When you’re trying to transition from a regular job to a work-at-home job, money is often one of your biggest concerns. You’re worried about finding a well-paying home-based job, for one! Or about building a good customer base if you’re starting your own business. But then there’s the other money concern – having the startup costs to actually get started on your home-based career path.
Most work-at-home positions require you to have good computer equipment, and often have additional requirements – such as software (Microsoft Office or a certain version of Windows), peripherals (a printer, a headset), and Internet access at specific speeds. You may need a decent computer chair to sit in long-term, or a dedicated phone line for work. There could be background check costs. You may wish to pay for a training course to improve your job chances. And all these things cost money.
Well, I’ve got a list of ten ways you can fund these start-up costs for your work-at-home career! These should help get you started.
Put away savings from your day job.
My first method involves that staid, pragmatic advice that everyone always gives: save money from your day job. The difference here is that I’m advocating a short-term, reasonable savings schedule that lets you fund start-up costs for your new WAH life using income from the day job you want to ditch! Be honest about how much you can save each paycheck, and then be serious about saving that much. Put it in a savings account, withdraw it and shove it in a jar, whatever you need to do – just save it. Even if that means cutting out takeout or movies for a few months. (If you have trouble dealing with money, or being honest with yourself about your spending/saving habits, I highly recommend Beautiful Money: The 4-Week Total Wealth Makeover.)
Organize your saving schedule around sales.
Pretty much every kind of equipment you might need to purchase for starting your work-at-home career – from computers to home office equipment – have common sales periods. For example, computers regularly go on sale during the back-to-school period – generally between late June and August. This also tends to be the period that manufacturers like to release new computer models, so you can save big by purchasing the older models – if their specs match what you need for the WAH job you want.
Join points clubs like MyPoints and Swagbucks.
This strategy has a low impact on your time, but could add up to some appreciable gift cards for your start-up costs. As a member of sites like MyPoints and Swagbucks, you can earn points just by clicking on emails or taking surveys – and, once you’ve accrued enough points, you can turn them in for gift cards from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and more. Then use those gifts cards to purchase supplies or equipment you need for your work-at-home position!
Pick up a side job.
Another tactic that can also have a low impact on your time is picking up little side jobs: you could drive part-time for Lyft or Uber, babysit or pet-sit, and so on. These jobs could even scale depending on how much time you want to dedicate to it – Diana C., who was laid off in July 2016, actually started pet-sitting while looking for a new full-time job. “My side-hustle actually provided enough income to cover my [COBRA] medical insurance premium monthly until I found a new job,” she said. “After that, I continued to get clients and realized that the need for a good, reliable dog sitter is pretty high. A lot of dog owners don’t want to put their furry family member in a kennel and love the idea of their dog being in a private home where it can get special one-on-one attention.” She’s continued offering her services through Rover.com even after she found a new job.
Do small tasks for money.
Piggybacking on “pick up a side job” above, you can monetize any skills or extra time you have by offering to do tasks on places like Fiverr or TaskRabbit. Fiverr lets you offer any kind of work – writing blogs, giving relationship advice, even writing Tinder profiles – generally starting at $5 per gig. (You can charge more.) TaskRabbit, on the other hand, links you to local demand, meaning you can find tasks or chores that people need done locally and go do it for them.
Do direct selling.
Now wait a minute, I hear you saying. Doesn’t direct selling generally require start-up costs of its own? And the answer to that is yes. However! There are a number of direct selling opportunities where you can get started for as little as $30 to $50! Since many of these direct selling gigs are automated these days, thanks to the Internet, you don’t even have to deal with housing stock or making deliveries yourself. You can just make sales, and net your commissions. So if you enjoy being social and selling items from candles to jewelry to cleaning products, you could save up your start-up costs for a work-at-home career by doing direct selling part-time. Check out companies like PartyLite, Gold Canyon, and Norwex for direct selling opportunities with limited start-up costs.
Sell unwanted items.
If you have anything that’s worth a few bucks (or a lot more) and is just sitting around gathering dust, consider selling it online to subsidize your home-based business life! Ebay, Etsy, Amazon, and other sites all offer ways to sell pretty much anything you might want to sell. Got an instrument you’re not playing? Sell it. Antiques you don’t really like? Sell them. Jewelry you’re not wearing? Give someone else a chance to sparkle – for a price, of course. Apps like Letgo, along with Facebook communities specializing in local communities’ online yard sales, make turning your unwanted items into cash even easier.
Do you make things? Consider selling those things.
If you are able to crochet, knit, make jewelry, or anything else creative and handmade, you can turn those skills into money. Even if you don’t want to make things as your primary business, you can still make limited items or offer commissions and save that money for WAH startup costs. You can do this either directly, among friends and on referral, or you can set up a shop through a website like Etsy. There are plenty of people out there who can’t knit, but want someone to knit a certain pattern for them in certain colors, or enjoy ordering affordable custom jewelry.
Solicit help from family and friends.
If your needs are great, or if you’re on a radically short time schedule, consider asking for help. Family members and friends are often keen to help us help ourselves, especially when we’re building a career. Try private requests, or make it a true communal effort and start a crowdfunding campaign using a site like GoFundMe. You can pay your family and friends back in love, favors, or even something you can make yourself – whether it’s baked goods or artwork or knitted scarves.
Consider Patreon as an ongoing support network.
If you have a marketable creative skill that would also be supported by new equipment – for example, if you’re a digital artist who needs a better computer or software to land an art gig – consider starting a Patreon. This allows people – family, friends, strangers – to commit to giving you a monthly donation to support your work. As an artist, you can offer exclusive art peeks or insight into your method in return. If you’re a writer, you can offer an exclusive project for supporters – that reasonably fits around the new work-at-home business you’re trying to fund. How you choose to attract and thank your supports is limited only by your creativity!
I hope these ten methods have inspired you, and you’re ready to get started on preparing for your work-at-home life! And, for my readers who are already working at home, I’d love to hear from you – what tactics did you use to fund your start-up costs when you began?
Free 7-day Series on Finding Work at Home
Join my weekly newsletter to receive remote job leads, work-at-home tips and my 7-day series on finding legitimate work from home FREE!