning on a television, simply because music is much easier to ignore. Music can make your day much more pleasant without taking away from your ability to work.

Puzzling out the little details on how you can set up your home office space takes time, but it’s worth the effort. You can increase your productivity and your contentment with your work when your workspace suits your needs. In time, you’ll find exactly what you need to make an amazing home office for yourself.

wood home office

Where Does The Money Come From To Do All This?

If you don’t have a lot of money to spare, it’s difficult to figure out where to get the money to create that perfect work at home space. Not everyone can afford to just go out and buy a new desk or the other things you’d like to have in your home office.

So what do you do?

There are a few options for setting up your home office on a budget.

Option 1: Garage Sales

You might be amazed by how much stuff you can get for your home office at garage sales. I paid $5 for my office chair at a garage sale, and it is by far the best office chair in the house. My husband has tried to claim it a time or two, even though we bought it for my office, but that only gets him the death glare. It’s not happening. Mine!

Pay attention to garage sales in your area, and you can fairly quickly pick up a desk chair, file cabinets and anything else your home office needs without spending a fortune.

You may even find some of the electronics you need, although you have to be very careful that everything still works, and get any computers checked for viruses before doing anything. Used electronics are kind of a gamble, but you can make it work.

Option 2: Build It Over Time

You can also improve your work at home space over time. Start with the basics, and then add to it as your budget allows.

If you have a laptop or tablet you can work on, for example, all you need is a quiet place where you can work undisturbed. It doesn’t have to be in the perfect spot in your home. Look around and figure out what the best space is for you to work.

Work toward having the money for the next thing you’d like for your workspace. It might be a desk, a second monitor, a better place to keep your supplies, whatever it is you need.

Remember the money you spend on your home office is an investment. You may be able to write some or all of it off on your taxes as well. But the key thing here is to buy the things that will make you more productive so that you can earn more money from 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 September 13th, 2018

How Much Independence Do You Give Your Kids During The School Year?

How Much Independence Do You Give Your Kids During The School Year?

Now that school’s in session, I get a little more time to work at home without kids underfoot. My kids are now at ages where I don’t have to supervise them all of the time. They’re better off doing a lot of things independently after school. The challenge, at times, can be deciding how much independence to give the kids during the school year.

Kids need to learn to do things independently of their parents. It’s hard to let go sometimes, but so necessary for your child’s development. When, how, all that depends on your child and your family’s situation – I’m not going to tell you when your kids are old enough to walk home from school or whatever else. You know your kids and your situation, so you get to decide. But there are plenty of other places to encourage your child to be more independent, even when you’re home.

Finding time for your kids to be more independent during the school year can be difficult. There are so many things that must get done. You may feel as though there isn’t enough time in the day. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do.

Walking To School

As soon as it’s appropriate, I recommend having your kids walk to and from school on their own. When this is appropriate depends on a lot of factors, but it’s great for kids to walk to and from school on their own. Consider these issues when deciding whether to allow your kids to walk or ride bikes to school.

  • child’s age
  • distance
  • traffic
  • other kids walking to school in the area
  • neighborhood safety

It’s not always easy to decide when to let your children walk to school, but it’s a great milestone for them. You can walk them to school for a time while getting them used to the route, but once you think they’re ready, let them walk on their own. Consider participating in Walk To School Day at the very least.

walk to school

You may find that you disagree with other parents on when this is safe. I had a neighbor who couldn’t bear the thought of letting her daughter walk to school on her own, or even with my kids. The daughter was of an age that I thought was easily appropriate, especially with friends, but her mother wasn’t ready.

These things happen when you’re trying to let your kids be more independent. Other parents will disagree with you at times.

Don’t let that stop you.  Children do better when they can express their independence, and sometimes it’s hard to give independence to your kids during the school year. This is one of the best ways once it fits the situation you live in.

Homework

I encourage independence in homework. My kids get a short break after school, but they’re expected to start their homework after that without being reminded and with minimal assistance. They can ask questions, but overall it’s their responsibility.

I often check math, for example, but I do my best to help my kids find the answer themselves. They’ll learn more if they solve the problems themselves, after all. Most times the kids understand the mistake as soon as it is pointed out. As they get older, I check less and less, although I’m always available for questions.

Those big assignments that some parents get a little overenthusiastic about – you can tell my kids handle those with only advice from me, not the actual work. My youngest had to do a family tree already this school year, which was intended as something to be talked about as a family, but the family tree she made for her presentation was all her work with only some advice on layout.

Sometimes kids will be disappointed when they see the grand projects others turn in. You can usually tell when a parent did more work than the kids. I always make sure my kids understand that they can be proud of what they managed on their own. Handling these projects independently will benefit your kids far more than having you do most of the work.

Working from home may in part be about being there for your kids,  but it shouldn’t be about doing everything for your kids. Allowing them to take as much of the lesson from homework as possible is a big help. Don’t be afraid to help when it’s really needed, but also don’t get dragged into doing the assignment for them.

The ability to do their homework independently will be a huge help as they get older. You don’t want your kids expecting you to do too much of their homework as they go through high school or college. The sooner they’re comfortable handling their homework on their own, the more confident they will be about it. Just make sure they know you’re there when they really need help.

Do Kids Really Need To Do Their Homework?

The need for homework at all can be something of a controversy. While many parents demand homework for their children if teachers don’t already assign it, research shows that it may not be beneficial for early elementary students.

Worse, it might even be detrimental.

Consider the research and your individual child’s needs, and talk to their teacher if you disagree with their homework policy. You might change their minds or at least come up with a deal for your child.

Chores

Teaching kids to do chores well is a real pain. My kids can clean the kitchen fairly well and it is such a relief to be able to tell them that it’s time to clean up in there rather than always doing it myself.washing dishes

Teaching them to do it, as I said, wasn’t fun. Much harder than doing it myself. Many times I’d have to do the job over later. But if they don’t try, they don’t learn.

 

But now that they do that and other cleaning without direct supervision on my part, life is so much easier. They don’t like doing chores, but they know it’s a skill they need, so there is a certain degree of pride in their own abilities there too.

My kids first experienced cleaning the floor, for example, with an electric carpet sweeper. It worked great on hard floors too. Carpet sweepers are much easier than vacuums for small children, but they allow kids to quickly clean up those inevitable spills they make all by themselves. This gives them a touch of responsibility plus the pride of doing it themselves.

Playtime

Playtime should be one of the great times for you to give your kids independence during the school year. Children need play. It’s good for them. When they’re younger, it’s better for them than homework.

Kids love it when you play with them. They need the attention. But you should also encourage them to play on their own or with friends. They don’t need your help to have fun every minute.

Independent play at any age encourages your kids’ creativity. They can come up with ideas for things to do on their own.

creative

Make sure they have lots of supplies for fun projects. I don’t mean just toys. Encourage them to make things as well. Here are some of the things I keep on hand for my kids:

Get better quality and more challenging items as the kids get older. I even have a soldering kit for my older kids.

As your kids get older, you can encourage independence by having them arrange their own time to play with friends. You don’t have to arrange play dates all the time with the parents – encourage the kids to come up with their own plans and then confirm that it’s okay. You probably made plans with your friends when you were a kid – let your children do likewise.

Alone Time

My oldest is getting into time for herself in a big way lately, which is driving my youngest a bit up the wall, as she’d rather be with her big sister. While it’s something of an annoyance for her siblings, it’s very healthy for my oldest. She’s doing things on her own, in her own way, whether she decides to close herself up in her room or go up a tree outside. Who doesn’t sometimes need time to be alone with their thoughts?

This kind of independence can take some rules. It’s not a great idea to allow computers or other devices that can access the internet into the kids’ bedrooms, for example. You can figure out rules for your family while considering both online safety and giving your kids some independence.

The Benefit to Parents

Parents benefit tremendously from having children who are capable of doing many things independently. It means you don’t have to be the entertainment or the boss all of the time. For me and my family, that makes the times we choose to do things together all the more fun. We aren’t usually being pushed to do things together, as that’s not the only way we function.

It’s much easier for me to work at home this way. I can work while the kids play, do homework, chores or watch television. I’m usually around them still so that questions can be answered, but if they don’t need help and are generally behaving, they don’t want my interference, as a general rule.

Letting go is hard, I’ll grant that. It was hard when my oldest started to wander a larger range outside. Letting them go to where I couldn’t just yell for them and expect an answer wasn’t easy. Cell phones as the kids got older helped, as I can send a text when I need them home, but some of the places they like to play don’t have much reception, so it doesn’t always help.

You also need to consider how much your children will need to be independent later in life. The sooner you encourage them to be independent, the better they’ll be at it. They probably aren’t going to live with you forever, and you need to know that they can handle things without you. Helping them build up good habits now will benefit them later. Don’t let school get in the way more than necessary.

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 July 23rd, 2018

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

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

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

Don’t be Ashamed of Falling for Scams

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

uncertainty cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

You guessed it. Same scam.

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

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

You May Not Always Earn What You Hope to Earn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What matters is that you take it seriously.

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

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

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

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

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

trouble ahead

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

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

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

Self Discipline May Not Come Naturally

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

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

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

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

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

But you need more.

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

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

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

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

Overwork Comes Too Naturally

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

overwork

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

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

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

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

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

Expenses Catch You By Surprise

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

Work At Home Job Expenses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home Business Expenses

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

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

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

Don’t forget basic advertising expenses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Updated 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 April 23rd, 2018

The Disadvantages Of Flexible Work At Home

The Disadvantages Of Flexible Work At Home

Many people who want to work at home are looking for something flexible. They picture being able to grab the kids from school, hit the gym in the middle of the day, or meeting up with friends. The disadvantages of a flexible work at home job aren’t fully considered. This can lead to problems at work as reality sinks in.

The simple truth of the matter is that even flexible work at home jobs rarely give you complete freedom to work when you want. There will be online meetings scheduled, for example. You may need to coordinate with someone on a project. There will be days when your flexible schedule isn’t so flexible.

Employers that let you work at home with a flexible schedule will have the same requirements of you as those who insist upon a regular schedule. They’re just more relaxed about which hours of the day you get your work done.

Your Employer Isn’t The Biggest Challenge – You Are

The worst of the disadvantages of flexible work at home jobs have much more to do with the employee rather than the employer. To put it simply, it’s hard for many people to keep to an appropriate work routine without a regular schedule.

That’s all on you as a flexible work employee. If you can’t handle the work required without someone else telling you to work certain hours, the job will not work out for you. You must prepare for productive work each day.

A flexible work at home job isn’t like high school or college where you can try to get the whole project done the night before it’s due. It wasn’t a particularly good idea then, but it’s an even worse idea in your job. Most projects at work are far too complicated to be done so quickly.

This is why no matter how flexible the job is, you should give yourself a regular work schedule. Don’t take advantage of the flexibility by working different hours every day unless you have a reason to keep changing. If you don’t work fairly regular hours, it’s much too easy to work too few hours overall.

Employers Aren’t Entirely Off The Hook

Much as the employees create many of their own problems with flexible work at home jobs, many employers create problems as well. They may expect “flexible hours” to mean that employees are available, practically on-call, at any hour. If that wasn’t in the job description, it’s a problem.

A good employer understands that giving employees flexible hours to get their work done doesn’t mean the employees have no lives of their own. To the contrary, employees usually seek out flexible work hours so that they can live their lives while earning a living. Employers must be realistic about how many hours a week they expect employees to work, and how much needs to get done during those hours.

Other employers have difficulty trusting flexible work at home employees. How do they know you’re productive and not goofing off? They need to track what flexible employees are accomplishing so that they know things are going well.

Communication Challenges

All work at home jobs have some communication challenges. It can be difficult keeping everyone up to date when you aren’t talking face to face. Tools such as Slack make this much easier, but it doesn’t suit everyone. Combine that with the many kinds of work at home schedules, and it can be difficult to keep up with each other.

Flexible hours make this into an even bigger disadvantage for people who work at home. Scheduling online meetings that everyone can attend becomes more difficult. You also can’t rely on the person you need to communicate with being available right when you need them.

Good employers will have plenty of options for keeping in contact, no matter how flexible your hours may be. A part of your learning curve may be learning how to keep up with everyone using these tools. Communication within remote teams has improved so much in recent years, but not every employer takes full advantage of the possibilities.

Friends And Family

Your friends and family can create their own disadvantages to your work at home experience, especially if they know your hours are flexible. Many will mistake that for you being available to them at any time.

They might think you’re available to babysit their sick child so they can get to work, or watch for a delivery while they’re at work. You’re home all day – why can’t you help them? Don’t you care???

If you have a flexible work at home job, teach your friends and family that there are limits to that flexibility. You will need to set many of those restrictions yourself. It may take time to teach them to respect your work hours just as much as they would respect the work hours of someone working outside the home.

The Fun Distractions

When you work in an office, coworkers and coffee breaks are acceptable distractions, within reason. When you work at home, there are quite a few more distractions that most people wouldn’t dare pay attention to in the office. Sometimes these may seem like they’re perks of working at home, but they’re as likely to be disadvantages.

Some people like to binge favorite shows on Netflix or other services, for example. It’s easy to get into the habit of streaming a show while you work. What many people don’t realize is how much time they lose to watching their shows rather than focusing on their work.

Kids and pets are fun distractions as well. One of my cats loves to get on my lap if she’s cold. She also sits on my head and chair headrest if she’s playful. It’s pretty distracting sometimes, even when it’s fun. Kids bring in homework questions or just want company.

Have a plan to deal with these fun distractions. Take advantage of your flexible work at home job, for example, and schedule yourself around when the kids may need you.

When you decide to work at a flexible work at home job, make sure that you’re ready to deal with the advantages and the disadvantages, especially the ones you have control over. If you aren’t committed to making the time for your work, the job won’t be a good match for you.

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.