5 Work-at-Home Opportunities You Can’t Ignore

5 Work-at-Home Opportunities You Can’t Ignore

If you think that work-at-home opportunities are reserved only for new moms, think again. According to employment experts, over 16 million people work from home. Today’s home-based workforce includes people in all stages of life and in virtually all professions. So if freeing yourself from the bonds of a nine to five schedule sounds appealing, here are five work-at-home opportunities to consider:

Telecommute: If you’re already employed, experts suggest you launch your work-at-home endeavor with your current employer. Take the time to think through a possible work-at-home scenario for your job. Ask yourself the following questions: What are the core responsibilities of your job? What will it take to be successful? What are the benefits to the company?

Once you have thought through each of these questions, start drafting a proposal to present to your supervisor. Make sure you clearly spell out how you will accomplish all of the objectives of your job and how your telecommuting arrangement will benefit the company. While supervisors and managers usually want what’s best for the company, they also need to keep your desires in mind. One office manager with several years of service to her employer followed her heart and successfully landed the job of her dreams – a full-time position telecommuting for the company with which she had spent her last 11 years.

Virtual Assistant: If you’re in an administrative role and your company digs in its heels at the mere suggestion of a work-at-home arrangement, you may want to consider becoming a virtual assistant (VA). The VA field is becoming one of most popular home-based job options today. As more and more people trade in their traditional office jobs for those in their homes, the need for "at home" administrative support has never been higher.

So what exactly is a VA? According to the International Virtual Assistants Association, "A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services." Nearly everything is done electronically, so you can work exclusively from home. Virtual Assistants take on assignments that range from simple data entry and bookkeeping to designing Internet and Intranet sites. The Global Association of Virtual Assistants says most VAs have experience in word processing, desktop publishing, data processing, database management or dictation and transcription. "I started my VA practice about two years ago to utilize my web design skills. Although I mostly work from home on my clients’ projects, I will, on occasion, go to my clients’ offices to work on special projects or for brainstorming sessions," said one successful VA. "I love the flexibility I have with my job. I’m able to workout at lunch and I’m available for my kids when they come home from school," she added.

Sales Administration: Depending on the company you work for, sales assistants are often able to work from home because the person to whom they report either doesn’t have a formal office or is never in it due to his or her travel schedule. According to one regional sales assistant for a pharmaceutical sales company, "In today’s world of Internet access, cell phones and text messaging, I don’t need to be sitting in a cubicle outside my traveling sales director’s empty office. I’m available to him every moment of the day through one communication mechanism or another. He gets exceptional service from me and I get so much more accomplished than when I worked in an office."

Small Business: Home based businesses have grown dramatically in recent years. According to the United States Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, 52 percent of all small businesses are home-based. One woman left her job in corporate America to start an embroidery business five years ago. "There’s something very satisfying about owning and operating your own business. I don’t think I could ever go back to work in a traditional office environment," she says. Another couple who was fed up with the rigors of commuting into the city each day traded in their nine to five jobs to open a tent and party rental business. Their business has grown so much in the last five years that they are considering opening up a small storefront to showcase all of the items they have for rent.

Consultant: "When my second child was born, I knew that going back to work in a traditional job was not going to work for me," stated a marketing executive from Chicago. "I started networking with everyone I knew – especially those that knew me in my marketing executive days – about my availability to work on special projects. I picked up small marketing jobs here and there. Within months, I had enough business to keep me busy." Today, she has her own marketing and communications company that she successfully operates out of her home. A similar opportunity emerged for a former employee communications manager who resigned from her job when her husband was transferred to another state. Instead of seeking out traditional employment opportunities in her new home, she opted to put her writing talents to work for herself. She now writes executive speeches and newsletters for several large companies. She works entirely from her home and couldn’t be happier.

If you have a desire to work from home, but don’t know where to start, check out an online job search site like CareerBuilder.com and use keywords and phrases such as "work at home," "work from home," "telecommute," and "home based." Check out CareerBuilder’s Sologig feature (www.sologig.com) to search out freelance jobs that have requirements that closely match your abilities.

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