Where can I find "real" work-from-home jobs?
April 26, 2014 9:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for work-from-home/telecommute jobs in graphic design, social media/marketing, teaching, editing, or tutoring. I'm wondering where I can find work that isn't part of some shady scheme.

I'm open to sites that list one-time commissions, but something that pointed to more stable and full-time positions would be ideal. Anyway, suggestions for both would be appreciated.

Thank you so much!
posted by joyeuxamelie to Work & Money (15 answers total) 97 users marked this as a favorite
You'll be able to find a lot more advice here: wahm.com. [Not just for moms, dads are there too].
posted by Brent Parker at 9:53 PM on April 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Specifically look at the telecommuting moms subforum.
posted by Brent Parker at 9:55 PM on April 26, 2014

You mention editing -- what about writing? textbroker.com and constant-content.com are legit (but not lucrative).
posted by Jacqueline at 10:21 PM on April 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Set up a profile on Elance.

It focuses on freelance projects, but often you can find things that are ongoing or on-call for companies. At my last job, we used many people who we can contracted for a set number of hours per week or per month. Or a set number of projects per month (like the number of articles per month or something).
posted by Crystalinne at 10:24 PM on April 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Look wherever you normally look, and on major employers' websites, just use good keywords.
posted by cashman at 10:30 PM on April 26, 2014

Try https://weworkremotely.com/
posted by rhizome at 11:07 PM on April 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've got lots on how to find editing work online and build your career on my blog and in my books - do memail me if you'd like links (sharing rather than memailing in case I can help anyone else looking at this answer, hope that's OK. Blog is free, books are as cheap as I can make them).
posted by LyzzyBee at 11:13 PM on April 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Similar to elance, you can try guru.com, my fiance found some decent gigs on that site.
posted by radioamy at 11:56 PM on April 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: By way of advice because I've done some of these things in the past--if the place doesn't require previous experience, ask yourself, why would they take a remote person with no experience over paying someone locally to do the same work who actually knew what they were doing? The answer isn't always that it's a scam; much more often, it's that the actual rate of pay works out to minimum wage or even less. If you have real experience in one or more of the areas you mention, keep an eye out for places that really require it, because that will usually pay much better and more reliably.

Like, it might have improved, I have no idea, but when I took a look at Textbroker awhile back, even the most cursory research and spell-checking quickly rendered it a ~$2/hour job. That may or may not be a problem for you; it wasn't something I considered worth it. But the number of unskilled people who want such jobs drives down wages, basically. If you've got definable experience with social media and marketing, you might want to turn those skills in your own favor and try to get in touch with local businesses directly.
posted by Sequence at 1:59 AM on April 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Don't go on Craigslist. I'm pretty sure like 99% of those jobs are scams or fake. Avoid any general job site, especially if anyone can post. Avoid any jobs that have no or extremely minimal qualifications. They are either scams or they will be pounded for so many applications it's ridiculous.

Do go to sites specifically geared towards a subset. I see you're looking into teaching? Do you have licensure? If so, my state board of education always has virtual school openings. For your other interests, full-time positions are a bit harder to get. It's more common to either have a traditional position which you transition into working from home or you freelance enough to make it full-time. It's not impossible of course, but if you limit yourself to full-time positions, it's definitely more of a challenge.

I noticed you had quite a few interests - i'm curious how skilled you are in each one, and if one is your primary interest. I say that because being a jack of all trades doesn't necesarily serve you well in telecommuting jobs so ot may be beneficial to say, exxpand your graphic design portfolio if it's more limited.
posted by Aranquis at 6:04 AM on April 27, 2014

Best answer: A friend of mine does coding and works from home; he has had a lot of success on FlexJobs.
posted by synecdoche at 6:06 AM on April 27, 2014

Response by poster: @aranquis: I have 6 years of graphic design experience, have been teaching college-level English Composition for 4 years, and tutoring English (reading comprehension, writing, and conversation) and SAT/ACT/TOEFL for 5 years.

Most of these jobs I was working simultaneously--I taught English in the morning to early afternoon, tutored late afternoon and Saturdays and did freelance design work at night and on weekends. I eventually also got an in-office design job in campus that I worked 20 hrs a week at in conjunction with teaching an English class.

I have worked 6 days a week for the past 4 years. Unfortunately, many of my tutoring clients have left, because they either move back to their home countries (many are ESL/international students) or they've worked with me long enough to get the test scores they need to get into the school of their choice. My teaching job is ending on May 6 and as an adjunct, I am not offered work in the summer (and there's no guarantee for fall). And anyway, adjuncting earns so little I don't want to work as one anymore. My in-office design job position lost funding due to budget cuts, so I can't work there anymore. And I haven't gotten a website commission for a long time.

Things I have been doing to look for work: updated my online design portfolio, completed a linkedin profile, passed my resume on to every contact I have at my large university campus asking for leads or referrals or commissions, checked the job boards at my campus every day for positions. So far I have applied for 5 jobs full time jobs on campus in a design or design+education field. (I prefer to stay near or on campus due to transportation issues). I opened a flexjobs account and saved about 10 jobs I'll be applying to this week. I'll also be visiting the college career center on Monday to make an appt.

If there's any more places to look, please let me know! thank you all for your suggestions so far. (and sorry for asking job related questions for two weeks in a row)
posted by joyeuxamelie at 6:54 AM on April 27, 2014


It's not just moving couches. You'll probably find more one-off jobs this way, but it's something. FWIW, I have one experience (hiring someone to move a couch) and I was very satisfied. Some jobs are posted with a set amount for the task, others let potential workers bid on jobs.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:03 AM on April 27, 2014

Best answer: Be careful about Elance. It is not the fruit basket it once was. Ridiculously low rates are now the norm there and it is not due to just to offshore competition. Elance has been on a path - a race - to the bottom for the past couple of years. Elance has systematically reduced the value of the platform for the freelancer in what seems to be preference for an ultra-low-cost market. Whatever their motivation was to take the site from a one that revolved around jobs and freelancers with a more sophisticated skill set down to an almost Wal-Mart marketplace is unclear, but it has not worked out well for anyone.

Also, Elance and ODesk have merged. While this article deals with writers, it also brings up quite a few good points and red-flags to look for.

Sure you will find a jobs here and there on the site, but it is largely a shell of the viable platform it was up a few years ago. It is not just Elance either, almost all of these sites have taken a turn for the worse over the past couple of years. Definitely give it a shot, but scrutinize what is being offered. These sites may have a splashy look with spiffy tag lines but they are not all that different these days from the Craigslist gigs section.

Just be careful.

fwiw - I have completed over 400 jobs on Elance and bid on thousands over the past few years. I will be walking away from the platform entirely in the next couple of months as it is an almost dry well.
posted by lampshade at 8:14 AM on April 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

Several of these telecommuting internships involve writing, editing, or graphic design.
posted by brainwane at 9:18 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

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