Work From Home: Ultimate Guide To Jobs, Ideas & Opportunities

Are you looking to work from home?

Welcome to the ultimate guide to selecting the most successful jobs, ideas & business opportunities.

Today, I will show you how to…

make working from home a success, with lots of hard work (of course)…

And a little forward planning.

If until now you’ve considered working from home to be mysterious…

Then this guide is the cure.

These days many people worldwide work from home

But how many earn a decent enough household income as a reward for all the sacrifice?

Good question.

I hope this article will enable you to see the best way for you to work from home…

Both profitably & sustainably.

WHO WORKS FROM HOME? WHO DOES IT BEST SUIT?

Working from home is a suitable way of earning an income for many.

But to answer the question…“Who works from home?”

The simple answer is anyone.

There isn’t necessarily a type as such…

It just requires someone to have a drive to make it happen.

This includes:

  • Students
    • …looking to remain debt-free/lite and supplement their personal finances with a steady stream of earnings, with the convenience of working without leaving halls of residence.
  • Husband and wife
    • …a natural team, using the benefit of their cohesiveness to turn their hand at making a profit together…untold advantages!
  • Work from home dads and mums
    • …dovetailing practical housekeeping duties, including training children alongside earning an income is a more than common choice for younger families in these recent times.
  • Retirees
    • …retired and looking for supplementary income? Try putting your experience to profitable use by taking up some work from home. Remain flexible financially without over obligating yourself.

An example husband & wife who have worked from home successfully for 10 years is Barn2Media, from Devon (UK):

“Andy and I had always wanted to work from home and start a business together. We talked about this for most of our 20s, but felt that we didn’t have THAT idea that would be a success.

As a result, we stayed in our jobs for far longer than we should have.

I spent most of my 20s talking about starting a business without really doing anything. It’s easy to do that when you’re getting a regular salary!…

Andy quit his job as a senior software developer and started Barn2 Media…I went full time at Barn2 Media after having a baby in 2011.

We started by designing WordPress websites for small and medium businesses, and never had any trouble getting work.

In 2016, we followed our dream and made the switch to selling premium WordPress and WooCommerce plugins. We’ve never looked back, and today our plugins are used on over 10,000 websites in more than 75 countries.”

Further reading: Transitioning from Design Shop to Subscription-Based Plugin Business – Indie Hackers

In essence, there is no definite answer for who this mode of work will suit most.

  1. If you are determined enough…
  2. And are willing to patiently find your way as you go along…
  3. …then it is possible to even exceed your expectations.

Whoever you are!

HOW TO WORK FROM HOME SUCCESSFULLY…

Working from home successfully ultimately rests upon one overriding factor.

Profitability.

Are you going to make more back ‘in rewards’ than what you put it.

Will your time spent, be truly worth it.

Not just from the point of view of:

“How much will someone give me for my time?”…

But rather ask:

“How much value is the work that I will do for the person I’m serving, and what is the minimum that I should accept?”

Once you have arrived at this estimate of value given, in exchange for value received…

Then, you have a gauge for whether of not the recompense (wage or business earnings) offered will be worth investing in.

Any work from home opportunity has to really be worth your while – or else you’ll be run off your feet being busy and denying yourself the fruits of your labour.

Business without reward results in a thoroughly discouraging and disappointing run.

Many a home start-up has fallen foul of this type of value assessment when considering opportunities…

And found themselves in a repetitive cycle of unrewarding work.

Break the cycle.

Do your homework!

Found an opportunity that you like the look of?

Examine the earnings potential – line by line.

Jot down some detailed income projections.

Scope the realistic hours of commitment needed to fulfil the work.

Draw estimations as to how feasible you think the projected earnings will be, given your abilities and circumstance at home.

Make sure you inspect the business model underpinning the opportunity.

Dissect it into the smallest granular pieces.

Draw up on a piece of paper a sketch of how you see the whole model coming together.

Does the detail advertised add up to what you would expect to benefit from?

Think about it this way…

When you consider buying a new vehicle…

You might see a certain performance output on paper…

This is theory.

How things should go.

But…

as always…

We would do well ask the question,

“What if…?”

  • Assumptions
  • constraints
  • and even context

…can wildly vary estimated performance measures from what we read on paper.

Having outlined some of the practicalities involved in your situation, you then are in a better position to answer:

“How feasible/realistic is it that I shall achieve the advertised projected earnings?”

…can’t arrive at a confident answer?

Dig a little deeper for sample financials online…

Read relevant interviews with existing business owners or workers in your chosen field.

Take notes.

Test the business case presented with the opportunity.

Kick the tires.

Even ask to take a test drive.

Only consider investing when you are certain that the job or business is likely to do for you what you want or need it to.

Never make your decision based on emotion, whether:

  • fear
  • desperation
  • anxiety
  • boredom

…allowing these factors above to dominate your decision will set a negative tone for the remainder of your involvement.

You’ll sell yourself into unworthy arrangements.

Always make investment decisions putting yourself in the driving seat…

Making sure the work opportunity serves your needs and not the other way around.

WHY WORK FROM HOME?

Working from home may appeal to different people for different reasons.

But, whatever your rationale for being attracted to the concept of homeworking…

As with any other type of business-related decision…

Carefully assess the pros and cons.

Commonly quoted advantages of working for home

The following are some reasons why people popularly choose to work from home:

  • save on traveling to and from the office
  • multi-task household duties in the day
  • working together as a family
  • fits in with family obligations
  • immediate start-up potential
  • averse to getting involved in work culture
  • greater earning potential
  • no internal competition

…etc.

Conversely, there are also things that go against the idea with some people.

Commonly quoted disadvantages of working from home

The following are reasons that some would prefer to work away from home:

  • distractions
  • lack of social interaction
  • lack of variation
  • lack the discipline
  • lack of career continuity

…etc.

Weigh up the personal cost vs. benefit of working from home…

Taking into account the conditions on both sides of the balance…

And making an honest assessment of whether or not you think you will be able to endure the conditions of the work…

In order to receive the potential rewards.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO WORK FROM HOME WITHOUT INVESTMENT?

Every business, no matter how small requires some investment.

An input of some sort is required to get things going.

However, if what you are asking is…

If it is possible to start to work from home without outside/external investment…

Then the answer is:

Yes.

A zero-debt ‘work from home’ start up model

Many entrepreneurs work off a zero-debt startup model.

Sure it takes more ingenuity, but in the long run holding on to more of your profits makes good business sense.

But exactly how do you get a business off the ground without a loan or external investment?

There are numerous approaches. No single approach being the truth.

Our preferred approach?

Value Leadership – Becoming a value chain champion!

  1. Build brand equity via a well devised digital public relations campaign…
  2. Generating orders in advance of launching for trade…
  3. Produce valuable resources for the purpose of promoting benefits offered by all participants in your marketplace.
  4. Become the principal information hub for your niche – the first place to begin search.
  5. Showcase all participants indiscriminately highlighting the very best of what they do.
  6. Be diligent to answer question with dutiful research – connect the dots and bridge the knowledge gaps.
  7. Design effective channels of distribution for sharing resources.
  8. Position all your selfless hard work as the talk of your town or niche
  9. Champion all participants in your niche (value chain) – yes, even your peers or so-called competitors
  10. Work openhandedly with all comers who appreciate value and are willing to share – forge no alliances, simple give value and be the best at encouraging it.

By leading in giving value to your marketplace without prejudice, you will fast become the most valuable participant and many will approach you to work with them.

The market comes to you.

You’ll have no need of external investment.

Need investment for expensive supplies?

Suppliers will be all too happy to provide you with the necessary inputs and wares to furnish your work from home project in order to benefit from your PR exposure.

Think of how you can make it worth their while by presenting a simple offer – tailor-made for them to gain optimal value.

Need paying customers to pay the bills?

Look no further – they’ll all start their enquiry journey with you by finding your useful resources and information first.

Generate market interest even before your launch along with some advanced orders…set up a waiting list.

Engineer your sales systems to your advantage.

Deal well with your customers and they will continue to invest with you & will encourage others to do the same.

What if your customers read some promotional resources which you have written showcasing your competitor?

Leave the choice to the customer.

At the least, your competitor (or rather your peer) will be delighted to have been referred business by you.

What are you afraid of? (Don’t be!)

Next, let’s take a look at the types of work from home business opportunities…

TYPES OF WORK FROM HOME BUSINESSES

There are varying types of work from home business which might interest you.

Here are a few models which are typical for this mode of work:

  • Local service provider
  • Remote services
  • Physical product delivery
  • Digital product delivery
  • Local – National – Global reach

The following is a brief overview of each type of business model:

Local service provider

Whether you provide your preferred business service at:

  • …the home of your customer (using your home as a base e.g. electrician)
  • …or based at your own home (e.g. web designer)

…a local home-based service provider will serve local businesses/organisation or private individuals with a specified menu of services.

Your home will be a base from which you will administer the back-office functioning of your enterprise…

Clients are not typically brought into your home office space and therefore client-facing presentation in this area is not critical.

However, it does need to be organised and optimal for getting your admin task done well.

Remote (internet-based) services

Remote (internet based) ‘work from home’ services could mean many things by description.

But let’s for the sake of clarity give some examples of what this could mean:

  • IT maintenance/support
  • business consulting
  • data processing
  • virtual PA

…just to name a few.

Because service delivery will be taking place from the location of your office, you’ll want to make sure that is carries a worthy presentation.

For example:

If you will performing any video conferencing (via applications like Skype, for example) with clients or other stakeholders from your office

    • …you’ll want to stage your recording area very carefully to maintain professional presentation.

Physical product delivery service

Customers buy physically held stock from your own inventory.

You can either hold stock at your home – in which case you will be have the responsibility for:

  • sorting,
  • organising,
  • picking,
  • preparing and packing orders

…or alternatively, your will generate customer orders from home, but…

Your products will be held at a third party destination like with a fulfilment centre…

Where a specialist logistics service provider will arrange preparation for delivery when notified of a new purchase order.

Digital product delivery service

In this model you sell digital products to an online audience, without any need for face-to-face interaction.

Customers typically find your products advertised via your website and via an e-commerce sales funnel…

Get access to your digital products either by download or by password privilege as part of a SAAS (or software as a service arrangement).

Your digital products will be maintained and improved according to your own autonomous schedule – from the comfort of your own home office.

Real-time support can be offered during specified ‘digital drop in’ sessions…

Where perhaps through a Live Chat function you offer instant assistance to paying customers.

These are just some common business types that you might find on your journey evaluating work from home opportunities.

Any more you’d think we ought to add?

WORKING FROM HOME – THE BEDROOM OR THE OFFICE! WHICH ROOM IS BEST?

The big question often with setting up a work from home enterprise is…

“Which room is best to work from?”

The answer to this is really – it depends on your home.

The optimal conditions for a ‘work from home’ office (although not mandatory by any means) would be:

  • lots of natural lighting
  • peaceful & quiet
  • a window or two would help to keep things fresh
  • good artificial lighting for nighttime work
  • soundproofing for if family is at home
  • ideally on a separate floor to high use living spaces
  • ample electricity points
  • excellent mobile and wireless connectivity
  • ample space for necessary furnishings

…these are just a few pointers, which might help you plan your home based working arrangements for optimal productivity.

How about a personal story?

Try Chandoo (Purna Duggirala) a work from home Microsoft Excel training specialist, formerly based in India who recently immigrated with his wife and children to New Zealand – for a fresh start.

Chandoo, as he is known to those he trains, has successfully run his homebased training company for the last 14 years, most of which was run out of their family bedroom – babies an’ all!

With over 6-figure income per annum and 600,000 monthly views with readers from all over the world…Chandoo shares the frugal secrets to his commercial homeworking success:

 

Working from home means I have to pay no additional rent. We just cleaned up a corner in the master bedroom and put the computer table, surge protector and a chair there and bingo, my workspace is ready.

My work involves consulting, writing, thinking, reading, connecting, marketing, launching and sharing. Now, most of this happens on sporadic basis – ie I get a lot of work on one day and no work on another. The creative parts of my work require that I am in a good mood to pull them off.

Sometimes, when a client is in an emergency or when I need to develop an idea further, I need hours of time. I am finding difficult to get more than 2-3 hours at a time, thanks to kids who need our attention constantly. But thankfully, I found a simple solution for this. I wake up early (4am or so) and work 3-4 hours at a stretch.

“So, is working from home all rainbows and butterflies?”

Of course, working from home is not all hunky-dory. I do find some problems in working from home.

Further reading: Thank You We Have A Home [personal story] – Chandoo.org

Now you have the brief above, the selection of room is really your personal choice and preference – working within your constraints.

Even still, it won’t be without challenges – but you can make it perfect for sure with a ‘make do’ contented attitude to succeed.

HOW SHOULD YOU ORGANISE YOURSELF WHEN YOU WORK FROM HOME?

The following are our 5 C’s to organising yourself optimally for working from home:

  1. Customise
  2. Compartmentalise
  3. Compact
  4. Communicate/Collaborate
  5. Commerce

Customise your work from home space

To kick off with, you’ll want to separate out very deliberately your work space from your living space.

Your work environment should be primed to help you produce the best results.

Whichever room you choose to run your enterprise, don’t whatever you do get started without re-purposing the space to optimally accommodate you.

Every minute, or indeed moment in a business day adds up and any friction incurred from obstacles or inefficiencies not only adversely impact your bottom line…

But can quite frankly bring on frustration.

And as you’ll quickly discover, frustration alongside work avoidance are hand in hand two worst enemies of your productivity.

Spend ample time laying out the most hassle-free layout and assortment of systems/processes for administrating your business from your home office.

Compartmentalise your home office

The second ‘C’ addresses the issue of getting everything necessary for your work in its proper place.

Laying your hand on what you need…

…when you need it…

Is mission-critical in the quest of keeping things ticking over in your home-based enterprise.

Your time spent looking for something essential can delay or even derail priority items of work…

Not to mention, it becomes quite distracting.

Distraction undermines momentum and momentum drives progress in the work environment.

Too many disrupted thought processes can really serve to dampen your ability to achieve what you set out.

Keep things compact when you work from home

Unnecessarily expended effort in the workplace can become draining and hamper results.

The last thing you want during a busy business day is to find yourself running between rooms, or worse…

…between floors…

…hurdling over obstructions…

…side stepping obstacles…

All for the sake of fulfilling what should otherwise have been a straight forward task, like getting to a printer, for example…

Or locating an invoice.

Keep things compact and save on time for things that really matter!

Communication and collaboration when working from home

Although your home is highly unlikely to be the venue of client/customer facing interaction…

You can’t get past the issue of having to maintain close communication and collaboration with people outside of your home.

Kitting out your home office with the necessary hardware and software tools to stay up to date with stakeholders is an important step.

From experience, too much time can be spent ogling the product pages for various tech mags at this stage…

Overloading with features and performance specs can be riveting for all the wrong reasons and a distraction from the fact that…

It all begins with hard work.

Our advice?

Keep things simple.

Top 10 essential tools, equipment and furnishings for your home-based office:

  1. Smart phone
    • Internet data connection
    • Digital camera
  • Laptopwith an up to date operating system like…
    • Windows or the equivalent Apple Mac version
  • Windows Officesoftware, namely…
    • Word
    • Excel
    • PowerPoint
    • OneNote
  • Skype/WhatsApp
  • Webmail, like…
    • Gmail
    • Hotmail etc…
  • High speed broadbandconnection
  • Lined notepads and pens
  • Calculator
  • Chair/stool
  • Desk

As you go along you could always complement this list, but this would be a good start to begin with.

Just the essentials.

Now, on to skills…

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED TO WORK FROM HOME?

In a word, working from home is:

Multi-disciplinary.

You need to be adept at exercising many types of business-related skills.

Aside from the obvious:

  • literate
  • numerate

…you need to be able to handle a number of other commercial skills which go beyond the basics.

Whilst many who work from home (even the relatively experienced) have neglected these commercial or business admin skills…

They are often held to ransom by fee-based professional help in the form of either a freelancer or consultant for task they could effectively performed themselves.

If we were to suggest a must-have line up of core business competencies for working from home…

Whether in a job or as a business owner…

It would look like this:

Top 10 most profitable business skills for working from home

No.1 – Strategic business management

In a word, acumen.

…related to Latin acus “a needle;”

In other words, sharpness, quickness of perception, keen insight…

In a business setting.

How nimbly can you grasp, with understanding, the detail in any given business situation and arrive at a well-grounded conclusion?

Feel short in this area?

Need some direction or teaching?

Begin exercising your business senses and sharpening your management understanding against gritty problem and cases.

Practice, practice, practice.

Read widely, listen, study and try some experiments.

Don’t fear making mistakes – it’s how we learn and refine our understanding.

Further readingBusiness case studies organised by topic – Business Case Studies (UK)

No.2 – Basic business accounting & bookkeeping:

Accounting skill enables you to look at your financial dealing from a number of advantageous angles.

The principals of accounting grant diligence with money.

This gives maximum warning, notice and best instruction for financial happenings of any kind.

Bookkeeping is record maintenance.

Forward-thinking in this area provides the necessary raw data for the processing of accounts.

Accounting produces meaningful reports for making the best management decisions according to your financial position and/or ambitions.

Learning the basics will give you great financial resilience and robustness in working from home ongoing.

Further readingAccounting & Bookkeeping Guides – Xero.com

No. 3 – Sales:

Selling is a crucial function in business.

Problem-solving is the key.

Competently and naturally leading a customer or prospect through the relevant stages of arriving at a confident investment decision is invaluable.

Even if your job doesn’t require it – it’s a valuable skill to have and one which can be highly rewarding if honed well.

Sure, it can be a nerve-wracking experience for the unskilled, but as any well travelled sales professional will tell you…

If the focus is in the right places at the right times, it should all be effortless.

Avoid formulas and contrived pitches, there will only unnerve you.

Apply sound structure to your approach and simply listen, asking appropriate questions along the way…

Help your customers’ understanding and guide them to the best solution to their problem.

Further readingSmall business guides to sales – Duct Tape Marketing

No.4 – Marketing:

Getting your products and services into the hands of the people who esteem the deal as valuable and are able to invest is for many a mystery.

Good marketing goes hand in hand with a sound strategy.

Your strategy provides the rationale for how and why your customer will be benefited from your chosen offering.

Your marketing should provide the path of least resistance and most relevance for making those profitable introductions.

There are many tactics, techniques and approaches which have become famous over the years – followed by many…

But, the essence of successful marketing for any business – whether home-based or otherwise –  is very simple…

Delivering value.

Once you get your head and heart around this principal…

It’s just a matter of listening carefully enough to the needs of your marketplace and planning what sacrifices you will make to satisfy those needs.

Further readingThe Beginner’s Guide To Online Marketing – QuickSprout

No. 5 – Web development & SEO:

Developing and maintaining a simple website is a handy skill to have when working from home.

Usually, websites are the digital communication hub for business these days.

They are the first place to look for updates and useful information related to any organisation or professional person.

Whilst social media also has it’s place within the digital marketing toolbox…

Websites still occupy a special place in this online marketing mix.

If you’ve ever had a go at web development…so to speak…

You’ll have found that there are many ways to make one.

Many languages, platforms, systems, frameworks etc.

Each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Finding developers with mastery of all tools is very rare…not to mention expensive.

But to assimilate a competent understanding of the main features like:

  • HTML,
  • CSS,
  • Javascript,
  • SQL and
  • a content management system, like WordPress

…won’t take more than a few simple step-by-step tutorials using web resources like: www.w3schools.com

Get web developing today – if you haven’t started already!

Further readingLearn web development – MDN

N0. 6 – Analytical reporting:

Discovering & breaking down ’cause and effect’ relationships between business factors is a very rewarding skill when working from home.

It doesn’t all have to with web traffic and SEO related insights, mind you…

Sometimes just taking a closer look at your productivity, performance or profitability can be a worthy use of analytical time:

  • Disassembling complex processes and procedures into composite parts…
  • And measuring the impact that each link in the chain will have on the eventual outcome…
  • Affords greater ability to control outcomes.

In business, this is a precious resource.

Study analytical cases…

And don’t be afraid to practice this skill on pressured bottlenecks.

Further readingGuide for big data, business intelligence and analytics for small business – Data Pine

No. 7 – Project management:

A key tool in the home worker’s administrative array.

Project management is defined as…

“…practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.” – Wikipedia

It’s the very essence of work…

  1. Starting and finishing a program of tasks…
  2. Labouring alongside other people near of far…
  3. To achieve a specific goal laid out from the beginning…
  4. Delivering within the constraints prescribed.

If you are well attuned to making this happen, with as little deviation from that expected as possible:

You’ll be a valuable asset to any business…whether an employer’s, or your own.

Further readingThe Ultimate Guide To Project Management – ProjectManager.com

No. 8 – Research:

“Cases need basis!”

In order to justify allocating investment in business & giving something a go, you need to show that your work will satisfy the following:

  • genuine & valued need
  • a feasible approach to achieving goals
  • an acceptable return on the investment made

…amongst other criteria.

Substantial research whether:

  • primary– direct from the source
  • secondary– indirectly via another party

…should add persuasion to your arguments presented in your business case or proposal.

Without research, it will be questioned what your recommendations are founded on.

Dig deep and make sure they are credible and from well-established authors…

…for the best success with your business cases.

Further readingBusiness Guide to Market Research – Business.com

No.9 – Database management:

Collating your data for ease of use is valuable preparation for working from home.

Whether it be time allocation, financial transactions, sales interactions, expense tracking…

Data processing and maintenance are critical for communicating on goal performance, payroll and other key business-related information.

If your data is in disarray and difficult to examine – you’ll lose precious time reporting.

Or even worse, you’ll have holes in your reporting.

This can directly impact your profit and pay.

Further readingSome simple guidelines for effective data management – Wiley.com

No. 10 – Account management:

Handling relationships with clients and customers profitably from day one onboarding is a valuable skill.

  • objection handling,
  • problem-solving,
  • product training,
  • user experience investigation,
  • user satisfaction assessment,
  • exploratory consulting,
  • cross-selling & up-selling

…are just a few advantageous account management skills.

Having tried and tested processes for leading paying customers through the most rewarding user experiences is critical to maximising long term profitability.

Repeat custom, as well as new business referrals, are just some of the direct benefits of managing customer accounts excellently.

Further readingThe Ultimate Guide To Client Management – Workflow Max

That’s all for skills – now, for qualifications!

QUALIFICATIONS WHEN WORKING FROM HOME

What are the appropriate qualifications to have when working from home?

The short answer is:

Again…

It depends.

  • Does your job or business require it?
  • Are you only permitted to operate possessing particular qualifications?
  • Or even, would you be prohibited without?

Are you able to leverage experience or another facet of your personal background to make up for your lack in a particular qualification?

Clearly, with an employed job arrangement, there are typically prerequisite qualifications required for hire.

With business, however, this is not always the case.

Regulation of these factors also will vary from market to market.

Due diligence is required to make sure you are not operating outside of the protocol.

Search professional profiles…LinkedIn is a useful resource.

I’m not simply suggesting that you follow the crowd, but that you at least take a look at the generally acceptable presentation.

Ultimately, it comes down to competency.

Are you practically and technically able and equipped to deliver the solution your client or employee needs from you?

If there is any doubt, your plan needs more work and preparation.

KEY COLLATERAL FOR WORKING FROM HOME

Although working from home can at times be negatively viewed as an unprofessional set-up for work…

Quality business collateral & processes can make all the difference.

Remaining ahead of the curve for courtesy and etiquette can very effectively put to flight any fears or concerns that a customer may have regarding you working from home.

A demonstration of quality is a great way to give assurance of value…

And all this without necessarily having to see a customer or contact face-to-face.

Collateral such as:

  • business cards
  • thank you cards
  • compliment slips

…sent by post…

& the following available online:

  • a website with full contact details
  • social media accounts
  • downloadable resources

…can go a long way to bridging the trust gap between you and your counterpart…

From a distance.

SELECTING WORK FROM HOME JOBS, BUSINESSES OR FRANCHISES

Are you looking for an employed work from home position?

Or seeking a successful franchise to join?

Maybe, looking to start or buy an existing home-based business?

Not sure…

What’s the difference?

The key differential is risk.

Whilst there are other factors to consider also in your decision for the most appropriate way to work from home…

Your attitude to risk will often be an influential factor in the final decision.

Let’s perform a quick head-to-head risk assessment of the aforementioned modes of working from home, namely:

  • employee
  • franchisee
  • business owner

The list above is ordered in ascending order of risk…

However, a word of caution, this is typically speaking…

Depending on who you are, of course.

This measure shouldn’t apply to everyone.

Here’s our line of thinking:

  1. Working from home as an ’employee’
    • …is generally the least risk
      • no upfront cost
      • contractual
      • specified input (hours and tasks) and output (pay & benefits)
      • scheduled remuneration
      • prescribed systems and training
      • HR support
    • Working from home as a ‘franchisee’
      • …is relatively medium risk opportunity
        • prescribed business model
        • ready-made collateral
        • estimated remuneration
        • brand identity
        • sometimes use of internal systems & apps for invoicing etc.
        • however
          • usually an upfront fee to join
          • ongoing profit split
          • strategic limitations
          • prescribed policies and procedures
          • sometimes goal setting
        • Working from home as a ‘business owner’
          • …is relativelyhigh risk (especially if a first time business owner)…
            • starting from scratch – having to build everything yourself (unless you buy an existing business)
            • uncertain earnings
            • …however if you have good experience…
              • unlimited earning & growth potential
              • no constraints by policy

Please treat the above as a generic assessment.

Previous experience, for example, will greatly skew the results.

For example, what if you have previous experience as a successful Virtual PA?

Running a Virtual PA business would potentially offer more rewards and lower risks than…

Taking a job as a remote web developer with very limited technical skills.

Such trade-offs need to be weighed up properly – before making a commitment.

WORK FROM HOME OPPORTUNITIES: HOW TO ASSESS THEM?

How do you rate work from home opportunities?

How would you, for example, take a…

  • job
  • franchise offer
  • business for sale

…and arrive at a detailed assessment of which one will be most suited for fulfilling your objectives laid out.

Assessing a work from home job

A work from home job has many characteristics and each characteristic contributes to the overall value proposition.

The following is my attempt at a breakdown of the key criteria:

Employer credentials

The first question to ask when assessing work from home employment opportunity is…

“How credible or what is the reputation of the employer?”

This is worth examining very closely.

Why?

Trust.

Often you will be paid in arrears.

This means your remuneration will arrive either by cheque or bank transfer, typically, only after you have completed a certain amount of work.

Whilst you work and await your pay for the period completed –

You remain dependent upon the ability and consistency of your employer to meet their obligation.

Whilst you can never really be sure of the financial stability of your employer at any given time…

You can, however, gauge the trustworthiness of a prospective employer by examining their track record.

Past hire reviews

Taking a look at genuine reviews from previous employees can provide valuable insight into the internal management culture of an organisation.

Such reviews will give you an idea of how people who have worked for the employer have been handled…

It’s experiential.

Whilst you can’t hope for identical experiences, you might get enough of a feel for your prospective employer’s people management qualities and values.

Strategic business plan

If you are able to get a hold of the strategic business plan of your prospective employers – it’s advisable you take a look before committing.

Why?

A business plan reveals the long term direction of the business and where the future investments lay.

How serious are your prospective employers about investing in your area of expertise?

What are their plans for opening up promotional opportunities for your role?

A strategic business plan for your employer will declare to you their vision.

It’s certainly worth taking a look at to ensure alignment with your career expectations for the long term.

Customer reviews

Take a look at the customer reviews of your prospective employer, using the likes of 3rd party review websites, such as Trust Pilot.

What are the qualities that are valued by the people who invest money in their products and services?

Good signs are:

  • consistent communication,
  • responsiveness in solving problems,
  • willingness to resolve complaints and issues
  • quick thinking to tackle obstacles
  • diligence in training

…these indicate significant planning, preparation and investment in employee excellence.

Staff hierarchy diagram

Who reports to whom within the staff structure of your prospective employer is key to understanding expected lines of communication.

Knowing this gives you a view of where you’ll fit in…

And with whom your daily, or at least frequent communication will be.

This information should also show you how well resourced the business is to manage day-to-day supervision and oversight.

If you have any issues in the role, who will be your first port of call?

And what responsiveness are they likely to have to your request?

In other words, how much hands-on attention and support are you likely to get, especially during those probationary periods.

Job description

The job description of your work from home job is where the expectations of the hiring organisation or person are laid out in detail.

Still, however detailed, every job description will leave a little scope for reading between the lines and interview question fodder.

Read the detail carefully…

And consider practical examples you could produce to accompany every line of requirement.

Rate of pay

Your rate if pay may either be fixed or in some other parts variable

Often dependant upon performance related deliverables.

Consider with moderation an acceptable rate or manner of compensation, given the work output requested.

Feel free to ask for clarification from the employer if you are ensured about the aspect of pay and the policies involved.

Make sure you are fully appraised of the payment arrangements well in advance of application.

You’ll want to be sure of the worthiness (real value) of the opportunity before using up your time to make applications.

Performance-related benefits

Are there any rewards or benefits which are given for achieving certain goals or targets on the job?

E.g. sales commission per sale:

  • …additional monies paid out to you for each sale which you achieve and process.

Ensure you read the associated small print and understand the ground upon which such incentives are offered.

Much like with sale promotions or discount vouchers, there are in-built conditions of validity with performance-related benefits which must be fulfilled in order to qualify.

Qualifications & experience

Required or desired qualifications and experience for the job are detailed within your job specification.

It’s worth making sure you know the difference between required and desired in advance of application.

There will be no compromising on the minimum requirement…

And if you make an application approach without observing this, it is highly likely to be rejected despite your efforts.

Ensure you can provide proof of requirement upon submission.

A certificate, award or letter-headed, personalised note of commendation from a previous employer will settle any doubts.

Type of contract

The contractual obligations of employment will indicate the level of security given by your prospective employer within this arrangement.

  • Contractor or employee?
  • Temporary or permanent?

Either way, there may be well-founded reasons why either option may be more suitable.

Consider what’s on offer and what the benefits are.

Are you able to accept the offering?

Do you have any requests for amendments to the contractual terms, should they find you a worthy candidate?

Ask your questions in advance.

Assessing a work from home franchise

Franchises are often a favoured route to market for start-up work from home entrepreneurs.

Offering the advantage of a business which is prepared as launch-ready is an attractive prospect for most.

Where’s the catch?

I would say that there isn’t a catch as such,

But rather the reality…

That for the benefit of taking on a ready made business…

You (as the franchisee) will be obligated to recompense the franchise owner by way of a fee in return for receiving this pleasure.

How this return on their original investment is paid back to the franchise owner varies from deal to deal…

Depending on their liking.

Sometimes this is in the form of a front loaded premium paid before you start as a lump sum, or series of prepayments.

Or, otherwise in part payments or instalments…

Usually, along with a share in the profits generated whilst you operate the business.

Reputation

Does the name of your prospective franchise owners’ business have a good reputation within it’s marketplace?

If so, this might help you when you do the rounds in developing new business.

Many franchisees who invest with a well-known franchise owner experience the following benefits of an established reputation:

  • existing customers
  • increased new business referrals
  • better sales conversions
  • increased customer retention
  • higher profit margins
  • generally better earnings

…amongst other plus points.

The cost of reputation, however, is a relatively higher investment fee (premium) charged for having this benefit.

Collateral

Communication is a key to new business sales and existing business retention.

The more talking and personal communication you perform directly…

The more time and effort you spend which otherwise could have been handled by a purpose built informational resource.

Such a purpose-built informational resource is called collateral.

It effectively does the job of answering stakeholder questions in your absence, thus optimising your time involvement for maximal profitability.

Franchises which are more accomplished will invest heavily in this area of collateral…

Developing a range of resources for their franchisees to communicate critical messages with ease.

Exclusivity

Each franchise will offer some aspect of territory reservation with the opportunity.

In other words, they will grant your permission to offer predefined products and services to a specific…

  • niche
  • audience
  • marketplace
  • location

Whatever your designated territory, you will be bound within the terms and conditions of your agreement to operate solely within this constraint.

Breaching this agreement will invalidate your contract and can lead to all your permissions to trade in their name being revoked…

Essentially the franchise owners could close down your operation with legal precedence.

Exclusivity is where they make provision to ensure that only you are granted permission under their name to operate in that particular territory.

This is in assurance that there will not be any internal competition challenging your efforts out there in the market.

Many franchise owners offer exclusivity this to show faithfulness to helping your achieve your goals…

Which clearly benefits both you and them.

Upfront fees

For passing on the benefit of preparing you a business which is ready to use, franchise owners often charge an upfront fee for their trouble…

Usually covering the costs of the following also:

  • starting inventory stock
  • systems and software licences
  • collateral
  • capital assets, like a vehicle or machinery etc.
  • training & onboarding

The fee is typically charged including VAT and ‘paid for’ in advance of commencement as a lump sum payment.

It suffices as a barrier to entry and often makes the deal prohibitive to many who might be capable franchisees, but lack the investment capital.

Consider if:

  1. a) you can afford such an investment –
  2. b) and also calculate how long it would take you to recoup this payment from the projected franchise earnings.

It’s got to be a feasible investment prospect for you – if you have no real prospects of making back the lump sum plus making substantial earnings on top…

Then it would be best to reject the opportunity.

Operational tools

Operational tools for the running of your franchise are critical to keep things running smoothly day-to-day.

These are both technical tools for the job in hand, but also administrative instruments for keeping your back office tidy and well oiled.

Such tools may include:

  • accounting and bookkeeping software
  • CRM database
  • website content management system
  • invoicing and quotation app
  • intranet
  • phone recording/tracking
  • web analytics
  • sales and marketing reporting
  • online lead generation

Where a franchise owner has provided these tools in advance – they save you hours, days, weeks, months searching high and low for suitable solutions.

For the amount of time you spend daily administrating paper work or data work…

If you can find a franchise owner (franchisor) who already has taken care of subscribing you to the best tools on the market for admin…

Then you’ve got a handy and profitable head start to business.

Worth paying premium for.

Customer base

Some franchise agreements already come with some enquiries and prospects in the customer pipeline.

This is invaluable help in the earliest stages of your operation.

Such a benefit of potential sales lined-up allows you to gain confidence whilst you find your feet.

The pressure can quickly build up from day one of taking on a franchise:

  • targets
  • lack of earnings
  • franchisor expectation
  • peer pressure

…if you are given a little head start to begin with in new business opportunities, you can quickly hit a championship-winning stride from day dot.

Profit split

Often franchise owners will dictate in their franchise agreements that they expect a split of your profits earned.

They typically with calculate their margin and may charge for it periodically – say…

  • every quarter, or;
  • every month

You will be expected to deposit the required cash into their bank account by a given deadline, according to your prescribed obligation.

Remember to account for this margin when you assess a work from home franchise opportunity.

Training & support

Getting a grasp of the systems and processes for any work from home franchise can be daunting when starting from scratch.

A well-developed training program can go a long way to saving:

  • time
  • frustrations
  • error
  • discouragement
  • failure

…and even more positively, increasing…

  • sales
  • profit
  • confidence
  • success

Make sure that your franchisor has a reputation for excellence in training and ongoing development.

Assessing an existing working from home business opportunity

Buying an existing business as a going concern (…running the same trade as the previous owner, just under your management)…

Is a common method used to begin working from home.

Whilst you might have an idea of the kind of work from home business which you could run most competently…

Selecting the most profitable opportunity may fill you with uncertainty.

If this is the case – simply have a read of the following to set your mind at rest:

Handover

Getting to grips with a new business as a new owner can be tricky.

Internal systems, methods and processes which have been configured to fit the previous owner might not blend well with your ways of doing things.

You may have many questions to ask and might be in need of some direction whilst making the transition.

It is a common request to ask for management handover help when buying a new business.

Existing owners usually will be all too happy to show you how they handled the controls whilst they were in the driving seat.

Invaluable advice for any newbie.

Turnover

How much has this target business turned over in sales revenue in previous years of trade?

Whilst every year is different and of course, new owners, whoever they are, need a little time to adjust triggering a sales downturn after transition usually…

But that being said, you should be able to use previous year’s sales as a useful guide for what to expect ongoing.

Beware though:

Some owners begin winding down intensity of trade before selling, which in itself can provide a bad surprise when you take over.

Investigate sale receipts leading up to your potential buy out and compare this to previous seasons of trade history.

Taxable published books

Make sure the value for which you will be basing your purchase price on buying your new work from home business will be according to the published taxable books.

Any additional trade undeclared in these records should NEVER be accounted for in the valuation.

You’ll be liable to pay tax on such accounting omissions ongoing, so why should you pay the existing owner for earnings undeclared and untaxed?

Dishonest practice will simply not prosper.

Gross profit

What is the gross margin per sale with this new potential home-based business of yours?

How much surplus revenue is left over after subtracting the direct costs of sale?

This gives you an idea of what you have remaining to pay your:

…any money remaining above and beyond this is available for earnings or reinvestment in the business.

Always good to know where you stand with regards these listed figures.

It helps you make well informed investment decisions.

Ebitda

Earnings before:

  • interest,
  • taxes,
  • depreciation
  • amortization

…is a vital business figure.

This essentially is what is left in the pot which you can draw down as income, or reinvest in your business.

When buying a work from home business, this EBITDA measure is usually quoted in the sales prospectus as a percentage of total turnover.

A critical figure in assessing the valuation – ‘how much a business ought to be worth to you’…

Before you buy!

Valuation

How much should you pay to acquire an existing work from home business?

A subjective matter.

Meaning…

It depends on your estimation.

One man’s cheap is another man’s expensive…

But regardless, it all comes down to value.

A question to ask might be…

“How much is this work from home business worth to me?”

As with every business opportunity, it only carries appeal to the buyer if it has the potential to be profitable.

The more profit potential…

The more willing the prospective buyer would be to pay in order to secure the opportunity.

The lower the profit available in an opportunity…

The more persuaded you might be, as a prospective buyer, to put your money elsewhere and make more returns on your investment.

Calculating a valuation for a work from home business opportunity begins with estimating current potential earnings offered…

Then map out a reasonable time-frame by which you feasibly would expect to recoup the price tag whilst running the business under your management.

You might expect to recoup your purchase capital in 2 years, 3 years or more…

During which time you will labouring under the expectation of arriving at breakeven…

And then to mobilise into clear profit multiplying each year thereafter.

There are so many valuation methods out there for all types of business models…

But again, there is no right or wrong answer…

It’s merely a case of personally estimating what your investment expectations and comfort zone would be.

The seller is neither right or wrong for selling the business at their desired ‘asking’ price…

Neither are you as the buyer right or wrong from requesting a buy price at your desired ‘offer’ level.

It all about setting your boundaries and seeking to reach a profitable arrangement.

Asset register

What are the assets which are included within the deal conditions offered?

Work from home businesses for sale often come with the following assets inclusive within the price:

  • website
  • stock
  • collateral
  • equipment
  • vehicle
  • subscriptions
  • tools etc.

The relative value of these should be accounted for within the price paid for acquisition.

Branding license

Is the brand licensed for you use only?

Are there other businesses which carry the brand of your new business?

Do you have full permission to use, change, adapt the brand which the business comes with?

Is there a contractual clause preventing the existing owner from simply starting again under the same name within your territory, or a neighbouring one?

Ask these questions in advance, unless you find yourself with proprietary problems concerning the very identify of your new work from home business.

Customer base

Does your new work from home business opportunity come with an existing customer or client base?

There often is a baseline revenue which comes with newly acquired businesses.

Existing customer revenues which you as the new owner would benefit from immediately.

Find out if you are entitled to any such advantage with the opportunity in mind.

Premium

A premium is the price paid to acquire a new work from home business.

Much like a franchise premium…

They are usually paid for in full prior to handover, or in instalments within a defined time frame.

Premiums can also be adjusted to reflect the scope of assets and other assets involved in the deal which are tailored according to the buyers request.

Debt

Does your new work from home business opportunity carry any debt?

Accounts payable, for example – are existing obligations to pay monies owed to business creditors.

If you new business carries any of these, the liability simply passes on to you.

This sets you at a disadvantage from the off.

WORK FROM HOME SCHEMES TO AVOID (!)

The idea or concept of working from home has in recent times been hit with much adverse publicity.

There have been numerous cases of schemes, scams and programs which have hit the headlines for duping unsuspecting investors.

Because of the exponential growth in people wanting to work from home across the world in recent years…

As trends in family household preferences and manners change due to biting economic constraints like unemployment and debt – technological advancements such as the internet take advantage…

A flurry of work from home opportunities promising life-changing results with little of no effort or barrier to entry have erupted.

Without the business savvy to be able to spot them and weed them out…

You could find yourself being undone, having paid money or given labour upfront for a return that never materialises.

The following are just a few types of work from home schemes which we advise that you should avoid:

  • Money hungry schemes (virtual boiler rooms)
  • No experience necessary
  • Commission only (untapped OTE)
  • Prepayment/Fee based
  • Multilevel marketing or pyramid, ponzi scheme
  • Modern slave labour (piece work)

Money hungry schemes (virtual boiler rooms)

The promise of getting money quickly has got to be one of the most prolific hooks (temptations) for engaging a work from home opportunity.

Architects of such schemes play on the financial desperation of householders in such a debt-ridden global economy…

And entice unsuspecting suitors with false claims, unfounded promises and at the end…

A nasty surprise.

They often rope in their ‘prey’ with high energy sales patter, presentation and footage…

Not to mention persuasive testimonials – and trapdoor’d guarantees.

Once a prospect is hooked into the idea – they are then slammed with the trap…

Usually in the form of a fee to get access or privilege.

Such operations usually crop up quickly with a shiny surface and top layer polish…

But on deeper examination fail to offer any real substance.

No experience necessary

Where the publishers of opportunities are not requiring any form of previous experience at all this indicates a low-value exchange – at best.

Be wary.

Where there is no attempt to align the qualities of the prospective worker with the requirements for the job…

Then, begin to ask questions.

Why would this be?

It would seem the advertiser simply doesn’t care who turns up or what they bring to the deal.

Either highly confident or careless – approach with caution.

Commission only (uncapped OTE)

So this it the deal.

You see an opportunity to work from home and the offer is promising uncapped on-target earnings commission only pay.

What does this mean?

It means the advertiser doesn’t necessarily want money upfront to join their scheme…

But what they do want is:

Your labour upfront and offer you recompense for your services only once you’ve made sales for them.

Now,

Anyone with experience in working within a sales job would tell you…

To build up a pipeline and momentum enough for driving real velocity for consistent sales, you need months of work at the least.

No matter how good you are – you never immediately begin wracking up sales income from day one.

It’s much like farming – it’s a process which takes time. Be real.

So, when considering such an ‘opportunity’…

The question to ask is:

“How much in upfront labour are they asking me to pay them in advance?”

For example,

If the going hourly rate for the work related is $10 per hour…

And you’ll have to work for 3 months at the rate of 20 hours per week, before making commission earnings…

Then the advertiser is asking you for the equivalent of:

$10 x 240 hours =

$2,400.00 in upfront labour, paid in advance.

And then, there after, should you make sales – they will pay you a commission for your efforts.

Very one-sided.

Stolen labour.

If they are so sure about your ability to earn large commissions from sales…

Why don’t they pay you for your time from the start?

Avoid.

Prepayment/Fee-based

In this scenario the advertiser requests you pay them for the opportunity to work for them.

In what other context of work would this ever be acceptable?!

If you start an office job – are you required to pay the employer for the benefit of using their office and equipment to earn them money?

No way!

Why would you accept this just because you are working from home?

Don’t allow desperation to deceive you.

Walk away.

Multilevel marketing, ponzi or pyramid schemes

Again, sleight of hand or rather…sleight of word.

This plays to the iniquity of the prospective worker by selling them falsehood that they can make money by roping in the labour of others…

Who similarly don’t get paid until they rope in a load of followers who work every day just to make them money.

The success, therefore, is based on how many people you have out there working to put money into your pockets.

The scheme architect and his cronies ultimately being the primary benefactors.

Criminal.

Run for your life from even the appearance of such schemes!

Modern slave labour (piece work)

Whether digital or physical tasks – piece work is a gruelling means of working from home.

With no end on the horizon, but just ongoing mindless grind, like licking envelopes, for pennies in return – piece work highly undervalues your time.

Don’t punish yourself with such unprofitable work – search for a profitable alternative…

Which will really be worth your while.

COMMON EXAMPLES OF WORK FROM HOME OPPORTUNITIES AND IDEAS

But what about genuinely profitable work from home opportunities – what do they look like?

Here are a few examples of work from home opportunities and ideas which might just be what you are looking for:

By category (in no particular order)…

[N.B. Understand that the key to making any of the ideas below work for you is none other than hard work, determination and persistence. If you just keep going despite the challenges and use everything you’ve got to grow and develop as you go along, you have a really good chance of making it really pay off! Enjoy.]

(1) Publishing

‘Producing and curating useful written and recorded content’ is a valued skill in this information-driven economy.

Know-how and expertise, which is purely distilled into potent packets of editorial goodness are great fodder for search engines and their frequenting audiences alike.

Do you have the skills to make it as an independent work from home publisher…on or offline?

You’ll need to be handy with the following to make a go of it:

  • good written and spoken use of language
  • organised structured approach to communicating
  • understanding reader user experience
  • varied publishing formats
  • knowledge of advertising standards and norms

How do you earn?

If you launch your own cover (publication) you can charge advertisers to place messages in prescribed locations.

Also, you could charge subscription to readers.

There are many models which you could adopt here. Think it through and do your research.

Example work from home publishing businesses:

  • blog owner
  • online magazine
  • web forum
  • hyper local printed magazine/paper etc.

Benefit vs. cost

The format is key to publishing. Lots of research into the most effective format of laying out your content will pay you back massively ongoing.

Uprooting layouts and presentation, later on, is real trouble and can alienate those early readers.

Content curation and production is resource-intensive and lengthy work at best.

Doing as much of it as you can by yourself in the early days will drastically reduce start-up cost.

Also, the benefit of DIY content is also quality control.

User-generated content is the dream. It’s a self-propulsion engine.

However, to prime the system to begin with you’ll need to get busy writing yourself.

Once the publication begins taking off and you wrack up readers daily and readily who are heavily engaging with your content…

Only then do you have a real asset and your real business begins.

Keep your format varied to appeal to readership segments and have purpose-built columns to compartmentalise your features…

This way you’ll set sound expectations among many readers.

(2) Project Management

Handling complex programs of work and bringing them to an expected end, profitably, is commercial gold dust in any market.

Project managers are the people in the middle who direct and instruct work to be done on target, timely and according to specification.

All industries use project management – there the scope for using this discipline is massive:

What do you need to make it as a work from home project manager?

  • good sense of order and ability to organise your thoughts
  • prioritisation
  • effective communicator in all formats
  • ability to illustrate and summarise key points
  • attention to detail
  • patience with large amounts of data
  • able to map out procedures and processes well

How do you earn?

Fixed hourly rates and contracted fixed sums are the common payment arrangements for work from home project managers.

Usually bonus payments are offered for bringing the program of work to a close within budget.

Example work from home project managers:

  • Event planners
  • Wedding consultants
  • Marketing managers (digital, social media, traditional etc.)
  • Business consultant
  • Interior designer
  • Concierge

Benefit vs. cost

Project management is heavily dependant upon systems, processes & frameworks.

Basically a set of rules sets the bounds by which the project manager will govern their chosen projects.

Every project manager will have a preference for which tools they will use for the job.

Getting used to exercising your skill with such tools is critical before beginning the trade.

Projects are highly pressured environments…

So ensuring you’re well-honed in the use of your chosen systems is key to delivering satisfaction.

(3) Manufacturer

People need things made for them for all kinds of reasons.

If you are keen to adopt a more practical means of earning your income from home – then perhaps try manufacturing products.

There are countless market niches and sales platforms by which start-up manufacturers can publicise and retail their products online.

Much research should be performed before making a decision to commit.

Remember that with manufacturing you incur the direct cots of raw materials and also the cost of inventory unsold.

However, if you get the balance of supply and demand right with profitable pricing and sales volume…

You can quickly drum up roaring trade for your wares.

What do you need to make it as a work from home manufacturer?

  • skilled hands to build
  • tools
  • organised work environment
  • bit of storage for raw materials
  • a store for finished goods
  • tags, labels, packaging & instructions

How do you earn?

Consignment work can be charged at a premium for custom made projects.

Off-the-shelf products, however, is charged at a price per unit.

Example work from home manufacturing businesses:

  • woodcraft
  • party favours
  • tailored shirts
  • shoes
  • leatherwork

Benefit vs. cost

Start-up costs with manufacturing businesses are typically larger than most, because of the input of the raw materials.

Also, additional reserves should be allocated for returns, damaged deliveries and refunds.

Having an efficient systematic approach to manufacturing also will enable you keep your time invested to maximal profitable output.

Customer services can be arduous, but if customer satisfaction is your goal, then you’ll excel and be highly valued because of it.

Setting your pricing is a critical part of your business modelling. Clearing your direct costs of sales is one thing, but…

Are you able to pay your bills comfortably at your projected sales volume?

(4) Writer

Good quality, professional standard writing is a key skill in business.

Constructing effective messages which hit the mark is plain ol’ valuable full stop.

Writing has many formats and contexts and some writers specialise, but…

The more nimble your wordsmith ability, the more relevant and hire-able you will rank among clients/employers.

What do you need to make it as a work from home writer?

  • keen use of the language
  • well-honed writing process and style
  • much practice
  • few well-placed articles
  • well organised digital and physical filing systems
  • printer/scanner

How do you earn?

Fixed price.

Based on a per-page basis or per word basis.

Example work from home writing businesses:

  • content marketing writer
  • blogger
  • business plan writer
  • financial plan writer
  • CV/Job description writer

Benefit vs. cost

Writer generally experience very lean start-up costs.

What could you need more than your favourite writing tool – whether keyboard or pen?

Having a portfolio of your written work will enable prospective clients to sample your ability first hand.

This is a relatively inexpensive measure.

Setting your rates to cover overheads and provide profit is critical to making it worth your while.

Also,  keeping a pipeline of project opportunities is key to maintaining cash flow.

(5) Technical Specialist

Technical skills are a premium resource.

Where you need a job done and you simply don’t have the skills to perform – you need a specialist.

Someone who is able to make light work of the task in hand and with expert results.

This kind of work is a popular choice for work from home business owners.

What do you need to make it as a work from home technical specialist?

  • qualification, if requirement
  • a framework to organise your projects
  • your choice of specialist equipment

How do you earn?

A fixed price per project, which is itemised per hour or job lot.

Example work from home technical specialist businesses:

  • web development
  • architect
  • accountant
  • bookkeeper
  • software developer
  • language translations
  • video editor
  • sound engineer

Benefit vs. cost

Keeping up to date on the latest:

  • technical equipment,
  • continued professional development and
  • professional subscriptions

…are all related ongoing costs.

These can be considerable.

For example, latest software licenses for leading web development tools can run into the thousands of dollars per annum – not to mention the time invested in learning the latest techniques.

Also, due to the time  typically taken to complete each project generally being much, much more than with lesser technical fields…

The fee charged usually reflects this proportionally increased investment.

(6) Digital Communications

Communicating effectively via the internet using optimized digital techniques is arguably one of the most sought after skills on today’s business markets.

Promoting your business or project by successfully engaging your target audiences online has quickly overtaken more traditional methods of communication.

Highly skilled practitioners typically find work in A-Z industries and benefit from very lean business models…

Usually stewarded by themselves as the only labour resource.

What do you need to make it as a work from home digital communicator?

  • minimum intermediate web technology literacy
  • good knowledge of search engine optimisation
  • basic graphic design
  • heavy online use experience

How do you earn?

A fixed price per project, which is itemised per hour or job lot.

Example work from home technical specialist businesses:

  • SEO
  • social media marketer
  • content marketer
  • web forum moderator
  • user experience/conversion rate optimisation

Benefit vs. cost

Usually solo freelancers – no staff costs and if resourceful very few online service subscriptions.

Wide appeal for such skills in any industry.

Work has a direct impact on the business bottom-line of clients.

Highly visible results.

(7) Sales

Sales is a popular delegation to home workers.

Businesses often like to outsource parts of their sales function – in order to free up technical internal labour resources to more mission-critical duties.

Sales being a directly revenue-related business function also has the added advantage of being appropriate for partial commission-based remuneration.

What do you need to make it as a work from home salesperson?

  • commercial acumen
  • listening
  • empathy
  • good product or service knowledge
  • confident verbal communication
  • patience
  • personable manner
  • courteous
  • prompt

How do you earn?

Fixed fee/salary, with performance-related incentives.

Example work from home sales roles:

  • travel agent
  • distribution agent
  • holiday rep
  • b2b
  • b2c
  • regional sales rep
  • financial services broker etc.

Benefit vs. cost

Getting started as a work from home salesperson is a swift start.

Often needing nothing more than a computer with an internet connection, plus a smartphone…

Startup costs are negligible.

If there is any face to face customer interaction required…

You should also be well-stocked with a custom supply of personalised collateral, such as:

  • business cards
  • uniform (if applicable)
  • leaflets
  • compliments slips
  • thank you cards
  • invoices
  • quote proformas

Sales roles can be highly rewarding, but as with anything in business the success is built upon nothing more mysterious than hard graft.

It takes months to build a consistent pipeline and round the clock plugging away at the simple stuff to reach the higher heights of target income.

During the sowing process, before the harvest of deal-making – you’ll need to hold your nerve against the fears…

Things may seem bleak as you wait on the return on invested time and effort…

But if you remain faithful to plan and keep your work intensity high and focused – you won’t be disappointed.

(8) Local Tradesman

Are you keen on serving your local area or region with much-needed trade skills, like carpentry or plumbing perhaps?

Consider working from home as a tradesman.

Whilst these traditional areas of work are very mature marketplaces with incumbents who have become well established over the years…

This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you.

It just means you’ll have to show yourself more relevant and valuable to your chosen audience than the others.

Let’s get to work!

What do you need to make it as a work from home tradesman?

  • high-level proficiency in the chosen trade
  • professional qualification
  • appropriate licenses
  • necessary tools & perhaps workshop
  • good vehicle
  • uniform & kit
  • knowledge of reliable suppliers
  • multitasking
  • good knowledge of your local/regional roads and routes
  • street map
  • lots of stationery

How do you earn?

Either hourly rates or fixed fee for typical projects.

Payment arrangements might include some deposits paid in advance by customers with the remainder paid on completion of work.

Example work from home tradesman roles:

  • bespoke carpenter
  • kitchen fitter
  • plumber
  • staircase fitter
  • electrician
  • boiler technician
  • block paving contractor
  • roofing specialist
  • contract cleaner
  • plasterer
  • carpet fitter
  • painter & decorator

Benefit vs. cost

The initial cost of training, getting qualified and licensed to trade is not to be underestimated.

In many cases this can take years just to gain entry into this type of work.

But on the flip side, the benefits can be very rewarding for the long term.

Such trades are here to stay as long as there are people needing them.

These are among the oldest forms of work known to man.

They are a solid investment for you if you are looking to remain in demand wherever you pitch up.

Referrals and word of mouth once established, cause marketing costs to vanish, lifting profits with time.

(9) Teacher

Do you desire the sanctification of helping others benefit from what you know?

Are you keen on making things simple for others to understand?

Then consider starting up as a work from home teacher.

Teaching seems easy enough but to get real success in this field you need to be saturated in your subject and have a real aptitude for making knowledge accessible to others.

Clearly any subject becomes easy enough once you know your way around it…

And often is the case that those who help us in this regard we rarely forget.

Good teachers leave long-lasting memories and fondness.

So here we are, let’s take a look at how this is done…

What do you need to make it as a work from home teacher?

  • well organised approach to work
  • exceptionally well-read and studied in your chosen subject
  • without prejudice
  • sharp itinerary management
  • a healthy stock of prescribed exercises
  • true patience
  • a desire to see others win or succeed
  • ability to relate
  • a personal library of curated learning materials (& plenty copies)
  • good stationery
  • specialist equipment (if applicable)

How do you earn?

Per hour is the most common method of charging for your time teaching.

Typically, rates could be worked out according to block bookings bought in advance…

Charging discounted hourly fees for customer who prepay.

Example work from home teaching roles:

  • maths
  • language
  • sciences
  • driving instruction
  • music
  • trades
  • sport/fitness
  • IT technical

Benefit vs. cost

Typically, when starting out as a teacher you are going to rely on the knowledge which you already have.

Therefore the costs of retraining etc. are not necessary.

Depending on your chosen field, you may incur some cost for up-skilling or renewing registration to one regulatory body or another.

Also, as appropriate you may need to buy necessary equipment for the purpose of fulfilling the task of delivering teaching…

For example, if you want to start up as a driving instructor, you simply can’t get around the cost of either buying or hiring a car with necessary adaptations, like dual control.

Even if you start out with an agency, they will levy the cost of the car which you are allowed to use in the form of charges taken from earnings.

Planning profitability is quite simple, as you will charge for your time by the hour at a fixed rate…

And therefore the accountability for every output is itemised and can be tracked or planned easily.

Reverse engineering your rates from your capacity output is a sure way to stay on track for the long term.

(10) Local Errands

Are you keen to help your neighbours access to local services and products conveniently?

Then working from home running errands might be just what you are looking for.

Get innovative…

Don’t just review a generic list of services offered by your peers to get going…

Consider the real needs of your local community and the value that could be added by connecting the dots.

Often precious gems of potential benefit are buried deep within our local areas, unbeknown to those who most need them…

Do some research, dig around a little.

Find locally underutilised resources and assets – things that those who have them undervalue.

Acquire them upfront or simply ask permission for their use and provide a valued offering to a local customer base.

What do you need to make it as a work from home errand runner?

  • local journalistic flair
  • appreciation of things that others value
  • build relationships in the local community
  • multitasking
  • prompt
  • know how to present a proposal to someone
  • negotiation

How do you earn?

Fees are usually charged per assignment.

This is itemised and transparent for the customer to view exactly how the cost is incurred – enabling them to amend the itinerary accordingly.

Example work from home errand roles:

  • shopping
  • laundry
  • collections
  • deliveries

Benefit vs. cost

Local errand businesses are highly valuable filler services that both commercial and domestic clients enjoy.

Being nimble and mobile is a necessity.

A vehicle is not always necessary, but being prompt is most profitable for such a business.

Getting from ‘A-B’ ASAP enables you to take on more and fill your capacity hours with many packets of profitable jobs.

Keeping a good CRM of contacts – will ensure you have plenty at your fingertips continually for making meaningful connections for getting things done.

Be clear and consistent with your pricing and policies.

(11) Researcher

Do you have a way of finding useful information or data and relaying it in a useful manner for selected audiences?

Why not become a work from home researcher?

Research is a highly valuable skill to all – it’s all about delivering knowledge on a subject.

The necessity of the knowledge is directly proportional to its value to the person in question.

Let’s put it into context…

A business is looking to launch a newly manufactured product.

There is ample demand in the market from customers, but before they make their commitment…

They want to know one thing…

What is the cost of the raw materials going to be?

Locally, such materials are unavailable so they decide to import.

This is where you come in…

They enquire and hire you to discover a panel of prospective suppliers overseas who are able to deliver the product.

You send communications to prospective suppliers requesting quotations and proposals according to the commercial brief given.

Within a few days, you field the necessary information and feedback to your client who can now make a sound business management decision.

Job done!

What do you need to make it as a work from home researcher?

  • sound methodology: primary and secondary
  • professionally written language
  • ability to build effective proformas & template communications
  • sound analytical understanding
  • management reporting capabilities

How do you earn?

On an assignment basis…fixed fee for delivering the work in hand.

Example work from home research roles:

  • market research
  • price discovery
  • hyperlocal journalist
  • business directory
  • online journal

Benefit vs. cost

Research isn’t just desk work – real research takes rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

Recycling existing sources goes a long way, but the diligent follow-up of primary exploratory methods like:

  • interviews
  • focus groups
  • surveys etc…

…generates masses of proprietary commercial value.

Sure this can be time-intensive, but once completed the long term value can be for years to come.

And depending on the terms of commission, you may have multiple opportunities to sell the report.

I.e. if you have fulfilled the research under your own steam then you own the rights to distribution…

If a client has commissioned you, you’ll need to seek their permission to distribute the work…which might never be given…

However, they would have recompensed you immediately for the job.

Consider.

(12) Rentals

To buy or to hire?

A common decision most have to make at some point.

Whether household tools, vehicles or party equipment…

The prohibitive cost of investing in acquiring, keeping and maintaining your own item – would often favour a short-term hire investment.

The additional benefit of getting expert help using the hire item also could be value-added too.

What do you need to make it as a work from home rental business?

  • understanding of chosen product use and demand
  • storage
  • maintenance ability
  • inventory
  • parts & spares
  • vehicle, if deliveries is being offered

How do you earn?

A hire fee is charged for an agreed duration, under the terms of fair use.

The fee usually includes:

  • …delivery and collection, plus some basic training or installation.

Example work from home research roles:

  • power tools hire
  • party equipment
  • vehicle
  • photography equipment

Benefit vs. cost

The start-up costs of work from home rental is unavoidable…

Like…

Having something to rent in the first place.

This takes capital investment.

Also, for the sake of business continuity, you’ll want to keep a healthy stock of spares and parts to fill in for when damage or loss occurs.

This contingency comes at additional cost.

Depreciation must also be accounted for within your business model.

  • …this is simply adding a predetermined amount of cost collected in the fees as an element of overhead…

…for the purpose of storing enough cash reserves incrementally overtime to replace equipment which becomes obsolete or worn out.

If treated well, equipment hired can last a long time relatively…whilst returning consistent margins of profit into your business.

Repeat custom bookings multiply your profitability. Reducing the need for marketing expense.

(13) Retail

Selling products either in person or online is a popular means of earning an income whilst many work from home.

Sourcing products, acquiring them, promoting them to an audience and selling them is how this works.

Retail demands its own discipline.

Merchandising is a key aspect of the job of a retailer.

This involves making the retail space and most importantly the point of sale most conducive to achieving sales.

What do you need to make it as a work from home retail business?

  • an eye and a mind for acquiring quality product at lowest prices
  • flair for customer support
  • understanding of sales cycles
  • willingness to answer pre-sales questions
  • empathy for customer/user experience

How do you earn?

Fixed price per item sold. Perhaps volume discounts applied for those who want items in bulk.

Example work from home research roles:

  • digital download products
  • clothes
  • arts & crafts
  • imported goods
  • gadgets & technology
  • software
  • tools

Benefit vs. cost

Stocking and inventory is the obvious cost with a retail business…

At least that is, if it holds physical stock, rather than digital!

Physical storage for inventory must also accommodate the anticipated growth in the volume of sales.

If the business expands rapidly you may need to acquire a larger storage facility or even a larger house!

Cash and inventory reserves should be kept for returns, damaged deliveries or exchanges.

A good CRM will keep you up-to-date with customer communications.

A solid bookkeeping strategy will make light work of transactional records for tax and auditing purposes.

(14) Assessments

Do you have expert knowledge, qualification or proficiency in a field of study?

Work from home assessors are in demand in many industries…

Where the expert processing of data or information by a well-trained eye or ear adds significant value.

Having genuine mastery or authority in a particular field is the only prerequisite here.

Once you have this – all you now need is the time and the input of materials to assess.

What do you need to make it as a work from home assessor?

  • genuine expertise & qualification
  • brief of assessment criteria or framework
  • a few sample assessments to point you in the right direction
  • attention to detail
  • low error rate
  • quiet environment to work

How do you earn?

Usually a fixed fee per completed assessment.

Bonuses or payment incentives are offered for maintaining high:

  • assessment completion rate
  • low error rate
  • compliance with standards and criteria

Example work from home assessor roles:

  • exam marker
  • search engine result assessor
  • job application assessor
  • proofreader
  • editor

Benefit vs. cost

Very little is needed for this type of job or business in terms of material investment.

Perhaps at most…

Appropriate refresher training if need be.

The systems and processes for assessment are delivered and provided for by the agency or regulatory body.

Overheads are lean…

Usually just a phone line, internet connection and perhaps a postal charge or two now and again.

If you get a good momentum going with work and clear your desk in a timely and efficient fashion…

Your work provider will constantly transfer you jobs – you’ll become a valued asset and attract the highest fees.

(15) Recordings

Do you have an aptitude for capturing the ideal take and showcasing your subject for optimal presentation value?

Then perhaps a work from home recording-based business or job is just the thing for you.

Equipment is critical – and proficiency of use, of course.

Techniques and approaches can be learned to achieve a wide variety of styles…

But a baseline ability and sound understanding of the fundamentals is a must.

A portfolio of previous samples is the only way you’ll illustrate to prospects what you can do.

What do you need to make it as a ‘work from home recording artist’?

  • a valuable skill to record
  • equipment
  • practice at making professional recording
  • editing skills

How do you earn?

Per assignment, you normally would charge a fixed fee, with some element of payment in advance of commitment.

Example work from home recording roles:

  • voice-overs
  • language translation
  • sign language
  • music
  • screencast for software training
  • stock photos/videos
  • ringtones

Benefit vs. cost

Specialist recording equipment is the majority capital cost here.

Take plenty practice to get your ‘eye in’ on the most advantageous techniques.

Staying up to date on latest trends will ensure you are keeping up with modern methods.

CLOSING COMMENTS…

So there you have it…

Working from home can indeed be a rewarding experience, but care must be taken to assess the feasibility and true profitability of each opportunity.

Consider startup costs and initial capital outlay before commitment is made.

Always remember…

To get any business off the ground successfully takes much effort, and many many months of doing the basics well…

Before experiencing even the most tender of green shoots of growth!

Set a realistic course and sober expectations thereafter.

Put your customers first and always keep an eye on your profitability.

Happy homeworking!

Are you looking to start working from home and need some professional advice?

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Do you have work from home tips to share?

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