Sorry, guys. But if you’re searching for a work-from-home job because you’re a parent and have grand visions of diligently cranking through your workday sitting in a comfortable home office while your toddler peacefully plays with blocks beside your desk, then you’re delusional. That’s a highly romanticized notion. Balancing even a part-time work-from-home job and the responsibilities of parenting is tricky. There are still bosses, meetings, and work that needs to be turned in. And instead of focusing exclusively on doing that work, you must squeeze it in between naps, washing bottles, or picking your child up for daycare. It can be incredibly stressful and you often end up working more hours than you would if you had just dragged yourself into an office.
That said, there’s good news: If you’re searching for a work-from-home job because you’re looking for the kind of flexibility you can’t get being tied to a desk for nine hours a day, you’re absolutely in luck. Working remotely, assuming your employer is okay with projects being done on your timeline, can be a godsend for parents. The arrangement allows you to work around daycare and preschool schedules, take kids to doctors appointments and soccer practice, and rarely if ever stress when they wake up with a fever and you need to stay home. Working from home can make life, especially if both parents are employed full time, infinitely easier.
Now, back to the bad news. The best way to get a full-time, work-from-home job is to already be employed a company, or in an industry, where people telecommute or work remotely. If you’re an editor or a graphic designer at a magazine, it’s decidedly easier to go freelance or find a publication that doesn’t require you to be in the office than if you’re a bank teller. Same is true of sales jobs, a lot of which can be done at home or in a coffee shop as long as you have a phone and an internet connection. The absolute best way for a parent to get a work-from-home job, assuming they’re in a field that affords the flexibility, is to talk to your employer and work out an arrangement. It’s a simple as that. The boss may say no, but it never hurts to ask.
For those without the flexibility, however, the Internet is littered with bullshit articles about high-salary jobs ($75,000+) that you can do from your kitchen. Jobs that while, yes, exist, are not actually an option to the majority of job seekers scanning the online listings. Nobody is hiring you to work from your patio as a $115,000 a year forensic computer analyst, or an $86,000 a year software developer, unless you already have a degree in computer science. It’s difficult to be a $150,000 a year medical writer if you’ve never actually worked in the medical profession, or have any idea what a sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is (it’s an ice cream headache, by the way). Most of the high-paying remote jobs listed require you already have experience in a particular field and/or are prepared to switch careers, retrain, and/or go back to school for a new degree. That can take years, and while not an impossible feat, one that’s decidedly more difficult with young children.
So where does that leave a dad eager to improve his work-life balance or a stay-at-home parent wanting to make a little extra cash on the side? Not totally out of luck, it turns out. We took a look through the online job boards to see what kind of remote jobs were both prevalent and required the little experience and/or training to get started ⏤ actual jobs that don’t involve freelancing, selling old stuff, or starting your own business from home. There were a number of categories that stood out, and while they may not be positions you’d want to build a career around or do forever, they are relatively easy to get, pay decent wages (especially if your partner is still working full time), and don’t require that you get certified to teach Tae Bo or open a Cross Fit gym in your basement. Here are five to look for:
Online ESL Teacher
Average salary: $14-$25 per hour
It used to be the recent college grads would pack a bag shortly after graduation and go abroad to teach English. The pay wasn’t much, but the international experience was well worth the low wages. Thanks to high-speed internet and countries packed with both kids and upwardly mobile business executives eager to learn English, now you can teach it without leaving the comfort of your living room. And while many of the listings would prefer teaching experience and/or a TOESL (Teaching of English as a Second Language) certification, it’s often not required. Most positions are part-time with flexible schedules based on what time zone the students are in (classes generally don’t run longer than 60 minutes), allow you to take on as much work as you’d like, and pay upwards of $25 an hour.
Current Listing: Online ESL Teacher, DaDa
Average salary: $17 per hour
As a transcriptionist, especially a medical one, it makes no difference whether you actually know what sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is as long as you can spell it ⏤ or at least type it. That’s the job ⏤ listening to recordings from doctors, lawyers, journalists and typing them up. Positions generally require high-speed internet, strong typing skills, and a test or two to ensure you’re not pecking away at the keyboard like an 80-year-old who’s sending his first email. There are also online courses you can take to get up to speed. While it’s safe to assume that automation will eventually drive these positions out of the workforce, in the meantime, demand remains high.
Current Listing: Transcriptionist, Transcription for Everyone
Customer Service Representative
Average salary: $16 per hour
Once upon a time, customer service representatives worked in massive call centers in the middle of the Arizona desert ⏤ or overseas. And while many still do, times have changed. Today there are almost 2.75 million reps handling complaints, processing orders, a providing product information around the country and, not only is the number growing, but many are now working from home. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 500,000 customer service reps work part-time. While hardly glamorous, and often requiring you to interact with crappy people on the other end of the line, the positions are often entry-level, provide training, and come with steady hours. The biggest drawback is that a lot of customer service reps work on a full-time shift schedule, so while you will be home, you could be tied down.
Current Listing: Streaming Services Customer Service Representative, VIPdesk Connect
Average salary: $25 per hour
Going into sales will always be your best bet for making a lot of money from home, as so many sales positions are based on commission. The more hours you can dedicate, and the smoother talker you are, the more income you will bring home. Sales jobs exist in seemingly every industry so you have some flexibility as to what you want to peddle ⏤ be it insurance, auto parts, or solar panels ⏤ and training is almost always provided at the outset (although some jobs, like insurance, do require state licensing). It’s hard to argue that sales is a stress-free way to make a living, especially when you have a family (there are usually lofty goals and hard targets to hit), but it can afford parents the flexibility to set their own schedule.
Current Listing: Outside Sales Representative, Central Payment
Data Entry Clerk
Average salary: $15 per hour
Not a job you’d want to do until your kid graduates high school (or even starts preschool, for that matter), but data entry positions are both easy to do and easy to get ⏤ requiring little more than a computer, internet connection, and an acute attention to detail. The average pay is around $15 per hour (although some companies base their rates on the number of entries a person keys in) and while a lot of data entry clerks are full-time employees with impressive 10-key typing scores, there are plenty of positions that parents can do late at night after the kids are asleep.
Current Listing: Data Entry Compiler, Sashmi Beauty