Are you ready to work from home? We’ve all heard about the opportunities out there to make great side money, or even a full-time income, apart from a job. Getting started is the tricky part, especially if you’re starting at zero. Here’s a quick guide to put you on the right track toward making money from home when you’re broke and have no online experience.
Step 1: Know Your Why
One of the most important things you need to know when you want to make money from home is why you’re doing it. What’s the reason for looking into this option? This might have to do with your financial goals, your preferences, or just your situation in life.
For some people, they want to quit their jobs and travel. For others, working from home is an extra source of income to pay down debt or afford a few “extras.” Lots of parents use work-from-home opportunities to make it possible to stay home with kids. Other people are in school, are disabled, or otherwise simply don’t have the setup for a traditional job.
Once you’re clear on what you’re trying to accomplish by working from home, you’ll have a better sense of which options will be better for you.
Step 2: Figure Out Your Approach
There are all kinds of ways to make money from home both online and offline. Which is most appealing for you?
Working from home online could be as straightforward as getting a telecommute job, or you can strike out on your own and become a freelancer of some sort. When you’re making money online, you can set yourself up so that everything you do is conducted 100% online or over the phone, with absolutely nothing requiring you to set foot outside your house.
Working offline means you’re offering a product or service that’s conducted live and in person. Nannying and hauling metal for scrap are two examples of an offline service. You can do these at home, but they might also require you to venture out and meet people, make deliveries, etc.
You may also have components of both. If you decide to start sewing aprons to sell, you’ll probably want to go to craft fairs, markets, and local shops to sell your wares, but you could also set up an online store. Or if you offer an in-person service like tutoring, you’d probably want to have a website to capture some attention online and get inquiries when people in your area search for someone who does what you do.
Step 3: Decide How Much to Put Toward Starting
For some people, it’s easy to decide what to do and then to spend a bit of money to get up and running. This might mean a website, some training, or paid advertising on Facebook. There might be supply or inventory costs, new equipment to buy, or even just gas money, especially if you’re working offline. These expenses don’t have to be high, but they do exist. It’s a good idea to read some “how to get started as XYZ” posts online to see if it’s right for you.
If you don’t have any money to spend on working from home, you may need to get creative. Decide how much cash you need to get started, and then set about putting that cash together. To give you an idea of how much it costs to get your own website, domains shouldn’t cost more than about $10 a year and a month of basic hosting will run around $10 to $15 per month. (Bluehost is a good web hosting company for newcomers. Their plans start as low as $2.95 per month and include a free domain name and SSL certificate.)
Step 4: Get the Cash You Need (Optional)
If you don’t have enough money to start the business you want yet, there are a few things you can do to put together some cash quickly. Here are some ideas:
- Sell anything lying around the house that you no longer need or want.
- Put an ad on Craigslist offering to show up at the end of a yard sale and haul off anything that doesn’t get bought. You can charge a nominal fee for that service, or simply take everything and just turn around and sell it.
- Advertise a service you can do easily, like walking dogs in your neighborhood or tutoring someone in a subject that comes easily to you.
- Shop for someone else’s groceries and deliver them to their home for a fee.
- Ask people you know if they need help with whatever you want to do from home. You may want to charge a low rate if the work is something you’ve never done before, to attract potential clients even if you don’t have a website yet.
Once you’ve got the ball rolling on some simple cash-making tasks, you’ll have an idea of what kinds of work you enjoy and what you want to avoid in the future. This might also help you decide whether your initial idea for making money from home will really work for you.
Step 5: Don’t Give Up
While it’s not necessarily difficult to find a way to make money from home, sometimes it takes a while for things to really get rolling. Be sure to research the time frames of any “success stories” you can find online so you can have an idea of how long it might take for you to meet your specific income goals.
Once you’re committed, don’t give up! Give yourself a generous timeframe to get off the ground, and don’t quit before that time is up. It’s natural to have some peaks and valleys… you just need to survive the valleys to get to the next peak!
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More Free Work from Home Jobs
While there are some opportunities out there that require a fee, like direct sales, there are also plenty of free work-from-home jobs to choose from in addition to those listed above.
Customer Service Jobs
I know. This isn’t your dream job. But it can be the means to an end and remote customer service jobs are plentiful and can be a quick hire. You may need a landline and internet connection, but your only other expenses may be a headset and possibly a background check (usually around $15).
Freelance Writing & Editing
Freelancing offers the utmost flexibility and income potential. With those rewards come hard work, at least initially. You can sign on as an independent contractor with a company like those in this post or break out on your own and solicit your own clients for the big bucks.
- BKA Content
- Cooking Detective
- Universal Class
- Writers Weekly
- Kickstart Your Freelance Writing Business
- 200 Ways to Get Paid to Write
Search Engine Evaluation
These positions aren’t always available as this is a coveted non-phone job. It isn’t full-time or consistent work either. However, evaluating search engine results for quality and relevance is something many people enjoy.
Social Media Moderation
Social Media Moderation jobs can be intermittently available as well, with a variable workload and wide variance in pay. Still, it can be rewarding work if you enjoy making Internet communities a better place by ensuring all participants are following the rules and community standards for a given site.
Transcription doesn’t always make for the best-paying work, but it’s a great place to start when you’re first setting out on your work-from-home career and don’t have a lot of resources. It’s also a remote career you can grow in, specializing in law or medical transcription and improving your pay.
- AccuTran Global
- Birch Creek Communications
- GMR Transcription
- Verbal Ink
Tutoring is another gateway career that can lead to many opportunities in remote jobs – and you can start it today, often with minimal requirements. Many companies are looking for native English speakers to tutor students in English as a Second Language (no experience required in several cases), and there are also companies looking for grad students or experienced teachers (or professionals) to tutor students in various subjects, prepare them for standardized tests, and more.
If you have a background in any type of office work or as an administrative assistant, you most likely have the skills to start working as a virtual assistant! And if you’re not ready to strike out on your own (or don’t have the funds to create your own website and business right now), you can find work as a VA with several companies making more than minimum wage in most states.
The only things you really need to begin user testing are an opinion, the willingness to share it, and a compatible computer (or smartphone). This type of work doesn’t pay very well and the availability of tests to complete depends on the desirability of your demographics. But when you’re just starting out and need to generate some cash quickly, you can’t beat signing up to user test and making a minimum of $5-$10 per test.