When you mention working from home these days, people refer to employees who seek remote working for a variety of reasons. Technology is readily available; fast internet, smartphones, tablets, laptops and webcams for ‘face-to-face’ meetings. The opportunities are endless, which transcend the constraints of being in a specific location.
In the UK, the CBI 2011 survey indicated that 59% of employers offer this opportunity to their employees while in the US, the Bureau of Labor statistics indicate 24%.
The merits of working from home have been recognized and was pioneered in the early 1960s in the computer industry, which was then an alien concept. Moreover, the internet was not readily accessible. Despite the aspirations of the pioneers, home working for employees has not been as universally popular as had been anticipated. Recently Yahoo, followed quickly by Google are not keen on home working. The whole concept is still ingrained in antipathy for reasons that are somewhat vague.
Those who might benefit from homeworking…
- Physical disability
- Stay at home mums
- Seeking multiple sources of income
- Retirees who still want to put their time and skills to good use
- Anyone starting a new business venture and may not afford hiring an office
Merits of Working from Home
Before deciding whether working from home works for you, decide what matters to you the most. The virtues are well established, however, some companies are very skeptical for the reasons that will be discussed briefly later. The main benefits comprise:
- More productivity (especially if you take into account the reduction in travel time)
- Less stressful and distracting environment
- More time with family
- Improved work/life balance
- Reductions in costs, such as fuel, travel time and cost of using public transport
- Sense of freedom and control (although this can work both ways)
- Flexibility including enabling parents to drop and pick up children from school
- Increased employee health
- Greater employee retention.
This list is not exhaustive but these are the main virtues of working from home that have been extolled. For the rest of this post, we’ll focus on work from home business.
Risk of Working from Home
Home working is not for everyone and this could explain the reason some companies are skeptical about its merits. For employees, some managers fear loss of control and not witnessing productivity, which is a matter of their competence or their company ethos. It’s important to recognize that presence in the office does not necessarily translate into high productivity. However, the widely accepted risks are:
- Sense of isolation and low morale
- Haphazard workflow integration (depending on the flexibility of the company)
- Performance dip, which also leads to low productivity if the individual does not exercise discipline or if work ethic is low
- Difficulty in separating work from home life
- Work becomes a continuum (danger of not stopping)
- Subtle distractions, e.g. several trips to the fridge, endless cups of teas…
- Need for self-motivation
Working from Home Business
The current global economy has arguably lent the best time to set up a business in your spare room or garage at your spare time.
Maybe you need the extra cash to make ends meet or maybe you are pursuing your passion or hobby as discussed previously. Whatever your reasons, there are ample work from home opportunities.
The purpose of this website has always been to kick-start some ideas to get you thinking. It’s not designed to provide exhaustive ideas or solution. After all, who knows where each idea might lead to, depending on your idea, inclination or experience…
7 Simple Work from Home Ideas
For a significant number of entrepreneurs, working from home is the only way. Most of the ideas on how to create multiple income streams are home based businesses. Therefore there will be overlaps in ideas already shared in previous posts. Furthermore, there are hundreds of homeworking opportunities; we are focusing on only seven.
Creating multiple streams of income does not necessarily require big projects and big money. The ideas shared here are (at least initially) based on part-time, low investment concepts.
- Got a Spare Room?
Bed & Breakfast or AirBnB are pretty popular these days if you live in an area that has economic movement such as tourism, college or university. These are short-term living quarters, however, before you embark on this, there are some considerations.
You need to check out the terms of your mortgage with your lender, if you have one, to ensure you can do this. It’s also worth investigating other planning and health & safety requirements for using your home for rental purposes.
We have covered this in some detail elsewhere. If this is an area you enjoy and have those “to die for” recipes, this can become a business instead of simply a hobby.
These days healthy eating is very much in most people’s consciousness, which make homemade snacks such as cookies and cakes desirable. This is not to say that these do not give calories but at least they are not full of preservatives and chemicals.
Sadly, the eyes are always drawn to well-presented items and so to sell quicker or easier, pay attention to this and/or packaging. Local shops, farmers’ markets, friends/children’s parties can be your marketing starting point. If you are artistically inclined, you can throw in cake decoration for good measure.
This could be part-time side income earner until you are well established. As part of your marketing, you can make videos of your baking process and/or blog about it.
If you truly love children (and not for the money), this could be a fantastic opportunity working from home. This is especially useful if you have your own children. Instead of paying someone else to look after your children, you look after others and earn.
In many countries, if you look after children who are not related to you and for more than two hours per day, away from the child’s home, there are conditions you must comply with. You will be required to register with relevant authorities, meet certain standards or criteria and obtain a License. Essential checks are also carried out and must be approved before you can start.
Adhering to these standards is not optional. To market your services, you can start with babysitting, posting on local bulletin boards, in your church, FaceBook or Craigslist.
- Data Entry
At a basic level, this is input of data into a company’s system. It’s one of the most common and flexible ways of earning part-time income. However, it’s not exciting and the pay is not glamorous.
Before getting involved in this, research and join a genuine program. Read the reviews and study the contract before you commit. Because legitimate work from home data entry programs are popular and tend to have many members, consider signing up with several to ensure steady flow of work.
How do you find the program?
Data entry requires a wide range of skills depending on the organization’s needs and goals. So get trained or educate yourself. Popular backgrounds tend to be in the areas of computer science, software development, an array of software skills such as Microsoft Office including MS Project, and telecommunications.
As you are paid on the basis of number of entries rather than per hour, improving your typing speed and accuracy will be a big advantage.
Look through local listings, employment agencies or classified ads. If searching online including Craigslist, be mindful that there are many scams around. No legitimate company will charge you to work for them.
- Online Earning Opportunities
There are endless online opportunities, however my favorites are blogging and affiliate marketing. My post on making money from blogging highlights selling space on blogs, especially when you have a large audience.
In future posts, having laid the foundation, I’ll be focusing on reviewing specific affiliate marking and other multiple income streams niches.
- Ironing and Laundry Service
My next door neighbor started an ironing/laundry business when her children were very young. There are many people out there who loathe ironing and avoid it at all costs. This is a market to tap into if you want to set up your own service. In the UK, there are several agencies such as Allironedout. Do your research to find a reputable company in your own country.
Set-up cost is not huge, however before you commit, do your due diligence including checking out your competition. It is also a good idea to check your energy tariff to ensure your income is not wiped out by high electricity bills. Depending on where you are, demand and competition, you can earn up to $13 – $18 per hour. Therefore earning in excess of $120 per day is possible.
Things to consider…
Getting a simple website will help you considerably. If you are worried about the cost, you can build your website for free here. You can design and print your business cards from companies like Vistaprint. For your marketing, consider leaflet dropping and posters at any outlet that allows you.
eBay and other specialist shops sell wholesale ironing supplies such as coathangers and polywraps at reasonable prices and will last long.
Do not forget to mention your business to friends and family. Word of mouth is powerful.
- Virtual Assistant (VA)
With a drive to reduce costs, companies no longer hesitate to outsource some of their core services, including the traditionally treasured PA role.
VA is someone providing administrative and technical service or support from home just as a PA does in the office. Most successful entrepreneurs focus on the things they are great at and outsource the rest. One of the areas that busy professionals seldom deal with is the administrative aspects of their business such as dealing with the ever increasing emails, diary management and organizing tasks to be done.
VA is now a welcome alternative for those who love the PA role but do not like the idea of commuting or may have young children or elderly parents to care for.
With a good internet connection, the range of media available to provide a VA service are varied and reliable in the form of Skype, Email, FaceTime and so on.
Registering with a Freelance service is a good start however competition can be fierce mainly because of cheaper competition from developing countries. If you register with Time Etc, they will find work for you and could give you a breathing space whilst you are establishing your business.
You’ll have better advantage in promoting your skills if you can speak a foreign language. It is also prudent to do some research to identify need and target those areas.
To make your business more visible, you’ll require a website, which you can build for free and start blogging about your service. Do your research and decide your niche because it’s better to be a specialist than a generalist. Like any work from home business, network like crazy, share on social media and collaborate with others.
Whatever you do, much success to you!Share This: