How to Earn Money From Home

Posted on Feb 17th, 2020

A traditional nine-to-five job revolves around an employee coming to work for a set amount of hours, in a set location, on a set number of days. It’s a simple model, but it’s rarely as clear-cut as it sounds. In ideal circumstances, your transportation, housing, availability and skillsets come together at the right time to fit your career. Life is often much messier.

Whether you’re a working parent, stay-at-home parent, part-time worker or college student, you need a reliable income. Your schedule and needs are unique, and they may not be compatible with an in-office job. If you’re looking for a flexible way to make extra money, working from home may be for you.

Benefits of Working From Home

Working from home can be a convenient solution to help support you and your family. Some of the benefits of remote work include:

  • Saving Money: When you work from home, you spend less on gas, clothing and parking. Parents who work from home may also save on childcare costs.
  • Saving Time: Without a daily commute, you can enjoy extra time in your day. That time is valuable — whether you spend it with your kids, use it to accomplish tasks or find a few more minutes to relax.
  • Convenient Location: Traditional nine-to-five jobs require you to live near your employer and commute. When you work from home, you can choose to live wherever is most convenient and prioritize what matters to you. You can live near a spouse’s job, choose an area with a cost-of-living you can afford or live near family or excellent schools.
  • Flexible Hours: Depending on your job, you may be able to set your own work hours. This allows stay-at-home parents or individuals with part-time jobs to maximize their free time for work. People who work full-time can select hours that align best with their productivity. People with health concerns can schedule their work around their wellness and doctor’s appointments.
  • Custom Experience: When you work from home, you can create the exact environment you need to be successful. Customize your desk, office, music, workflow and work times to fit your life.
  • Staying Healthy: Though working from home doesn’t guarantee better health, you won’t be exposed to the sicknesses common in a shared workspace. Staying home can minimize your exposure to germs to keep you healthy and reduce your yearly medical bills.

Your situation is unique. Working from home can help you balance your life and income while giving you a work option that is just as individualized.

Types of Work-From-Home Opportunities

There are a variety of opportunities for those who want to earn money from home. Full-time remote work can be a great option for anyone who wants work stability and location flexibility. Part-time work from home offers flexibility that makes it easier to fit into your existing schedule.

Work-from-home positions and time commitments may vary based on how much you currently work and your areas of expertise. Full-time remote jobs tend to require more training and specialized ability than part-time jobs. If you have a degree, working from home full-time could be a sustainable way to use your skills in a flexible manner. Part-time positions at home, often called “side hustles,” tend to stem from specific hobbies or talents and don’t require as much specialized training. These positions might work well for anyone who wants to earn extra cash.

Here are some full-time and part-time work-from-home opportunities to consider:

  1. Virtual Assistant: A virtual assistant (VA) provides support to businesses remotely. VA responsibilities can include managing calendars, running social media and making phone calls. VA job listings are diverse — some positions ask for specific skills and others don’t. Some VA jobs are structured as full-time positions and others are part-time.
  2. Interpreter or Translator: If you are fluent in or have a bachelor’s degree in another language, remote interpretation or translation could be a good fit for you. Interpretation tends to require in-person work, but some online platforms hire interpreters to work from home translating meetings in real-time. Translation work is more project-based and can usually take place entirely from home.
  3. Web Developer: Web developers typically work in teams to design and create new websites. If you have computer design and coding experience, you may be able to apply your knowledge from home. Some remote web developers choose to operate on a freelance basis, taking projects from different clients and building a portfolio of full-time work. Other developers work for a single organization full- or part-time.
  4. Graphic Designer: A variety of industries hire graphic designers to artfully compose advertisements, graphics and text for print and web. If you have design skills and are familiar with graphic design programs, you may be able to work from home.
  5. Teacher or Tutor: Teaching and tutoring positions are offered in a wide range of subjects to support K-12, college and graduate online schooling options. If you have a degree in education, you may be able to instruct students from home. Individuals without an education degree but with experience in a specific subject may be able to tutor students virtually.
  6. Writer or Editor: Websites, flyers and magazines require content, and writers are the people who supply it. Some companies hire an in-house writer to manage their voice, but others look for remote writers and editors to fill this need. From blogging to copywriting, anyone with a laptop and a way with words can work full-time writing from home. Many remote writers work freelance for several clients, but businesses in several industries also offer full-time remote writing positions.
  7. Social Media Specialist: Social media specialists plan, write, post and manage a business’s social content. They may also shape content campaigns, increase follower engagement or promote brand visibility. More in-depth work may be full-time whereas managing posts may be part-time. Some positions may require a communication or public relations degree, but others may be a good fit for those without a degree who understand social media and what users want to see.
  8. Consultant: If you’re skilled in a specific area, you may be able to provide counsel to other businesses. With the assistance of video conferencing and phone calls, consultants help businesses solve problems by providing industry insight and suggesting a course of action. Marketers, agents, therapists and Search Engine Optimization experts are just some of the experts who can provide consultation services remotely.
  9. Rent out a Room: The advent of online home rental platforms has made it simple for individuals with free space to connect with those looking for a place to rent. If you have a spare room, spare floor or living space above your garage, you may be able to make extra money renting it to short- and long-term tenants.
  10. Providing Childcare: Childcare is always in demand. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or an individual with free time, babysitting for others can be a flexible, reliable way to earn extra money. You can provide care for one family or several families within a sustainable child-to-caregiver ratio. For proper safety, you may want to become CPR and childcare certified. If you aren’t connected with families in need of childcare, post your services on online babysitter platforms to find work.
  11. Pet or House-Sitting: When family, friends or neighbors go on vacation, they might need someone to watch their pets, maintain their home and fetch the mail each day. This can be one of the easiest ways to earn extra income. Offer your services to those in need locally to find sitting opportunities, or connect with individuals outside your circle on online pet-sitting and house-sitting platforms.
  12. Instrument or Voice Lessons: If you’re skilled in an instrument or singing, you may be able to offer lessons out of your home. Whether it’s local schoolchildren or adults who want to learn for the first time, the need for musical training is prevalent in many communities.
  13. Selling Handmade Goods Online: According to Statista, roughly 270 million Americans will make online purchases in 2019. E-commerce sites are growing, and there are a variety of platforms for sellers of all kinds. Handmade crafts, art, food, clothes, jewelry, designs and lesson plans all have a place online. With an online selling platform, you could turn your hobby into a business.
  14. Photography: People in all stages of life want to document special moments with photography. If you have a DSLR camera and an eye for composition, you could help capture these moments in your community. Depending on the number of clients you take on, photography can easily blossom from a side hustle to a full-time business.

When selecting your work from home position, identify how your strengths, passions and lifestyle intersect. Also, consider your life situation and current work status to help you narrow down the option that’s right for you.

Where to Find Work at Home Gigs

To maximize your time while searching for a work from home position, it’s helpful to know where to look. Here are some places to start when seeking work-at-home opportunities:

  • Local newspaper classifieds: Classifieds can be a great place to find job listings from both businesses and individuals. “Situation Wanted” ads may connect you with individuals looking for services like childcare or landscaping. Businesses may also advertise openings, but you’ll want to make sure they specify that a position is work-from-home before applying.
  • Online freelance directories: There a variety of websites designed to connect freelancers with clients in need. As a freelancer, sites allow you to post your skills and services — almost like an e-commerce site — so that clients can shop for the service they need. Some sites allow businesses to post a description of their projects and accept bids from freelancers. Freelance directories can be a simple way to connect with clients who are looking for your skills.
  • Online job listings: Searching for a job online is as simple as typing your desired position into a search engine. A standard search will most likely provide a majority of in-office positions rather than work-from-home positions. For strategic searching, check one of several online job board sites that focuses its listings on remote positions. These sites remove the need to wade through in-office jobs listings and allow you to find and apply for relevant openings quickly.
  • Service platforms: If you’re looking to provide a service to someone — like renting a room or selling a product — search online for websites that help facilitate these transactions. Sites exist for selling goods, house-sitting, pet-sitting, and more. To start connecting with your target audience, check to see if a platform exists for the service you’d like to provide.

Another way to find or grow your client base is to advertise your services. Creating a social media account for your side hustle is a free way to promote your services with pictures and text. You can also pay to take out newspaper ads or run web ads.

Be Cautious of Scams

Because many work-at-home opportunities don’t require a face-to-face interview process, scammers sometimes use remote job postings to steal money and bank information from people. To avoid a scam, the Federal Trade Commission recommends the following protective measures:

  • Research the companies and contacts given in remote job listings. Try entering the business or person’s name into a search engine followed by the words “reviews,” “scam,” or “complaint.” You may discover that individuals have been scammed by the business or contact in question and reported it online. If that’s the case, your best bet is to stay away.
  • Proceed with caution if the job listing sounds too good to be true. Some scams promise large paychecks for minimal work. Many of these opportunities can be veiled attempts to obtain your credit card information or to avoid disclosing the true amount of work and costs a position requires.
  • Remember that employers should pay you, not the other way around. You shouldn’t have to invest significant amounts of money or give your banking information to an employer upfront. If an interviewer asks you to purchase a “starter kit” or give your credit card information, the position is likely a scam.
  • Ask questions about your work and the business to find out if the position is legitimate. The FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule requires sellers to give you a disclosure document outlining key information about the position. In addition to this document, ask about the tasks, salary, paycheck system and any fees involved in a program.
  • Be wary of certain listings. The FTC lists the following positions as common work-at-home scams: starting an internet business, envelope stuffing, craft assembly, rebate processing, medical billing, mystery shopping and multilevel marketing plans. If you notice any of these jobs advertised online, it is safest to avoid applying for them.

Trust your instincts when reviewing listings online. If you think a position may be a scam, avoiding it will save you time and energy. Being informed about the positions you apply for will help keep you safe as you search for work-from-home jobs.

How to Manage Work From Home Logistics

Many times, working from home puts you in charge of tracking and managing elements that employers usually handle. Keeping your earnings and expenses organized can save you time and stress.

Here are some work-from-home logistics to consider when managing your side hustle or career:

  • Tracking Expenses: If you buy office supplies, pay for advertising or have other costs associated with your side hustle, keep track of them. Common expenses may include home office space, internet, electronic equipment and advertising. You can usually deduct “ordinary and necessary” business expenses, so save any receipts to help you keep track.
  • Tracking Income: From Excel sheets to accounting software, there are a variety of ways to track your income. What’s important is that you record every payment you receive. If a company automatically sends a check, keep the paystub. If you invoice your clients, keep copies of your invoices and include the date and amount of payment. Tracking the invoices you’ve sent and the payments you receive will help keep your business’s long-term finances in line. Depending on the size of your business, it may be helpful to use invoicing software.
  • Taxes: Many work-from-home opportunities are contracted positions, which means the company you work for doesn’t withhold taxes for you. Set aside a portion of your work from home income for taxes. It’s a good idea to work with an accountant if you are going to have freelance or self-employment income, to make sure you are following the rules and not paying more tax than is required of you. The American Institute of CPAs has a database of trusted CPAs to help you find one near you.
  • Time Management: Working from home gives you more freedom and flexibility with your time. While this is helpful for many, it may also make it more challenging to find the motivation to do your work. To help manage your time when working from home, create to-do lists and set a regular schedule. Find a dedicated work area with minimal distractions.

Work From Home for a Better Future

Working from home is a valuable opportunity to supplement your life situation with a career that matches. However you support yourself and those you love, we know you have goals. Open a savings account with Mid Penn Bank to help save toward those goals with an organization close to home.