Working From Home â€“ Making Money While Working In A Job That Fits Your Life
September 23, 2008
Working from home. For many people it’s just a pipe dream, a fantasy that they don’t know how to make happen. It doesn’t have to be that way though. There really are a ton of ways to legitimately work from home.
Let’s talk about a few of those options, and some ways that you can change your job to fit your life.
Finding A Job Or Business That You Can Do At Home:
When you first begin your job search, it can be confusing, and a little intimidating. Don’t worry about that! You will quickly find ways of telling which work from home jobs are legitimate, and which ones are not.
Fair Warning: If you have to pay anyone a “set up fee” a “start up fee” or any other type of fee, it’s a scam. If it’s a legitimate job, they pay you to work, not the other way around.
Here are a few places that you can start your search for your ideal at home job:
1) Craigslist – When you check Craigslist, be sure to check areas that are local to you, as well as ones that are not. After all, there are employers all over the United States that advertise there, and if it’s an at-home job, you can live in one place and work for someone else no matter where they are.
2) Your Local Paper – Most businesses outsource things regularly. Everything from web design to lawn care. Keep an eye on your local ads each week – you’ll be surprised at what turns up.
3) Network – Your family and friends will probably be your very best resource when you first start looking for jobs that you can work from home. Put the word out that you are looking, and ask everyone you know to keep an eye out for you.
4) FreelanceWritingGigs.com – This is the web’s #1 resource for writing, and editing jobs. New jobs are listed every day, and the owners of the site are very thorough when they investigate job postings. The vast majority of jobs on this site are legitimate. There is an active community there too, so if a scam does slip through you can be sure that you will get plenty of warning from the other readers of the site.
5) Don’t forget to ask your current employer about working from home- There may be parts of your job that you would be able to do at home, and some companies do allow this. You will never know unless you ask. Working for your current employer might still require some office time, but depending on your job, it’s very possible that you can talk them into giving you at least part of the week to work from home.
6) Create Your Own Job – If you have a specialized skill like writing, editing, drawing or web design, you can put together a brief portfolio and approach clients on your own. This is an excellent way to grow your home based business on the side. Once you get enough steady income, you can give notice at your regular 9 to 5.
So, you might be saying, I can’t write, I can’t draw, I don’t know htmlâ€¦.I don’t know medical billing codesâ€¦Is there any way I can still work from home?
Well, yes. It all comes down to knowing yourself. What are you good at? Do you love children? You can start an in-home daycare. Have you always wanted to home school your children? Why not offer to teach your friends kid’s too? There is a high demand for data entry, and customer service / call center representatives who work from home too.
The truth is, if you really want to work from home, then all you have to do is work hard to find a way to do it. Set aside a time each day to sit down, and go over your options until you find one you like.
Will Working From Home Fit Your Life?
After you have some idea of what you would like to do, your next focus needs to be, how can you make it happen? There is a huge misconception that working from home will give you more free time. After all, you don’t have that morning and evening commute anymore, and you can take off anytime you need to right?
Well, here’s the hard truth about working from home (and running a small business, if you take that step.) It will not free up time. In fact, time management becomes an immediate issue. You also should probably know going into it that none of your friends or family members will actually understand that you really do “work” while you are home. So while you may be able to take off and go to lunch once in a while, or re-arrange your schedule to fit your needs, it can be difficult.
Before you begin working from home, take an honest look at your life. How many hours will you be able to work? Will you have to stop and start to pick your kids up from school? Are there any days that you will not be able to work because you have other priorities? If you can nail down your schedule before you start your job, then you will be far ahead of most people who work at home. If you cannot, then you may find yourself back in the office in less than six months.
Setting up your home office:
Whatever you choose to work at while you are home, you need to have a specific space set up in your house. You will need a computer, a fax machine, a cell phone, a P.O. Box, and possibly a few other business necessities. The more you are able to treat an at-home job like a 9 to 5 job, the easier the transition will be, and the more likely you are to succeed.
The Financial Aspects of Transitioning To A Job Or Business Working From Home:
There are some very real financial challenges that you will have to face when you start working from home. Here are just a few:
1) Your at home job may not pay as much as your regular job did – You have two choices here. You can take the pay cut in order to have the freedom of working from home, or you can work both jobs at the same time until you go crazy (or until your at-home job replaces the amount of income you will need.)
I chose the second option, and I did escape with my sanity. I worked as a freelance writer nearly full time for a year, while working my regular full time job, with a newborn. It can be done. I’m not going to tell you that it was always pretty, but I did it, and my family and I are better off for it today.
2) Your clients will pay you late, and sometimes not at all – If you can get setup on payroll with an employer, then you will not have to worry about this. If you are freelancing though, it comes with the territory. The financial challenge here is that you cannot count on the money until it is in your hand, so budgeting can be very difficult.
3) Have a healthy savings account before you take the plunge – There is no guarantee that the money people owe you will come in regularly. Having that savings account to fall back on will make all the difference between success and failure. If you have some good personal budgeting software, and you keep a close eye on your expenses then the transition will be much easier on you and your family.
If you are in debt, and you want to work at home, then the best thing you can do is start your business on the side, work the extra hours, and make the transition as gracefully as possible.
Make sure you set a savings goal. Once you meet that goal, then consider working full time from home. If you choose to jump into a full or part-time job at home with no savings, then you are probably defeating yourself before you even begin.
The funny thing about freelancing at home is that it will highlight every area of your life that you might normally ignore. Money management becomes paramount because your income is unpredictable. Time management is essential because sometimes your days will be unpredictable.
The rewards of working at home are amazing. I have time with my daughter, we save money because I have time to cook, and we no longer eat out. I can rearrange my schedule to fit my life to an extent, and overall, I feel very blessed to lead this life. However, it does take a lot of organization, determination, and plain old hard work – three things that don’t usually factor into the “fantasy” of working from home.
If you really are interested in working from home, then I would definitely encourage you to check out the resources above. Try picking up some work on the side first, and ease yourself into a full time at home job. Based off of my own experience, I believe that doing things that way will give you the best chance for success. Good Luck!
This review of work from home options and how they fit into your life and your finances is part of the Career Finances Guide.
All posts by Connie Brooks