Inspire Education's news
The Big List of *Real* Work from Home Jobs
Dreaming of a job that allows you to balance your work with your lifestyle, cut out the 9 to 5 grind and stop wasting precious hours each week commuting? Working from home might be the ticket for you!
What kind of jobs can actually be done from home? Where do you find these jobs? Are they all just scams? We’ve been hard at work compiling a massive list of REAL jobs that can be done from home.
Real Work From Home Jobs
As we discussed in our article, The Great Big Guide to Working From Home, many jobs can potentially be done from home provided the role:
- • Doesn’t require you to be on-site to actually do the work.
- • Doesn’t require a high degree of supervision.
- • Doesn’t involve regular face-to-face client contact.
- • Doesn’t rely on office-based procedures or systems.
- • Can be done with a computer, fast internet connection and the right equipment.
Here are some examples to help you get started on your journey to working from home:
1. Vocational Training
One of the major advantages of online training is being able to study from just about anywhere. Fortunately, the same is often true for people delivering the courses too! Remember, to become a trainer you need at least a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment qualification as well as any qualifications you plan to teach. Extensive experience in your industry of choice will help a lot too, especially if you’re looking for a training job.
There are a few opportunities to work from home in the training industry:
- • You can find a telecommuting/teleworker role working for a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) delivering training online.
- • You can start your own RTO (but be warned it requires a serious investment of time, money and energy! It is possible it will become more difficult for sole traders and small businesses to keep up with auditing, compliance and continuous improvement standards in the future as well).
- • You can form a partnering agreement with an established RTO who will handle the non-revenue generating tasks (particularly the huge administration and compliance burdens) so you can focus on the core business of training and assessing or start building your own “front-end” training business.
2. Bookkeeping & Accounting
Many small businesses in particular require a bookkeeper but don’t have enough work to employ one full or even part time. They often outsource their bookkeeping to self-employed contract bookkeepers who have been BAS-certified (meaning they can complete and lodge statements on behalf of clients for taxes like GST). Contract bookkeepers are usually self-employed small business operators.
Accountants can also provide freelance or contract accounting services from home, even doing personal tax returns and business tax returns if they have the appropriate Tax Agent registration. There are many qualifications suitable for entering the bookkeeping and accounting industry, such as the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping or Diploma of Accounting.
3. Family Day Care
If you have a passion for caring for children, family day care might be the home-business for you. Family day care involves caring for a few children (usually 1-4) in your own home. Some parents prefer it to putting their children in a long day care centre and it can be cheaper for them too. You’ll need to get an appropriate qualification like the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (now a regulatory requirement) and comply with the legal requirements for running a family day care in your home. There are services like Family Day Care Australia which will help you set up your own home-based daycare service.
4. Data Entry
Perhaps the most common data entry work is done by bookkeepers entering financial records as part of their contract bookkeeping work; getting into the bookkeeping field with experience or qualifications is therefore one of the easiest ways to find data entry work. Bookkeeping and accounting courses are obviously good choices, but even qualifications like the Certificate IV in Business Administration teach enough bookkeeping skills to get basic data entry work in the industry.
Many large businesses, companies and government departments also have old paper-based records they need to transfer to new electronic systems. Often this work is done in-house (security can be a major concern as they may be dealing with sensitive or confidential information) but occasionally they will advertise data-entry jobs that can be done from home (just watch out for scammers!).
5. Delivering Junk Mail
One for the time rich and money poor. The most time consuming part is often folding the mail so it’s ready to deliver! It does require you to get out of the house to actually deliver the mail which usually involves a lot of walking. It often doesn’t pay that much, but it is a legitimate way to earn some extra income. Some people even do it for the exercise!
6. Private Lessons
Do you have amazing skills and passions in a particular area? Music, dance, art or craft – if people want to learn and develop their skills, one of the fastest ways is to get 1-on-1 or small group instruction. Providing private lessons at home is one way to translate your skills into an income.
An excellent way for teachers, later year uni students and lecturers to make a little extra money on the side. Some people have taken things a step further and now run full time tutoring businesses catering to primary, high school or university students.
8. Virtual Assistant
Have a talent for providing administrative, technical, or creative assistance? Virtual assistants are able to provide many services normally performed by on-site administration staff – answering phones, organising events, managing a businessperson’s calendar, booking flights and making reservations, meeting minutes, word processing, and spreadsheets – any of the tasks commonly done by administration, reception and support staff. Virtual assistants are often self-employed contractors and rely on technology such as Skype, Google Voice, email and phone conferencing.
Are you extremely fluent in two or more languages? Translators are needed to translate audio files, videos and documents – not just word for word but also taking into account cultural differences.
A business might only need a handful of documents or audio files translated at a time – not enough work to hire a permanent employee – creating an opportunity for freelancers and contractors to get work. Opportunities can come from anywhere in the world, particularly if you have hard to find language skills.
10. Call Centre Representative
Home-shoring is one of the latest trends in the call centre industry. Customer complaints about call centres being moved offshore have driven the growth of home-based call centre representatives.
Working a call centre job from home can provide a valuable service required by many businesses without the huge overheads of traditional call centre operations. Some businesses hire representatives as employees, while others use contractors and subcontractors.
11. Tech Support Specialist
A surprising amount of computer diagnosis and repair can be done remotely via the internet. With the user’s permission, the technician can take control of the user’s computer and diagnose and repair applications, install and run anti-virus programs and potentially even reboot the PC and continue work without the user’s assistance. You can potentially provide assistance to people all over the world!
Of course there are limits – hardware issues still need hands-on work. You may still have to do callouts or have computers brought to your home in your local area, or refer your client to another service if you can’t provide the required services.
Joining a franchise usually requires a capital investment and ongoing payments of a small percent of your revenues. There are many to choose from and some can be operated as a home-business. You get the advantage of using an established brand name with a reputation, assistance with setting up and operating your business and access to many established systems, procedures, group/national marketing campaigns, training a supply chains. You will have to sacrifice some of your autonomy in business decisions, work within a restricted territory, and have to work within certain terms and conditions if you decide to sell.
You could also start your own franchise chain, taking a successful business model you’ve already built and finding other people to invest their own time, energy and money into building a regional or national chain. You’ll probably need to manage most of the legal, accounting, systems and processes, and marketing for the franchise. Getting set up is not necessarily cheap or easy but there can be huge rewards if you succeed.
13. Web Design and Development
Nearly every business needs a business these days and there is a lot of work involved in designing, creating and maintaining them. Much of this work can be done from pretty much anywhere in the world, including your home. Freelancing websites report high demand for talented web developers.
14. Pet Sitting
Pets are a source of joy and strength for many people, but pet owners don’t always have the time to give the attention their pet requires. There are a range of pet related services you can provide – walking, mobile grooming, pet sitting, house sitting and training.
It can be serious business though – many pet services are licensed and insured for liability including care, custody, and control of the pets in their care. Pet sitters may also be bonded or insured for theft. Typically you’ll need training yourself, including first aid certification, animal husbandry, or a pet sitting accreditation.
15. Rent Out Your ‘Spot’
Parking space is at a premium in the inner city. A month of parking in parts of the Sydney CBD cost $657 way back in 2009, and a parking space in New York City was up for sale for $1 million USD in 2012.
If you own a parking space in a prime location in the inner city, it could be worth a couple of hundred bucks a month at least. The best part is it requires little effort on your part. Alternatively, if you live further out of town but have a large yard, there might be demand for a secure parking service – especially near airports where people are planning to leave their cars for a long time. Be careful with zoning and business laws! Do your research.
16. Arts & Crafts
Are you a talented craftsperson? Have you considered making and selling you own products? Market stalls and local stores might have been the best ways to sell your finished goods in the past, but sites like Etsy.com now allow you to market your products to the world.
It’s quite possible to run an online store through ebay, taking advantage of their established customer base, payment systems and website infrastructure. It doesn’t have to be the same standard mass produced fare your local department store sells – in fact there is probably more opportunity and margin in finding and selling the ridiculously niche and unique.
Some sellers specialise in finding and selling items or goods with an unusual appeal, such as first edition printings of rare books or high value trading cards. You don’t even need to leave ebay – if you’re knowledgeable and time rich you can find underpriced items ON ebay and flip them for profit.
18. App developer
Chances are you have a Smartphone or tablet computer (you might even be reading this on one). No doubt then you are familiar with “apps”, programs designed to run on your mobile device and allow you to use it for everything from games to news, the weather, travel, shopping, music, photography, health and fitness, even parenting. Someone needs to create all those apps and the possibilities are almost endless.
In 2013, a high school student sold the app he developed in his spare time to Yahoo for an estimated $30 million and was hired as an employee of the company at the same time. You’ll need to learn computer coding and have some good ideas, but a number of people earn an excellent living making apps for mobile devices.
Where would a blog about earning a living from home be without blogging?
“Mummy blogs” are blogs written by mothers sharing their experiences with adoption, autism, parenting, living simply and environmentally soundly, and a huge range of other topics. Many do it simply to share their experiences and to have an outlet for their thoughts and feelings. They might earn a little extra on the side through on-site advertising (showing Google Adsense ads for instance) or by receiving free products to review on their blogs.
Blogs aren’t just for mothers. If you’re a talented writer and have unique, interesting or useful information and ideas to share with the world, then blogging might be the opportunity for you. For many people, it is a way to supplement their income doing something they enjoy. For a few, it is a full time job and living income.
20. Stock photographer
Ever wondered where the pictures you see on articles like this one come from? Most of the time, they’re sourced from stock photography sites like iStock or 123RF. Barriers to entry are as low as owning a camera, but those who make serious dollars generally do so by creating quality, consistent, powerful, imaginative and useful images that media and commercial outlets want to use.
Not strictly an at home work from home job (you may need to set up onsite shoots, go to events or get out and about to photograph landscapes), there is an opportunity for amateur and professional ‘togs to create and sell stock images online.
21. Self-Published Author
Self-publishing has become incredibly easy today using sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Many self-published books sell for only a few dollars – $0.99 to $4.99 – but with commission rates of around 70% most of the money from sales actually ends up in your pocket rather than with a publisher.
Amazon now has over 12 million books and counting which makes it difficult for someone new to stand out. Authors like Amanda Hocking have managed to “break out” with her ‘supernatural teen romances’ and stories about vampires, trolls and zombies. She now reportedly makes $2 million a year from e-book sales.
22. Drop Shipping
Starting an online store is off putting for many because of the high startup costs and the complications of fulfilling orders. It would be much easier to have someone else manage those operations so you could focus on building your website and brand, then run it from anywhere in the world.
Drop shipping is a method of retailing that allows you to do exactly that. You don’t actually keep products in stock, instead you have a partnership with a wholesale supplier that stocks its own inventory. You sell and they ship the goods directly to the customer.
Weirder ways to work from home
Here are some of the weirder and wackier ways to make money in the technological age. For most people in a best-case scenario, these are ways to earn supplemental income doing something you’re already passionate about and skilled in doing, not make a full time equivalent income.
WARNING: These are NOT guaranteed ways to earn a living and all carry some degree of risk. Do your research, learn the risks and don’t expect to be rich overnight – if at all. Inspire Education does not endorse any of these activities and doesn’t not recommend you pursue them as a work from home job. They are simply included for the sake of interest and entertainment.
23. “Gold” farming
Astonishingly, gold and items earned in video games actually have value in real life. The most famous Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft, and many other games like it have an exchange rate of real life dollars to in-game currency.
It sounds crazy but it makes sense when you think about it – it takes time and effort to earn that in-game currency. People with jobs and busy lives still want to be able to enjoy the fun parts of the game in their spare time, so simply buy in-game currency instead of wasting their playing time “grinding” away for long hours to earn it themselves.
There are businesses around the world dedicated to earning and selling in-game currency in many different games, done on a massive scale. They mostly operate out of countries with low overheads and operate in a legal & ethical grey area. The act of farming and selling gold is banned in most games, while income you earn is still subject to taxation.
24. Character leveling
Similar to gold farming, character levelling involves playing an MMORPG on behalf of someone else. Why would anyone pay for this? So they can skip the often long and often unappealing process of “leveling up” which can take hundreds of hours. In many MMORPGs, some of the most exciting parts of the game don’t happen until you reach the maximum level on your character. Many people with a job and busy life simply don’t have the time to do it themselves, hence the appeal of this service.
25. Crypto-currency mining
Heard of Bitcoins yet? They’re just one example of the digital or “crypto” currencies popping up on the internet. There are now many variations like Dogecoin, Litecoin, Namecoin and Peercoin.
These currencies are digital mediums of exchange, decentralised currencies that are secured by a network of “miners”. Miners use their computing power to secure the digital currency network and in return have the chance to receive a small, randomly distributed fee of coins. This process is known as “mining”. Some currencies can be mined using powerful home computers set up to mine coins efficiently, while others require specialised hardware.
These crypto-currencies have become the subject of international attention due to their association with illegal activities. Some countries have started government inquiries into their use or simply made them illegal. Crypto-currencies face an uncertain future and are extremely volatile. Do your research, understand the risks and use extreme caution before you invest any time or money into buying or mining coins. At the very least, you’ll get a fascinating insight into how an unregulated free market operates and your notions about the “value” of money will be challenged.
26. Professional video gamer
Pro-gamers usually earn their living by participating and winning “e-sports” tournaments. Like any professional sportsperson, only the very best players can ever hope to earn a decent living this way. However, for those at the top, they can win cash prizes in tournaments; earn money for streaming or televising their practice games; or through sponsorships and endorsements. Famous e-sports games include DotA, League of Legends, Starcraft, Warcraft, FIFA, World of Tanks, Counterstrike, Quake, Call of Duty and Halo.
27. Youtube personality or Vlogger
It is possible to earn a surprisingly good income from creating and posting videos on Youtube. The money comes from advertising revenue (those adverts that play at the start of the video you actually want to watch) so it’s normally based on the number of views you can generate.
So what do people actually do in these videos? Anything they want. Some people just talk about their lives, go on rants, give their point of view on issues and other simple premises. Other shows go to extremes for entertainment. Epic Meal Time is a group of friends making and then eating ridiculous meals like “Fast Food Lasagna” – 45 burgers combined with bacon, meat sauce, cheese and bourbon. That one video alone has clocked up more than 22 million views and they’ve built an entire brand & merchandising business around their Youtube show.
28. Webcomic creator
Do you have a unique and witty take on the world that you want to share? Webcomics might be the medium for you. There are a number of successful webcomics these days – notable examples include Penny Arcade and The Oatmeal – that have shown it is possible to turn an online comic strip into a successful business. Money is usually made through advertising, merchandise, books or donations. There are no guarantees of success in an industry like this, but if you’re talented, passionate and build your audience then it is possible to succeed.
Other Opportunities for Freelancing and Telecommuting Work
There are many other careers that naturally fit with telecommuting, teleworker or freelance work, such as:
- • Publishing,
- • Screenwriting,
- • Editing,
- • Photography,
- • Event Planning,
- • Event Management,
- • Copy Editing,
- • Proofreading,
- • Indexing,
- • Copywriting,
- • Computer Programming,
- • Graphic Design,
- • Consulting,
- • Video Editing, and
- • Illustrating.
Today there are numerous websites and services, such as Elance, oDesk or Freelancer, which are dedicated to connecting freelancers with clients. You can also do your own marketing, get work through your social and professional network, use online and offline bulletin boards (for instance Gumtree), social media – there aren’t really and right or wrong places to look, as long as you’re finding legal and ethical work to do!
So When Will I “Get Rich Quick”?
Work from home jobs are just like any other job. You get paid a wage or salary for doing work that has value to people or organisations.
Advertisements, websites or charlatans who tell you “this person with no experience or qualifications makes $8695 a month working 30 minutes a day!” are trying to scam you in some way. At best, there is no possible way to make that much money in that time and you end up working for peanuts. Most of the time, they take your money and run, leaving you worse off than before. In the worst case scenarios, you participate in an illegal scheme and get caught, potentially leaving you with jail time and a criminal record!
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Learn more about common scams you can identify and avoid in our guide: Beware of Scammers! Work from Home Schemes to Avoid.
If you want to learn more about the realities of working from home, try The Great Big Guide to Working from Home.