If you don’t relish the thought of hustling to a workplace every day or you’re having a hard time securing a local gig, there’s never been a better time to work from home: More than 40 million Americans do it, according to the advocacy group Telework Coalition. And as the economy improves, more companies will be looking for additional staff. For most at-home jobs, you’ll need a computer and an Internet connection, some basic skills and a can-do attitude. Click through this list of 10 employment areas that are booming right now.
The Job: Virtual Assistant
What It Pays: Around $10 to $15 an hour
Perfect For: Someone who is very organized with the ability to multitask.
What It Is: Many companies hire self-employed virtual assistants to save employment costs. You will perform typical office duties from home such as replying to emails, managing calendars, entering data, and assisting with social media.
The Job: Transcriptionist
What It Pays: Up to $25 per hour or more
Perfect for: Someone looking for a flexible job that requires little to no prior experience.
What It Is: Transcription essentially involves you listening to audio files and typing out what you hear. Easy enough, right? Companies usually hire transcriptionists without much experience, so some job postings might only require you to have a computer and keyboard to get started. Transcription jobs can vary from transcribing a college lecture to a doctor’s medical dictation, while most companies allow you to make your own schedule.
The Job: Survey Taker
What It Pays: $1 to $50 per survey, depending on how much time is required
What It Is: You might take an opinion poll, answer questions about shopping habits or review a product. You’re generally paid in cash (PayPal or mailed check) or with points that can be redeemed for gift cards.
The Job: Website Tester
What It Pays: $10 to $15 per test
What It Is: Many companies pay online testers to make sure websites are intuitive and easy to navigate. “You basically follow the instructions you’re given to check out the website,” says Anna Thurman, founder of RealWaysToEarnMoneyOnline.com, a site that has reviewed more than 500 online work opportunities. “It usually only takes about 15 minutes per test.” Thurman recommends registering with 10 to 12 different companies since the opportunities to test these sites are doled out first come, first served. “There are people who make $100 to $200 a month by staying on top of those tests,” Thurman says.
The Job: Film and Post How-To Videos
What It Pays: $1 to $2 per 1,000 hits; Payment depends on how many people click on your video. Views on popular YouTube tutorials range from 20,000 to 300,000 and higher.
What It Is: Do people ask you your secret to perfect pie crust or how you made that wreath? “Everyone knows how to do something, or has a hobby they enjoy,” says Kimberly Lawson, owner of OohLaLuxe.net, who has created fashion and beauty tutorial videos. “These can easily be turned into profits.” Simply sign up for a free YouTube account. Then use a smartphone or digital camera to record yourself explaining and demonstrating how you work your magic. (If you’re more tech-savvy or have a burgeoning teenage filmmaker in your house, you can use desktop software, such as Windows Movie Maker, to create a slicker video.) “Once you upload the video to YouTube, enroll in its partner program,” Lawson says. YouTube will then place ads inside or near your video, and you will earn money from the ads themselves, video views and click-throughs. “The key is to put a unique spin on your video,” says Lawson, especially if there are lots of others on the same subject.
The Job: Direct Salesperson
What It Pays: It depends on the company, but you typically take home 20% to 35% of sales in commissions.
Perfect For: Someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, loads of energy and a love of meeting new people.
What It Is: Think Avon or Mary Kay—you organize get-togethers to sell a company’s wares, whether those are bath products, gardening supplies, books or wine. Over time, you build a base of clients.
The Job: Corporate English Trainer
What It Pays: Around $15 an hour
Perfect For: Native English speakers with basic computer skills and an interest in other cultures who love chatting online or over the phone. Office experience is very helpful, since most students work in a corporate environment.You also need your own computer and a high-speed Internet connection. If you’re bilingual, that’s a plus.
What It Is: Students in countries including Japan, Korea, France and Germany are looking for English speakers to practice with. Sessions focus on things like making professional small talk or running a meeting (trainers are provided with specifics on how to teach each topic, and are also trained themselves for two days before starting the job). Lessons take place either over the phone or on a live Internet video service like Skype—sometimes at night, because you’re working with students in different time zones. You need to commit to a minimum of 20 hours a week at consistent times, and can work as many as 35 hours.
The Job: Telephone Nurse
What It Pays: Competitive with a regular nursing salary, which is $50,000 or more
Perfect For: Someone with a nursing degree.
What It Is: Health insurers or other health management companies, including Humana, Aetna and UnitedHealth Group, hire nurses remotely to perform duties like case management, treatment authorization and patient education.
The Job: Search Engine Evaluator
What It Pays: $9 to $10 an hour
Perfect For: English speakers who are up on movies and music, as well as those familiar with other cultures.
What It Is: Companies like Google and Yahoo! give you information to search for, and you tell them how closely their results matched what you were looking for. Does a search for Lady Antebellum turn up sites about the music group or links to pre–Civil War period information? If you are Latina, for example, you might be asked to search the way a Spanish speaker might perform a search in English. Jobs are usually between 10 to 25 hours a week.
The Job: Customer Service Representative
What It Pays: $8 to $18 an hour
Perfect For: “People” people with patience to spare who are good at talking on the phone while on the computer.
What It Is: Companies are looking for workers with excellent speaking abilities and solid computer skills to help customers find a correct size, place an order or resolve a conflict. Both full- and part-time positions are available, and you are generally required to devote a four-hour block of time.
The Job: Online Teacher
What It Pays: The average salary for the first year is around $30,000; teachers of some subjects are paid more than others.
Perfect For: Teachers who don’t want a typical school schedule.
What It Is: Instead of standing in a classroom, you’ll teach via Skype or in a prerecorded session. There’s a growing demand for teachers in all subjects, but especially core topics like English, history and science.
The Job: Virtual Tutor
What It Pays: $12 to $35 an hour
Perfect For: People who only have pockets of time to work and an extensive knowledge of or expertise in a subject, or are fluent in a foreign language.
What It Is: You work with a student who needs extra help, usually for a half-hour over the phone or Skype.