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Don't Get Up: Ten Stay-at-Home Careers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 20 percent of all employed people did some work at home as part of their primary job in 2007. While working at home used to be associated exclusively with entrepreneurs, many companies are also allowing employees to work from home. Here are ten examples of office work that workers can now complete from home.

#1: Virtual Customer Service
Household names like J. Crew and Walgreens are scaling back on-site call centers in favor of home-based customer agents. Applicants contract through third-party agencies, including Sci@home, Reps for Rent, and Working Solutions. The BLS expects 25 percent job growth from 2006 to 20016. In 2007, customer service representatives earned a median annual salary of $29,040.

#2: Virtual Concierge
In an age of fifty- and sixty-hour workweeks for swamped professionals, errands large and small have been outsourced to home-based virtual concierges at firms like VIPdesk.com. Employees plan parties, schedule doctor’s appointments. Some of the stranger requests include booking sunset helicopter rides and drafting wedding toasts! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, administrative assistants made a median annual salary of $38,640.

#3: Blogging
For the homebody with a gift for words and a wealth of ideas, the blogosphere can provide an excellent job opportunity. Blogs–short for “Weblogs”–are user-generated Web journals on subjects from movies to politics. Bloggers who capture a significant audience can earn money by posting advertisements on their pages. In 2005, online marketing firm USWeb, paid bloggers $5 to mention a company or link to its site, while Google’s AdSense program pays bloggers on a per-click basis.

#4: Public Relations
For those experienced in promotions, event-planning, marketing communications, or contract management, PR rep work has moved out of the high-rise and into the home. PR management firms like Perkett PR, PartnerCentric allow their reps to work from home. Employment of PR specialists is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2006 to 2016. Median annual earnings for PR specialists were $49,800 in May 2007.

#5: Online Tutor
Talented students and recent graduates of accredited universities with demonstrated proficiencies in math, science, and English can turn money by tutoring online. Users of online tutors range from fourth-graders to college student. For instructing via email, online tutors can log up to thirty hours per week at over ten dollars an hour.

#6: Writing and Editing
For wordsmiths looking to conquer worlds beyond blogging dollars, writing and editing for online and print publication can be an excellent work-from-home job. Sites like Associated Content or Helium pay writers for original articles. More experienced writers can freelance for print publications. Newcomers can find writer’s guidelines and tips for breaking through with original submissions on the websites of favorite periodicals, and contact information on mastheads. Experienced writers can make anywhere from twenty cents to a dollar per word. Some stay-at-home writers specialize in resumes, brochures, and proofreading documents.

#7: Translating
A global economy requires multilingual communication. Freelance translators are finding home-based jobs through companies like Welocalize and Language Translation, Inc. Prospective employees take a written test (and sign a nondisclosure agreement when sensitive source materials are involved). The most popular translations include English to Japanese, Spanish, French, and German. The BLS expects employment of translators to increase 24 percent by 2016. Median annual earnings for translators and interpreters were $37,490 in May 2007.

#8: Assistant Work
Many small business owners and busy executives don’t have the office space to employ a full-time assistant. Virtual assistants–who handle payroll, bookkeeping, correspondence, and travel arrangements by phone and email–provide an ideal solution. Median annual earnings for executive secretaries and administrative assistants were $38,640 in May 2007.

#9: Transcribing
For the sake of diligent record keeping, television shows, lectures, and public addresses are often transcribed into text. The typically job requires solid language skills, an attuned listening ear, and lightning-fast typing speed. Audio transcriptionists can earn over $20,000 per year.

#10: Medical Transcription and Coding
Definitely not for beginners in the field, medical transcription and coding was once confined to doctors’ offices–for confidentiality’s sake. Experienced medical transcriptionists, however, are sometimes allowed to work from home. The requirements, besides extensive professional training, are high-speed Internet access, a headset, and a foot pedal. Employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to grow 14 percent by 2016. In May 2007, median annual earnings for medical transcriptionists were $31,250.

While working from home has its benefits–no long commute, stifling dress-codes, or hovering managers–it’s not always a walk in the park, and there are rules to be followed. Tory Johnson, co-author of Will Work From Home, recommends that home based workers keep regular schedules, create a dedicated space for home-based work, and making occasional face-time at the office.

ABC News, “Tory Johnson’s Work-From-Home Tips”
New York Times, “As Corporate Ad Money Flows Their Way, Bloggers Risk Their Rebel Reputation”
New York Times, “Drawing Your Own Map to Working From Home”
Occupational Outlook Quarterly, “You’re a What? Corporate Concierge”
SimplyHired.com, “Average Audio Transcription Salaries”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “American Time Use Survey Summary”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Customer Service Representatives”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Interpreters and Translators”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics: Customer Service Representatives”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics: “Interpreters and Translators
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics: Medical Transcriptionists”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics: Public Relations Specialists”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Public Relations Specialists”
VIPDesk, “Join VIPDesk’s Concierge Team”


Publish date: January 27, 2009