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Are you tired of the 9-to-5 grind? You stash the kids in day care, fight traffic on your commute, trudge into a workplace that’s blasted by harsh fluorescent lights and settle in for another day of toil.
Working from home starts to sound pretty good, doesn’t it? The problem is you’ve probably seen plenty of work-from-home job postings that promise way more than they deliver. (We’re looking at you, multi-level marketing schemes.)
Heck, just Google “work from home scam” and you’ll get 225 million hits. It’s a jungle out there, people.
We’ve got good news, though: There’s never been a better time to earn a living without leaving your house or apartment. Our internet-saturated society keeps creating tens of thousands of ways to work at home that didn’t exist just a few years ago.
(Want proof? Keep an eye on The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal, where you’ll see the most up-to-date listings we’ve found. These job alerts are for positions that are open right now.)
To give you an idea of what’s out there, we’ve rounded up this list of legitimate work-from-home jobs. They range from full-time positions to side gigs, and none of them are scams.
Table of Contents
- Start Your Own Business
- Launch a Side Gig from Home
- Find a Remote Customer Service Job
Start Your Own Business
Start your job search by looking in the mirror. Being your own boss has its pros and cons. You’re working without a safety net, but you have maximum flexibility. Here are some options:
1. Make up to $60/Hour as a Bookkeeper
The job: Would you like the freedom to work at home while helping others succeed? Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers through his online course, Bookkeeper Business Launch. We asked him for advice for making this career track work for you. You can read the full interview here.
Requirements: You don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.
Average earnings: The average full-time bookkeeper earns nearly $40,000 per year (almost $19/hour), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But Robinson pointed out that as a freelancer or contractor, you can actually earn a higher hourly rate while working fewer hours. He says to aim for $60 an hour.
How to get started: Check out Bookkeeper Business Launch to see if the career is right for you.
2. Earn an Easy $2,000/Month as a Transcriber
The job: Listen up, take notes and get paid. Transcribe Anywhere offers online transcription courses that teach students how to transcribe and also how to start their own freelance transcribing businesses. The online course will lead you through modules, practice dictations and quizzes. It even shows you how to create a website and how to secure clients.
This worked out well for Alaina Roth. She had worked various jobs in management and hospitality, putting in long hours on nights and weekends — until she got pregnant. Now she works on a contract basis with two companies and puts in about 30 hours a week, transcribing anything from training webinars and audiobooks to radio broadcasts.
Requirements: Do you have mad typing skills? Do you have the stick-to-it-iveness needed to finish an online training course?
Average earnings: On average, Roth earns $2,000 per month, happily taking jobs when it suits her.
How to get started: If you’re even a teeny bit interested, try Transcribe Anywhere’s free introductory mini-course.
Launch a Side Gig from Home
A lot of work-from-home gigs are ideal for working part-time or supplementing your main income.
3. Earn $500+/Month Listing Your Place on Airbnb
The job: Have you got a spare room? Might as well list it with use Airbnb to try to make some money with it. If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your bank account that way.
Requirements: Airbnb lists guest houses, apartments and single rooms, but you can also list a couch, if that’s all you’ve got available.
Average earnings: Earnest, a personal loan platform, found that the average monthly income for Airbnb hosts among its customers is $924 and that nearly half of hosts earn more than $500 a month. Enter your information into Airbnb’s calculator to receive a free income estimate.
How to get started: Read through our beginner’s guide to Airbnb before you list your space.
4. Earn $22/Hour Teaching English Online
The job: Here’s a gig that allows you to work from anywhere: online English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. They’re in high demand, so requirements to become one are low, especially if you want to teach English abroad.
Many online English education companies focus primarily on Chinese grade schoolers, meaning teaching hours tend to be in the early mornings or late evenings for U.S. time zones. That’s perfect to supplement a 9-to-5 job.
Because the demand is so high, there are a lot of less-than-reputable companies out there. It’s important to vet each company to see which one will fit your schedule and income needs. Two we like are Qkids and VIPKid.
Requirements: VIPKid applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. Qkids is more flexible but also prefers a degree. Each company requires you to commit to a six-month contract.
Average earnings: With most ESL sites, it’s possible to teach two lessons per hour. Total hourly pay ranges from $14 to $22.
How to get started: Here are some things you’ll need:
- Erasable whiteboard and markers.
- Props like charts, pictures, posters or stuffed animals.
- A web camera.
- A high-speed internet connection.
- A computer, tablet or smartphone.
5. Build Your Freelance Career $5 at a Time
The job: Have you got skills? Can you shoot photos, edit videos or design websites? Can you write blog posts or code? Can you draw? If you’ve got game, list your services on freelance sites like Fiverr.
Requirements: Depends on the gig — use your existing skills!
Average earnings: It’s called Fiverr because every job listed on the website used to cost five bucks. Nowadays the jobs start at $5 apiece, but you might charge up to thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of the work.
How to get started: Study the website. Gigs on Fiverr range from standard data entry and research tasks to the truly out-there. On any given day, sellers in the “Fun & Lifestyle” section are offering thousands of unique services — from polishing a Tinder profile to creating a family tree.
6. Earn $300+/Week Driving People Around Town
The job: Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people? Try driving with Lyft.
Requirements: To be eligible for either Lyft, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, have a valid U.S. driver’s license, and pass a background check. Your car must be registered in-state and be covered by in-state insurance.
For Lyft, you must own a car made in 2007 or later.
Average earnings: Uber average earnings are $304.34/week based on 20 hours of driving per week using the net median national earnings of driver partners from December 2018.*
How to get started: You’re an independent contractor. Set your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
7. Make $15/Hour Cleaning up Search Engines
The job: Search engines use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see. But they don’t always get it right. They’re actually full of errors, so companies need real humans to look at the results and judge them for quality, relevance and usefulness. That’s where you come in.
Requirements: You’ll have to take qualifying tests. They can take a couple hours, and you won’t be paid for this time. Some companies also interview you by phone.
Average earnings: A search of publicly available information shows that most companies pay workers in these positions between $12 and $15 per hour. You’re hired as an independent contractor, not an employee.
How to get started: You can find search engine evaluator jobs through firms like Lionbridge or Appen.
Remote Customer Service Jobs Are Booming
There are many legitimate work-from-home jobs available in the customer service realm. Here’s what you should know:
8. Provide Customer Service From Your Couch
The job: Large corporations often contract smaller companies to provide phone and online customer care, and these smaller companies specifically hire home workers instead of staffing call centers in an office somewhere. Typically, you’ll spend the day on the phone in front of your computer and will answer calls or respond to questions online.
Think back to all the times you’ve called a company for help or typed questions into an online help box. The customer service agents you dealt with could have been working at home, which gives you some idea of the kind of work you might be doing.
Requirements: You should be good at multitasking — talking on the phone while working on a computer. Speaking Spanish is also a good skill to have, and it can earn you extra money.
Average earnings: $10 to $19 an hour, with an average of about $13.70, according to PayScale. Although these positions generally don’t pay high wages, many do provide a regular paycheck and health insurance, among other benefits.
How to get started: Numerous staffing companies work in this field. You should also keep an eye on The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal.
9. Work for Amazon Without Leaving Home
The job: Amazon is a huge company that sometimes hires seasonal or permanent work-from-home customer service associates.
Requirements: You should have a high school diploma or equivalent and a year or more of exposure in a service environment. You should also be able to type, speak on the phone and navigate a computer.
Average earnings: It varies. Jobs start at $10 per hour.
How to get started: Check out Amazon’s remote jobs page.
Bonus: Find Legitimate Work-From-Home Jobs Through This Site
If you’re trying to land that perfect work-from-home customer service or virtual assistant job, we recommend starting your search with ZipRecruiter.
When you click here to search, ZipRecruiter sends you to a list of geo-tailored work-from-home job openings. (Because, yes, even some work-from-home job opportunities have location restrictions.)
As soon as you start your search, you’ll see the average salary for work-from-home jobs in your area. This will help you know what to expect. Peruse the listings to find information about the company, pay and type of employment. You’ll find details about requirements as well as information about how to apply.
ZipRecruiter will even let you know if you qualify for a position based on your credentials. (We always recommend applying, anyway!)
A Work-From-Home Golden Age
There’s never been a better time for Americans to do real work from home. Across the United States, remote jobs are a godsend for stay-at-home parents, college students and anyone else who needs this kind of flexibility.
All you need is a laptop or a phone, a work ethic and internet access.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He mostly works in an office.