5 Ways to Make a Living From Home

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Technology has taken us all by storm. We can shop, communicate with friends and family, play games, and educate ourselves, all from a PC. In the past 25 years alone, we have gone from the giant Zack Morris cell phone to the sleek and compact smartphone – communication devices are designed with convenience in mind. Technology has made significant changes in how we network, we can quickly make global business connections, and clients can see our faces without a face-to-face meeting. Companies can allow employees to access necessary systems from a home computer. This has opened up the door for a whole new way of doing business: telecommuting.

In efforts to reduce costs, many companies across many industries hire employees and contractors to work from home. Between 2005 and 2012, the commonality of telecommuting increased dramatically. According to a publication by Global Workforce Analytics, for-profit companies saw an increase of over 70 percent, and not-for-profit saw an increase of over 87 percent in the incidence of telecommuting during that seven-year time frame. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, when people heard about telecommuting jobs, they would often associate them with either mail-stuffing jobs in which the pay was minuscule or in some cases, with scams.

If you work in a field like information technology or accounting, where a computer is the primary tool of your trade, working from home, at least part-time, is fairly common within the industry. But even if you are not an IT guru, you can still make a living working from a home office in one of the following five common work-from-home job categories.

1. Customer service

Before the evolution of work-at-home, call center employees had to drive to a brick-and-mortar site each day to sit at a desk and provide service to customers. Today, companies like Alpine Access, Convergys, and Asurion hire employees to answer customer service calls for their clients, who range from cable television service providers to healthcare companies. Employees are paid a starting rate of around $9 per hour, depending on the company. Although this hourly pay is below the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reported median rate of $14.70 per hour for a customer service representative, work-from-home call center agents do not face commuting, clothing, meals, and other costs associated with working at a brick-and-mortar center. Some of these call centers also offer opportunities for advancement. Supervisory, managerial, training, and human resources positions are also available as telecommuting positions.

2. Tutoring

Web tutoring is another job in which you can earn money from home. Tutors may have to travel to the home of a student to perform work functions but do not have to report into an office. Companies such as Tutor.com and Aim-for-A Tutoring offer online tutoring positions. The rate of pay varies by education level, subject matter, and company, but a Glassdoor.com report indicates an average pay of between $9 and $21 per hour. Some tutoring positions are part time and used as a supplementary or secondary source of income.

3. Virtual assistant

Many companies and professionals hire virtual assistants. Assistants and prospective assistants have a variety of resources available, such as the International Virtual Assistants Association and VirtualAssistants.com, to help these assistants network and match them with employers. Indeed.com reports the salary of a virtual assistant at $38,000 annually.

4. Government positions

The Federal government saw a 421 percent increase in the incidence of telecommuting from 2005 to 2012. The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 set guidelines for telecommuting eligibility requirement and also set tracking and reporting standards. Telework.gov is a website where government employees and managers can obtain guidance and seek eligibility to telecommute. The Federal government has a wide range of career options to match a vast array of skill sets. Candidates can search and apply for these positions on USAjobs.gov.

5. Entrepreneurship

These days, you can start a small home business without a large amount of capital. Whether it’s buying and selling collectibles on eBay or teaching classes in yoga, many people have turned a profit from home. Among other factors, the industry in which you choose to start a business impacts the likelihood that your business will be successful. According to a report by Statistics Brain, only 37 percent of new IT companies were still in operation after four years compared to 47 percent of retail startups and 58 percent of finance, insurance, and real estate businesses that reached the four-year mark.

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