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Best work-from-home and remote work jobs

Young man freelance remote work on computer

Flexible working arrangements are quickly becoming the new normal.  Since 2005, the number of remote jobs, telecommuting and work-from-home positions now in the global marketplae has grown 159% — more than 11 times faster than the rest of the workforce.

Data from global freelance platforms, such as Upwork and Freelancers Union, where businesses and individuals connect for contractual or piece work, show a shift from a desire for workers to be site-specific to a more location-agnostic approach. Projections based on this data now suggest that over half the world’s workers will be freelancing within the next decade.

Working remotely is also changing the fabric and make-up of the workforce —  remote workers report being happier and more productive than their office-colleague counterparts which have prompted more employees to request flex or work-from-home options and more individuals to choose to freelance over salaried work. The impact of the novel coronavirus, and the need for social distancing, further increased the pressure on more location-agnostic approaches to employment.

Defining characteristic of remote work

The main characteristic of a remote job is the flexibility it provides the employee to not go into the company office or place of business. The worker is still an employee, but they are not required to be physically present at the firm’s main business site.

Both work-from-home (WFH), as well as work-on-the-road employment positions, fall into the remote job classification.

What makes a job suitable for work-from-home or flex-scheduling?

father working from home with his child

Given the criteria for WFH, not all businesses, sectors or positions can utilize the work-remotely option. Employees in hospitality or leisure industries are least able to complete their job activities from home. Yet, the pandemic has shown many firms and industries that quite a lot of employee jobs can transition to work-from-home or, at least flex-schedules (where employees work some days at home and some days at the office or modify their work hours to accommodate family schedules or commuting concerns).

What makes an employee suitable for work-from-home?

Let’s be blunt: Not everyone is capable of working from home in a productive and efficient manner. That’s not news. Thankfully, it also means that quite a lot of research has gone into identifying the best traits you (or an employee) needs to successfully work from home.

Before you take the plunge to start working from home, be sure to go through the job descriptions. Also, consider other factors, such as the technology you might require, your working environment, internet service to meet your needs, and ways you’ll connect with others.

If you are looking for work-at-home jobs that pay, check out the following compilation of some of the top entry-level and high-paying WFH jobs.

Best entry-level work-from-home (WFH) jobs

mortgage renewal or refinance

Customer service representative (online or on the phone)

Customer care roles, also known as customer service positions, are some of the most in-demand WFH jobs.

The biggest benefit of this job is the low bar of educational requirements — meaning you don’t usually need specialized education or schooling to qualify for these jobs.

A drawback is that these positions usually offer lower hourly pay rates than other remote working jobs. Another drawback is that you may be required to have a certain type of computer operating system, phone and/or connection. Typically the better your access to up-to-date technology the easier it will it is to secure a customer service position.

People who do best in these roles are those who can conform to the time requirements — some positions require early morning or late night shifts — and people able to maintain a patient, friendly, and helpful demeaner, even when a customer is upset or rude. Those who dislike talking on the phone or totally unfamiliar or uncomfortable with simple tasks on a computer will also dislike these types of roles.

Best sites to find freelance customer service jobs:

Transcription

Transcription jobs require a person to listen to an audio or video recording and then write, verbatim, the script or text of that audio or video.

While no experience is necessary for this remote job, a lack of experience can hurt a person’s ability to earn a good living in this type of remote position. That’s because these jobs are usually paid based on the amount of time or the number of words transcribed. The longer more error-prone you are when performing this work, the less you will earn.

Where to find online transcribing jobs:

Tutoring

Online tutoring, like teaching English, requires a certain level of education. At the very least, you will probably be required to show certification in teaching — either a degree or successful completion of an accredited course or a job-specific training program. You may also be required to update or specialize your teaching skills, such as upgrading your knowledge or skills so you can successfully teach kids, adult-learners, or English as a Second Language (ESL) learners.

Since this is an online position, you will also be required to have a computer and a stable Internet connection.

As to pay rate, tutors charge between $30 and $150 per hour, depending on the subject, length of the lesson and the person or group of people being taught.

Best sites to find online tutoring jobs:

Market research or answering surveys

real estate impact 2018

While you will require a computer, and potentially a phone connection, conducting market research and answering surveys are great ways to work remotely without having to invest in expensive education or schooling.

The easiest option is to answer online surveys. There are a number of sites dedicated to providing surveys to people willing to spend the time to fill the forms out. That said, not all paid survey sites are reputable. But you can maximize your payouts by focusing on legit survey sites to avoid falling prey to online predators. Keep in mind, that even on legitimate sites, most surveys pay very little which means you need to fill out quite a number of them in order to earn a decent wage.

Another option is to work for a market research firm — either as a remote employee or as a freelance contractor. These positions typically require you to call and convince people to participate in over-the-phone interviews, where you will input their answers into a predetermined questionnaire.

Best sites to find paid online surveys:

Data entry

A data entry position requires a person to input select data in a provided template, typically into a spreadsheet, a customer management tool or into proprietary software.

The data can be provided or the job contract may require you to research and then input the data. For instance, you could be asked to find the phone number and contact name of a particular company title within an industry.

Besides having a good internet connection to execute the job, you need to be detail-oriented and have excellent typing skills. You may also require access to spreadsheet or word processing software (either MS Office or Google office suite).

Good sites to find data entry work:

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is about earning a commission or referral fee once someone makes a purchase based on linking from your website to the product page. For example, if you own and operate a hair salon and have a website you could add links to your favourite products. Once a visitor clicks and buys the product, the commpnay or sales site would pay you a commission. Turns out, Amazon is one of the largest affiliate marketing companies, but there are a number of other online sites that offer affiliate partnerships.

While affiliate marketing is super easy to start — you sign up for the program and then just add links — keep in mind that it’s unpredictable, passive income. This means you may not be able to predict how much you will earn and, quite often, any earnings you do make were not because you actively tried to market and sell that commission-based product.

While affiliate marketing is considered entry-level — it requires no formal education to start selling this way — it does require a committment to the process and learning the business. The best affiliate marketers are often those that are most active in groups and industry forums, as they generate more prospects and website traffic.

Most affiliate marketers usually earn a few hundred dollars per month, however, committed markets can average earnings of almost $155,000 USD per year.

Best affiliate marketing programs for beginners:

Best affiliate marketing programs for Canadians:

Best high-paying WFH jobs

Two colleagues working together on an innovative product design

Web developer or designer

Web developers and designers create and design websites. They are usually responsible for how your website looks and functions.

While some web developers and designers are self-taught, most take some sort of schooling in order to learn principles (say, of design) or basics of a particular coding language.

Some web developers may create content for a site or work within teams that help provide start to finish solutions for complete website creation and management. On average, a website deveoper earns a base salary of $77,572 USD a year.

Good site to showcase your work (for free):

Good sites to find freelance web development and design work include:

Graphic designer

These days, graphic designers typically use computer software to create visual concepts that communicate informative and inspiring ideas to consumers. Graphic designers can be responsible for flyers, marketing brochures, menus, logos, print material among many other creative design and branding elements.

On average, a graphic designer earns about $30 USD per hour.

Good sites to find freelance editor work include:

Blogger

Professional bloggers make a living through blogging. Blogging is the online version of a journal or community report. These days most bloggers specialize in a few niche areas, such as family and kids or food or e-games or personal finance.

The better bloggers research and then write articles that are posted on their websites with the aim of helping others out with a particular dilemma, concern or question.

Generally speaking, better-paid bloggers monetize their blogs through ads or product coaching. Bloggers also partner with other writers, web designers, and SEO strategists to define user experience strategy. An established freelance blogger earns an average of just under $33,000 USD per year.

Some good blogger networking sites are below, just remember to create a brand page, don’t just rely on your personal page:

Some good niche contributor sites (to hope build a following or promote your brand) and some paid-writing sites include:

Freelance editor

Another way to earn money is to take on freelance work as an editor.

While many people assume that an editor does. afinal proofread and checks for spelling mistakes, the role of an editor — and the types of editors — goes well beyond proofreading copy.

For those with exceptional grammar skills, selecting jobs as a copy editor or proofreader may be ideal. For freelancers with strong story development or take pleasure in restructuring an article so that it makes the most logical sense, then freelance jobs that require a developmental or structural editor may work. Whatever your interest, there’s a good chance that a number of firms and people are looking for your editorial skillset.

The average hourly rate for an editor is just under $25 USD per hour.

Good sites to find freelance editor work include:

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to be your own boss or you have a desire for flexible work schedule, there are a number of work-from-home freelancing opportunities that can help pay the bills.

While the high-paying at-home jobs may require you to have a certain training or degree, others require little more than a good attitude and a stable internet connection. That said, it’s important to choose a remote job opportunity that aligns with your strengths; when you opt for a job that you are not experienced to do you will probably end up disappointing the client and risk not getting paid.

Image of Romana King

Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including CBC.ca, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards.