5 Careers You Can Start From Your Couch
On some level, we all want to work from home. Sure, some people have jobs that take them to exotic places and anyone who runs a gym probably doesn’t want their patrons lifting weights in the living room. Even so, avoiding the commute and working in your pajamas has a lot of appeal.
It wasn’t long ago that very few people had stay-at-home jobs. Now, in an economy where workers string together various freelance projects and juggle three or four different careers, location-less jobs are no longer the exception to the rule. If you have the skills and know how to promote your services, your couch and office can become one in the same.
Be forewarned, working from home doesn’t equate to a luxurious lifestyle. Many freelance workers quickly realize the lack of structure and the inconsistent paychecks aren’t worth the freedom of schedule. It’s foolish to assume being location independent doesn’t come with a whole new set of challenges.
However, if you think working remotely makes sense for your lifestyle and abilities, you can make this career choice happen. You just need to know where to start the search and how to get the pieces to fall into place. The market for remote workers continues to grow; you can find employment in all sorts of fields doing all sorts of things. To get the gears turning and give you a jumping-off point, here are five potential jobs with office space just a few feet from your bedroom.
Businesses will always need accountants, but they sure don’t need them working in the traditional roles from years past. Changes in how payments are sent and received have altered the role in which a bookkeeper serves, and job positions continue to open up for people who can crunch the numbers in a modern market.
Because so many companies conduct business online and don’t ever receive cash payments, it’s not always necessary to have the person dealing with money matters in a physical office. With the right software, you could handle the finances for a major corporation without leaving your home. Even if a job requires you to show up at company headquarters every now and again, this type of work could allow you to stay home at least a few days a week.
Realistically speaking, your desire to work from home probably won’t lead to an accounting position with a big firm. You have a better shot finding part-time positions with various individuals and businesses, stringing together different bookkeeping jobs as a 1099 employee. This can put you in a feast-or-famine position (the phone will ring off the hook during tax season, then things might be painfully slow in the summer), but it opens you up to all sorts of interesting work and a variety of career options.
For example, freelance accounting allows you to work specific events, creating and balancing a one-time budget. As you get more experience working different types of jobs, your resumé grows and you become more appealing to a broader range of employers. You can also find a niche industry, like agriculture or educational services, gaining experience in a field you appreciate and could see yourself working in for years to come.
Best of all, you’re still working from home. You might struggle to become a millionaire doing freelance accounting work, but companies are always looking for people who understand financial data and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding work. With the right knowledge, an accounting background and the proper software, there’s no reason you can’t start an accounting business under your own roof.
2. In-Home Handyman
Ever wonder how someone starts a handyman business, getting paid for random projects and fixing any old thing? In some cases, a man or woman inherits a company from their parents. Other times, a person says, “Hey, I can fix that thing!” and someone pays them to do it.
People are busy and life is expensive. For these two reasons, no one has time to fix their broken appliances, and yet they can’t afford to buy a brand new replacement. Enter the handyperson, ready to fix whatever needs fixing. Some people rent a commercial space for this type of work; if you have your own tools and a place to store faulty doo-dads and gadgets, why not do your handiwork from the comfort of your own home?
Launching this type of business takes a little time. Aside from word of mouth, you don’t have that many promotional outlets; people need to see the work you’ve done to trust your handiness. Before you can work from your garage full time, you might need to make the occasional house call as you try to drum up more business. Once your services are in high demand, more people will come to you, though off-site work will probably bring in the most revenue.
Being handy isn’t limited to fixing toasters and realigning dresser drawers. If you have a knack for something and people find it useful, you can find all sorts of quirky-but-useful jobs.
- Picture hanging and framing
- Electronics syncing and pairing
- Closet design and organization
- Clothes mending
Consider yourself crafty but not handy? Offer to refurbish people’s furniture and other items in need of an aesthetic improvement. Not skilled with a hammer but know everything there is to know about iPhones? Help the electronically-challenged to optimize their devices and understand technical lingo. Sometimes being handy just requires you tell people what to do, and there’s nothing wrong with getting paid to advise.
If this sounds like an intriguing option, start out by offering your services for free. Help people get things fixed and show off your abilities. After a few successful projects, you can expect the references to start pouring in. You’ll slowly find which tasks you’re best at and develop a pricing structure. Eventually, you’ll have more work than you can handle and it’ll be time to rent a commercial space, hire employees and watch the money roll in.
Before you tell me you don’t have what it takes to be a writer – you’re wrong. Writing, like so many other skills, is something you can work at and get better. Can any old person pick up a pen and become Shakespeare? Absolutely not. Some writers have a special talent that no one can emulate. Can you put in some effort and become a competent copywriter? 100%.
Go to any website where a variety of products are sold. When you look at those product descriptions, you’re reading the work of some writer who got paid to create that copy. When you read articles on various websites and blogs, Those pieces often come from paid scribes who decided they wanted to work from home and writing was the best way to do it.
I don’t really consider myself a writer, and even I’m a published author! The point is, you can get work as a writer if you make that your goal and put in the work. With so many companies trying to attract internet traffic, there’s a lot of work out there for computer owners who have decent writing and language comprehension skills. If you search around and read some personal stories about how people got their start in copywriting, I guarantee you’ll find dozens of anecdotes from people who never considered themselves writers until they decided to start doing it professionally.
If you’re hesitant because you didn’t major in English or you don’t know what grammatical rules have changed since you were in high school (it’s acceptable to end phrases with prepositions now, by the way), you can overcome these fears with a little bit of research. And remember, you already write all the time. You spend your day texting and emailing; start thinking about the words and punctuation you use and your writing muscles will become stronger.
If you have the patience to build up your writing portfolio and wait for clients to come your way, being a writer is the ultimate work-from-home job. With a laptop and an internet connection, you can base yourself anywhere in the world and work in all sorts of industries. Once you’ve started picking up steam as a writer, you can also work as an editor, and that can pay just as much without requiring any original content.
For anyone who’s on the fence about becoming a writer, I recommend you check out Stephen King’s On Writing. It’s half autobiography, half how-to, and it’s a quick read with a lot of good information. Essentially, he confirms that anyone can start writing if they put in the effort. You might not become a best-selling novelist, but you can definitely get paid to write.
4. Event Coordinator
Some people love organizing, troubleshooting and coordinating. Other people hate organizing, troubleshooting and coordinating. For the haters, those who love this kind of work happily offer their services.
From engagement parties to fundraising galas, lots of dollars are spent on events. After dealing with one poorly-planned company function, most executives will start outsourcing that work to someone who has experience with event planning. If you’re one of those left-brained people who’s attentive to detail and loves problem-solving, plenty of people need your help.
Coordinating a large event relies most heavily on networking, budgeting and making endless follow-up calls; with a phone, a computer and some gumption, you have all the requirements to work in this field. Since each wedding, corporate retreat and business launch party is different, there aren’t many rules event planners have to follow. Having a vision and the sticktoitiveness to see things through is the most important qualification.
Jumping right into corporate events might not happen, but there are much smaller events for coordinators to work on. Help friends and family to plan weddings, organize dinners for sponsors of nonprofits, work with an artist who’s trying to set up a show and get some paintings sold. People have fun at events, and a well-planned evening can help everyone involved. If you coordinate with the right people and businesses, you can get paid for your services while enabling the host of the event to save money in other areas.
Some people don’t like spending time on the phone or simply don’t have time to coordinate. If you’re personable and have the right disposition for this type of work, you can provide an important service that’s needed in countless industries. You’ll probably have to get off the couch and put on nice clothes for meetings every now and again, but a lot of the coordinating can be done while you watch TV, walk the dog or take care of other household chores.
5. Childcare Provider
If you want to work from home because you need a little more peace and quiet, you can just skip ahead to the last paragraph. If the goal is to drive less and have more control over your schedule, running a daycare could be just the thing you’re looking for.
Childcare needs continue to rise in the US, as more mothers and fathers return to work shortly after having children. On top of the demand, cost remains an issue for a lot of parents. Daycare centers are rarely cheap and cause many parents to pick up extra work just to cover the added cost. If you can watch children from your home and do so at an affordable price, young parents will definitely take interest in your services.
For many young mothers, this becomes a way to stay at home with their own children and still earn a living. Some people choose to start this type of program after their kids enter grade school and the house empties out during the day. You can control the number of children you work with to avoid becoming overwhelmed and make sure you always provide quality care.
The more certification you have, the better equipped you are to run a daycare from your home. Beyond first aid and CPR training, it’s great if you have some form of teacher credential. If you’re going to ask parents to trust them with your kids, you should give them plenty of reason to offer that trust.
You also need to make sure the children enjoy coming to your home. Running a daycare out of a small apartment isn’t ideal, nor is bringing kids to an expansive estate where they can get lost on the grounds. If you have a modest home with a little yard space where the young ones can scamper, you should be able to turn your place into a boutique daycare facility.
Childcare, like all the other professions in this post, isn’t easy work. If you approach the work-from-home situation with the intention of finding an easy career, you’re probably setting yourself up to fail. None of these opportunities will produce the reward you’re looking for unless you put in the work. If you want to go from never having been paid for a blog post to earning your living as a writer, you better get busy and try hard. Same goes for accounting, planning, doing handy work and taking care of other people’s kids.
If working remotely appeals to you, think about the options above and figure out if you have the skills, time and desire to make one of them work. If nothing on this list floats your boat, do a little more research and try to find another line of work that makes sense for you. Working from home doesn’t have to be a pipe dream anymore. If you want a different type of profession that breaks from the traditional nine-to-five schedule, you just have to go out and get it.