Working from home might work for some, particularly those who are averse to taking showers, but not everyone decides to quit their day job just because they don’t like the colour of their cubicle walls. For instance, new mothers who’ve had a child may understandably prefer working from home to paying thousands of dollars in childcare.
Also, if you live in a very inaccessible area, a very long commute coupled with long hours at work might just be too much. I once had a colleague who ended up with thousands of dollars in medical bills because of excessive hours slouched in an chair that exacerbated his back problems.
Still, you don’t need to be some kind of programming whiz to work from home. Here are 5 jobs you can do at home that don’t require years of study.
Anyone who went through the Singapore education system is nominally bilingual. But if you’re one of the rare few who’s actually effectively bilingual, you can make a decent living as a freelance translator. Still, fluent though you may be, it’s pretty unlikely you are equally proficient in both English and your “mother tongue”.
You’ll first need to identify your true native language. Translators usually translate into their native tongues. So, if you took Malay at school and are literate but are more comfortable writing in and translating into English, you would probably sign up to be a Malay to English translator.
Translators can earn an hourly rate of $50 to $70 an hour, although obviously those who can work faster will earn a more per hour.
Remember when you were in secondary school and your idea of fun was photoshopping pictures of your friends’ heads onto animal bodies? Some of that skill might come in handy, as graphic designers can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a logo.
It is totally possible to pick up basic graphic design skills on your own by reading, perusing online resources or attending a course. But whether you can actually produce pleasing designs is another thing. Some people without much training are actually quite talented, while there are mediocre graphic designers who’ve studied the discipline formally. Reading a few books on design principles already puts you ahead of the many amateur graphic designers on the web.
If you’re good, you can easily command an hourly rate of $80 and above, and the pros often charge in the region of $200 an hour.
This is the job with the lowest barrier to entry on the list, but also one of the hardest if you’re trying to earn a sustainble income. There are so many types of publications you can write for, from spammy websites for SEO to newspapers and print magazines.
The most laborious part of the job by far is pitching publications with your suggestions. You’ll get used to it, though, once you get over the hurdle and become numb to the fact that many of these editors aren’t going to reply.
How much you get paid really depends on your clients, and can range from a small token sum per article to hundreds of dollars. Here’s a hint: you can probably earn more writing ads for companies or ghostwriting books than you would pursuing the traditional magazine route.
It might take you years to become a decent programmer, but the barrier to entry for simple web development is lower. In fact, 16-year-old kids all over the internet have learnt to design their own WordPress skins. Many of them are good enough to charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars per job.
Singapore web designers tend to charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for relatively simple websites. A simple 5 page website would take you less than a week to do if you work leisurely. The pros can charge $2,000 and above for such a job, while amateurs can still get a few hundred dollars.
Doing admin work in an office in Singapore will usually earn you no more than $2,500 or so on the high end of the scale. Assuming you’re in the office 9 hours a day, that works out to a little under $14 per hour.
On Elance, there are numerous remote working personal assistant jobs paying a similar amount, with many going up to 15 USD (20 SGD) an hour, the difference being that you need not waste 1-3 hours every day squeezing on the MRT. There are quite a few regular gigs available, meaning you’ll have a fixed number of hours each week.
Honestly, this isn’t exactly the highest paying job around, but if you’re taking a break from work and need something to help pay the bills, it can be a very viable option.
Do you work from home? Tell us what you do in the comments!