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Guest Post: Finding a Work-at-Home Job

photo by Johan Larsson

Guest Post by Emily Howard from Violet’s College Fund

Two years ago I was a working mom of one with one on the way. All I thought about was staying home with my children. I just didn’t want to miss a single thing that they might do during the day while I was sitting at a desk and they were with a sitter. Not to mention, by the time we paid for two children in childcare it almost wasn’t worth it for one of us to work to pay that bill. Just before our daughter arrived, my job started to change. My husband and I discussed it and decided it was time to make a change.

I know there are so many people out there who feel the same way and you just wish there was an alternative. If you’re like us, simply quitting my job simply wasn’t an option. I had to have some kind of income because we were in debt and my husband’s paycheck simply wouldn’t pay the bills. So I got to work.

The first thing anyone who wants to work at home must do is consider what you can do. What skills do you have? What degree or certifications do you have that may lend itself toward a certain type of work?  What do you like to do?

There are many types of work-at-home jobs that will require specific training or certification, such as scoping, coding, and medical or legal transcription. But there are many jobs out there that will not require anything more than the training the company provides.

You must also consider what your working environment will be. Do you have an office or workspace that is isolated from the rest of the house? Will you be working while your children are home?

These things matter because there are basically two types of work-at-home jobs: those done entirely online and those that
involve phone work. Online positions are more flexible, because it typically doesn’t matter where you’re working. Phone positions, however, often require specific working conditions, including no background noise.

One of the biggest obstacles for those who want to work at home is not knowing where to find the jobs. I suggest forgoing the do-it-yourself search and going straight to the experts. and Work Place Like Home are two very reputable work-at-home websites with message boards featuring people who are actually doing these jobs.

The discussion all day, every day on these boards is which companies people work for, who is hiring and what is a scam. Once you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, visit these sites. I spent every single night for a month on the message boards at and I covered an entire 8.5 x 11 inch paper
with ideas!

While you’re busy looking for companies and positions, you’ll want to dust off your resume. A work-at-home resume will look very much like a typical resume, but you’ll want to tailor it to highlight any skills you have that will make you more marketable
to companies who hire virtual employees. Highlight your computer and technical skills, your ability to work independently, meet deadlines and any experience or specific skills you may have in the field you’re looking at.

Save a copy of your resume in a text format and make sure it looks presentable that way, so you can easily copy and paste it
into website forms and in the body of your e-mail. Often, companies prefer to see your resume in text format in an e-mail and won’t bother to open an attachment. Pay close attention to the company’s instructions for how to apply, whether it’s through their online form or by e-mail.

A few words on scams; they’re definitely out there. Unfortunately, there is probably no one more vulnerable than someone who is desperately seeking a certain type of job so they can work at home.

First, never pay for a job. I always say you would never pay a bricks and mortar company for an interview, so why would you pay a virtual company for the opportunity to work for them? There are few exceptions to this rule.

Secondly, you can often find out information on a company by doing a simple Google search or checking with the BBB. If all else fails, check with one of the message boards I mentioned. The people on those boards can easily smell a scam. If you’re unsure about a company, search there. If you come up with nothing, ask.

There is just one more important thing you should know about working from home. It’s very important to have a plan for
when you will work and be realistic about it. If your children are in school, then finding time to work should be simple. If you have small children and/or homeschool, you should understand that you will not likely be working if they are at home, unless they’re sleeping or someone else is there to care for them.

If you have a newborn, you should know that the sweet, sleeping-all-day phase lasts about 2-3 months. But don’t worry, the beauty of working at home is that it is often very flexible. Many types of work can be done any time of the day or night. I personally work after my children are in bed and on weekends.

Finding ways to be a work-at-home mom (or dad or grandparent) is not impossible. It just takes work. Sure, there are scams and it might be hard to find a position that suits your needs, but a little hard work will produce results. Regular people do it every day.

If this sounds like something that might be a good fit for your family, don’t be afraid of the unknown. I took my full page of ideas and narrowed it down to the ones I wanted to start with and I started off trying two or three different things to find what
worked best for me. I applied, got hired, and I quit my job. I’ve stayed home with my children for two years while doing my work in my free time. I haven’t missed a t-ball game or a swimming class yet!

Emily Howard is a work-at-home transcriptionist and a mom of two. Her blog, Violet’s College Fund, is dedicated to helping other moms find work at home, as well as other ways to make money, save money, and get out of debt.

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  • Trixie says:

    Hi Emily!

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. It’s always great to get more ideas of what works.

    I love the idea of working from home. I do it for our home businesses, but also work outside the home, too.

    Take Care,


  • I did a post a week or so ago about resume writing that I thought might help those looking for a job. It is basically some do’s and don’ts of resume writing. A good resume really is very important and most people don’t realize that. I thought I would share it here for those of you that are looking for a job. It is a tough economy right now and the job market is even tougher. So I hope it helps!

  • KELLY says:

    That was a very interesting post, I have been in Medical billing,and coding for almost 18 years now. I am always looking for oportunities to work from home in a semi-retired state. I would like to be able to stay at home and help with the childcare of my grandchildren.

    • Candi Trahan says:

      Kelly, how do you get into doing Medical Billing and Coding at Home? I have medical degrees and experience in the field, but how do you do it at home what resource did you use to be hired? Please advise. 🙂

  • Peaches says:

    I have been trying to find a job i can do from home for years now. We have two special needs kids, i have to take them to a few therapies throughout the week, but they are in school all day now.. the main reason why i cant work outside the home is Childcare for two special needs kids would kill us financially (and availability for it is superlimited in our city). I wouldnt even bring enough in to pay for that. Have to check those sites out!!!
    Thanks for the post!

  • Emily, I appreciate you taking the time to write this up here and at your place! It does help and inspire stay at home moms who want something to do that will contribute to family finances!! 🙂

  • Emily says:

    Thank you for all your comments and thank you Crystal!

    Sandra – I didn’t know about that site, I will have to check it out. I should specify that I don’t use the job postings – I look on the message boards, where the positions and companies are being discussed. That’s the best way to find a job, by talking to people who are doing those work-at-home jobs with those particular companies.

  • sooki says:

    Great post! I’m also a wahm as a graphic designer. I’ve been working from home for almost 8 years, 2 of which have been with a child (2-1/2 yrs olds). It takes great discipline, but even with that discipline, working with a toddler in the house makes it all that much harder. I choose to keep her at home for another year or so before sending her to pre-k since my schedule is so flexible and since I have the option to work late nights and weekends. I love every minute of my job at home and am blessed to have been given this position…

  • I do several “on the side” jobs – click on my name to see the latest one that I’m involved in. 🙂

  • Home Job says:

    There are lot of opportunities are there to work at home. but only the thing but finding a free work from home job is difficult, but your blog is showing right path to select the home job. Thanks!

  • Beth says:

    I am currently transitioning from a public school teacher to educating families on how money works, getting licensed for insurance, loans and income protection with Primerica because it gives me more control over my time, work from home and greater income potential than my current 15 year carreer as a High School Teacher.

  • Gyani says:

    The great news is you do not have to have your own product. A home business owner does not need to pay out hefty license fees to get a turn key business started. Building a website around your favorite hobby or area of interest is a great work from home, home based business opportunity.

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