6 Ways to Get Started Working at Home

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Working From Home

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The work-at-home life might seem like a unobtainable fantasy to those who thus far in their careers have found themselves tethered to a workplace. But with some creative thinking, self-reflection and hard work, it is not unobtainable at all if you make it a long-term goal.

If working from home is your goal, then in the short term you need to determine the steps to make it happen. Probably the very first step is  consider if you have the personality to work at home. It’s not for everyone. See if you have these 5 essential qualities in a telecommuter.

If you think you do, then it’s time to look at how you could work at home, given career path you have follow thus far and the skills you have acquired along the way. Some people telecommute for an employer; others freelance as a consultant.  Starting a home business is another possible path.

All of these possibilities have pros and cons. Read on to see how each might work for you.

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Turn Your Current Job into a Telecommuting Job

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The logical place to start with what you know best. Think about whether it is feasible turn your current job into a telecommuting position. The answer will depend on the type of work you do and your employer.

Reflect on your job description and consider whether these duties could be done at home. What are potential obstacles? Do you already do some work from home? How could you transition to doing more? Research your company’s policy on telecommuting and network with colleagues to see how much telecommuting happens at your company. Then, put together a telework proposal for your supervisor. See more on how to convince your boss to let you to telecommute.

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Find a New Job

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If the type of work you do can be done remotely, but either your boss or your company doesn’t look favorably on telecommuting, then it might be time to find a new job. When searching for a new work-at-home job, you can go through the same channels that you might go through to find an in-office job in your career, i.e. local job ads, job sites for your career field and social media. With any of these prospects, you will need to figure out the right way to ask if the position can be telecommuted.

However, in addition career-specific searches, try these 11 sites to find work from home job leads.  

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Go Freelance

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Another option, if the work you do can be telecommuted but you were not successful in convincing your company to let you do so, is to become a freelancer or consultant. Depending on your career field, you may be able to begin building a freelancing or consulting business while you are still employed. However, you will have to be careful not to create any conflicts of interest or violate any company policies.

The upside to beginning your consulting business while still working is that it eases the financial strain of the lack of cash flow that is typical for any new business. The downside is that you cannot tap into one of your most likely sources of work--your current employer and/or its clients. Your employer may have said no to you as an employee-telecommuter, but companies may have completely different policies when it comes to independent contractors.

See more on how to .  

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Start Your Own Business

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Like freelancing, starting a home business may allow more flexibility in your schedule than traditional employment, but the start-up costs can be steep and the time before profitability long. That said, starting a home business is a way to strike out and do something completely new. A lack of certain credentials and/or education are not the restraints they might be in other fields. Choosing the right business, researching and creating a smart business plan and a lot of hard work are far more important to your success. 

Home businesses run the gamut in terms of investments of time and money. There are ones with relatively small commitments for both, like direct selling products such as Avon. And then there are ones like starting a daycare, which could require remodeling of your house, or purchasing a franchise. 

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Start a New Career

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What do you do when your current career doesn't lend itself to telecommuting or you've grown tired of it, but you are not the entrepreneurial type? Consider a new career.Starting over can mean starting at the bottom, and that could mean a pay cut. However, if your most important priority is to gain the flexibility associated with working at home, then it might be worth it.

To minimize that potential pay cut, look for careers where the skills you picked up in your last job will be valued. At the same time spend some time evaluating what you actually enjoy doing. Start by browsing these 12 careers where you can telecommute to see if any might be a good fit. 

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Moonlight From Home

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All of these ways to work at home will take time to implement (and some will require money too). If you aren't quite ready to invest the time and money, consider just trying to pick up some extra cash from home. 

On the other hand, if you are ready to make a change, sometimes it is just more practical to start slowly. Moonlighting from home can be a way to save a nest egg to start that home business or launch a freelancing career, so that you can work from home full-time someday. 

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