How to Find the Best Flexible Jobs for Stay-at-Home Parents Kick the office to the curb with these tips to make money from home. BY ALISON STANTON
Tran Mau Tri Tam
Working from home has never been easier.
“ Be wary of any employer who asks you for money for supplies or job opportunities; honest bosses pay you to work for them, not vice versa.”
If you are dreaming of ditching your long commute, saying goodbye to endless hours inside an office building and having the chance to volunteer at your kids’ school on a regular basis, you are in luck. With some research, determination and willingness to network, it is more than possible to find flexible jobs that you can do from home—and get paid for.
Since "work-at-home jobs" and "scams" often go hand in hand, let’s start by looking at which jobs are not viable options, and then explore how you can find an at-home position that gives you the flexibility you crave.
Work-at-home positions to avoid. The top four scam-ridden at-home jobs, according to Monster.com, are envelope stuffing, at-home assembly work, medical billing or claims processing, and refund recovery work. In addition, be wary of any employer who asks you for money for supplies or job opportunities; honest bosses pay you to work for them, not vice versa.
Top at-home positions. Fortunately, there are plenty of at-home positions that pay a fairly decent wage. As Bankrate.com notes, one of the best stay-at-home careers is working as a virtual assistant. A major bonus of this type of work is that you can tailor the position to your skill set and experience. Small businesses in particular often hire virtual assistants instead of a permanent employee.
Being a customer service representative for a call center is another at-home position that works for many parents who have access to a quiet room for at least part of the day. Alpine Access hires people to answer calls from a variety of companies.
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you might consider contractual work through a well-known and established company like Amway. According to Forbes, Amway is the 30th largest private company in the U.S. and has helped countless parents earn a good income from home.
Other flexible job options that you might want to consider include being a web developer/designer, travel agent or translator.
Thinking outside the work-at-home box. Another great way to land an at-home position that pays well is to take an existing skill or hobby and turn it into a job. For example, if you love to write, you might want to contact the editors of local community papers to see if they hire freelance writers. Many publications do not have the staff to write all of their stories and will gladly hire you to write articles. You may even be able to do your interviews over the phone or via e-mail.
Another example is photography. If people rave over your shots of friends and family, turn this skill into a paid freelance gig. Start small with a couple of newborn or engaged couple photo shoots and go from there.
Other ideas for turning a hobby into cash include catering, baking, custom clothing and alterations.