For a lot of people, working from home is the dream.
Long, stressful commutes on highways are replaced by a relaxing stroll to the kitchen for more coffee. More time with family, less time stuck in a shiny box next to other commuters.
Sounds perfect, right?
Well, working from home can be great for a lot of people. Just make sure you actually work when you work from home.
It's all too easy to…NOT.
Stay away from Netflix, your TV, or anything else that will keep you from getting work done.
But if you've got the self-control to get stuff done, working from home can be fantastic.
Here are 14 unusual work-from-home jobs and gigs that can get overlooked:
1. Play video games
You read that right. It’s entirely possible to make a work-from-home career out of playing video games — that is, if you’re good enough or interesting enough. Brands like Twitch and Youtube Gaming offer gamers the opportunity to live-stream their video-gaming experiences; and believe it or not, thousands of people sign on to watch those videos and streams.
If you’re a highly skilled gamer, then, or you can find alternative, unique ways to draw a crowd, you could build a brand and an audience and earn revenue from the sites, based on your contributions. Monetize via ad revenue, tips from your audience or Patreon. Gamers Brittney Brombacher and Greg Miller are both excellent examples of people who have built a brand in the video game industry and are monetizing them via these methods.
OK, this next one is probably NOT a surprise. But I've included it because it's my personal favorite option…
2. Create a blog
One of the best ways to build and maintain a revenue stream is to create and manage a blog. This could be about almost anything: Maybe you want to review new music, or to show off your homemade co-splays.
All that matters is your ability to build an audience over time.
If you can attract a few thousand monthly visitors, you can turn that audience into a cash-generating machine in a number of different ways, including getting paid to advertise, using affiliate links or setting up a Patreon account to encourage your audience to support your content-creation efforts and gain access to premium content. Tim Urban of WaitButWhy.com has followed this route and makes nearly $13,000 per month (at the time of writing) from Patreon pledges.
3. Be a reviewer
Everybody has an opinion, and everyone’s a critic. If you like to share your opinions, and are able to do so articulately and in a way that benefits your audience, you may find reviewing a viable way to work from home (for the most part).
The sky’s the limit here: If you’re into media and pop culture, you could review movies and music albums. If you like board games and video games, you could review new ones emerging. You could even review local businesses, or almost any product you can think of. Again, you just have to build an audience first.
4. Sell crafts
Do you like to cross-stitch? Do you make your own pillows? Or work with clay, or knit? All those crafts can be sold for a profit, and in some cases a pretty high one. Different crafts offer different available profit margins, depending on the skill level involved, the amount of competition and audience factors.
However, almost any craft can be sold reliably if you know how to market yourself. You can use a site like Etsy to get started, or try to build a site and online presence on your own.
5. Sell art
In the same way, you may be able to sell your art on the web. For the most part, you're better off developing a personal brand for your artwork, networking actively on social media and showing off your latest creation.
Building a personal brand, moreover, will help you establish a reputation, plus people will be more likely to buy your work if they can see your face and personality on display. Of course, the subjective issue of taste in art makes it a hard business to break into.
Do you enjoy being in the kitchen? Do people go crazy for your red velvet cupcakes? There’s a way to turn that into a business, and you don’t need to open a bakery. You can sell your baked goods online, offering a pickup service as an option (if you’re comfortable with it) or charging for special delivery. Just be sure to check your local regulations for the sale of food products, to ensure you comply with any legal restrictions.
In general, however, there’s enormous potential for profitability here, as the cost of baking ingredients is usually low.
7. Flip websites
If you’re savvy at online marketing, you can buy websites that aren’t reaching their potential, fix them up, market them, monetize them, and then sell them for a huge profit. You can use a site like Flippa.com to find, buy, and list websites for sale.
If you have significant savings to play with, you could consider turning yourself into a scaled-down version of a bank. This process is known as peer-to-peer lending, and has become quite common thanks to technology that makes it easier to accomplish.
Depending on what platform you sign up for, you’ll have various options, such as making one-on-one loans, or pooling your assets with others for loans, and you’ll choose different “grades” of clients that offer different levels of risk and reward.
9. Open your home
If you feel comfortable with having other people in your own home, you can open it up temporarily to new guests in a handful of different ways. You could rent out a room or rent the entire place to travelers with an app like Airbnb.
Or, if you’re feeling even more entrepreneurial, you could convert your home into a full-on bed and breakfast. Either way, you can take care of almost all your responsibilities from the comfort of your home.
If you’re less about closing deals and more about finding the best fits for an organization, you can prospect instead of sell.
As a sales prospector, you’ll be leveraging your network of contacts and pools of potential contacts given to you by an organization, or tapping other sources to find interested candidates to pass on to other sales staff. Prospecting jobs are usually less stressful than full-on sales roles, but they don’t have the same income potential.
You don’t need any special training or education to be an underwriter, but you will need to become familiar with the underwriting processes of the company you apply for. Underwriting is the process of analyzing risk and value, usually in the financial and insurance industries.
There’s often a straightforward process to follow, which includes collecting information, entering data, doing calculations and making judgments based on what you know, meaning that this work can be done entirely from home in most cases.
12. Take surveys and participate in focus groups
Companies are more than willing to pay people for their opinions, often in the forms of surveys and focus groups. The amount of money you make here can vary wildly; you might make only $1 for a survey that takes you 20 minutes, or you might get $150 for watching a pilot of a TV show and giving a few statements about what you think.
If you enjoy this evaluative work, it can be worth pursuing, but don’t expect a massive paycheck. There are many sites dedicated to helping you get started.
13. Flip garage-sale finds
This option veers slightly toward cheating, because you’ll have to leave the house at some point. Many people have made a living by going to garage sales, thrift stores or even junkyards to find inexpensive yet valuable goods to “flip” on the internet and sell them for more than they originally paid. Depending on your profit margin, there’s really no ceiling to your earning potential here.
14. Be a transcriptionist
As you might imagine, transcription is not a labor-intensive or skill-intensive job, and accordingly, pay is minimal. Still, typing out subtitles for movies, TV shows and other forms of video and audio can be a source of extra income.
If you’re interested in building a more stable job from this opportunity, there’s one solid-paying area to try: the medical industry. Writing out dictated voice memos from physicians pays more and demands more, but is still approachable enough for almost anyone to learn.
You can find more jobs and gigs you can do from home at Entrepreneur.