Working outside of your home, as most people do, results in a lot of unpaid time doing things you would not do if you didn’t have the job.
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- Getting dressed (15 minutes),
- Gathering and packing any required gear (wallet, brief case, tools, files, etc.) (5 minutes)
- Prepping the car (scraping ice),
- Driving (25.4 minutes is the USA average commuting time one-way): 50 minutes round trip.
Total unpaid time: 1 hour and 10 minutes.
That’s nearly 6 hours per week, 24 hours per month and 300 hours per year.
If you earn $25 per hour, that’s $7,500 per year, or more importantly, a lot of time during which you could do things you enjoy.
When you work from home, even if you have set hours, you don’t waste any time just to get to work. You put in your time and call it a day.
Here’s a video clip from one of my favorite comedies “Office Space” showing just how frustrating commuting can be (and often is many days of the week):
Shouldn’t employers offer more telecommuting opportunities?
Logic would suggest that far more people would be able to work from home given today’s technology. However, most employers don’t offer the option to work from home even though it costs a lot of money to pay for office space.
There are good reasons for this (in my humble opinion). I used to run a local business with employees and while employees would work from home once in a while, permitting telecommuting is not ideal, especially for larger companies where people work in teams.
Another problem, which exists in Canada and may also exist in many other jurisdictions, is if an employer permits an employee to work from home, rescinding that permission is akin to constructive dismissal, which can result in the employee suing the employer. No employer wants that headache.
And then there are jobs that require attendance such as retail, trades, hospitality, etc.
Employers aren’t always the answer… often the line of work is
If working from home is important to you, don’t count on employers to offer it to you even though it’s technically possible with today’s technology.
If you want to work from home, pursue a line of work that is fundamentally performed at home.
Here’s a great list of well-paid work-from-home jobs:
A. Entrepreneurial Work-from-Home Options
You can make a great living as a freelance writer if you’re good. There are dozens of specialties you can become expert in and build up a reputation as a quality writer within that specialty.
It takes time to build the reputation, but once earned, you can charge top dollar for writing gigs.
Over my still-brief online career, I’ve probably written at least 2 million words of content. I’m not a freelance writer because I prefer publishing my own sites, but freelancing is a great way to start generating income quickly.
You can start by signing up as a writer to any number of content services such as WriterAccess.com, Constant-Content.com, iWriter.com, TextBroker.com, etc. You can also list your services on freelancing websites such as Upwork.com.
There are many directions and specialties to go as a freelancer. In fact, entire books are written about freelance writing.
My suggestion is to have realistic expectations when starting out. Freelancing is like any business, you must develop a reputation and gain experience before being able to charge premium dollars.
Income: In the beginning, unless you’re exceptional, the pay will be fairly low such as $10 to $15 per hour. However, once you have clients and are in demand, you can charge $50 to $500 per hour or more. If you specialize such as copywriting, speech writing, video scripts, and you’re good, you charge high hourly or per project rates.
Some photographers balk at selling their work at stock photo sites, but as far as I’m concerned, if I were a photographer, selling on stock photo sites would be my focus.
Why? Because you can generate passive income. Many successful stock photographers sell the same photo over and over for years.
The smart way to succeeding with stock photos is to analyze which types of photos sell well and then go about taking tens of thousands of such photos. Consider niche, style and quality.
Income: Unless you get lucky, you won’t earn much in the beginning. But, once you have a large portfolio with some decently selling images, you can earn a living income. The key is that you can build your income over time relying on residual income for older photos that continue selling.
Some stock photographers make millions of dollars a year. This is pretty rare, but it’s possible if you’re a savvy stock photographer.
This is a no-brainer. It’s not easy to break into the business because there are tens of thousands of website designers and developers.
It’s certainly not a business I would want to do, but if you’re good at it and are good at marketing your services, you can do very well.
The best approach is to offer additional services that generates recurring revenue such as SEO, social media, content, video production, etc. This way you can offer lower web design prices by bundling additional, recurring revenue services.
If you’re good, you’ll do well because clients will recommend you. If you’re good at SEO or social media, you can succeed very quickly because these skills translate to a lot of revenue for clients very quickly.
Income: If you freelance, you won’t make much money in the beginning, but can grow your business to potentially earn millions of dollars.
If you get a job with an agency, the median salary for junior designers is $42,000. Chances are you’ll need pretty decent skills to land this position with a solid portfolio.
This is the route I chose and have never regretted it. While some people may think blogging is child’s play or worse, I certainly don’t. It’s a fun way to earn a living and I’m certain every other blogger/website publisher who does it for a living agrees with me.
Like stock photography, being a website publisher offers excellent passive income opportunities. I use the term passive lightly because being a website publisher requires ongoing effort. The internet is changing all the time and you better stay up to date.
However, if you can grow it to the point where you have a team in place handling the nuts and bolts of your sites such as content generation and social media, you can get away with not working a whole lot and still enjoy a good standard of living.
While I have a team in place that’s profitable for me, I still work pretty hard because I’m growing by adding more sites to my portfolio. I’m also constantly testing new things on existing sites such as new:
- content ideas;
- revenue streams;
- social media approaches;
- user experience features; and
- traffic sources.
I currently have 4 B2C sites (3 of which are fairly large with excellent growth potential) and 2 B2B sites. This keeps me busy. I have more ideas for more site so I don’t expect to slow down any time soon.
That said, in 2015 I took 2 months off and still generated a decent income from my sites. More importantly, I can work fairly limited hours and still grow my business.
With a team in place, I can get quite a bit done on my mobile phone by emailing instructions.
I explain in full detail how I go about publishing successful websites here.
Income: Very low to very high. It depends on the success of the sites. I’m fortunate to do well, but I’m by no means the most successful website publisher. There are tens of thousands of more successful sites than mine. However, I earn a very good living as a website publisher. It took me about 2 years to get to $75,000 in annual revenue. It’s grown steadily since with fairly explosive growth in 2014.
The potential is nearly unlimited, especially if you sell. Some sites sell for tens or hundreds of millions. I don’t expect this, but 7 figures is certainly attainable once a site has a decent amount of success.
I have no interest in coding, but if I did I’d get into coding apps. The growth in apps is huge and will escalate in the coming years.
Moreover, apps can be easily monetized in a way that can generate revenue in a fairly passive manner.
While I do create apps for my sites, they’re simple apps created with GoodBarber.
If you want to get into app development, learn how to code complex and unique apps that offer tools and features for which there is huge demand.
In fact, developing apps is so cool (if you’re into coding) because you can create digital tools that are fun, helpful, educational, etc. While I’m in the information business as a website publisher, I go generate quite a bit of revenue promoting software. Software sells. Apps are software… and people love software that entertains and/or helps them.
Income: Like most freelance style jobs, income for coders varies from fairly low to huge amounts of revenue. If employed it will be higher than the freelancer low, but lower than the freelancer high.
These days, app coders are well paid if employed. They can easily earn more than $100,000 per year.
Virtual (Pick a Profession/Occupation)
With the internet and now apps, performing a profession/vocation/occupation virtually is very possible.
Doing so reduces overhead quite a bit; after all paying for an office is expensive.
That said, you still must market your services. Just because you go virtual, doesn’t new business will flood to you. Even if you primarily work for one client, you had to land that gig.
A few professions/vocations that work virtually are:
- Accountant/Bookkeeper/Tax Preparer
- Financial Planner
- Customer Service Rep
Income: Obviously the line of work you’re in as a virtual service provider dictates how much you earn. Generally, a virtual lawyer will earn more than a virtual customer service rep.
Also, whether you freelance or are employed will make a difference. Again, the lowest freelance income will be lower than the lowest employment income, but the highest freelance income is almost always higher than the highest employment income.
Online Marketing Freelancer
Many people who work from home, do so as a digital marketer. It’s a hugely growing field. Pretty much every business needs digital exposure, yet not every business owner has time do it on their own or have the resources to hire a full time in-house marketing team.
Digital marketing isn’t terribly difficult. You can learn most of what you need to know for free online, although the hard part is deciphering what’s good and what’s bad info.
In-demand online marketing activities are:
- Social Media
- Video Production
- Graphic Design
- Media buying (i.e. PPC campaigns, Facebook ad management, native ad management)
- Content generation.
If I were to become an online marketing freelancer, I’d focus on one activity and become very, very, very good at it so I could charge premium rates. I would then work on hiring people and train them with the methods I developed. This is the way to charge premium fees as well as scale with more clients.
Another big benefit of freelancing is there isn’t any schooling required. It’s an unregulated field. Clients simply want results. Therefore, you don’t have spend big bucks on tuition and wait 4 to 7 years to start earning.
You can start for super cheap immediately, improve your skills and then build up the business. Alternatively, you can develop some skills, get in with an existing agency to hone those skills and then go solo (or see if the agency will permit you to work from home).
Income: As an employed SEO specialist, you will not earn a great deal. Expect $30,000 to $70,000 per year. However, the skills you earn can propel you to earn millions if you ever deploy those skills on your own with your own sites or working for clients as a freelancer.
As a freelancer, you can earn a pittance or a fortune. It depends on how skilled you are and how well you can market your services. The sky is the limit when it comes to online marketing services because so much of it can be outsourced making scaling up not terribly difficult.
B. Employer Telecommuting Work-From-Home Options
Not all companies offer telecommuting.
If a company does offer telecommuting, it’s not for all positions.
What you need to do is filter your job searches for employers offering positions for which you qualify, would like and includes full-time (or nearly full-time) telecommuting.
These jobs are out there.
Here’s how you find them. It’s pretty simple. You add “telecommute” or “telecommuting” to your search terms on any quality job search website.
Such a search would be “Engineer” & “telecommute”. It works well on sites like Indeed.com.
For a broader search result, simply search “telecommute” or “telecommuting” on a job search site.
I did a good number of searches for this and found the following telecommuting jobs in the following industries:
- Technology (coding)
- Insurance (I have a family member who works 95% from home in the insurance industry and it’s a decently paid position)
- Customer care/support/service
- Executive Assistant
- Appointment Setter
- Call Center Agents
- Travel Counselor
- Transcription work (medical, languages, etc.)
- High School Counselor
- Travel Agent
- Clothing Specialist
- Teachers (online schools)
What’s Better? Employee vs. Self-Employed Work-From-Home Work?
Both have advantages and disadvantages.
- More autonomy,
- Higher earning potential (if very good or able to be scale),
- More flexibility (set your own hours… often corporate telecommuting positions have set hours),
- No risk of telecommuting option being rescinded.
Employer/Employee work-from-home advantages:
- Earn a paycheck immediately,
- More stable,
- Opportunity for advancement,
- Focus on the work without worrying about getting new work.
Should you choose a career or vocation based on being able to work from home?
In my view, no, you shouldn’t.
Because you should pursue something you enjoy.
Working at home is great but if you don’t like the work, doing it at home won’t make it better.
Working from home is a bonus… maybe. Some people prefer working in an office. Sometimes I wish I were in an office. Home can be distracting and there’s very little interaction with other people. I’m not complaining, but it’s a fact.
If you’re a real people person (extrovert), working at home may not be for you.
These are important considerations before putting in effort, time and perhaps money into landing a job or creating a business that enables you to work from home.
How to Turn Any Job into a Work-From-Home Opportunity
Unfortunately, many occupations simply do not offer work-from-home options. Any job that involves face-to-face customer service can’t be done at home.
Being a trial lawyer means going to court and seeing clients (although you can have a home office).
Being a nanny requires going to a client’s house and taking care of kids.
You get the point.
But, and this is why I love being a website publisher, you can publish a website on any topic you like. If done well and you figure out how to monetize it well, you can generate a decent income with a website based on information you publish about whatever your occupation is.
For example, if you’re a waiter and you know wine, you can publish a wine site. You could even sell wine.
- Nanny: publish a site about parenting or nanny information.
- Plumber: Create a how-to plumbing website. Videos will be good to add.
- Accountant: Publish about taxes, financial planning, investing… these are hugely popular and lucrative topics.
You get the idea.
The fact is many jobs exist because there’s a need for them. Likewise, there’s likely a need for the information you learned performing that job.
What if you hate your job and don’t want to write about it?
Come up with something you enjoy and publish about that. It could be local sports or national sports. It could be a local news site. It can be whatever you want.
What if you’re a terrible writer?
Come up with a concept and invest in freelance writers. You wouldn’t be the first successful website publisher who is a terrible writer.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.