Employers cut 125,000 jobs last month and 625,000 of the unemployed simply gave up their job search, according to the Department of Labor. Since the recession began, there are approximately 8 million fewer private sector jobs. So what are people to do? Why not beat the system and create your own job -- at home.
That's right. Independent contractors, freelancers, consultants and micro-businesses comprise a burgeoning market segment as people who are tired of waiting for the job market to bounce back take the bull by the horns and create their own job opportunities. With the aid of technology, these survivalist entrepreneurs are finding there is hope even in a bleak economy.
Here's my hot list of work-from-home jobs.
Business Analyst/Consultant. Leverage your experience and expertise to help others on an hourly or per-project basis. Because many large firms have slashed staffs dramatically, they are looking for resources to out-source to. Additionally, smaller firms may not be willing to hire a full-time employee, but because they need a particular expertise, they will utilize services of an independent resource.
Graphic Designer. The great thing about technology is you can do work for anyone via the Internet and never have to meet them face-to-face. Recently, using the website elance.com I was able to get a new logo designed for a television show I'm launching. I outlined the scope of work and indicated the maximum amount I was willing to pay for the project. Proposals came from all around the world, but I ultimately selected a woman business owner from Ohio. She had an excellent feedback rating on the site, so I felt comfortable working with her. The job was completed in about two weeks and I never met her. She told me elance.com has helped her build her business so she can work from home while raising two children.
More Jobs You Can Do From Home
Freelance Public Relations/Writer. Public relations specialist and freelance writers can work much the same way as graphic designers. Elance.com provides opportunities for freelancers in this area, but there are other sites focusing just on this field such as copydesk.com.
Personal Chef/Caterer. With everyone looking for ways to eat healthier today, becoming a personal chef may provide an excellent income opportunity. Craigslist is a good place to publicize your availability because it allows you to be location specific. Be sure, however, to check with your local health department and the FDA about guidelines relating to commercial food preparation from your home.
Virtual Assistant. Because there are so many people jumping into their own business, there are more and more people who need an assistant, but not full-time. As a virtual assistant you can work from home and you can work for clients anywhere in the world. In most cases, clients pay for what they need -- nothing more or less. That means you have the opportunity to have variety in your work.
Customer Service Representative. There are companies that hire you to work from home and manage customer service calls for major companies. You'll get training and the opportunity to create your own schedule. Plus, many of these firms provide a benefits package as well.
Business Coach. In tough times, people often need someone who can help inspire and motivate them. Business coaches do most of their work over the phone, which is perfect for a home-based business operation.
You are probably wondering if it is possible to truly make a comfortable living working any of these jobs from home. While a lot of it depends on your skills and ability to market yourself, most of the information I've seen says on average these types of micro-businesses can earn between $25,000 and $80,000 a year. Keep in mind that because you are technically in your own business, you'll need to file quarterly estimated taxes, pay self-employment tax and possibly cover your own health insurance.
Check Out These Websites of Interest
Finally, here are some websites that specialize in matching at-home workers with project opportunities.
This article is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.