As someone who has worked from home for the past decade, I know from first-hand experience, how incredibly gratifying it is – and how incredible lucky I am – to be able to do what I love from the comfort and convenience of my own place in northern New Jersey.
Sure, I have meetings and financial workshops all around the country, and I frequently jaunt into New York City and elsewhere to do television interviews. But for the most part, a lot of my work is done right from my laptop, or sitting at my desk in my home office in my basement.
As I write this post, for example, I’m pecking away on my laptop keyboard – and watching an NFL game featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers as they square off against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Like many women who are fortunate enough to work from home, I have about a 10-second commute – and need only leave my bedroom each morning and head downstairs to get started working.
While some people who toil from home like to work in their pajamas, I’m not one of them. But it’s nice to know I could if I chose to do so!
For me, working at home is about freedom and a better quality of life.
I’m free from having a time-consuming commute, which also saves me a ton of cash. I’m also free to set my own hours, so I largely work when and how I want. I even get to squeeze in Zumba classes every now and again during normal business hours.
Most importantly, working from home means I get to be there for my kids at the drop of a hat. If my son’s track and field practice get canceled – or he has to stay late – or if one of my daughters has a last-minute after-school activity, it’s never a problem. And I don’t have to stress about rushing home from an office to get them.
That’s important to me, because my husband and I have three children in three different grade levels – including one in high school, one in middle school, and another in elementary. So while we all have a routine and a general schedule, life can nevertheless get unpredictable.
I share all of this to say I know what it’s like to work from home – the pros and the cons. And I understand why so many women want to work from home to have a better work-family balance.
Still, working at home isn’t for everyone. You’ve got to be disciplined. If you have children, you’ve got to make sure the kids don’t constantly interrupt your work. And then there’s the whole issue of landing a legitimate work-from-home gig in the first place – and not getting caught up in some work-from home scam that wastes your time and money.
Fortunately, plenty of good, legit home-based work opportunities exist that can allow you to work part-time or full-time as you choose.
Here are five great jobs for women who’d like to work from home.
1. Virtual Assistant
If you have terrific administrative and organizational talent, there’s no need to commute to a brick and mortar office building to be of assistance. You can work as someone’s “virtual” assistant. You’ll be doing things like answering phone calls, replying to emails and setting up meetings. And best of all you can do it from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
You might think some women blogging online about their day and their kids are just venting or doing a bit of social networking. But in reality, some so-called “Mommy Bloggers” are making many thousands of dollars per month. So if you have decent writing skills or just like to share your parenting, cooking or home-making tips with others, this could be a great stay at home job.
Of course, women bloggers can and do write about anything. So you can share your technology expertise or your knowledge about travel, entertainment, or art history.
3. Answering-Service Agent
If you’ve ever tried to get a medical professional’s advice or schedule an appointment after-hours, you know that you often have to leave a message or play phone tag – unless a real live person answers the phone.
Well, you may not have realized it, but often the person on the other end of the line is an answering-service agent who’s working from home – just like you want to do. She may be answering after-hours calls for a doctor’s office, the dentist, a vet, or a healthcare clinic, among other businesses. Her role is to record the caller’s information and forward it along to the customer. This is a job you could do as well.
To get started, check out Answer MTI, which hires work-at-home phone agents. The work may range from collecting someone’s name and number to taking an order for a product or service. Sometimes, you might have to work late hours. But if you’re a mom, at least you’ll be able to earn extra cash after you put the kids to sleep.
Do you speak a second language? Through services like Telelanguage.com and the American Translators Association you can put those language skills to use as an online or phone translator. In addition to your knack for a second language, all you need is your computer, an Internet connection and a quiet work space. You’ll be able to work from home and be present for important activities in your children’s lives.
Even though you’re not in school anymore, that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise your brainpower. If you’re a teacher, professor, traditional tutor, or even an expert in some field, online coaching through Tutor.com may be the best avenue for you to start your own work-from-home business. Unlimited by geography, you can coach individuals across the nation and set hours that are the most convenient for you — allowing plenty of time for family needs.
Bonus job: Graphic designer
One last tip: If you have Web and graphic design talents, or any kind of programming skills, my hubby Earl – who is also my business manager and agent, and works from home too – recommends that you check out Odesk.com. This is a great place for freelancers to offer their services on an hourly or flat-fee basis.
Finally, even if you’re a super busy stay-at-home mom, and your spouse is the main breadwinner, you still might want to do some sort of work from home.
By earning extra cash on the side, you’ll not only help out with the family finances, you’ll also reduce any money worries you may have.