Millions of people dream of working at home for a lot of good reasons. It avoids the ritual of being jolted out of bed by an alarm, a hurried rush to get ready followed by a hasty breakfast and stressful commute. Avoiding all the associated activity of getting ready for work leaves you more time for sleep and a less stressful start to your day. Kids are another reason people want to work from home. They get to spend more time with them growing up and save on the ever escalating cost of daycare.
Unfortunately there are more people who want to work at home than there are work-at-home jobs which makes those trying to escape the petty tyranny of their cubical easy targets for scammers. As a general rule, if a work at home offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Any job that asks for your Social Security number or bank account information up front is almost certainly a scam. Legitimate employers don’t need your SSN until they’re ready to put you on the payroll. Jobs that pitch how much you can earn are almost always scams.
When my wife and I lived on the road, we ran into many people working from their RVs. They had taken working at home one step further to working from their camper. They didn’t make as much as they might have working in an office but most of the time, they did pretty well. Here are the jobs I ran across supporting people full time at home in their RVs.
Medical Billing Coders
These jobs frequently require certification from either the American Health Information Management Association and the American Academy of Professional Coders. On top of that you’ll likely need a couple years of working in an office before working remotely. The people we met on the road doing this job made between $15 and $20 an hour and they were always busy.
This job involves transcribing doctor’s patient notes and updating patient charts. It’s a challenging job because doctors talk fast, many have an accent and a few further complicate the job by eating, talking on the phone and having conversations with other people in the room while they’re dictating. This job will not be completely replaced by transcription software as long as doctors keep acting like doctors.
If you can write apps for mobile devices, you can pretty much write your own ticket which includes your work location. One programmer I worked with in Seattle works from his boat during the summer and Hawaii every winter. The job of programmer includes scripting with languages like PERL, Python and PHP and even the management of some large databases. I also include web development under this heading as more and more of that business is modifying templates for frameworks like WordPress. These quick fix tech jobs can add up to a lot of money for those really skilled at the business and jobs abound at sites like Guru, oDesk and eLance.
The market for snappy infographics, illustrations and concept drawings is vast and the really skilled are booked up for months in advance. One guy we met on the road does nothing but make concept drawings of futuristic fighting machines and space ships. Seriously, that’s what he does all day long, day in and day out, and the last time I traded emails with him he was booked four months in advance. He doesn’t advertise, all he does is post samples of his work at DeviantArt.com. At $400 to $500 each, he has done as many as five in one day, though his usual production is two or three. If you’re skilled at graphics and fast, check out Guru and eLance for freelancing opportunities.
When you call for customer service these days your call is more likely to be answered by someone working in a home office. Customer service telecommute jobs aren’t as lucrative as they used to be as some companies have started paying contractors by the minute while on the phone with a customer rather than pay a straight hourly wage. A list of companies using at home service reps can be found at sites like HomeWithTheKids.com.
If you have a knack for math and science and are good with kids, there are opportunities for tutors almost everywhere. In these days of Skype and Google Hangouts it’s possible to offer a discount rate for online one-on-one tutoring. Most of the tutors I know have students they work with in person and use online tutoring to fill in the gaps. It’s possible to make $15 to $25 an hour for helping kids with the tough subjects.
High speed broadband and internet connectivity are constantly opening up new possibilities to work away from the office. Stay focused on what you need to make on an hourly basis and one day you may be able to shed the cubicle and daily commute once and for all.