Based on the most recent Census report, working at home is becoming a more popular option these days. In 1997, only 9.2 million people worked from home and most of them were self-employed. Just 13 short years later, with the help of technology and the internet, 13.4 million are able to call their home their place of employment as well – an increase of 35%! While the number of at-home careers has increased, there are still many scams out there that try to take advantage of those that are interested in working from home. So what’s actually available that provides some legit ways to make money from home?
The Main Reason to Make Money From Home
The surge of people looking to work from home has been unbelievable, but I suspect that this spike in interest is not because of a phobia of driving to work, or because people are in love with the idea of having an at-home office. No, I believe the majority of people want to work from home in order to spend more time with their kids, but still earn some sort of an income to help pay those family bills!
You see, things aren’t quite what they used to be. A couple of generations ago, it was only natural for the man of the house to work hard and create enough of an income so that his wife didn’t have to work. Instead, she would have the option to stay at home and raise their children. Back then, the man’s pay was often quite good and the costs of living were low, so it wasn’t all that difficult to survive on just a single income. Today, things are much different. While there certainly are moms out there that want to go back to work, many of them are being forced into the workforce because it’s financially impossible for their family to survive without their added income.
Since the most popular answer to the question of ‘why do you want to work at home’ is “to be with my kids and earn an income,” many of the typical article write-ups on this topic of earning money from home are not helpful in the least. They offer solutions such as:
- Starting a call center out of your home
- Become an answering service hub
- Offering tech support for various companies
- Answer online surveys
- Do random things online to earn Swagbucks
The first three items on this list would be next to impossible if you have kids running around your house, and the last two pay out pennies at a time and wouldn’t even help you put a dent in your electric bill each month. So let’s get down to some real answers. What are some legit ways to make money from home that actually make sense?
#1. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants don’t typically make a ton of money per hour (typically $10 an hour or so), but for the most part the job can be quite flexible. Tasks are typically spelled out for the week or each day. You then record the number of minutes or hours that you spent on each task and get paid according to the time you put in. The beauty of this job is that you can get the job done at any point in the day. If your kid has a meltdown early in the morning when you would typically get work done, no worries, because you could work on your tasks later in the morning during nap time.
How to Find a Job as a Virtual Assistant
Michelle, from Making Sense of Cents, has a nice write-up on this topic. If you have experience as an assistant and have graphic design knowledge, then this could very well be a possibility for you to earn some extra cash each month. To get your name out there, post your sales pitch and resume on Bloggers Classifieds or apply for jobs at ProBlogger. Also, it might even be a good idea to reach out to some of your favorite bloggers to see if they have any work for you. If not, they can always reach out to their network to help you out.
#2. Online Reseller
As I keep my eyes open for legit ways to make money from home, selling items online continues to prove itself as a valid option. As I see it, there are three different ways to make money by selling items online:
a) Selling items for someone else and keeping a percentage – Inevitably, there’s always someone that you know that has way too much stuff, wants to get rid of some of it, but doesn’t want to go through the hassle of selling each individual item online. This is where you come in. Offer to pick up the items, take them to your house, post them online, sell them, and then take a percentage of the profits. If it all goes well, they’ll likely recommend your services to their friends and family and voila, you’ve got a money-making venture on your hands that you can operate from home.
b) Buying items from a garage sale and sell them online for more – I have seen this more and more lately. Someone is selling cross country skis at a garage sale for $10 and a savvy garage-saler picks them up and then turns around and sells them online for $50. Find just 10 valuable items a week and you could earn yourself $400 in profit (with much of the work done from home).
c) Buying items in bulk and selling them individually – This one is a little tougher and requires some space for storage, but if you can find products that are severely discounted when packaged by the dozens or hundreds (often found on eBay), then you may have the opportunity to buy them, split them into smaller lots and resell them for a larger per-item price.
#3. Data Entry
Surprisingly, one of the more legit ways to make money from home is via data entry. There are quite a few smaller companies that are still trying to digitize their files, which includes P.O.’s, invoices, and other valuable information. You don’t necessarily need to have experience with data entry, but they might require you to take a quick online test to gauge your speed and accuracy.
How to Find Data Entry Jobs
If you’re interesting in finding a data entry job, one of the first places I would search is Indeed.com. Since these jobs are typically work-from-home occupations, you could perform a broad search in any area. Beyond this, About.com if you are interested in entering data from home.
Personally, I have had some great success with blogging since I started in 2010, but I just happened to stumble into a profitable topic on accident. When I first had the idea to start a blog, I had no idea that finance was one of the most popular and well-paid topics in the blogging world.
According to OnlineIncomeTeacher, the top three profitable blog topics are Health & Fitness, Relationships, and Money & Finance. Based on what I have seen, I would also add DIY and home design into the mix as well. These topics attract many readers, and advertisers pay bloggers well to promote and sell their products.
How Do You Make Money With a Blog?
While many people like the thought of earning money with a blog, they don’t typically understand how it’s done. It’s pretty easy actually. You start out by signing up with a webhost like iPage (that’s who I power my site through – it’s very cheap and simple and costs as little as $1.99 a month!), setting up a WordPress account (which starts you out with a basic template, so there’s really no need to build anything on your own if you’re nervous about it), writing some amazing content, and then setting up some advertisements on your page after you attract a decent amount of visitors each month.
Your main forms of advertisements should be Google Adsense where you get paid for each click, and some other Affiliate ads where you earn money for the sale of a product. Amazon is a great example of an affiliate that you could set up. Simply head to their homepage, sign up as an affiliate (often at the bottom of the page), and then use the code they give you to put on your website. The code will show products that are relevant to your site and when someone clicks through your ad and buys a product, you get paid. I probably made this sound way more complex than it actually is, but just know that if you can attract readers, then there is money to be made!
#5. Content Writer
If you enjoy writing, but don’t necessarily want to start a blog on your own, then maybe you’d like to make money from home by writing content for other sites. I have done my fair share of this and have regularly earned about $400 a month. Heck, my friend Ben earned $25,000 in a year just by freelance writing. I found that the absolute best way to get into the writing game is by simply asking blog owners if you can write some pieces for them for free. This obviously won’t net you any money at first, but at least it will give you some published work that you can put onto your resume. If they really like your writing, they might hire you as a staff writer, or at the very least, they’ll recommend you to their friends that might be looking.
Many other sites might recommend that you head to Elance or oDesk to look for writing gigs, but quite honestly these just pay too little (sometimes less than $4 per article) and I would avoid them if I were you.
If you like to put your fingers in that fresh spring soil and grow a beautiful plant from a single seed, then perhaps gardening for a stay-at-home income is your best option. Grow veggies and flowers and sell them at your local farmer’s market. If you don’t have a farmer’s market nearby, then put up a stand in your front yard with a for sale sign. Selling produce and flowers is not rocket science, and it can earn quite a decent income during the summer months.
Unsure of what to grow? Check out this list of 10 most profitable specialty crops. I wouldn’t have thought of most of these, but I can see how each one of them would yield a healthy profit.
#7. Pet Sitting
Out of all the legit ways to make money from home, this one has probably been my favorite. When I lived in Florida, hardly anyone had kids but EVERYONE seemed to have pets. And, since many of these well-to-do people left for vacation during the summer months, they had to find a place for their dogs and cats. At that time I worked for a very large corporate headquarters and often overheard of people going on vacation, wondering what they were going to do with their pets. I almost always volunteered.
It was a win for the owners because they didn’t have to feel guilty about leaving their pet at one of those terrible boarding facilities (where the dog is pretty much in their kennel the whole time), and it was obviously a win for me because they paid me what they would have paid the boarding place if they had left their pet there! By watching Rufus for a week, I would earn myself an easy $175. If you can line up just one dog a week, you could earn more than $600 a month. Not too shabby for a little side-gig from home.
My fiance and I are planning for our upcoming wedding, and you know what I’ve learned? Photographers make bank. Plus, if you’re a mom that needs to stay home during the day, but can get away for a couple Saturdays a month, then this could be a fantastic option for you to earn a fabulous income for your family, and also you’d be able to stay at home with your kids on during the week.
Do you own a camera and are skilled in photography and digital touch-ups? Let your friends and family know that you’re interested in photographing weddings, start a website for your business (again, I recommend iPage), and register with sites like The Knot and ThumbTack. Once you get some gigs, you’ll work away from your family on some Saturdays, but then you can touch-up the photos and put together photo books while you’re at home. Land just two gigs a month and you could easily earn $2,000 or more.
#9. Online Tutor
Do you love a particular topic of study and would enjoy teaching it to someone else? Tutor.com will actually pay you to tutor other individuals in the subjects listed below:
- Discrete Math
- Chemistry/Organic Chemistry
- Statistics/College Statistics
Simply apply online and start earning money with each session. The pay isn’t amazing at $10-$11 an hour, but if you love what you do AND you can earn money from home doing it, then that’s pretty cool.
I had a friend growing up whose parents did not have regular jobs and they always seemed to be around. Plus, they lived in a really nice house on the lake. It took me a while to figure it out, but they were actually bed and breakfast hosts. They bought a nice house on the lake, advertised it as a bed and breakfast on sites like BedAndBreakfast.com, and then provided meals and entertainment for their guests.
If you pursued this option as one of your legit ways to make money from home, understand that there will constantly be strangers around your children. Some parents can’t handle this because of the unknowns surrounding the guests, but others love it because it is yet another way to teach your kids with the experiences of others. Without ever leaving the house, your kids can learn about the entire world through your house guests.
#11. Search Engine Evaluator
Did you know that Google contracts regular people to search their site to find mistakes? Since their algorithms are so complex and may not get the search results quite right at times, they hire humans to perform searches to let them know if the results are valid. The work is fairly flexible and typically pays $12 an hour. Want to learn more about this? Kyle at the Penny Hoarder has an awesome article that explains more about what it is and how to get employed as a search engine evaluator.
If you’re a new mom and you came here searching for legit ways to make money from home so that you wouldn’t have to leave your child, there is probably nothing simpler than agreeing to watch someone else’s kid as well as your own (note – I didn’t say easy, I said simple). We all have friends that don’t like the idea of putting their kids into one of those huge childcare facilities, but what other options do they have? Well, if you offered to watch their kid for them while you stay home and watch your own, I bet they would jump all over that!
All you have to do is present the idea to them, charge them slightly less per month than their childcare facility, and you’ll be able to stay at home with your child and provide some extra income for the family! Nice!
Other Legit Ways to Make Money From Home
If these options didn’t satisfy you, there are certainly others. Just 15 years ago, working from home meant that you had to start your own business. Today, there are many corporations that are hiring employees and allowing them to work from home instead of taking up valuable space at the office. Simply go to Indeed.com and type in, “work from home” and you’ll receive various jobs that you can do from home. Once you find something that might work for you, apply, interview, and hopefully you’ll be the one that’s hired!
Can you think of other legit ways to make money from home?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.