One of the things I’m most grateful for is that throughout all of my marriage I’ve been able to work from home.
When the kids were young it meant squeezing time in during naptime, or taking a few hours on the weekends when Keith was home. As they grew older I could take whole mornings or afternoons to myself while they played or worked. And today I do a lot of my work in my pyjamas! I get up early, yes, but I don’t have to drive anywhere, which is wonderful.
And along the line I’ve also been able to contribute to the family income.
It started when we were first married in the early 1990s. Microsoft Office was just launching, and I taught myself how to use Access, their database program. I read the manual and figured out how to program databases myself. And then I was hired for some serious money to do all the database work for the company my mother worked for, since no one else knew how to use it.
Later I built the billing program for Keith’s medical practice using Access.
Then I started to write articles, and eventually books, and eventually this blog. And it’s been a blessing the whole time, because I never missed a minute of my kids’ lives. And I was still able to make dinner.
Working at home has its stresses, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
And I know many of you desperately want to stay home with your kids and primarily be homemakers, but you simply need some income. Others of you have been working full-time away from home for years, but you’d love to own your own business and set your own hours and get paid what you’re really worth.
But when we hear “work at home”, we usually think selling Pampered Chef or selling Avon, and that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But working at home means so much more than just home parties!
And so today I just want to share three ideas for how you can make money from home–and an awesome resource to help you get there!
3 Great Ideas for Work at Home Jobs:
Become a Mystery Shopper
My mom LOVED mystery shopping–she did it for about 10 years after she had officially moved to Belleville, but still wanted to visit friends in Toronto. She’d get shops in Toronto that would let her write off her travel expenses, and make money to boot!
Here’s how it works: you check job boards of mystery shopping companies or you sign up with several and get job offers. Take what you want, and then follow their directions exactly. Some will want to know things like: were you greeted within a minute of entering the store? Did the clerk ask if you wanted anything extra? Did they get the order right? Were they pleasant? Sometimes you may need some equipment. My mom used to have to order drinks from Starbucks, and then take them back to the car to measure them and take the temperature.
After that you write up your report.
It really is quite simple. The catch is that so many people are trying to get it on it, so there’s a lot of competition! But it’s a great job that is totally flexible. And if you’re willing to do some shops during business hours, you’re more likely to get assignments, too.
Here’s how Bethany Mooradian explains it in her book The Mystery Shopping Training Program:
All that schedulers and mystery shopping companies want are shoppers who are reliable, follow directions, and write clear, descriptive reports. Believe it or not, it can be very difficult to simply find these people. There’s so much information on the Internet regarding mystery shopping, and most people don’t understand that it’s a serious business. If you do good work, and are pleasant to work with, you will be called for more assignments. Any company will tell you that good Mystery Shoppers are golden.
It can take a while to break in, but if you deliver your first few assignments quickly, with easy to read reports (they’ll give you a template, and Bethany has a TON in her book that you can use) and lots of photos, people will love you. And they’ll keep coming back to you!
It’s a great way for paying for date nights, too, because restaurants and movie theatres are often available (though they’re also some of the assignments that get picked up the fastest!).
If they ask you to buy something at a store, they’ll give you the money for it, and you’ll often get to keep it. So it really is super fun!
The Mystery Shopping Training Program is a super complete book with everything you’d need to know about becoming a mystery shopper, including lots of company listings. And for the next 5 days it’s available as part of the Work at Home Bundle, a bundle of ebooks and courses worth over $2000, that’s available for you for just $47!
Start an Etsy Shop
Are you super great at crafts, but you hate standing at a table at a craft fair worse than fingernails on a chalkboard? Take the awkwardness out of selling your crafts by putting them up on Etsy–and let them sell themselves!
But hold on a second. If you were to start an etsy shop with your knitted products today, it’s pretty unlikely you’d sell much of anything. That’s because if you go to Etsy and type in “knitted scarf”, you get 250 pages of potential scarves. It’s hard to break in through all that noise!
But that’s where The Art of Audience Building for Etsy Sellers comes in. It helps you figure out how to build your audience who will be interested in your types of products before you even put stuff up. And it shows you how to make sure that when you do post your crafts, you already have interested eyeballs that will see them!
And there’s also an amazing course called Earn $1000/month on Etsy that is totally step-by-step, and will help prep you for your Etsy store so well! They help you brainstorm ideas, and then use the Etsy search function to project which ideas have the best income potential (and they show you EXACTLY how to do this, taking all the scariness out of research). Then it takes you step by step through how to set up your shop, start accepting payments, figure out your shipping, and all of those other scary-sounding things. It’s really well done and well laid out, and includes a section on goal setting that can help you ramp up for success.
But there are other resources that can help you build your shop and get ready to sell your handmade goods, too:
Work as a Virtual Assistant
In her book E-marketing Essentials for Virtual Assistants, Lisa Wells explains how many things can actually be done by a virtual assistant–and why if you want to make an income, it’s best to focus on a few in a target market, and then do them very well. You just find a need and fill that need!
Virtual assistants can prepare reports, run social media campaigns, organize someone’s mailing list, do data entry, do billing, write blog posts, create graphics, set up websites, do graphic design–and so much more.
On this blog I employ four people as virtual assistants. Here are their different job descriptions:
- Design the website, create graphics, edit blog posts, write some blog posts, create landing pages, do some social media, and create promotional materials (my daughter Rebecca–25 hours a week)
- Respond to all emails, oversee advertising campaigns, book speaking engagements, book travel (my friend Tammy–20 hours a week)
- Create newsletters and compile posts to put into ebooks (Rebecca’s friend Samantha–3 hours a week)
- Trouble shoot when the blog breaks (this happens more than you’d think!) (a university friend’s company–on standby for when I panic)
So you can see that I pay for a variety of services myself. Most blogs do.
If you want a job as a virtual assistant, I’d recommend getting really good at one of several niches:
- Running social media
- Creating newsletters and managing lists and sales funnels (managing the list is a bigger job than writing the newsletter!)
- Editing and writing blog posts
- Creating graphics
- Designing websites
- Running the technical side of websites
- Doing publicity and advertising campaigns
- Creating advertising brochures for companies
- Creating reports for companies
- Doing billing and accounting for companies
- Doing scheduling/travel/booking for speakers/musicians
And there’s likely more that I didn’t think of. But if you can get super good at one of those (there’s actually a lot that goes into running a Facebook Page, for instance), then you could easily get jobs!
Remember, most self-employed people work from armchairs, not offices with secretaries. And they do need help! And you can fill that niche. And the nice thing is that you can usually earn more than if you were hired as a secretary or receptionist, and you get to write off part of your housing expenses and internet and computer expenses!
Here’s something else: All that matters when people hire you is that you can do the job, not that you have certain training. I have hired multiple people and I have never once asked if they have a university degree or if they went to college or anything. I only ever wanted to know one thing: Can you honestly do this job well? And if they can show me that they can, I don’t care about their education!
In general, the more technical know-how goes into a job, the more it will pay, and the more revenue your job directly creates, the more you can charge. So someone creating graphics makes more than someone writing a newsletter. Similarly, someone running a publicity campaign makes more than someone running the social media side of a brand.
In the Work at Home Bundle there are four amazing resources that can help you launch your career as a virtual assistant.
Honestly, I have hired so many people over the years to help me with this blog, and it’s been a blessing with every one of them. I’m not looking for anyone right now, but so many bloggers are. And these courses tell you how to find those people, and how to create a job that can be anything from 5 hours a week to 40 hours a week–right from your home.
Other Jobs You Can Do From Home
The Ultimate Work at Home Bundle has tons of great information on other jobs you can do from home, too–I’ve only picked three that I thought were especially relevant. But they also have resources on cake making, medical transcription and billing, writing, and more, along with books and courses on productivity, lead generation, networking, and more.
But the bundle is only available until Monday at midnight, so check it out now!
It has been a blessing to work from home, and it is has been a blessing to be able to provide an income to others, so they can work from home, too. While robots will be taking over a lot of jobs in the future, these are ones that people will always need! And working for yourself can be so rewarding.
If you need to supplement your family’s income, I’d really suggest researching jobs you can do from home. It’s easier than working retail a few shifts a week, and it has growth potential, both in terms of how big your business can get and how much you can earn in an hour. It really is possible.
So tell me in the comments–have you ever earned money from home? What did you do? Maybe we can add to my list of virtual assistant jobs!