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4 Ways to Work from Home Now: Ditch Your 9-to-5 Gig

Are you tired of the 9-to-5 shuffle? It doesn't take much to build a case for working from home. Maybe your daily commute time is hours long, you can't find enough time to spend with your family, or you're fed up with your boss's 24-7 work schedule.

The good news is that there's help for people who find their 9-5 boring.  And, the possibilities to work from home now are as interesting as they are diverse.

If you want to work from home now, you might consider exploring one of the following work from home paths-flexible work from home gigs that don't require a bachelor's degree and, sources say, generally pay between $10-$50/hour, some more, depending on experience, skills and location.

1. Virtual assistant. These jobs run the gamut, from work from home typing jobs, bookkeeping, transcription, proofing, editing, writing and distributing press releases, to Web design. Diana Ennen, author of Virtual Assistant, The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and president of Virtual Word Publishing, said the industry is exploding thanks to technology and the Internet, enabling VAs to not only work from home now, but work from anywhere. "More VAs are coming along, but even more important, the businesses are seeing how vital we are and how we can grow their business. We take over so many aspects of things they don't want to do. Our expertise helps them make more money because we offer specialties and things they need," Ennen said.

2. Virtual concierge. As a work from home virtual concierge, you help people with their to-do lists. "It could be anything from finding someone a movie time and buying them movie tickets to planning family vacations anywhere in the world to making appointments. Really just about anything that's legal," explained Lindsay Gibson, director of training for VIPdesk, which offers virtual concierge and customer service.

3. Pet-care franchisee. The business of caring for Fido and Fluffy is booming. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association estimates that America in 2007 will spend $41 billion on pets, including $2.9 billion on pet services. So if you love animals and have an entrepreneurial spirit, this work from home job might be for you. Franchisees for FETCH! Pet Care serve as general managers for local pet-care operations, hiring staff, handling clients, overseeing billing, payroll and marketing, and sometimes taking care of animals.

FETCH! CEO Paul Mann says work from home franchisees must meet certain requirements: "They need business acumen, to be passionate and dedicated to the business. If we see they have those skills, we are less concerned about their education. If someone has been working in sales, marketing, staffing-those are much stronger attributes than whether or not they got a doctorate in psychology. We look for practical experience."

4. Medical transcriptionist. Work from home medical transcriptionists (MT) transcribe dictation from doctors and healthcare professionals, creating medical reports, correspondence and other administrative materials for patients' files. They must understand medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and how to translate medical jargon, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read the full details of a medical transcriptionist job.

Work from home medical transcriptionist job prospects are strong, too.

"Every week there are more work from home medical transcriptionist job ads than anything, but most want two to three years of experience," said Leslie Truex, founder of WorkAtHomeSuccess.com.

America's growing, aging population is driving the need for MTs, the BLS says, which projects employment will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014.

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