One of the things people look for when they want to work from home is the ability to make your own schedule. Jobs “out there” don't often offer much flexibility. And whether you’re working around someone else’s needs (like if you’re an at-home parent) or you just want to be able to pick and choose when you work, finding ways to work when you want can be an important factor in your at-home job search.
There are quite a few different types of at-home work you can do on your own schedule. Let’s take a closer look at each one of them to see which one is the best fit for you. You might even find a few different options that could work!
Freelancing is a great way to make money. Even if you don’t think you have any “marketable skills,” there’s surely some type of service you could offer online. These are some things you can commonly find freelance work doing:
- Graphic design
- Building, updating, or troubleshooting websites
- Transcription and video captions
- Editing videos
- Social media management — posting social media updates on behalf of businesses, bloggers, and other entrepreneurs who need help maintaining their social media presence.
2. Selling Things Online
Like freelancing, there are quite a few ways to sell products online. One is to build your own platform where you sell your own digital products and even affiliate products. These can be done on a website or over an email list (though you’ll need a website to build that email list). Affiliate marketing is a really interesting way to run an online business and make money around the clock.
You can also look into selling physical products. There are all kinds of approaches to this:
- Etsy for selling handmade goods, vintage finds, and even digital downloads (for things like invitations, printables, and artwork)
- eBay for selling anything and everything!
- Amazon FBA
- Online book resellers
- Direct sales (you can conduct your direct sales business primarily online, or take it offline)
These are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re really interested in selling things online you could even look into building a blog or website around the product(s) you want to sell, with your shop links readily visible. This is a great option if you want to mix two passions, like blogging and direct sales (more on both of those later).
3. Offline Services
Much like freelancing, which is typically conducted online, you can offer services “in person” around your own schedule. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Lawn care
- Pet-sitting and dog-walking
- Non-medical home care
- Personal shopping, grocery deliveries, etc.
- Sewing and mending
- House cleaning
Many of these services will face some sort of time-of-day restrictions (you probably can’t go walk someone’s dog at 11 pm if they’re looking for some mid-day help, for example), but depending on how flexible you can be, they might be just the ticket.
Surveys are a great way to make some quick cash here and there, but they aren’t going to replace your current income. If you’re just looking for something easy to bring in a little bit of pocket money in your downtime, give surveys a try. You can do them on your computer or on your smartphone — or both.
5. Small Tasks
Like surveys, small tasks are something you can do that takes very little effort or brain power, but it’s not going to replace the money you’d make from a regular job. That said, it’s easy work and if you like it, there are lots of different sites where you can do different types of tasks. These are a few to get started:
- Mechanical Turk
It’s no surprise that I love blogging — it’s one of my primary sources of income, and I have a lot of information about blogging here because it’s such a great work-at-home opportunity. It can sometimes take a while before your blog becomes truly profitable, but it’s something that you can absolutely, 100% run on your own schedule. Deadlines are set by you, tasks and workload are set by you, and everything that comes along with it is set by you.
The flexibility is one of the absolute best things about blogging. It requires a commitment, for sure, but you’re completely in charge from start to finish.
7. Mystery Shopping Via Phone Calls
Mystery shopping in person can be a lot of fun and get you some great experiences in addition to cash, but it’s not something you can always do on your own schedule. If the time frames are too restrictive or inconvenient for you, you can give “mystery shopping” phone calls a try.
The idea behind these phone calls is similar to regular mystery shopping — you’re testing a business’s customer service and effectiveness. But because they’re phone calls, you don’t actually have to go anywhere, spend your money up front, or even put shoes on. These websites are a good place to get started:
- Mystery Shopper Services
- Perception Strategies
Mystery shopping phone calls won’t replace your regular income because the work is too sporadic, but it’s a great way to make some money from home. Noisy environments are welcome, too!
One Thing to Note
In the vast majority of these opportunities, you’ll be considered an independent contractor, and any money you earn will be subject to taxes. The IRS says that any activity that earns you $400 or more no longer qualifies as a hobby and that income must be reported. If you plan on putting any serious effort into any of these ideas, you’ll need to be prepared to pay taxes on your income. It’s best to have a conversation with a tax professional to get everything set up correctly, so you can avoid fees and fines later on.
Bringing Work Home
Many of these ideas are good for coming up with a little bit of extra cash for fun things like date nights or even trips, but many could also turn into something substantial if that’s what you’re after. Any of these opportunities will return to you what you put into them!