By Stephanie Olsen
There’s never been a better time to work from home. Nearly half of workers in the United States work from home at least some of the time, according to a joint report by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, which also predicts that almost 40 percent of full-time staff will work remotely within the next 10 years.
Reasons for this enormous shift in the workplace start with the internet: working from home just wasn’t as possible 25 years ago. Employees are demanding better work-life balance and flexibility to take care of children, and the rise of the digital nomad worker makes online jobs extremely attractive for millennials seeking experiences over possessions. Plus, it saves money: no commuting or wardrobe costs for workers; no office overhead for employers (who can also save on staffing costs by hiring remote contractors and freelancers).
Legitimate work from home jobs exist across industries. Computer programmers and web developers may have their choice of highly paid remote work, as do accountants, content marketers, and social media managers. Freelance writers who have specialized in technology, business or healthcare are in demand too.
Let’s break it down.
Writing is a common work-from-home job. A quick search shows content writers and editors make on average $50,000 a year. The reality is that some writers make far less and some much more. And if you’re a full-time employee, you’ll be getting benefits; whereas freelancers and contractors won’t.
Here’s a look at salaries offered on recent work from home job ads:
$55,000 - Full-time remote content writer for an AI company with experience writing scripts and who is French bilingual.
$20,000-$40,000 - Blockchain content writer with two years experience and deep knowledge of creating end-to-end documentation for SaaS products plus online publishing skills.
$62,000 - Full-time experienced UX (microcopy) writer at a tech company.
$30,000-$45,000 (plus benefits) - entry level SEO copywriter for keyword research and writing content.
Proofreaders and copy editors
In the case of a proofreader and copy editor, the jobs are very different although many people (including those doing the hiring) don’t realize it.
A copy editor gives the writer feedback, does fact-checking and suggests rewrites, while a proofreader serves as a project’s final check, reviewing a final draft for typos and formatting errors. Based on the different services they provide, copy editors charge a lot more than proofreaders, says Caitlin Pyle, founder of Proofread Anywhere.
The average salaries show this to be true: Indeed says a proofreader makes $18 an hour; Zip Recruiter says a contract copy editor earns $27.
If you’re serving as both copy editor and editor, your hourly rate should reflect that.
Social media manager
Social media managers are often part of a company’s public relations department, and make between $50,000-$100,000, with in-house positions commanding the highest salaries. They monitor and post to the company blog, Facebook account, Twitter feed, Instagram and YouTube, interacting when appropriate and noting, reporting, and acting on analytics.
Most social media managers or assistants are required to have a degree in business, marketing, or public relations. Strong writing and editing skills are needed in addition to the ability to generate multimedia content. Having a strong social media presence yourself is also necessary for most social media manager roles.
Read more: How to Find a Job You Love (No, Really)
Graphic designers or web designers
Graphic designers create visual concepts, including logos, product mockups, and Photoshop templates and layouts for brochures and reports. They usually have a degree in graphic design and experience with desktop design software. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows full-time professionals can make an average of $54,000, it’s not unusual to see ads for logos offering payment of $5 to work from home freelancers (don’t take $5).
The person who creates the designs and fonts seen on a website is a web designer, and most often has some type of computer science degree. While the Labor Bureau doesn’t have “web designer” listed as a career (yet), it is calling for a 15 percent growth over the next decade in employment opportunities of web developers. This is a closely related career to that of web designer, with developers making the site functional and operational, and often working alongside web designers.
Glassdoor show web designer salaries average $60,000, but wages can go well over $100,000. If you’re negotiating a work from home freelance contract, keep that in mind for your hourly rate.
It’s harder than just typing what you hear, but that’s essentially the job of a transcriber. You listen to audio or video files, and you type exactly what is said. Certification is not necessary, but training can be useful for those who’ve never transcribed before. You’ll learn about the software needed, how to work a foot pedal, what timestamps are, and how to properly format the document.
If you’re new to transcription work, try CrowdSurf to see if it’s for you. To start, you just need your computer and a set of headphones (no foot pedal or other equipment).
And if you do think it’s a legit work from home job that’ll suit you, consider what Janet Shaughnessy, founder of Transcribe Anywhere, says: “The average median annual income for a general transcriptionist is currently $45,000. Legal transcriptionists can earn around $60,000. Of course, if you start your own business and hire subcontractors while working as a project manager yourself, your income can grow well beyond these figures.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor shows the average full-time 2018 wage for interpreters and translators (of both oral and sign language) to be $55,000. As usual, the range is substantial, from $27,000 at the low end to over $90,000 at the top. The job site Indeed says the average for freelance translators is $42,000 per year.
Language Line Solutions is one company that offers work from home jobs for phone/video interpretation. You need to be fluently bilingual and have a home office from which you can work, with compensation depending on the levels and types of interpretation. Glassdoor says average is $13 hourly, with a range between $8–$26. A full-time translator earns approximately $47,000 per year.
As a work from home freelance bookkeeper, you can make $60 per hour, according to CPA Ben Robinson, owner of Bookkeeper Business Launch. While you obviously need bookkeeping skills, Robinson says you don’t need to get a license or certification to be a professional bookkeeper.
Note that $60 is twice the amount the top paid full-time bookkeepers make according to the Labor Board. However, as a self-employed freelancer working from home, you don’t get a steady paycheck, guaranteed hours, benefits including medical, paid vacation and any retirement plans, and so can (and should) charge more.
Customer service representatives
You’ve probably seen the ads from big companies like Amazon (3.0 stars) and Concentrix (2.4 stars) for remote customer service reps. These are definitely legit work from home jobs, and can be full-time or part-time or (in the case of Amazon) even seasonal, if you’re just looking to fill the gaps. Nothing more than high school graduation and a home office is required, with training provided.
Experienced full-time remote customer support specialists can make $45,000 to $73,000; but you’ll be doing a lot more than responding to support tickets. The better paid jobs include tasks like writing or updating company articles, and creating internal reports and even videos.