• Finance

The best-paying (and fulfilling) work-from-home job

Most lists that claim to give you the “best work-from-home jobs” are sad.

They list gigs that pay $7/hour. The jobs listed are either tedious and robotic or require years of extensive training in a specific field. Many of them involve working for a giant company, “talent farm,” or agency that employs thousands of people -- but doesn’t really care about you.

It’s my firm belief that no matter your education level or your work experience, there is a job out there for you that is fulfilling and sustaining.

It’s called being a solopreneur. For those who already want the flexibility of working from home, are OK with a less-than-average degree of human interaction, and don't want employees, being a solopreneur is a great alternative to becoming a telecommuting employee.

Welcome to your best new job.

You probably already think that being an entrepreneur would be fulfilling. But you’re too shy, too unorganized, don’t know enough people, you’re in debt, don’t want to go belly-up, etc.

At some point in your life, you’ll want to take that risk anyway.

One day, you’ll be trawling the depressingly over-competitive space of work-from-home jobs or office jobs, and you’ll suddenly realize how sick and tired you are of watching all your work go to someone else and not into your pocket. You feel that what you do for them you could do on your own -- and charge more for it.

You’ll realize you are worth more.

Tyler Tervooren, an expert bootstrapper (with a fantastic website) sums it up perfectly: “Those with the best jobs in the world didn’t ‘get’ them. They made them.”

You don’t need a lot of capital -- you don’t even need to quit your day job.

You’re not looking to start an 100-employee company. You’re looking to create a company of you. Some people call this “microentrepreneurship.” And here’s the incredible thing about it: you can bootstrap your startup costs and get going for almost nothing.

You don’t need an office. You don’t even need to be tied down to a single location. You don’t need staff. You don’t even need to incorporate or start an LLC right away. You already have a computer and a phone. You don’t need business cards (yet).

In fact, you can keep your current job while starting up your own business on the side. This is a more secure way to get your feet under you before heading out on your own.

Don’t believe that it’s possible to start a successful business for less than $100? Try telling that to the dozens of people Chris Guillebeau interviewed in this great resource. Or to many of our 230,000 members.

Do you think “follow your passion” seems reckless?

I’m glad it seems reckless to you -- it should.

The truth is that following your own passion is bad advice unless you:

  1. Have turned your passion into a specific service that you can provide to real people
  2. Know that there are enough customers/clients in that niche to support your business

Case in point: I love myths, but I understand that writing essays about myths is probably not the most sustainable business model. But what about teaching interactive online classes? There’s an audience of book lovers on Skillshare, and if I’m smart about the packaging, I could talk about how myth is the bedrock of all creative work, thus appealing to their core audience of creators and designers.

This is not the kind of idea that will make me $4,000 a week, but at least I’d be able to make a couple hundred bucks doing what I love on the side -- and in the process, meet other people who love myths, grow an email list, and perhaps learn what kind of interesting products they want (that I could provide).

Is this business model original? No, not in the slightest. But that doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.

The originality of your business idea is not usually that important.

Do you know how much time I wasted thinking I had to come up with a completely unique idea before I launched a business?

As I explain here, way too much time.

Unless you’re an inventor, you don’t have to wait for an original idea. All you need to do is provide a service to a specific audience willing to pay for that service.

Don’t not start a graphic design business because there are a lot of freelance graphic designers out there. Don’t sit on your writing because there are a lot of writers “competing for the same jobs.”

You’re living in a scarcity mindset leftover from your job hunting days. In this new world, you reach out to new clients directly. You reach out to people who don’t have job postings, and you solve their problems. You connect with other freelancers and subcontract work and share overflow. You interact with your community. You find gigs in any of the many ways we listed here.

It’s the execution of your idea that’s important. It’s how you do what you do -- the value you bring your clients. As George R.R. Martin said, “Ideas are cheap. To my mind, it's the execution that is all-important.”

If you’re stuck in the idea phase, try reading this article.

Freelancing isn’t all daisies and buttercups

But what in life is? It’s up to you to decide if being your own boss is right for you. And if you want to get there, check out this ginormous list of everything you need to know about freelancing, join Freelancers Union, and follow us on Twitter.