Doing an online search for a work at home job is a rite of passage. Before baby, you were all gung-ho about traipsing back to the office. Then something happened.
You had a baby.
Now you’re unsure and you find yourself wondering what life would look like if you could earn money from home, with your baby. So you type these epic words into your phone: work at home job.
It begins. The toe has been dipped. You’re going to reel something in.
The question is, will it be the golden fish of wishes? Or a great white shark ready to swallow you whole? The goal today is to help you know the difference. So, to that end, here are my favorite work at home job solutions.
Got your wet suit on?
Let’s dive in.
Or, if you’d rather NOT dive in, here is the big ocean of information arranged in kiddie-size pools:
- Call Centers & Customer Service
- Offers & Surveys
- Freelance Work
- Selling Homemade Items
- Blogging as a Business
Call Centers & Customer Service
These jobs are pretty self-explanatory. Companies hire you to sit at your computer at home and answer the phone (on a headset) or do other customer service tasks.
A few companies who hire for this service include… (Click each link below for their hiring page.)
- American Express
- Amazon (look under “Remote Career Opportunities”)
- Alpine Access (now hiring in Canada, too!)
Those are just a few of the companies who have work at home job openings. The Work At Home Resource Guide has a full list on their website here.
- If you are hired as an employee, you may be eligible for benefits
- Possibility of climbing the ladder and getting promotions later on when the kids are older.
- Some companies require stronger “office hours” like a regular job.
- May still need to have a Nanny come to your home (try Care to find a good one) or daycare service.
The Bottom Line
This is a great option for a parent who wants to avoid commuting, but have regular income. It’s low-risk, higher-paying, and has great long-term potential. That said, these kinds of jobs are usually not as flexible as the others listed below.
Offers and Surveys
These websites will pay you for watching videos, taking surveys, or trying product offers. The most well-known companies who do this are…
- Very easy, you can do it in 20-30 minute increments throughout the day.
- Flexible, you work only when you want to.
- Can be risky if you’re not organized.
- Low payout unless you spend a lot of time, which may or may not be worth it.
- When you sign up you agree to receive emails from them AND their 3rd party sponsors. Might want to create a dummy email!
The Bottom Line
Can you make money this way? Yes, but you can also lose money.
One option (which you can choose to skip if you want to) involves participating in “offers”. This means you sign up for a free limited-time program or service to “try” for free.
You will get paid for signing up, but if you forget to cancel before the trial period is up you’ll be charged the full cost of the service or product. This means that instead of them paying you, you are paying them.
You don’t have to do offers, you can do surveys or watch videos, but offers pay better and so are tempting. Just make sure you’re organized and know exactly who to call and when after you sign up.
BONUS TIP: They will give you the number on the sign up page, but it will be harder to find once you’ve signed up, so write down the cancellation number before you actually sign up.
Here’s an example of an “Offer”. Watch out for that little * sign!
Freelancing is when you offer your services to someone, but you aren’t their employee. Examples of freelancers include writers, graphic designer, programmers, translators, or virtual office assistants.
How do people know that you exist and are ready to work for them? You sign up under websites like these:
- It’s flexible – you work when you can (unless you’re in customer service freelancing)
- It can lead to great long-term positions with loyal clients
- The websites above handle all your billing and payments, a huge time saver.
- You may have to “bid” on work requests, so you have to know what’s competitive – and keep your customer satisfaction rate high!
- You are responsible for tracking your income and reporting it for taxes if you make more than $600 in a year.
The Bottom Line
It’s a great way to bring in extra income while still working for yourself. This is one of my favorite solutions for parents who want to make money, but still have a flexible schedule.
I’ve used these kinds of services many times in the past to hire people to help me with various projects, many of whom I still contact when I need something!
Many of the companies above have a “bidding” format for getting jobs. This means a company will post the work they need done, and various people will give them an offer on what they would charge to complete that service.
BONUS TIP: If you’re just starting off, bid low! As you build up your long list of satisfied customers, you’ll be able to increase your fees because you’ll have a track record of thrilled clients to show you’re worth it!
Selling Homemade Items
How does this option work?
Like this: You are good at making stuff, so you decide to make a lot of that stuff, and then sell that stuff in return for greenish papery-stuff.
Companies where you can sell your stuff:
- There’s a market for well-crafted unique items!
- Flexibility – you can work ahead and stock your shelves.
- It’s a way for you to make money doing something you love to do!
- You need space to store your handmade items before shipping.
- You’re paying for the materials, so make sure you’ve done your pricing homework!
- You need to work ahead to make sure you have items on hand – most people don’t want to wait 4-5 weeks for an item unless it’s personalized!
- Competition can be fierce (why are your baby blankets better? Find your niche and then emphasize that difference!)
- Trademarks – Companies are very picky about people using their designs. Do you want to sell Taggie blankets? Be prepared to receive a Cease and Desist letter from their lawyers.
The Bottom Line
There’s great earning potential here…but also great potential for stress and heartbreak.
Take the time to write up a plan before you get started by asking these questions:
- What am I selling?
- How much does it cost me to create that object?
- How much time does it take me to create that object? (What’s my hourly rate?)
- What are other people charging for that object?
- How much money can I expect to make on that object? (Add up #2, #3, and subtract #4)
- How many objects do I think I can reasonably make per week?
- What is my shipping policy? (Flat rate? If so, what is it?)
- Where do I want to base my store? (The options above are a good place to start, but read the fine print! They have fees you’ll have to consider.)
- How am I going to get people to my store? (Facebook page, word of mouth, sample contests, local craft shows, etc.)
- How many items do I want to have in stock before I “launch” on Etsy, Art Fire, Zazzle, etc.
Blogging as a Business
Obviously, this is the “solution” that the Hubster and I decided on way back in 2007 when I started my first website.
- The work you do compounds upon itself. It’s like a snowball rolling down a hill. It never stops.
- It’s a 24/7/365 model – providing income when you’re on vacation.
- You get to set your own hours.
- You have to invest a lot of time in learning how to blog as a business (which is different than just blogging).
- It’s not going to pay the bills immediately, you have to see it as a business that will grow, not as an immediate revenue source.
- Some investment may be required (but if you start here like I did, it’s only a $1 a day).
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot of potential with this WAHM solution, but it requires a lot of work to get there.
If you want to blog as a business, and judging by the amount of emails I get on this subject, many of you do, here are my getting-started recommendations.
#1: Pick a good theme.
There are zillions of blogs/website out there that are personal blogs, and only a very small percentage make any money. If you want this to be a business, start thinking of it right away as a business.
The dirty little secret about blogging is that 99.9% of bloggers don’t make anything (or pennies in regards to the effort their putting in). They write about too many things, so there’s no focus. Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but nowadays the exception is never the rule.
What is the rule?
This: If you want to earn money blogging, don’t focus on you. Focus on your reader.
Figure out what issues your reader is struggling with, and then how you can help them overcome that struggle. Not understanding that simple rule is why most bloggers (even those with big readership numbers) don’t make a dime.
#2: Find a good teacher.
Trust me, you need someone to help you focus your efforts. It’s like drinking from a firehose. You can either try to do it yourself (a.k.a try to swallow the ocean), OR you can have someone help you, and drink in manageable sips.
When I initially started my first blog, my technical skills maxed out at Google searches and email. That’s it. That’s all I knew how to do. I had NO technical skills whatsoever. (My background is in social work, not engineering!)
I didn’t know anything about SEO, internet marketing, affiliate sales, social media, etc., etc. I chose to work with this company, and it was the best decision I ever made. They broke everything down into a series of simple steps my brain could handle.
For less than $1 a day, they taught me everything I needed to build something I knew would be successful. Click here to see who got me started.
#3: Brush up on your writing skills.
Writing online is totally different than writing offline. People read differently online. They skim and jump from word to work, headline to headline.
You have to learn how to write in a way that will encourage them to slow down and actually read your articles. Especially if you tend be *ahem* a little long-winded and write long articles. *ahem*
If you’re going to communicate using a blog, it’s essential you learn how to connect virtually with your audience. It’s called “content marketing” and it’s a skill you’ll have to develop (no matter how good of a writer you are).
Start by reading through these websites for tips:
Should You Look for a Work At Home Job?
I think the biggest misconception parents have when they start looking for a work at home job is that it will make their lives easier.
Well, yes and no.
Yes, it is nice to not have to bustle out the door every morning at 7. And, for me, it’s a nice introverted bonus to not have to make small talk all day over the water cooler. And the coffee’s better. 🙂
But sometimes it’s also harder.
- Since I work from home, I’m always able to work. It’s a constant balancing act.
- Children are life’s cutest interrupters. (You see the baby sitting next to mom in the photo for this post? Yeah, that’s a lie.)
- It can be scary to work from home, financially-speaking. (This is an awesome post on how to calculate the numbers.)
That said, I love working from home.
Right now I’m in my little basement office with the heater blaring (Wisconsin, people), and listening to my girls giggling and racing all over the living room above me.
Not only am I able to participate in their life as often as they want me to, I can have a “non-children” adventure that provides for my family at the same time. #winwin
Do you work from home? What do you do? Do you like working from home?
Do you want to work from home? What’s holding you back? Which of these options might be a good fit?
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