5 Legitimate Work at Home Jobs
You can earn $50,000 a year (or more) with a legitimate work at home job-if you play your cards right.
By Kristina Cowan
With outrageously high gas prices, working at home is sounding more enticing to Americans each and every day. But while many online work at home scams offer promises of quick dollars and few hours, legitimate work at home jobs aren't a walk in the park. It's definitely possible to get money to work at home, but the most successful and legitimate work at home jobs demand time and effort. When Jeff Zbar launched his freelance writing career almost 20 years ago, a good friend remarked, "I've never met a starving writer before." Zbar's prompt reply was, "I'm not going to be your first."
He has delivered on that promise, writing about a variety of topics in different styles, "from journalism to corporate copywriting and beyond, as well as public speaking on various topics," he notes. Zbar, who is now based in Florida, now does get money to work at home, and has been making more than $50,000 a year for some time.
Freelance writing is just one example of the many legitimate work at home jobs where individuals can achieve $50,000 a year, or more through hard work and determination. The occupational outlook for freelance writers is good, but success at any legitimate work at home jobs depends on self-motivation and professional experience, freelancers say-the more you have of both, the better. You also must be disciplined and skilled at networking, so you can attract clients/contacts.
If you're looking to get money to work at home, here's a look at 5 legitimate work at home jobs that offer great incomes. Compare work at home jobs and find the one that fits you:
1. Legitimate Work at Home Jobs - Public Relations Professional
Thanks to technology, PR professionals can set up home-based shops, and legitimate work at home jobs-something Cynthia Schick has done with her PR business, CLS Communications, in Lebanon, N.J. Schick pitches stories, trains small business owners on positioning themselves as experts for the press, and does copywriting for brochures and websites. Schick has been working from home for three years; her first year, she earned just under $50,000. "I think $50,000 is a fair target to reach pretty early on," she says, noting this year, she expects to make in the high $60Ks, or more. Research Public Relations Salaries.
2. Legitimate Work at Home Jobs - Graphic Designer
Rick Shaffer, a freelance graphic designer/marketer since 2001, runs his work at home business, Shaffer Design Works, out of a studio in the basement of his home in Streetsboro, Ohio. He works for several national clients as well as small businesses, designing logos, brochures, websites and other marketing materials. "My first year I was probably making $40,000, it didn't take me long-my second year I made something like $85,000, and this year I made six figures. It has grown exponentially for me," Shaffer says. Research Graphic Designer Salaries.
3. Legitimate Work at Home Jobs - Real Estate Agent
As an independent contractor selling properties for Weichert, Realtors in Flemington, N.J., Lori Stellwag does work at home 80 percent of the time. She goes to Weichert's offices for meetings and to check in periodically. Stellwag has done work at home for three years, and says computers and cell phones are a boon, enabling her to stay in touch with clients and do research about properties. "I make at least $50,000 or more doing this. ... To make at least $50,000 in this industry, you have to be a go-getter and you have to do it full-time, unless you are pretty lucky," she says. Research Real Estate Agent Salaries.
4. Legitimate Work at Home Jobs - Freelance Writer
Ed Finkel, a freelance writer based in Evanston, Ill. who has been working from home for nearly six years, says he came close to earning $50,000 in his first year. "I think $50,000 is definitely doable. It's more doable for someone who has had more jobs and is out in the business for a while. It's just like any profession where it's better to work for a while and build up some subject matter expertise," he explains. According to Finkel and Zbar, freelance writers should be flexible about taking on a variety of different assignments-but also specialize in an area, such as public policy, technology or education. It's akin to being a generalist and a specialist at the same time. Research Writer Salaries.
5. Legitimate Work at Home Jobs - Financial Planner
Investments, taxes, and retirement and estate planning-Jerry D. Murphy consults with his clients on these matters as a home-based certified financial planner in Bowie, Md. Murphy has been operating his business, JDM Financial & Investments Inc., since 1996; he says he hit the $50,000 mark after about four years. "You have to have the dedication to stick to it when the going gets rough. One thing that kept me going was my desire to provide the best advice to clients and provide personal service to individuals," he says. Research the Average Salary of Financial Planners.
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Kristina Cowan is the senior writer for PayScale.com. She has over 10 years of journalism experience, specializing in education and workforce issues. Email Kristina Cowan.