Working from home is one of the great benefits of the digital age, with many jobs being able to be done from the comfort of your own home through the use of a computer. This has opened up a whole new world for people in terms of organizing their lives, as being able to set your own hours and work within the confines of your own house saves a tremendous amount of time commuting and money being out-and-about.

Of course, it's important to know which careers are thriving in the work-from-home business, as you don't want to jump into the wrong job and suddenly be dried out of income. We've compiled a list of the best paying, most thriving jobs that can be done completely from home, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. Check them out!

1. Virtual Assistant

working from home on a computer with a dog on a couch

The virtual assistant is one of the most widely-sought after jobs as the workplace continues to evolve. Companies love having someone to delegate the tasks that an administrative assistant or secretary would handle, and start-ups love the contract/freelance aspect of a virtual assistant over the annual salary that an office admin would require.

Job description:

A virtual assistant's job duties would vary depending on the company or entrepreneur who hires them, but it would generally encompass the responsibilities of an executive assistant or secretary. This would mean taking care of incoming and outgoing phone calls, bookkeeping, database entries, and many other little things that keep the company running smoothly and effectively. A virtual assistant's job is to handle the nitty-gritty stuff so that the higher-ups can focus on big decisions and planning. Together, they make for a dynamite team.

Difficulty in getting started:

Becoming a virtual assistant requires a few basic skills; excelling in Microsoft Office products is always key, having wonderful time management is a huge leg-up on the competition, and being good with people is an invaluable skill. Having these abilities will make you a prime candidate for finding work as a virtual assistant.

As for actual job postings, the market is increasing exponentially. Entrepreneur reported that in 2012, oDesk.com had 25,000 job postings for a virtual assistant, an increase from 2,500 postings in 2008.

Hours needed:

A virtual assistant will likely be working a typical 9-to-5 setting if they're working for a more established company, but start-ups will have varying schedules that will depend entirely on the person you are working for. In general, you can expect a 40-hour work week from Monday-to-Friday.

Pay:

A lot of the pay for a virtual assistant depends on the amount of work needed. Some assistants are only needed part-time, while others will pay for overtime and then some. The average pay for a virtual assistant in the United States goes to about $16 an hour. Of course, this is taking into account the part-time positions; there were some jobs that made upwards of $50-60K a year as a virtual assistant!

2. Web Developer

web developer coding away at home

Web developers are hot on the market right now, with websites and programs popping up left, right, and center. Web developers are always in need to help maintain these sites and the nature of the business allows them to work from home so long as they have the proper equipment for it.

Job description:

Web developers are programmers who are responsible for designing and creating websites for their employers on a contract or freelance basis. Web developers are directly responsible for the look, performance, and all technical aspects of the website. A huge proponent of how much traffic can handle and the speed of the website is what the web developer can bring to the table. To put it simply: a good web developer is essential for creating a successful website.

Difficulty in getting started:

A bachelor's degree is becoming almost essential in the increasingly-competitive market of web developers. Knowledge of programming and graphic design is crucial to making yourself an undeniable force in the job market. Without proper knowledge of coding, scripting, and programming, you won't stand a chance against other web developers. While there is much to learn in the realm of web development, once you've got the skills down, the careers can begin opening for you.

Hours needed:

A web developer working from home might only see 4-6 hours of work a day. These things can change depending on the website and what contract the web developer signs on to, but generally, web developers won't go over a 40-hour work week.

Pay:

The average web developer in the United States can earn between $60-70K a year.

3. Travel Agent

travel agent working from home on a desk with map and laptop and client

Home-based travel agent allows you to work a commission-based job from the comfort of your own home and it involves you in something you're passionate about; traveling! A lot of the pay depends entirely on how much you put in, but the rewards can be great, as some home-based travel agents can pull in over $80,000 a year.

Job description:

A travel agent keeps an eye out for special deals on travel arrangements and organizes all the bookings/itinerary. Travel agents can find success by working in certain industries, working with larger travel companies, or helping clients with various types of specialty travel (think cruise ships and such).

Difficulty in getting started:

An important aspect of being a home-based travel agent is having a presentable office. Setting up a comfortable and professional home office is crucial to establishing yourself as a credible force in a travel agency. In the office, make sure you have quality internet, a phone, a computer, and a printer. Setting up a website is necessary for the digital age. After that, it's about building your clientele. It can be a daunting and slow task at first but surrounding yourself with the right people and making your mark in the industry will pave the way for a very fulfilling career as a travel agent.

Hours needed:

The hours needed to become successful as a home-based travel agent depend entirely on your own choice. The more hours you put in, the larger your clientele list will be and the more work you'll have to get done. Determining how much you want to work is a smart choice before diving into the world of home-based traveling.

Pay:

As mentioned before, some home-based travel agents can make as much as $80,000 a year. However, this job is one based off of commission, and so how much you end up making is directly reflected by how much time you put in. You can work a little and make a little side money, or invest your time heavily and potentially reap huge rewards!

4. Transcriptionist

working on a computer transcripting stuff

A recurring trend in these work-from-home jobs is that having a computer is pretty important when it comes to weighing your options when working-from-home. Transcriptionists are a highly-sought after job due to the sheer volume of work and attention to detail needed. If you can work fast and have a good command of language, you're in a position to make a lot of money!

Job description:

The job will vary depending on the field and level of expertise you have with transcribing audio. Those in the medical and legal fields usually have background knowledge in those fields that allow them to work more quickly and effectively, which makes them a higher commodity. Regardless of field, a transcriptionist should have an exceptional command of language, very fast typing abilities, and an environment with a phone and high-speed internet access.

Difficulty in getting started:

If you have no experience or education in transcribing, taking online courses and speed tests is a great way to hone your skills and get yourself into the game of transcribing. stenospeed.com offers some great resources to get into the swing of things. There are also tests you can take online that will showcase your skills and test everything that is needed to become a professional transcriptionist. The more you prove yourself and try to get experience, the easier it will be to grow in the market.

Hours needed:

The beauty of being a transcriptionist is that most companies not only allow you to work from home, but also to choose your own hours. So long as the work gets done, you can work as little or as much as you want. The hours you work will be reflected by how efficient you are at your work!

Pay:

Transcriptionists make an average of $37,000 a year, with an hourly wage of almost $18. However, experienced transcriptionists who have extensive knowledge in medical and legal fields can easily up their price to at least $30 an hour.

5. Airbnb Host

air bnb logo over a bed in a house

An increasingly popular lodging site, Airbnb has given people who have extra time and house space to make some extra cash. If you love company and love showing people the hotspots of your neighborhood, Airbnb might be a great way to earn some extra cash.

Job description:

The job is relatively simple, in that if you keep your house clean and have an extra room for bunking, you are qualified to get to work! Providing guests with the basic essentials like towels and other toiletries is important. While it's not necessary, spending time with guests and offering to show them around town is a great way to build trust and make your home skyrocket to the top of the recommended spots in your area!

Difficulty in getting started:

This is without a doubt the most simple job to get started on. Just follow these simple steps and in no time at all, you will be ready to start hosting and cashing in that money!

Hours needed:

The hours are next to none for you personally. So long as you're okay with spending time with guests or just having them in your space, it will take no personal time out of your life to be an Airbnb host.

Pay:

Here's the catch: Airbnb will likely only net you about $1000 a month if you're in the middle of the pack, which means Airbnb likely won't be paying most of your bills. However, some hosts have reported having earned over $10,000 in a month. Unfortunately, the amount you earn is directly affected by your location and nearby hotel pricing, so you are a prisoner to your own surroundings when it comes to Airbnb. Still, wherever you may live, it's a great way to earn some extra cash without doing much!

HEADS UP! Warning signs when looking for work:

working from home all the essentials warning sign

In the golden age of working from home, some companies might try to take advantage of you and either use you for free labor or find ways to get money out of you. It's important to keep an eye out for these sketchy websites and to not fall for scams that seem too good to be true.

Does the website have contact information?

If the website the job posting was for has no way to contact them, do not pursue them. A legitimate business will always have ways to reach them and further discuss the job prospects.

Previous complaints about the job?

For any job you find online, give the company name a quick Google search and look for previous employers comments. Are they overwhelmingly negative? A mixed bag? The comments don't seem to add up to the job description? These are ways to spot red flags in an employer and allow you to keep searching for a better job.

"We offer thousands of dollars WEEKLY!"

If a job claims they will make you thousands of dollars every single week, you can do further research but chances are, it's not true. Working from home is a process, you won't be making thousands in a week right off the bat. Beware of these claims!

A sign-up fee?

If a job-hosting site says you need to pay a sign-up fee, there is a good chance you should steer clear. While some reputable job-board sites require fees, a little research will point you in the direction of the reputable sites. If you're ever unsure why you're paying a fee, you probably shouldn't be paying it!

Working from home is only going to become more prominent and the opportunities are growing fast. Make sure you equip yourself with a computer and get your internet browsing skills and typing abilities up to par. Take as many courses and online tests as you can to make yourself as important as you can for the job market. Find your passions and pursue them. Keep an eye out for shady sites and hopefully, your career from home will be more successful than any office job ever could have been!

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