Working from home is highly attractive to a lot of people, and with good reason. You can have all the benefits of a traditional job, while being able to skip the commute and work in the comfortable setting of your own home.
Or maybe you want to skip traditional employment completely and strike out on your own. Working from home is something that will satisfy that itch, too, especially if you want to build a business around your higher priorities (like family, health, or location independence).
No matter why you want to do it, the only way to start working from home… is to start working from home! You need to land that first work-at-home job, or get that first client, or make that first sale if you’re ever going to get your work-at-home dreams off the ground.
Decide What You Want
There are countless opportunities to work from home, and you need to have a sense of which type of work is the right type for you to start. Mainly we’re talking today about telecommute positions, but that’s certainly not the end of the story. There are also opportunities like direct sales, freelancing, blogging, and going “offline” to provide products or services in person.
Once you get a good feel for what’s out there, you’ll come away with a sense of what you’d most like to explore. That’ll give you a better idea of how to get started with landing that first gig!
Know Your Expectations
Once you’ve narrowed down the general type of work you want to do, get clear on what you really want from it. Do you want full-time hours or part-time? Do you want to work on a schedule, or set your own time? How do you feel about having remote coworkers and bosses?
Do you want a paycheck that starts immediately and comes with predetermined vacation time, or do you want to be completely self-directed and build something with theoretically no income limitations? How much time and money do you have to devote to finding your first work-at-home job?
Be Wary of Scams
Scams pop up all the time. The best way to know if something is a scam is to evaluate the opportunity realistically. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Trust your instincts and do your research.
In fact, no matter what company you’re considering joining, do your research. Just a quick search could make the difference between protecting yourself and getting taken advantage of.
Assemble Your Toolbox
There are a few tools that will make starting your work-from-home job search a little easier:
- A FlexJobs membership, which will be incredibly helpful if you want to work with a traditional employer
- Targeted Google Alerts to send brand-new work-from-home opportunities right to your inbox. Look for keywords like “telecommute,” “flexible schedule,” “remote work,” and “virtual” to get started. Additionally, “lean” and “agile” are two code words in the tech industry that can mean working from home.
- Job boards to check out regularly, including Indeed, We Work Remotely, and Remote.co.
- An updated resume, or create a new one targeted to the work you want to do.
- Cleaned up social media accounts. Tweak, scrub, or hide your accounts on things like Twitter and Facebook. You will probably get “googled” when you apply, and you want anything that turns up to reflect positively on you.
You may also want to think about using Pinterest strategically to find your work-at-home job. You can use it to bookmark your favorite job leads and boards, save the good advice you want to refer to later, and even set up your own portfolio via a board of pins about your best work.
Use Your Network
No matter what kind of work-at-home job you want, your network is an incredibly valuable resource for your job search. As the adage goes, “it’s not about who you know…it’s about who they know.”
When your friends, family, and personal contacts know what you’re looking for, they can go a long way in helping you find it. You may find, after being in touch with the right people, that your cousin knows someone who works at the company where you’re applying, or your neighbor’s department head is looking for a remote assistant to do customer service, or a friend from college is looking for someone with exactly your skill set and will consider hiring you to work remotely even though the position isn’t set to be remote.
You just never know what’s going on with your network, and you’ll never know what gems are hiding right below the surface unless you ask.
Finding your first work-at-home job isn’t necessarily a piece of cake, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Get resourceful, put technology to work for your advantage, and start asking around. With some diligence and effort, you’re likely to land a good job.
If your search ends up taking you longer than you’d expected, though, don’t panic. You can read more about how to maximize that job search time here.
What’s your biggest question when it comes to finding your first work-at-home job?