As commutes grow longer and schedules grow busier, many of us find ourselves wishing we could work from home. Telecommuting is becoming a more common solution, but if this isn’t an option at your current job, here are five job opportunities you can explore that will allow you to work all or most of the time from your own home.
“Concierge” may sound like a haughty little French in a hotel lobby, but today’s concierges run errands and complete odd jobs for time-pressed individuals and families. Like their hotel counterparts, concierges will accomplish tasks for which you don’t have time, or simply can’t stomach (like standing in line for your daughter’s Backstreet Boys tickets).
Nathan Lee of a New York concierge has found a way to earn money and help local school kids. “We offer a shuttle service for parents to get their children off to school on time. These are mainly rural areas where school buses aren’t provided. We have a regular routine that usually takes us until about 9 a.m.”
The potential for concierge work is never-ending. Your jobs can include anything from picking up dry-cleaning to waiting at someone’s home for the plumber to taking dogs to the vet. True, it may not be the most mentally stimulating work, but at $16-$25 an hour to start with, you may not care.
What you’ll need: A mode of transportation, an ad in the local newspaper and patience for facing tasks which others want to avoid so much that they’re paying someone to do them!
- Computer Consultant
Technology’s calendar is set in light years. Tomorrow’s hardware will be yesterday’s garbage before you know it. But you can use people’s frustrations with today’s technical advances for your own benefit as a computer consultant.
You may be able to tap-dance your way around a hard drive, but you’d be surprised how many people are overwhelmed by, or just don’t have time for, setting up and running a home computer, software and Web connections.
Consulting may be as simple as spending one afternoon with a new PC owner (for $25 to $150 per hour depending on your area), showing them how to plug in their hardware, install software and connect to the Net. For a higher price, you can go on to train them in software packages, or even design and maintain web pages for your clients.
What you’ll need: Knowledge of the latest hardware, software and trends. HTML and word processing skills are also helpful, especially if you’ll be designing web pages, but otherwise, you don’t even need a computer of your own – just the knowledge to help others with theirs!
- Web Content Provider
Content providers either provide useful information on their own web sites or work as content providers for other web sites. This “content providing” can include writing articles or newsletters (usually for $.10 to $.30 per word), designing graphics (charge according to size and detail of job) or simply cataloguing information from other sources (you can charge per word or per listing, or sell ad space to local businesses).
What you’ll need: A computer, e-mail, an Internet connection and software to help you write or design your content.
- Typing/word processing services
One type of work you can do entirely from home is word-processing. You might start at $5 or more per page; add proofreading/copyediting to the mix and you can charge even more. You can do the work via e-mail – you just need a strong hold on grammar and fast fingers. And potential clients are everywhere, from the small business across town that needs an extra hand, to the college students next door trying to finish their mid-term papers.
If you really enjoy this type of work, you can also become certified as a court reporter or medical transcriptionist to increase your client base. Court reporters take down spoken word in legal proceedings; medical transcriptionists type physicians’ dictations regarding patient treatments. While much of this work requires being in the courtroom or the doctors’ offices, an increasing number of these professionals are working from home-based offices.
What you’ll need: A computer, e-mail account, typing skills and a solid background in writing and grammar. Certification is necessary to be a court reporter or medical transcriptionist.
- Sitting (Children or Pets)
While two different disciplines, child and pet care employ the same concept – looking after busy people’s loved ones, furry or not. And you can do either type of care in your own home or at others’ residences.
One niche to consider is care for sick kids.
“Each day there are 350,000 children under age 14 (with both parents working) who are too sick to attend school or child care,” says Jennifer Basye Sander, author of “100 Best Extra-Income Opportunities for Women.” “This creates a big need for a service that provides occasional daycare for sick children.”
Pet care can be as simple as walking and feeding a client’s dog once a day. For more money, you can offer training, dog-doo pickup, plant-watering, and mail pickup for clients who are out of town. If you have a yard, you can host the pets yourself.
What you’ll need: For childcare, you’ll need to offer a safe environment, activities and have basic medical training (CPR, first aid, etc.) For your fees, check with local daycare centers for their going rates for an idea of what you can charge.
With pets, you can charge per-service (say, $15 for a walk and feeding) or per-day if you host a pet or stay over at a client’s house ($30 or more depending on your area).
Of course, the old adage is true: Nothing worthwhile comes easy. The above jobs may be quick and easy, but hard drives will blow up from time to time; kids will fall down. Just make sure your bases are covered in case the worst happens.Top 5 Work at Home Jobs by Granted Contributor