When looking for work from home, you may be of two minds: one thinking that you need one job and the other that you need many. You could be focusing on starting a career or worrying about not putting all your eggs in one basket. Whatever your personal circumstances, it’s an important question to answer from the start—to make sure you don’t waste your time or miss out on the best earning opportunities for you. So, should you have one job or many?
Let’s look at a few broad areas you should consider on your way to an answer.
Consideration #1: Needs & Abilities
What do you need out of a work-from-home job?
Do you need a stable schedule? If you’re available to work at consistent times each day and you need a guarantee that you will be working during those times, you’re likely looking for one job.
Do you need a position with benefits? Perhaps benefits are of the utmost importance, and you’re looking to build your retirement fund while also guaranteeing you have health insurance coverage. You might even need this insurance coverage for a family. You’re likely looking for one job.
If you answered yes to both of those questions, you’re specifically seeking a part-time or full-time employee position. These are work-at-home jobs where a company hires you on as an employee rather than an independent contractor. They’ll take care of your taxes and you might just be launching a career with that one job.
What abilities do you bring to a work-from-home job?
While there are more and more companies embracing remote workers, you’ll find that most employee jobs currently available are in the customer service industry. The good news is that most people have some customer service experience—whether you’ve worked in a fast food place or retail—so the threshold to get in the door is low. The not-so-great news is that these positions tend to fill fast when they come open.
The rest of these types of employee jobs tend to be specialized positions requiring advanced education or training (and extensive experience) in specific areas—some examples include computer programming, animation, accounting, and project management. If you have a highly-trained skill set, it’s worth your time to look for one job (i.e. a career) over many. Subscribe to FlexJobs to power up your search.
If you don’t have many trained skills or you keep missing out on the customer service employee jobs, make the many-jobs model work for you. Picking up beginner-level freelance gigs in transcription, writing, data entry, and more are opportunities you can pursue right now.
- Transcription jobs for beginners
- Freelance writing jobs for beginners
- Work-at-home data entry jobs
- Part-time work-at-home jobs
- Jobs with no set schedule
Consideration #2: Organization & Drive
Are you highly organized?
If you’re not highly organized and self-driven, you may find multiple jobs more demanding than you can manage. When you’re an independent contractor hunting down your own jobs, you must:
- make sure you stay on top of all your work;
- set your own deadlines and meet them;
- ensure you’re making enough income among all your jobs;
- pay your own taxes; and
- be on the constant look-out for the next job.
While this path may sound stressful, it can be incredibly rewarding for those who fit the bill. The many-job path often allows for a lot more flexibility than a single full-time employee position.
Can you ask for money—repeatedly?
Working from home comes with many perks—the option to work in your pajamas, play with your cat on break, and eat a home-cooked lunch every day are not to be overlooked—but there are some parts that are less than glamorous. Like asking for money.
As an independent contractor, you’ll frequently find yourself responsible for invoicing your clients each month so that you can get paid. You’ll no doubt discover that some clients aren’t prompt about paying, which may necessitate you reminding them to pay you—and you may have to do this more than once. You might even have to get on the phone eventually and be your own collections department.
Do you think you can handle this responsibility? If so, rock the many jobs! If not, you can either find a friend to act as your collections agent or double down on finding that one job instead.
Consideration #3: Consolidation vs. Diversification
Do you prefer the ease of consolidation?
If you just don’t feel like going through the trouble of finding multiple jobs to work and then ensuring you get paid after doing all your many jobs—that’s understandable! And while you can search out one of those employee jobs I’ve mentioned above, you can also find platforms that connect you with clients. Even better, these platforms can guarantee you get paid (for a cut, of course). Virtual assistants might consider working for Worldwide101 or Time Etc while freelance writers could work with Scripted or Express Writers.
Do you prefer not to put all your eggs in one basket?
Concentrating on one job can potentially put you in a vulnerable position if that work disappears, leaving you scrambling to find another source of income. Diversification is one way to guard against this: by consistently working with a variety of clients, you have work to fall back on if work for one of those clients dries up. The trade-off, of course, is that you might not make as much among your many jobs as you could with one.
The Utmost Flexibility
If you need a highly flexible schedule and need to monetize every bit of time that you can, multiple jobs may be the best choice—you maximize your ability to earn an income without tying yourself down to one employer. You can also work a variety of jobs requiring varying amounts of time so that you can earn money with five minutes as easily as with an hour.
While you’re running errands, GPT programs like Swagbucks and Ebates are your friends—you can get paid to shop at certain stores or even to simply walk into them (Shopkick). You can also run errands for other people with platforms like TaskRabbit or Gigwalk, shop for them (Instacart), deliver for them (DoorDash)—or even walk their dogs with Rover. All with just a smartphone. If you’re waiting on a park bench or in a coffee shop, you can take surveys or do short bites of transcription (just throw in your earbuds).
When you’re digging into some downtime on the couch, you can pick up microtasks from Amazon mTurk or a similar platform. When you have more dedicated time, you can write blog posts or transcribe audio files. If you have a home studio, you can narrate audiobooks or make music. The opportunities available to you are as open as your skills aAs ynd ability to track down work.
Note that, with some of these options—like Ebates and Swagbucks—you are required to earn a specific amount of money before you can request a payout. This can choke your cash flow if you don’t stay on top of it, so just be aware and spend your time accordingly.
Follow the Money
Do you need additional help tracking income from all your many jobs? I’m glad you said so—I have a free printable income tracker that may be just what you need. Use it to optimize and organize your earning efforts.
Have you decided whether you need one job or many? Excellent! Now get out there and find some work.