Can I work from home doing a real job?
January 2, 2007 9:27 PM   Subscribe

I would like to work part time from home, earn a reasonable wage (at least $10/hour and preferably more), have some job security, and if possible set my own hours. Is that realistic? And how can I do it?

I have a humanities degree from a well-regarded university. I graduated years ago, but have no job experience as such because I've been self-employed piecing together little bits of anything I could get paid to do since then (which is a lengthy list but includes making and selling art, writing, and food, as well as dancing, playing music, and doing construction, child care and massage therapy--so lots of breadth of experience but not too much depth). I'm definitely allergic to traditional job structures, but I'm getting to the point where I would really prefer a little more stability.

I've heard of people doing editorial work from home. Is this ever an entry-level position, and if so, how would one go about getting this type of job? Also, any other suggestions? I'd try pretty much anything unless it involves agressive sales.
posted by lgyre to Work & Money (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Data entry work, although those sort of jobs are beginning to get shipped overseas.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:28 PM on January 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

You could learn medical transcribing -- takes about six months via online courses -- and do transcription from home.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:40 PM on January 2, 2007

Response by poster: Hmm, I wonder about data entry. I looked into something like that once, but it was actually someone trying to sell a course on data-entry rather than an actual job. That could be a possibility, though, if I could find a real one.
posted by lgyre at 9:41 PM on January 2, 2007

By becoming a freelance worker, consultant or contract worker, you can work from home. However, you'll need to identify your unique skills and attributes, then match them to a field.

Do you only want to work from home? Would you rule out self-employment that involved sometimes working outside the home, such as for teaching, meeting clients, etc?

You do have job experience. You just listed eight positions.

I run a website on becoming a consultant. (Link in profile.) I'm a big advocate of doing a self-inventory and also assessing your entrepreneurial spirit. Once you've done an inventory of all your skills, experiences, goals, values, interests and other attributes, you'll be in a better position to start exploring self-employment opportunities. (Heck, this helps with any career planning, self-employed or not.)

If you are just looking for some ideas and you don't want to do that kind of exercise yet, I'd advocate freelance writing, editing, childcare, massage therapy, research, market research, catering, meal planning/preparation, home inspection...just going on the scant info you provided.
posted by acoutu at 9:42 PM on January 2, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks acoutu,

a lot of the stuff you listed in your last paragraph is basically what I'm already doing. What I'm mostly looking for at this point is a way to transition one or more of these jobs into something a little more stable (less dependant on what I manage to sell or what one-off job I come across in any given month). And I am willing to leave my house sometimes, but I don't have a car.

Your website sounds interesting, I'll look it up.
posted by lgyre at 9:49 PM on January 2, 2007

I've heard Jet Blue has some great program where they allow their customer service reps to work from home.

Here's an article about them.

Here's where you could apply (it says Salt Lake City as a location - but I'm not sure if you actually have to live there to apply).

Good luck.
posted by jourman2 at 9:54 PM on January 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is not a discussion of what to charge, as I don't want to get into price fixing. But, when I was a lowly freelance writer/editor fresh out of school, I started charging $35 an hour. And I steadily increased it from there. Now I do marketing consulting, but I still charge out for writing at a significant multiple of what I started at.

I know massage therapists who charge $65-$75 an hour. Community centre instructors who charge $40-$75. Caterers who charge $65. Business consultants who charge $150-$300. You can make a lot more than $10 an hour. But not all hours of work are billable, of course.
posted by acoutu at 10:38 PM on January 2, 2007

One thing no one's mentioned yet is phone-sex worker. I suggest this with tongue only half-way placed in cheek. Sure, it's pretty humiliating, but a friend of mine practically put herself through college on that money, and she could do it while studying.

Be very careful checking out any work-at-home opportunities online. The vast majority of them are pyramid schemes, outright fraud, or at the very least marginally ethical.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:17 PM on January 2, 2007

Phone Sex! on AskMe.
posted by philomathoholic at 12:42 AM on January 3, 2007

There is quite a bit of good information here.

Also, whether you are a parent or not, try using the search term "WAHM" (Work at Home Mom).
posted by Otis at 6:20 AM on January 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

You can score for ETS from home, make your own schedule (4 hour shifts at a time), and get $10-$16 hour to grade standardized test essays. Must need a phone and a good internet connection.
posted by greta simone at 7:42 AM on January 3, 2007 [3 favorites]

You could look into becoming a VA (virtual assistant): search in google, and you should find lots if info.
posted by adriana at 8:30 PM on January 4, 2007 [2 favorites]

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