Working from home is not for everyone. In order to be successful, you need to be cut from a certain cloth, meaning, ideally, you should be self-motivated, independent, organized, responsible, resourceful, and in possession of a certain skill set.
But if you are these things--and have the desire and lifestyle to make working from home an option—it can be wonderful. Here are five types of opportunities worth considering.
Lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, mental health workers, and salespeople:
Don’t necessarily have to be in an office, classroom, or courtroom to work in their field. Thanks to technology, there are opportunities for these professionals to earn money right from their couches-- taking phone calls, managing cases, and working one-on-one with students, patients, or clients. Some resources to look into include MedZilla.com and MedicalJobsOnline (for medical professionals), K12.com, Tutor.com, or ConnectionsAcademy.com (for teachers), and flexjobs.com and indeed.com (for lawyers, salespeople, and others).
Can sell their wares without having to make their own websites (or promote themselves at all) via Etsy.com. Hit the “Sell on Etsy” link in the upper right-hand corner of their website, and learn how to display and describe your unique creations. You’re responsible for shipping to your customers, and Etsy takes a small cut for hosting, but it’s still possible to make thousands of dollars doing what you love anyway.
Like jewelry company Stella & Dot, let you start a home business as a “Stylist,” at the cookware tool company, Pampered Chef, you can become a “Consultant,” and at “Mary Kay” cosmetics and skin care, you can be “An Independent Beauty Consultant.” These companies (and so many more) boast a sales model that encourages people who want to work from home to start their own selling business.
After an initial financial commitment required to get started (and obtain product samples and selling tools), salespeople (aka, stylists, consultants, etc.) are encouraged to tap into their contacts (and their friends’ contacts) and ask them to host virtual or in-person “parties” which result in rewards for the host(ess) and often hefty commissions for the sales representative. Computer, product knowledge, follow-up, presentational, and networking skills can result in a very successful enterprise. Enthusiasm for the represented product is critical.
While the words “Customer Service” often call up images of loud call centers, more and more, customer service workers are helping others from the comforts of their very own homes. To be eligible, previous experience in customer relations and data entry are pluses, while, enthusiasm, a computer, and patience are critical. Sites like upwork.com and freelancer.com are great resources for these kinds of positions.
As more and more small businesses emerge, many operating at least somewhat online, there is a growing need for administrative support without the big overhead costs normally associated with it. Enter Virtual Assistants: Independent contractors who handle things like responding to emails/inquiries, answering phones, scheduling appointments, and managing technical issues. Visit Zirtual.com or ODesk.com to learn more about finding at-home opportunities like these.
A word to the wise….
Keep in mind that for every legitimate opportunity, there are even more “work from home” schemes. To distinguish legit from a scam, keep these tips in mind:
Make sure the company is established and real (with a real phone number and street address). You should also type the name of the company and “scam” into your browser and see if anything comes up. Sometimes fake companies with names very similar to real, successful companies are created to confuse potential employees.
Look for a professional application and interview process, and whether the employer can detail the job’s expectations, salary, and review process.
While some real opportunities may ask you to invest a bit up front to get started (see selling businesses above), be wary of any that ask for a large investment requiring computers, vast inventory, etc.
If it seems too good to be true (salary potential, convenience, hours, ease of selling something expensive, not needed, or hard to understand, etc.), it probably is. Let common sense and gut instinct be your guides.
Whether an employee is employed in or outside of the home, he/she is going to want the best possible financial management tool for advice and guidance.