On job sites and employment forums these days it’s not uncommon to see huge swathes of listings that promise ‘work from home opportunities’ and ‘extra cash in your spare time’, very often in sponsored listings and towards the top of the results. Unfortunately any of us that have spent any time searching for jobs online have realised that these opportunities are more often than not too good to be true. Either an outright con (please send £X for your starter pack) or a heavily commissioned telesales job (earn £££!), and it’s very often groups like stay-at-home mums looking to get back on the career ladder and students who fall foul of these ‘bogus’ listings.
There are however options for home working which won’t leave you either working 40 hours a week with no sales, or £25 down and in possession of a ‘training guide’ that tells you how to set up your own bogus job adverts.
Start a start-up
At the risk of covering old ground, the work-from-home idea that has the most potential is a business one. If you’ve got that bright spark then your home is the place where your business will seed. If it’s a good idea, then don’t worry about capital; having a solid idea and business plan is more important. Help can be found in many places, not least from the government who have recently widened eligibility for their start up loan scheme for young people up to the age of 30, offering money through third parties such as the Prince’s Trust. They sometimes provide free business mentoring as part of the loan.
Operating in a ‘cottage industry’ sector is another legitimate way to earn money from home whilst ensuring you more or less get out what you put in. The term ‘cottage industry’ is usually used to refer to things like homemade jewellery, art and other creative endeavours. It is fuelled by sites like Etsy and bigcartel. But it’s not just small-scale handmade goods that are on offer. Vintage clothing and accessories are a big seller and there’s always bigger marketplace sites like eBay.
An idea which has seen something of a renaissance in recent years and garnered a fair amount of press coverage during the Olympics is teleworking. An increased awareness of good CSR practices from firms and a huge improvement in technology (webcams, internet connections and streaming platforms for instance) has meant this is a more feasible option, and if you’re already in a job that you like but would prefer to work from home, then it might be a good idea to ask your boss if this is a possibility. The fast track has a few tips to getting your boss to agree to something like this here.
Daniel Nicklin is a UK-based blogger who writes on a wide-variety of topics including business and marketing. He is currently working on behalf of Rajapack, a packaging company that provides packaging and supplies to consumers and businesses of all sizes.