Wouldn’t you love a job where you can be your own boss, choose your own hours, work in a field in which you can apply your own talents and interests, do as much or as little as you need to and have nobody to answer to but yourself?
Actually many already do have such a job. According to a Gallup survey reported in the New York Times 43 percent of employed Americans spend at least some of their time outside of the office working remotely, but an increasing number are taking that one step further and have completely cut out the middle man, deploying strategies to eke out a living left entirely to their own devices, with no outside employer involved whatsoever.
Let the World Come to You
The emergence of the Internet as an instrument of mass communication is what has largely made this possible. Many take the view that going out into the big wide world to earn a living is no longer a necessity when the world has been brought into our living room. Just so long as we have a product or a service to sell and somebody else out there wants to buy it, the potential is there.
At the basic end of the scale the simplest way to make money from home is by selling items via such outlets as Etsy and eBay. Most use these as a means simply of making a few dollars by disposing of their unwanted, surplus items but inevitably such platforms for buying and selling soon brought forth a potential for ongoing business. Others make a usually modest but nonetheless regular income by completing online surveys.
For those of a more creative bent one area of opportunity which has expanded exponentially in recent years is self-publishing. Even those who might fancy themselves as potential authors could be forgiven for eschewing traditional publishers, bearing in mind that having a manuscript accepted appears to be very much the exception to the rule (Gone With The Wind, Watership Down and Carrie were all rejected multiple times by publishers). With programs such as Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing anybody who can follow a few relatively simple formatting instructions can now publish a book and have it displayed on their own dedicated author page sometimes within a matter of hours.
Work Done at Home is Still Work
What needs to be understood however is that working from home is no golden ticket to unimagined wealth, no easy option. It requires application, discipline and no small amount of strategic planning to have any chance of achieving success over the long term.
In the first instance the necessary time has to be made available. The downside of being our own boss is the temptation to follow distractions, to put the work to one side with a promise to return to it later at some mythical “more convenient” time. There is a simple bottom line – if the work isn’t getting done, nobody is getting paid.
What is more, creative ventures such as self-publishing usually also mean self-marketing. If nobody else has a pecuniary interest in your work, then nobody has an interest in helping you announce it to the world.
Recognise Value, Spot the Scams
Then we have to recognise that not every earning opportunity has equal value. Online surveys, just to provide an example, can be an easy way to make money if the reward is attractive and the process delivers. When an interview offers a dollar for an hour’s work, or repeatedly screens us out after ten minutes of wasted effort, it can be much more difficult, so the skill we quickly need to develop is the ability to spot poor value rather than trying to work through and offset it. We need also to be able to spot outright scams, as for everybody who tries to make a living through hard work and honest endeavour there will be somebody else out there willing to fleece them by exploiting their enthusiasm.
Working from home needs to be approached in the same way as any other vocation – with discipline, research and a plan of campaign through which to identify the most productive opportunities and to separate them from the rest.
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