Need work I can do from a bed. Besides the obvious.
October 2, 2009 11:47 AM   Subscribe

How can I find legitimate work online or work-from-home opportunities? Are there any? Want to hear your experiences, too. Details inside.

I am getting very close to leaving my current job due to chronic back pain. I was off two months due to a recent episode and am now working part-time on doctor's orders and do not think I will be able to return full-time. My husband and I will be able to survive on his income, with some serious spending cuts. I don't know if I would be able to get disability income. But I would like to find a way to bring in some money without having to actually leave my home. (I know, wouldn't we all.)

Right now I'm working as an adult mental health case manager for the local mental health authority. There is very little chance they would allow me to work from home or even work part-time. I have a B.A. in Psychology from a fairly prestigious university and came within one class of having a second major in English. (So you can assume I have the skills of an English major, without an actual degree in it.) All of my work experience has been more or less in my field, including child development, research, case management and social services. Skills I've thought might be possible to exploit include writing, editing, interviewing, and social science data collection and analysis. I don't have a lot of those nifty tech skills I hear so much about (i.e. I'm can't do programming or web-design, etc.)

I've done some very basic googling and haven't really found much reliable information. I would love any suggestions for where and how to find reputable information or work. Also, what/where/who to avoid would be great as well.
posted by threeturtles to Work & Money (9 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Lots and lots previously.
posted by scarykarrey at 12:10 PM on October 2, 2009

If you're a decent writer (and a U.S. resident), you can try Textbroker. It's another one of those freelance writing systems, but one that actually pays decent prices. The going rate is usually one cent per word, so a 500-word blurb for a blog or description of a product will net you $5.00.

The rejection rate is very low (usually 1-2%) and there's no competition for work. You just view a listing of topics, and if you see something interesting, click it and it's pulled from the system for 10 minutes, giving you time to review the assignment and check out the profile of the client. If you don't like it, it gets returned to the pool, and if you do, you can start right away. The site's staff reviews all submissions manually and gives them a grade of 1-5; your last five grades are averaged into a score that determine which assignments you're qualified to accept. There's no penalty for missing an assignment, no fee for using the site as an author, and all earnings get put into a pot that can pay out to a PayPal account twice a month. I haven't used the system very heavily, but I already made $20 with little effort.

The only drawback is that a lot of the offers are spammy or automated, so it can be tough to find something involving to write about. But the pay is definitely good if you can churn out something literate and fluent on a consistent basis.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:38 PM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Freelance writing seems to be the popular stay-at-home job nowadays. You can find some decent information here:

I do a lot of transcription work at Amazon's Mechanical Turk. The pay there is notoriously low, but for a few transcription jobs, I can pull in a few bucks a day and feel good about the work I'm doing.

There's also the whole Google Ads thing, like for instance, if you write at or, you'll get paid for ads there.

It takes a lot of surfing to weed your way through the scams and the legitimate sites. I wish you well. I'm still doing that myself.

There's lots of freelance writing blogs, so you may want to read them. You have skills that you'd be able to blog about or write articles.

Someone recommended to me when I inquired about alternatives to Mechanical Turk, but the article topics there didn't appeal to me.

There's also customer service jobs where you stay at home and answer the phone. There's a couple of major companies for those jobs. I can't remember their names, but they shouldn't be too difficult to locate.

If you find anything great, let me know. I'd appreciate it.
posted by VC Drake at 12:44 PM on October 2, 2009

I would really recommend actually starting any work from home stuff till you know the terms of your disability coverage. If you say you're disabled but then start a biz, they may deny your claim. However, there's no harm in doing some research to find out what is there.

I run a consulting business and I have a website devoted to helping other people start and run consulting businesses. (Just Google "become a consultant") I have made my living from home through teaching, writing, marketing consulting, business consulting, non-profit consulting, educational consulting, ebooks, blog advertising, etc. If you are going to get into working from home, I recommend you look into something like consulting (which can pay $35 to several hundred an hour) before you do something like transcription or order entry. I also hire people to write blog entries for me and I pay more than $5, but only if the person writes really well.
posted by acoutu at 1:09 PM on October 2, 2009

I would really recommend actually starting any work from home stuff till you know the terms of your disability coverage.

I think acoutu meant to write that he recommends against starting freelance work until you have a clear picture of your disability benefits. And I concur.
posted by randomstriker at 1:18 PM on October 2, 2009

Yes, I (she) did mean that.
posted by acoutu at 2:21 PM on October 2, 2009

Threeturtles, one way around this (the low paying gigs that= 2.00 an hour) is to directly approach companies that you think you can do work for and from home.

For example, I do freelance medical writing, and to be honest, I think you may have the background for that, too. I directly email companies that create continuing medical education manuscripts, etc., and tell them of my availability and specialty.

My e-mail starts out with the sentence, "I am a freelance medical writer, with a specialty in.... " I also paste into the e-mail the type of skills that I like to do (eg, writing a manuscript, a literature review, conducting research). It looks like you may be able to offer even more (eg, editing, etc.), but I don't know your particular skill set.

My person rule, too, is to only work for a certain rate unless I think it will teach me a lot and/or there are some other benefits (a sample I can use to get better work). Low paying, for me, = $35 to $50 per hour...NOT a few cents per word project or a $5 blog is probably better to start looking for better paying work rather than doing that or creating your own blog or whatever at that point...but that's just me. If you start working for really low rates, though, you may not have the time to look for companies that will pay better. YMMV, though.

Good luck and feel free to memail me. I really think your background would be conducive to a lot of medical education companies (ie, companies will work with doctors and write articles on how to treat patients, and with your background in psychology it may be a good fit).
posted by Wolfster at 3:19 PM on October 2, 2009

Kind of an odd suggestion, but you could become a phone psychic if you think that's something you'd be comfortable with. Most people just want to talk to someone and your background in psych would help with that. As I understand it, most of these services simply redirect the call directly to your phone, so you could absolutely do this from your bed.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:25 AM on October 3, 2009

Coach/councellor online for folks with social phobia issues or social disabilities?
posted by Iteki at 4:32 AM on October 4, 2009

« Older My landlord's a jerk, but how big of a jerk?   |   Should I cash this check? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.