With job postings still scarce, job security dissipating, and wages seemingly stagnant at best, many people are trying to establish some security by creating multiple streams of income. It’s a smart strategy, but if you have trouble leaving your home or primary position to get to a second job, you’ll find yourself frustrated and stressed out.
Perhaps you’re raising kids and you’re committed to not using daycare. Maybe you’re a little older and can’t commit to a full-time job. Or you might be injured or disabled, making it difficult for you to leave your home each day. Whatever your reason is, if you’re stuck at home most of the day, you’ve probably thought about the income you could be making by taking a work-from-home job or running your own business.
Good news: There are plenty of legitimate ways to earn extra money sitting right where you are right now. Some of them involve starting your own small business, while others mean working for someone else using your home as an office.
These endeavors aren’t without traps and challenges, though, so before we take a look at some legitimate ways to make money from your home, let’s review a few things that you should avoid. Unfortunately, if you want to earn an honest living from home, you’re also a common target of scammers, especially in these economically tough times. But if you keep these simple rules in mind, you won’t become a victim of one of the many work from home scams.
1. Freelance Writing: Sell Your Words
I may as well start with something I know well. When I started out as a freelance writer 20 years ago, things were very different. I wrote mostly for magazines, and I had to rely on snail mail to send out drafts and queries. I’d wait weeks for a response from my editors. Not many people had the patience for it, and few stuck around long enough to ever start earning a real income from it.
But the Internet has changed everything. Today, you can decide to become a freelance writer and, if you’re fortunate, get an assignment that very same day. Obviously, the better your skills and training are, the better your projects andfreelance writing rates will be.
Today’s freelance writers can choose from a variety of markets. You can write for magazines, either online or in print. You can blog by setting up your own site, or by writing for someone else’s. The market for new articles on the Internet is vast, and there’s plenty of work to go around.
2. Classes: Sell Your Knowledge
Another great way to earn money from your home office is to sell your skills or knowledge by teaching classes. For instance, if you’re an exercise guru, you might start an exercise class in a large spacious area in your home. People are willing to pay to learn about many fields of knowledge, from cooking and gardening to soap or candle making. Playing a musical instrument, child birthing, dancing, dog training, yoga, and even foreign languages are all great topics for expert classes.
The key is to make the class sound unique and irresistible. Don’t just teach a cooking class; come up with specialty cooking classes. You might teach a class on how to make artesian breads, or cinnamon rolls that rival Cinnabon. The possibilities are endless, and if you consistently offer educational and fun classes, you’ll have people signing up over and over again.
3. Bed and Breakfast: Sell Space in Your Home
If you have a spare bedroom and bathroom, and a high tolerance for other people being in your home, you may be able to make money from home by hosting people in your home. Overnight travelers are always looking for a comfortable bed and breakfast, especially since frequent travelers are often weary of hotels and motels.
Your home is certainly more attractive than the mainstream sterile environments and run of the mill decor. Savvy homeowners have been taking advantage of their spare space, and they’re making money by offering travelers a one of a kind experience in a warm, friendly environment.
The best part is that people who use bed and breakfasts are more likely to pay more for the experience. The challenge is that there’s a lot of competition in this field, so if you think earning money this way is right for you, you’ll have to set up your home in a way that makes for a memorable experience for guests.
4. Farmers’ Market: Sell Your Produce and Gourmet Foods
Every Saturday I visit the local farmers’ market, and every time I’m amazed at how wonderful their fruits and vegetables look compared to the choices in the grocery store.
While I’m a gardener too, I’ve never quite been able to grow such fantastic looking produce. If you’re blessed with a greener thumb than mine and you’re growing mass quantities of fruits, vegetables, or herbs, you just may be able to use those skills to earn some extra income.
Farmers’ markets are rapidly becoming the go-to places for people who want to eat fresh, wholesome foods. Local and organic both sounds great to buyers, and you’re not just limited to selling fruits and vegetables. Just yesterday I bought fresh homemade goat cheese and a roasted tomato pesto that almost brought me to tears.
You’d do most of your work in a home garden, but you’ll have to spend your weekends away from home. If you love the idea of selling your home-grown produce, but can’t swing being out of the house on weekends, consider selling to friends, family, and neighbors instead. Almost everyone prefers the taste of a fresh picked tomato to a store bought one.
5. Call Centers: Sell Your Time and Voice
If you have a great telephone voice, an ability to organize information quickly, and a quiet place in your home to work, you could make money working for a call center.
What is it exactly? Call centers cater to businesses that don’t have someone to answer their phones 24 hours a day. The calls are routed to a call center, and then sent out to individuals who work from their homes. These workers are equipped with computers and software to be able to answer customer’s questions.
The average pay for these jobs is about $9 per hour, and some companies offer health, dental, even matching 401k plansfor their employees.
For some people, work just has to be in an office, factory, store, or any other environment that’s separate from home. Even a second job would have to be in a separate place. For others, a home office is a welcome place for a secondary or even a primary job. If you’re one of those people, you have some unique opportunities, but you also have some very particular challenges of working from home.
Make sure you set a smart schedule that lets you diligently focus on your work, without throwing the rest of your life out of balance. And make sure you always keep your guard up for scams and cheats. When you’re on your own, you might have a little more freedom with your schedule, but you lose the sense of protection that a company can provide.
These ideas are just ten of the great ones for earning money from your own home. While employment opportunities are getting scarcer, isn’t it good to know that your ability to take things into your own hands is getting greater?