This is a guest article by Michael, chief editor of DoughRoller.net. DoughRoller.net helps consumers figure out the best Netflix plans for their home movie experiences. There is a lot of bad information online about working from home, with scammy and spammy websites offering ideas about quick ways to make money without doing much work — and all require an up-front purchase of some sort. As someone who went from working full-time two jobs to working full-time for myself on a very legitimate endeavor, this article is particularly appropriate.
Working from home comes with a long list of benefits and drawbacks. One benefit is that you make your own schedule, so working from home can give you a great degree of flexibility. On the other hand, that flexibility can mean that friends and family will ask you for favors all of the time. Thinking that you don’t have an office to go to, they’ll assume you’re around to pick up their dry cleaning. And, if you’re not good at time management, you might find that your productivity slips.
Regardless of the pros and cons, working from home provides a flexible, part-time way to augment your current income. If you’ve been wondering whether working from home is right for you, we’ll shoot you five legitimate ways to make your new, at-home career work.
Running an online store. Have you ever thought about selling goods on eBay, Half.com, or other online sales sites? This just might be the job for you. Many owners of online stores keep inventory in their home or basement. When a sale comes in, they pack and ship the purchase to the customer. Other companies simply drop ship stock. (“Drop ship” is an industry term for when a retailer places an order with a manufacturer or distributor and has the manufacturer or distributor ship the product straight to the consumer.) You may have read in the news recently that a ten-year-old Michigan girl managed to turn one such website into a half million dollar company. So if you find the right product, there’s no telling how successful you’ll be.
Turn your hobby into a sale-producing venture. If you’re a hobbyist of any sort, you might be able to turn your craft of passion into a paying business. This could be anything from building furniture to knitting or building birdhouses. If you’ve ever gotten sincere compliments from someone on your work — or, better yet, if someone has asked where you bought something you made yourself — you may be on the right track. You’d be surprised what sort of market you can find with local word of mouth and the internet on your side.
Freelance your writing skills. Should you have that right background and skills, you may be able to find great freelance writing work. While a lot of freelance work centers on local stories or copy writing, you can also find work writing newsletters, fliers, or other promotional literature for local organizations, including websites. Check local job listings, ask around and don’t be afraid to cold call. Although most organizations may not be looking for help, they may know others who are. Making money as freelance writer won’t bring in millions, but it can help stabilize a budget.
Telecommuting call center worker. Believe it or not, many call center workers don’t work in business settings. With the help of the internet and call routing services, some companies pay call-center workers to work customer service jobs at home. If you think this is the sort of job you might be interested in, check out Live Ops, Accolade Support, Alpine Success, Arise, and Extended Presence. Specifics vary across the industry on everything from pay to hour requirements and flexibility. Investigate what opportunities different companies have available, and hopefully you’ll find something advantageous to your wallet and schedule. Some companies also offer similar work from home opportunities involving cold-call sales positions, so poke around and see what you find.
Become a blogger. This last suggestion can be a bit of a lift, but consider turning your passion into a blog. The financial rewards of blogging can be anything from a few bucks a week, to a few hundred thousand a year. To make money, a blog must attract enough readers to generate advertising revenue. That can take a long time, if it happens at all. Blogging can also be your extra-curricular activity of choice, particularly if you consider writing its own reward. Consider whether or not people who read about your topic also make internet purchases, and see if any of the big name sellers in the industry have affiliate programs. If they do, reviewing products honestly and openly might give you a chance to earn kickbacks from retailers. Before jumping into this potential money-maker, educate yourself on writing for the web, search engine optimization, and — of course — your topic of interest.
The sort of work you can do from home is largely dictated by your time constraints and your creativity. If you have a great idea, let nothing stand in your way! Always be wary of anything that sounds too good to be true, and never give sensitive information to anyone before you’re convinced that their business is legitimate.
Published or updated April 20, 2011.