When Should You Start Working from Home?


There will never be a “perfect” time to start. I considered waiting on working from home until I earned my degree. I also thought that perhaps I could better focus on it once my children were school age. Perhaps you’re planning for your teenager’s graduation, or until they have gone off to college. Maybe you are still in college, or you are waiting until you have saved up enough to quit your present job. The pins will likely never all be lined up perfectly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an awesome strike.

When should you start?

Start when your heart tells you, “Now is the time.” Yes, you need to factor in logistical and practical aspects. You need to count the costs. You definitely need to first decide that working from home is what you want to do, and you should have a developing skill-set to match your desire. But don’t be afraid to take that first step, whatever it might be for you. Right now, you’re reading this book, which is a great first step in understanding the ins and outs, pros and cons, and other specifics of working from home. Try not to stop here though. You’ll know when it’s time. And when it is, don’t hesitate to get your feet wet.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump in with both feet. As people often advise aspiring writers, actors, or artists, “Don’t quit your day job.” You might have to double-task for a while – making strides with your work-from-home career while still maintaining separate employment. During that time, you probably can’t manage to give your new venture eight hours a day, or even four hours a day.

So, do what you can.

Start by researching your options, reading books on the topic, and talking with people who have worked in your niche and know how to succeed there. Start small but start somewhere. With something.

You’ve likely happened upon a website or blog where someone claims they tried some work-from-home venture and found that they could go from zero to a $60K income in a matter of three months and now they enjoy holidays on the shore of a pristine Caribbean Island while managing minimal work from their handy laptop (or tablet or iPad or iPhone). You’ll notice that they don’t post pictures of those perfect vacations. Even if they are telling the truth, those lucky people are few and far between. If you’re attempting to work from home for fast money, you will likely be disappointed. (I know I’ve mentioned this before; I simply want to be realistic and not give you empty promises that would leave you disappointed.)

However, if you’re looking to work from home because you found that you can do something you love from home while caring for your children or recovering from an unexpected job loss, you will likely find the perfect work-from-home career. If making money is your sole motive, developing slow and steady income might not appear to be worth it.

But if a deep sense of purpose or following a lifelong passion is your objective, you are probably on the right road.

If you have an awesome plan to go with it, great! Follow that path and see where it leads.

***

This post is an excerpt from Work from Home: Find a Passion. Forge a Path. Fulfill a Purpose. by R. J. Santiago, available to purchase on Amazon.

Learn how to start a new career or earn needed income on the side by working from home. Author and freelancer R. J. Santiago shares tried (and proven) tips and step-by-step instructions to help you launch a work-from-home career. This book covers various avenues of online earning, the process of defining your area of expertise, and using it to fill a need in the market. You’ll also learn tips on finding clients and customers, practical strategies for working from home, and essential factors that will help determine your success.

Also included in the book:

  • A Self-Discovery Quiz
  • Pros and Cons to Working from Home
  • Signs of Online Scams and Schemes
  • Over 25 Work-from-Home Opportunities
  • Start-up Costs and Other Money Matters
  • Legalities and Creating a Business Plan
  • Time-Management and Efficiency Tips

Most importantly, discover the satisfaction that comes from finding your passion, forging a path, and fulfilling a purpose as you work from home.

Buy the book!

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The Importance of Research in Working from Home


Research the ideas you have and see what is already out there. You might find similar work-from-home businesses, but nothing exists locally. If that is the case, there is probably a great need in your area. Or maybe there is something local, but you can still take it up as a business because there is obviously enough of a demand for it.

Next, look at reviews or testimonials online by people who participate in this work-from-home business practice. Are there “horror” stories about that particular business? If so, does your interest in it outweigh the challenges you might face at start-up, or with the occasional difficult client?

Then consider whether there are other things you need to make sure you’re doing to keep it legal. For instance, baking from your home and selling pies and other treats might be a great idea, but you need to have certain things in place to keep your kitchen up to code. If you have a cat who likes sleeping on your table, that might not be the job for you.

Take the time you need to do the research, especially if it’s something new and “big” and different. Talk to people who have done it. Don’t hesitate to take the time you need to figure out what you want to do. You want to start out on the right track rather than wasting your time on a venture that you wouldn’t enjoy, or that won’t pan out because it’s not conducive to your personality or family’s needs.

For instance, if you suffer from social anxiety, maybe hosting parties would not be the right job choice for you. I did suffer from social anxiety as a young teen and I helped at a couple parties to raise funds. I dressed up as a clown and made balloon sculptures. I hated being the center of attention, but it was a learning experience. (Most of all, I learned that it was not a vocation I would choose for the long-term.)

Consider this, however: sometimes it will be helpful to grow in an area you might not be great at, especially if it’s something that will help you grow your overall business idea. For instance, teaching courses at a local adult school helped me to overcome my fears of public speaking. That was one good result; it also helped expand my income base and place a new item on my personal resumé.

***

This post is an excerpt from Work from Home: Find a Passion. Forge a Path. Fulfill a Purpose. by R. J. Santiago, available to purchase on Amazon.

Learn how to start a new career or earn needed income on the side by working from home. Author and freelancer R. J. Santiago shares tried (and proven) tips and step-by-step instructions to help you launch a work-from-home career. This book covers various avenues of online earning, the process of defining your area of expertise, and using it to fill a need in the market. You’ll also learn tips on finding clients and customers, practical strategies for working from home, and essential factors that will help determine your success.

Also included in the book:

  • A Self-Discovery Quiz
  • Pros and Cons to Working from Home
  • Signs of Online Scams and Schemes
  • Over 25 Work-from-Home Opportunities
  • Start-up Costs and Other Money Matters
  • Legalities and Creating a Business Plan
  • Time-Management and Efficiency Tips

Most importantly, discover the satisfaction that comes from finding your passion, forging a path, and fulfilling a purpose as you work from home.

(Buy the book!)

Which Work from Home Career Is the One for You?


Start by taking a trip through memory lane. What did you have a passion for as a child or young teen? I read somewhere that by the age of two, you know what you want to do with your life, but then afterwards you forget about or lose it. Think back to your own childhood. What did you love doing as a child? What did you dream about becoming? What were your favorite activities?

Did you enjoy having your own little garden space in your mom’s backyard, where you could plant tomatoes or squashes and beans? There is a growing interest in organic and locally grown foods these days. Explore the opportunities for starting a business in which you offer home-grown vegetables or herbs to local businesses and restaurants, sell them to neighbors, and have a stand at farmer’s markets.

Or perhaps when your friends would plan parties, you were always right there in the middle of the action – planning, making sure there was enough of everything, double checking that nothing was forgotten. Why don’t you consider making a business of event planning?

Were you always the life of the party, and dressing up is your favorite thing in the whole wide world to do, even as an adult? I know two women who have become very successful dressing as characters for parties. They have skills like storytelling, face painting, clothes design, and balloon art. They dress up like the character in the theme of the party – imagine how excited those children are when Cinderella (or the latest in a long stream of Disney princesses) appears at their birthday party!

If you’re great at designing and fashioning costumes or hats or designer wears, start up a website or a blog with photos of your designs. Sell them on Etsy or eBay.

Assignment:

Spend time looking back on your life, your childhood, and your teen years. What were your interests? What was your personality like? What kinds of activities did you gravitate toward?

Take five minutes writing down a list of things you would enjoy doing working from home. Start by answering these:

  • What do you enjoy doing? Write down your regular hobbies (i.e. gardening, cross-stitching, candle-making).
  • If you had the full weekend to do whatever you wanted, what would it be? Camping? Curling up with a good book? Visiting friends? Hosting an event at your house? Traveling?
  • If you go to bookstores, (or to the “book” area of Amazon), what area of the bookstore do you gravitate towards? How-to books, self-help, do-it-yourself, fantasy?
  • What would you consider a dream job? What vocation do you see others doing and say, “I wish I could make money doing that”?
  • What areas do you already have experience? Perhaps you’re nearing retirement age and have been involved in a line of work for 20 to 40 years. That is experience you can use.
  • Is there an area where people often compliment you? When there’s a party, do friends always ask you for planning or decoration advice? Are you the person family members call when they have a computer problem? When acquaintances need a resumé proofread, do they ask you to check it before they send it off?

Read back over the answers you came up with. Do you recognize a similar vein? Does one skill (or two or three related ones) keep popping up? Is there a way you can consolidate these somehow? Or simply choose the one that interests you most.

Then consider how you can develop it to start getting jobs. Is it something you can visualize expanding?

For instance, if your area of interest is gardening or plants, you might be able to choose from:

  • Landscape consultancy
  • Online farming/gardening advice
  • Writing articles on gardening/plants for a magazine
  • Selling herbs or flowers to nurseries
  • Selling fresh herbs or vegetables to a local organic market or restaurant
  • Participating in local farmer’s markets
  • Teaching classes on gardening at local adult schools

Or combine a number of these options and have a great time with them all!

***

This post is an excerpt from Work from Home: Find a Passion. Forge a Path. Fulfill a Purpose. by R. J. Santiago, available to purchase on Amazon.

Learn how to start a new career or earn needed income on the side by working from home. Author and freelancer R. J. Santiago shares tried (and proven) tips and step-by-step instructions to help you launch a work-from-home career. This book covers various avenues of online earning, the process of defining your area of expertise, and using it to fill a need in the market. You’ll also learn tips on finding clients and customers, practical strategies for working from home, and essential factors that will help determine your success.

Also included in the book:

  • A Self-Discovery Quiz
  • Pros and Cons to Working from Home
  • Signs of Online Scams and Schemes
  • Over 25 Work-from-Home Opportunities
  • Start-up Costs and Other Money Matters
  • Legalities and Creating a Business Plan
  • Time-Management and Efficiency Tips

Most importantly, discover the satisfaction that comes from finding your passion, forging a path, and fulfilling a purpose as you work from home.

Buy the book!

A Few Work from Home Ideas


“Cottage Industry” Opportunities

The cottage industry is simply a term used for manufacturing performed on a small-scale, usually from home, which is the definition we will use here. Interestingly, before the industrial revolution, cottage industries were the primary form of industry throughout the United States, Britain, and many parts of Europe. With the development of large factories and similar places of work, however, many small, home-based manufacturers went out of businesses. They could not compete with the prices and production of large businesses. (This is not a book on economy, however, so let’s get back to the main subject.)

These days, you’ll find more and more small businesses – more entrepreneurs who are slowly bringing back the cottage industry, one cottage (or home, or apartment, or garage) at a time. Following are several work-from-home opportunities that could be classified as cottage industries. They basically involve goods you create at home and sell from home.

Home-Prepared Goods

Do your coworkers always beg for the recipe when you bring your famous double-chocolate-mint-chip cookies to work events? Does your mom always ask you to make that fiery salsa for get-togethers? If your friends keep reminding you that they’d buy your goods if you ever chose to sell them, maybe selling baked or canned products from home is a good move for you.

Some options include:

Canned Goods

  • Jams, Pickles, Organic Blends, Herbs

Baked Goods

  • Pies, Cookies, Cakes, Bread
  • Organic / Gluten-free products

If this is a direction you might consider, take time first to research state laws regarding selling foods from your home. States have unique health laws, and some have zoning restrictions to ensure the wellbeing and safety of potential customers. Also, laws change frequently, and new bills can easily (and swiftly) alter previous laws.

For instance, in California, a law passed in 2012 allows people to sell certain non-perishable foods that they have prepared at home, such as baked goods and candies. They still need to jump through a few hoops such as a home inspection to ensure they are following various health and safety laws. At the time of writing this, another law is in the works in California called the Homemade Food Legislation Act, which would allow people to sell not only baked, non-perishable goods, but also prepared meals from home.

Crafts and Artistic Creations

You might just be a crafty person. No, not cunning and full of schemes, but great at making crafts. You have probably noticed (especially if you have a profile on Pinterest) that people these days absolutely love crafts and décor that appear homemade yet have been professionally created.

If this is a direction you want to consider, identify your strongest craft skills. You may be good at creating a variety of different crafts, but you want to be objective when it comes to deciding which of your craft skills will actually make money. Which craft or artwork can you create that is unique, requires skill that not everyone has, and that looks great?

Additionally, your crafts need to be:

  • Professional
  • Durable
  • Original

Here are a few craft ideas, many of which you could adapt to fashion something completely unique:

  • Outdoor/garden décor: birdhouses, welcome mats, gnome houses, wind chimes, fairy houses.
  • Paintings, sketches, personalized art (they send you a photo and you create a work of art with it).
  • Indoor décor: (get creative!) bookends, photo frames, wall hangings, candles.
  • Christmas crafts and ornaments.
  • Original artwork painted on coat racks, cabinets, towel bars, and other household items.
  • Needlework creations of all kinds: knit gloves and blankets, cross-stitched and framed art, needlepoint embroidery on clothes or linens, quilts, crocheted doilies or stockings.
  • DIY craft kits for parents of small children who don’t have time to prepare the kits themselves.

Consider that you would need to market/advertise these items. Some online sites have been created specifically for selling these kinds of products, such as Etsy.com. You can also rent a booth at craft fairs, trade shows, and farmers markets. These ventures might be costly, however, so make sure that you can afford such investments. Also, you will need to purchase any needed materials in advance of selling the items you create.

***

Find many more ideas on work-from-home options in R. J. Santiago’s book, Work from Home: Find a Passion. Forge a Path. Fulfill a Purpose. This post is an excerpt from Chapter Five: “Some Work-from-Home Options.” The book is available to purchase on Amazon.

Also included in the book:

  • A Self-Discovery Quiz
  • Pros and Cons to Working from Home
  • Signs of Online Scams and Schemes
  • Over 25 Work-from-Home Opportunities
  • Start-up Costs and Other Money Matters
  • Legalities and Creating a Business Plan
  • Time-Management and Efficiency Tips

Most importantly, discover the satisfaction that comes from finding your passion, forging a path, and fulfilling a purpose as you work from home.

Buy the book!

Signs of a Scam When Working from Home


Where you can find opportunities to make money, you will also run into “opportunities” to be scammed. Unfortunately, a large number of advertisements for earning money online are complete scams. For many others, the time and money you spend on them exceeds any monetary benefits you eventually earn back. If you’re planning on launching into a work-from-home profession, you need to be able to recognize (and avoid) these time-and-money wasters.

Signs of a Scam

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for the following promises:

  • Lots of money within days or weeks!
  • No experience needed!!!
  • Easy to operate/run/do (maybe even in your sleep)!
  • Work a couple hours and watch the money roll in!
  • Once you get started, you’re set for life!!

If these were true, wouldn’t more people be trying it and claiming that it works? There is obviously a reason why people are so wary of these promises. Because many times, they are scams.

How do the scammers get away with it? Well, with what they make before people catch onto them, they probably have the money to hire lawyers. What is more, they usually operate from some distant state (or country). If you want to pursue them and hunt them down to bring them to justice, you’re adding travel costs to whatever money they’ve already scammed you out of. Also, if enough people complain, they likely fold their business and start a new one with a different name. Same promises. Same lies.

Other things to watch out for:

  • A bad gut feeling.
  • A business that wants you to decide today; if it’s legit, it will be there tomorrow. If they’re pressuring you to sign up with them today only, it’s probably a scam.
  • An offer to let you in on their “secrets” if you just pay a fee up front.
  • They don’t use normal punctuation but settle for LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!!!
  • You can’t easily tell who they are or what they’re promising. A legitimate job is clear and plain; you know what you’re getting into.
  • They boast of personal testimonies but only give the first name and age with a smiling picture – no website or other mode of verification.
  • They will “tell all” … after you pay a fee.

Signs of a Legitimate Job

On the other hand, a real job offer will:

  • Explain what the job is, including the requirements/skills needed for the job.
  • Define the company and the position you will have in it.
  • Require that you have certain credentials or experience (Business Degree, two years’ experience in a similar field, etc.)
  • It will not ask you for money in advance.
  • Its only promises are the job – not quick money or ease.

***

This post is an excerpt from Work from Home: Find a Passion. Forge a Path. Fulfill a Purpose. by R. J. Santiago, available to purchase on Amazon. The book provides more information on scams and schemes to watch out for, as well as various avenues of online earning. You’ll also learn tips on finding clients and customers, practical strategies for working from home, and essential factors that will help determine your success.

Also included in the book:

  • A Self-Discovery Quiz
  • Pros and Cons to Working from Home
  • Over 25 Work-from-Home Opportunities
  • Start-up Costs and Other Money Matters
  • Legalities and Creating a Business Plan
  • Time-Management and Efficiency Tips

Most importantly, discover the satisfaction that comes from finding your passion, forging a path, and fulfilling a purpose as you work from home.

Buy the book!

Some Pros and Cons to Working from Home


I recently read a great description of the word “vocation” that explains how it is related to purpose:

[Vocation] comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a person is called to by God.

There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of Society, say, or the Superego, or Self-Interest.

By and large a good rule for finding out is this: The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. … The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. – Frederick Buechner, from Wishful Thinking

A sad fact is that many do not pursue their calling, their vocare. They do not choose a vocation that they love. The reasons why this happens are as plentiful as the people themselves, but it makes you wonder just how much is lost when someone does not pursue what they feel deep in their heart is their calling or purpose.

This doesn’t mean that every person in the world must have some famous and world-renowned calling or purpose. A number of people make money doing what they love and what they feel called to do, while they are at the same time raising children, or continuing their education, or pursuing greater opportunities to do what they love even more.

These are all honorable purposes and can infuse a life with meaning.

A Few Pros and Cons to Working from Home

Possible drawbacks to working from home:

  • The “buck” stops with you.
  • You aren’t paid for sick days.
  • You don’t get paid vacations (but you can vacation anytime and often take your work with you).
  • Others might not consider your work a real job.
  • You do not usually get a steady paycheck, or the same amount of income every month.
  • You will put in unpaid hours (especially at the start) for research, communication, looking for projects, and advertising your business.

Other advantages to working from home:

  • You can be more involved in your children’s lives and/or education.
  • You can determine your priorities and alter them as needed.
  • You can quickly switch focuses if something comes up and get back to work as soon as you’re done with it.
  • You can take as long a maternity (or paternity) leave as you like.
  • You don’t have a specific dress code for your job.
  • You can grow in confidence and independence.

***

This post is an excerpt from Work from Home: Find a Passion. Forge a Path. Fulfill a Purpose. by R. J. Santiago, available as an e-book on Amazon.

Learn how to start a new career or earn needed income on the side by working from home. Author and freelancer R. J. Santiago shares tried (and proven) tips and step-by-step instructions to help you launch a work-from-home career. This book covers various avenues of online earning, the process of defining your area of expertise, and using it to fill a need in the market. You’ll also learn tips on finding clients and customers, practical strategies for working from home, and essential factors that will help determine your success.

Also included in the book:

  • A Self-Discovery Quiz
  • Pros and Cons to Working from Home
  • Signs of Online Scams and Schemes
  • Over 25 Work-from-Home Opportunities
  • Start-up Costs and Other Money Matters
  • Legalities and Creating a Business Plan
  • Time-Management and Efficiency Tips

Most importantly, discover the satisfaction that comes from finding your passion, forging a path, and fulfilling a purpose as you work from home.

A Self-Discovery Quiz: Is Working from Home for You?


Have you been considering your options for working from home? Maybe a number of your friends work from home and you wonder if that’s something you might try.

Only you can determine whether a work-from-home career is the best option for you. Only you can decide if the right time for stepping out on this path is now, or if you need to wait. Only you know if you need to start out slowly or jump in with both feet.

But then, you might ask, how do you know whether working from home is the best option for you? Well, you can start by asking yourself a few questions and answering them honestly. Your answers might not give you a definitive answer, but they are a good place to start and will give you a clearer idea as to whether or not you should pursue a work-from-home profession.

A Self-Discovery Quiz

How comfortable are you using the internet? (Even if the work-from-home career you choose is not internet based, you might want to promote your work on websites such as Craigslist, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, through a blog and/or via direct email.

  1. I’m completely internet-savvy.
  2. I know nothing about the internet.
  3. It’s a process but I’m getting there.

 

Do you have the time (or can you make the time) in your schedule to research, prepare, and launch a work-from-home career, or take steps in that direction?

  1. I’m ready and raring to go.
  2. I’m totally maxed out right now; don’t know how I’ll find the time.
  3. Life is busy, but I think I can fit it in.

 

Can you “afford” a work-from-home career that might not start bringing in the bacon immediately?

  1. I have a three-to-six-month budget in savings.
  2. I have no money; that’s why I want to work from home.
  3. I think I can plan for a few financially rocky months.

 

Are you an “idea person” who has practicality and determination to create “landing gear” to those ideas?

  1. I am both creative and tenacious.
  2. I have a ton of ideas but never do anything about them.
  3. I am determined, but not very imaginative.

 

When you have a great idea, what is the next step you take?

  1. I look at all the pros and cons and chart out the practical steps to make it happen.
  2. I tell a friend or post it on Twitter and then promptly forget about it.
  3. I write it down so I can come back to it someday.

 

Do you work well independently? Is it easy for you to remain motivated, efficient, and productive without a boss overseeing you and making sure you perform?

  1. Yes, I can work well by myself, start to finish.
  2. No, I need someone to tell me what to do and check in regularly to make sure I get it done.
  3. It really depends on the project.

 

Can you “tune out” distractions, such as ignoring the desire to check Facebook or your inbox while you’re working? (Or concentrating on your work with your kids having a pillow fight in the next room?)

  1. I’m like the Hulk; nothing can disturb me.
  2. Can’t I browse the net while I work?
  3. I might take a break from time to time to make a status update.

 

What reaction have you gotten from friends and family (those who know you well) regarding the idea of working from home?

  1. “That sounds like the perfect job for you.”
  2. “What are you thinking? There is no way you could pull it off.”
  3. I’ve had mixed results, or haven’t told anyone.

 

What is your personal reaction to having a work-from-home career?

  1. I would love it! It’s perfect for my skills, interests, and schedule.
  2. I’ll do it if I need to in order to make some money.
  3. I know it will be a challenge but I’m going in with my eyes wide open. I can make it work.

 

You probably figured out the pattern for the above questions. If you answered “1” to most of the questions, then working from home is likely a great choice for you.

If you answered “3” to some or many of them, you have the potential to create a work-from-home profession. With a little tweaking of your schedule and goals, you should have the confidence that you can make it.

If you answered “2” to most or all the questions, you might want to rethink your focus, as working from home might not be the best option for you. At the same time, just because you might face more of an uphill climb doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about working from home. Perhaps you lack a few skills, but you are motivated and organized.

***

This post is an excerpt from Work from Home: Find a Passion. Forge a Path. Fulfill a Purpose. by R. J. Santiago, available to purchase on Amazon.

Learn how to start a new career or earn needed income on the side by working from home. Author and freelancer R. J. Santiago shares tried (and proven) tips and step-by-step instructions to help you launch a work-from-home career. This book covers various avenues of online earning, the process of defining your area of expertise, and using it to fill a need in the market. You’ll also learn tips on finding clients and customers, practical strategies for working from home, and essential factors that will help determine your success.

Also included in the book:

  • A Self-Discovery Quiz
  • Pros and Cons to Working from Home
  • Signs of Online Scams and Schemes
  • Over 25 Work-from-Home Opportunities
  • Start-up Costs and Other Money Matters
  • Legalities and Creating a Business Plan
  • Time-Management and Efficiency Tips

Most importantly, discover the satisfaction that comes from finding your passion, forging a path, and fulfilling a purpose as you work from home.