CEO Insights

How People Earn a Living Working From Home

The images used when promoting "work from home" are always cheesy and unrealistic. They usually depict a man or woman during the middle of the day sitting in front of their laptop, often in nothing more than pajamas, with a huge smile.

Working from home is still work, typically hard work, but it can offer a work-life balance that 9-to-5 companies can't match. For those who are sick of spending life inside a cubicle, here are some ways people can earn a living from their living room.

Virtual Assistant

If a virtual assistant sounds like a vague position, that's because it encompasses many tasks. Virtual assistants often complete administrative work, such as taking phone calls, scheduling appointments and handling email for a variety of companies nationwide and even around the world. Some virtual assistants work solely for one company at a time, but many others juggle multiple accounts. It all depends on an assistant's ability to multitask.

Network Marketing

Network marketing offers big opportunities for ambitious people with outgoing personalities. Companies like Amway pay customers to share products with their friends, family and new people they meet. In a sense, the customer becomes the employee. Network marketing can be done from anywhere in the world with a laptop and smartphone and incomes vary from spare income each month to potentially thousands of dollars.

Web Developer

Web development is a lucrative career. The national median salary was $63,000 in 2013, and the top 10 percent can earn more than $110,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this job is typically done in-house, there is plenty of opportunity to freelance from home. The best part about coding is that it doesn't require an advanced degree to get started. There are free and affordable programs online to learn programming languages and get certified.

Freelance Writer

Every company needs writers, but not all of them are in a position to hire them full time. Marketing, PR, social media, news and various forms of advertising look to outsource copywriters. And like web development, all writers need is drive, ambition and a creative take on a new idea to convince companies to hire them as contract workers. There are all sorts of freelance networks online, or writers can contact publications directly with their ideas.

Social Media Consultant

Social media was almost non-existent before 2004, and it wasn't particularly useful to businesses until nearly 2010. This means it's still very much a young person's game. Millennials who know social media have a lot to offer Gen X and Baby Boomer business owners who might not be as tech savvy, but rely on social media to stay ahead of their competition. Consultants can physically manage social media accounts for several companies, or they can teach managers how to use it on their own.


The word "blogger" comes with a bad stigma. Many people picture a failed writer living in their mom's basement and typing to no one on a Tumblr account. But thousands of people have made generous livings by writing about their passions online. Blogs can make thousands in ad revenue because bloggers combine knowledge and passion to build an audience. Blogging can be done through a WordPress site, a podcast or social media.

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