How to Earn $50K+ a Year Working From Home
I’m going to deviate a little from my usual posts today. I’d like to talk to you a bit about how to make money from home. I want to do this because I know a lot of people with social anxiety struggle to find work that isn’t overwhelming.
One caveat: I’m not advocating that all people with social anxiety focus only on how to make money from home rather than going in to the working world. This isn’t a one size fits all approach. Rather, if you’re not working anyway because going to a regular job has never worked for you—what’s the harm in trying something different?
So with that in mind, I’m going to give you some tips on how to make money from home by telling you the story of how I got to the point of earning a full-time income from home.
Oh and one more thing: this isn’t a post about making money from a blog. I’m much too early in my journey to be earning that much money from this website (but some people do, and much more!).
So I’m sure you’d like to know how I make money from my house. Let me explain..
I didn’t actually have a plan to start working from home. I had a regular job in the research department at our local school board. As part of this job, we had two months off each summer.
I saw an ad that About.com was hiring two mental health writers. I applied and was put through their trainee process, which involved creating a dozen or so articles, a few blog posts, and other materials. At the end of the two weeks I was offered a contract.
That was in 2007, and I’ve worked for them ever since. They’ve gone through some iterations and the company name has changed, but I’ve consistently earned an income equivalent to a mortgage payment from them.
Then, in 2013, I began working for a company called Cactus Communications. For them, I edit academic papers written by ESL authors who are hoping to get published in journals. Some things have changed at that company too, but there have been months that I earned the equivalent of a regular full time job from them.
I’m telling you these stories to illustrate that it is completely possible to earn an income working from home if you so choose. Your path and work might not look like mine (actually it most likely won’t); but, the work world is evolving and there are more work from home positions now than ever.
So what I would like to do is give you a bit of a framework with my best tips if you want to find work from home work because of your social anxiety.
Figure Out Your Highest Paying Work
For me, it made the most sense to leverage my education. I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology. This helped me get the contract with About.com as well as Cactus. If you have education or experience in a particular field, your best bet is to start looking for work related to that, because it’s going to be the easiest for you to get and pay you the most.
Get Relevant Education
If you have a high school education or less, it might be helpful for you to upgrade your education. This will help you to stand out when you apply for work from home jobs. This isn’t necessary, but I think if you’re not working anyway because of social anxiety, why not at least take some online courses to upgrade?
And if you’re working at a regular job you hate, keep working that job while you simultaneously look for work from home work and relevant education.
Look on Job Boards.. But Not for Jobs
I don’t advise looking for work at places like Upwork. I actually do have a profile there, and I have done some work through them in the past. But here’s what I found. It’s usually a race to the bottom dollar, because you are competing against so many other people.
How did I find the two jobs I have now? Job boards. I believe About.com was advertised on the Absolute Write job board. Cactus had an ad on Indeed. So look where you normally look for regular jobs, but instead type in work from home or telecommute.
Work Smart Not Hard
I purposely chose work that was paid in ways other than by the hour. This works really well for work from home work, because if you can get faster at what you do, you can then go to the beach on a Wednesday afternoon (or whatever you’d rather be doing than sitting at your job).
Since I’ve been doing these two jobs for so long, I’ve gotten really fast. I’ve found tools that help me do them faster. So try to find work where you can increase your income by decreasing how much time the work takes you.
Realize They Make the Rules (And Can Change Them)
Over the years, I’ve probably been sent 20+ new contracts to sign. Usually, the company makes changes to help their business and sometimes that impacts you in a negative way.
Be prepared that what you are earning today from your contract could decrease. Remember, this isn’t a job. I’ve found I have to constantly assess the new contracts to find the best way for me to earn the most. It changes, and so you need to be adaptable.
Realize They Owe You Nothing
When you work online, you don’t have the same contact as you would at a regular job. Your colleagues don’t know about your family or your hobbies, you don’t go out for lunch together, and so they don’t really care about you as a person—at least not to the extent that they would with a regular job.
This means that you are generally expendable to them if it comes down to it. I’ve seen tons of people let go from online positions.
But, I’ve worked for the same two companies for a combined 18 years. The only thing you can do is to do your best work and shine—you need to stand out as someone they need to keep around.
Become a Business Owner
If you truly want to find freedom in your work from home life, I recommend becoming a business owner yourself rather than working as a contractor for other businesses. But this isn’t where most people start; and to be honest, I still haven’t quite learned this lesson myself.
As a mom, I enjoy that my contracts leave my life completely flexible. I can go to my son’s kindergarten graduation and I can be in the hospital if a loved one needs me. This means I don’t want to run my own editing company, because of the potential time commitment.
But—this post you are reading right now is part of my own business. And who knows, maybe when I have more time down the road I’ll start a company that requires more of my time.
Oh, and my third income source? It’s rental properties. I’ve owned these going back to 2004. This is more of a long game, and often the money just stays in the property, but if you do it right it can pay all of your bills. That’s a whole other topic though, that I won’t get into. If you’re interested in owning rental properties, I suggest following Paula Pant.
Do you have any questions for me? Feel free to leave them in the comments. I’ve also got a snazzy free printable if you’re looking for ideas on how to make money from home as well. It’s a list of 2019’s top 100 companies with work from home positions.
This is available from Flex Jobs, but I’ve organized their list by sector so you can more easily look up companies that interest you. You can find it in my resource library by signing up below.