Re: Has anyone got advice on any good freelance careers to train in?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Andrea25, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. Andrea25

    Andrea25 New Member


    I have now completed a university degree and would like to pursue a work at home career - freelance career or employed position.

    Can someone recommend some good freelance careers to aim for?

    I have particular interest in proofreading and editing, writing, web writing, web design, online tutoring, photography and so on.
    Obviously, some are more difficult to get into than others and some courses cost more than others.

    Since this is a distance learning forum, I thought there might be some of you here that could offer some advice regarding finding a suitable work from home career. I've heard that there's a lot of competition to get web design work and this is rather costly to train in, so I am not so keen to learn this. However, any advice you have got would be appreciated.

    There have got to be some careers that can be started, working from home, without first having to go out and work for a company.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


  2. YSM

    YSM New Member

    Dear Andrea,

    If you are interested in working from home you may also try to land an editing/proofreading job with multinationals' representations in Russia or with Russian majors - English is sometimes next to the first language of corporate world in Russia (and expatriates widely present among managers of all levels) and many companies need translators/editors with native English. A 3-hour time difference is sometimes convenient as well.

    You may post your resume at, or with recruiting agencies,

    Good luck,
  3. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    In what?

    Wouldn't we all.

    Courses? So, wait a minute... are you saying that while those are your interests, your degree has nothing to do with said interests?

    Personally, I don't see that connection... unless you're saying that because a distance learner does school from home, s/he would, therefore, be an expert at everything else from home, too. Is that what you're assuming? If so, that's not a logical connection. Distance learners aren't home-bound, per se (though, obviously, some certainly might be). But my point is that the presumption that distance learners are somehow in love with the notion of staying home and that that's why they sought and/or completed a distance learning program is just wrong. Distance learners choose learning from home for any number of reasons... usually because the program they want isn't geographically local to them and they're unwilling to pull up stakes and move to the physical location of a brick & mortar program; or because they want the flexibility of studying whenever they want and doing it from home so they don't have to go to yet another place after work or on weekends, etc. It's certainly not a logical assumption that distance learners would be any more expert at work-from-home careers than would anyone else. Actually, as I think about it, it's a little insulting, from my perspective... but that's just me.

    So, then, the university degree to which you refer, above, really has nothing to do with whatever you'd like to do for a living, then... right? And, therefore, whatever it is that you would like to do for a living -- from home -- is something you'll need additional training/schooling or a degree to do, then, is that it? I'm just trying to understand.

    Working from home, you'd still be an employee of a company... unless, of course, you're talking about starting your own home-based business. In that case, then what you're talking/wondering about, first and foremost, would be good, old-fashioned entrepreneaurship. The fact that your little startup operation also happened to be a home-based business would be a secondary consideration.

    Obviously, whatever degree you just completed wasn't in business.

    And there is almost no end to the web sites out there on the Internet that deal with all manner of home-based businesses... some of them good, most of them a waste of time. Moreover, there's a plethora of web sites out there that don't necessarily recommend any particular kind of home-based business, but which, instead, help you figure out how to choose or create one. Such a web site, and not this one, would be the logical place to begin learning about that sort of thing. Do a Google search.

    I'm still unclear what you actually need. I mean, I can see what you want, but what is it that you actually need from this place? What I'm asking is, are you asking for career counseling -- just generally -- or are you asking for advice on what distance education you can obtain which will then prepare you for a career in a work-at-home job? And, if so, what about the degree you already have? What's it in? And why wouldn't it prepare you for anything?

    Additionally, not really knowing anything about you or your situation, why would you come to a place like this, figuratively open your skull, and ask strangers to pour into it ideas for a home-based career when they neither know enough about you to do such a thing; and few of them are particularly expert in that general subject area in any case?

    I mean... look... I'm not trying to make you feel bad (though I'm guessing that ship has already sailed, at this point), but you're not really giving anyone enough meaningful information so that they can give you some meaningful information/advice in return. And, in any case, if my assumptions about what you're really looking for are correct, this is the wrong place to be looking.

    That said, if you already had chosen a career and were simply looking for distance education courses or a degree that would prepare you for said career, well, then... that would be a horse of a different color. In that case, this would be the right place. But if that's the case, then the question is begged: Why didn't you just say so in the first place?

    In the meantime, whenever anyone talks about how nice it would be to just do editing/writing or web design from home, I always suggest that they take a good, long look at the want ads for those kinds of work so they can get an idea of what they're really looking at. So, just as an example, click here and then click here. Sometimes it ain't all it's cracked-up to be.
  4. DougG

    DougG New Member


    You could get a dollop of perspective on a bunch of careers by browsing through the popular books on home businesses. Paul and Sarah Edwards have written some solid overviews. Their descriptions also tend to suggest a lot of resources for more serious exploration. I believe their most recent is aimed at the 50+ age group, but I wouldn't discount it since the content overlaps with your interests.
  5. roysavia

    roysavia New Member

    Have you considered writing/editing policies and procedures for your local municipal or county government. They are always looking for someone to do work for them on a contract basis. It wouldn't hurt to call them or drop them a line. I found my job as a housing consultant simply by sending the right people a letter.
  6. qvatlanta

    qvatlanta New Member

    I run an office in the same general field as some of your interests. Some of the employees work from home but most do not.

    My suggestion is to look into court reporting (especially on the scoping side) and transcription. There are a gazillion scams out there when it comes to home-based freelance work, but court reporting in particular can be a very lucrative freelance field. It is not at all easy to get into, but the freelance court reporters I know love the independence. Of course the flip side is that it's very much a "feast or famine" type situation. You can make thousands of dollars over a couple days and then have no work for a month. If you have a good voice you might want to also look into voice recognition, which is a rare but growing opportunity.

    Court reporting requires a substantial amount of investment in equipment and training. You might want to look into local programs in your area just to get an idea of what it's all about and whether you could do it or not.

    There are also several transcription companies out there whose workforce consists entirely of home-based people. They subcontract transcription work from a variety of financial and legal sources. The pay and the required investment is generally less than with court reporting. Your grammar and typing speed should be top-notch; I suggest taking self-tests.
  7. qvatlanta

    qvatlanta New Member

    Medical transcription is also a great work-at-home opportunity. However, it doesn't pay as well as some other transcription fields, perhaps because a lot of it is being outsourced to India. The people who make a good living at it apparently need hands of steel.
  8. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner Member

    While it might not connect that the "home educated" tend to be "home employed" -- I bet the reverse is true...

    In that way, there is a connection to this forum.

    In fact, many who persue distance education do become "freelancers" and "consultants" IMHO

    I am among those who earns money without the constraints of an employment agreement.

    Some of the things I do (or have done) to make a living without "a job" are:

    * I sing for $ -- being a trained singer and a counter-tenor, I get $125 to sing a church service. A make a pretty good amount of money around Easter and Christmas.

    * I edit the writing of some journalists who don't write in American Standard English too well. It pays very well and is steady work.

    * I take pictures -- but not as much for a living as for fun. My camera equipment cost way more than I can ever make shooting pictures and every time I get a few thousand dollars from picture taking, I buy a new Canon L series professional lens.

    * I teach classes: most of my income comes from teaching continuing ed/self improvement courses for a variety of organizations on a "split the fees" basis. I teach computer literacy, accent reduction, digital photography, meditational yoga, among others. I've been known to teach a specialized course or two at local community college.

    Reality is though -- not much income security in working from home as a freelancer -- sometimes I eat and sometimes I don't. And, everything depends on my ability to find (create) work.
  9. Cate

    Cate New Member

    freelance work from home


    I understand your feelings, as I'm a homeschooling, single mom, who sells on ebay, amazon, and writes. I also would like to know, if there is some career, besides computer programming, that can be contracted, and done from home, and makes good money.

    I wonder if there's a computer field besides programming, which I know can be done from home, but not sure if I could stand all that data entry. I've even considered getting an online master's if that would give me an advantage to a computer-related home career. I considered financial planning, but not sure if I could handle dealing with other people's financial futures.

    Interesting post where the poster mentioned a friend that got a degree in Consumer Studies, where the person works from home. Where did they get their degree? Was it a master's? What company do they work for?

    Thanks, and if you come up with goody, please let me know.

    Cate :)
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Re: freelance work from home

    As a person that worked many years in freelance programming, I can tell you that it is not longer a good option for a freelance career. Many of my ex customers get excellent service from India for a fraction of the cost that I charge. Not all of the work can be outsourced to India but it is the case for the vast majority. The best is to train for a career that requires a local license and cannot be outsourced to a third world country. Some options are:

    -Real estate agent
    -Real estate appraiser
    -Home inspector
    -Business Valuation

    Anything trade that requires a license in your local state is a good option as it cannot be outsourced.
  11. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    I will second the property appraiser suggestion. After talking to a friend of mine that does it, I'm seriously considering it while pursuing my PhD part-time.
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

  13. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    I work at home as a broadcast journalist, although my assignments frequently take me out into the field and I do work for a company. It seems you have some experience/interest in writing/editing, and there are freelance opportunities out there for this line of work. There are a lot of web sites out there which list freelance work projects up for bids (you name a price that you're willing to work for), such as this one:

    Another option may be consulting. Typically, people with a number of years of experience in a particular field are best suited for this. If that's the case with you, and you already have your degree and an area of expertise, you could open your own consulting business from home. You may even be able to find a larger company which will allow you to work from a home office and/or telecommute.
  14. Cate

    Cate New Member

    Thanks for your replies

    :) You guys are great. Thanks for your replies - I wasn't even expecting any, so I'm even more pleased.

    Unfortunately, I don't think I could consult, as my degree (double degree), from the University of Washington, is in English and Psychology. My background largely involves being a former flight attendant; probably not the stuff consulting is made of. I write for newspapers (correspondent - little pay for a lot of work), magazines (two national but still trying to break into the big women's mags) and always sending out queries.

    Property evaluation sounds intriguing. How does one go about entering that field? I'll check into that.

    I didn't realize about the outsourcing for programmers - at least, I didn't know it was that bad. That's tough. Getting work with local licensing requirements makes perfect sense. That's a great idea.

    Broadcast journalist from home? Interesting. How does that work?

    You've given me, as well as the first poster on this thread, a lot to consider. Any more ideas, let us know okay? I'd like to keep writing, but also have a more lucrative, dependable income, with home-based work.

    Thanks for all the input. This board is great!!
  15. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Re: Thanks for your replies

    I have a studio in the corner of my living room. It consists of an audio mixing board, a phone I can use to do pre-recorded interviews and a computer with audio-editing software.

    My work is for radio, so I am able to prepare my reports on the computer and email them to the home office. I have interviewed congressmen, senators, presidential candidates and celebrities from the comfort of my living room. Of course, I do a lot of work out in the field on assignment. Sometimes I think it is more challenging to work at home than in a regular office. You have to remain very focused on your job and let your family know that during certain hours you are "at work" and are not to be disturbed.

    Still, it's a great arrangement, and I certainly had to "pay my dues" before I got this job.
  16. friartuck

    friartuck New Member

    To become a real estate appraiser in my state, and I would imagine most others, you need to find an appraiser willing to take you under his/her wing. Finding a willing appraiser can be a bit of a problem, especially in rural areas where there aren't many and you'd be future competition.

    I know a guy who was able to apprentice under a retiring appraiser and after his first year of solo part time work he was able to generate about $35,000. That was while working a full time gov't job in the daytime.

    The annual fees he generates has fluctuated quite a bit with the number of refinancing and new home business each year. As far as getting appraisal 'gigs,' he says he just printed up a bunch of business cards and dropped them off at all the local lenders.
  17. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck

    Hopefully Gregg will provide some additional information on the following folks (type of folks) that seem to require virtual employees:

    on to another area. The Small Business Administration ( has a significant number of opportunities for small, women-owned and/or disadvantaged businesses. Special set asides and programs will help in initial business attainment.

    Some potential remote opportunities exist. One place to look might be:

    If you want to stay in writing, technical writers are always needed and a couple of DL programs that will get the MS in this area are:


    which can be followed by:

    Good luck on your efforts.

  18. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Just a thought:

    You might consider becoming an independent, free lance paralegal providing services to law firms. There are plenty of good online paralegal certificate courses out there.

    You work could include drafting filing and serving papers, legal and commercial research, even title searching.

    In some jurisdictions, an independant paralegal can assist members of the public to prepare and serve their own pro se pleadings.
  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Re: Thanks for your replies

    In Canada, this requires a graduate certificate in real estate valuation and experience validated by a professional in the field. In general, anything that is protected by a license is the best way to go. If you are looking for a master's degree, look for one that can qualifies you to become licensed. The worst degree to get nowadays is the MBA, this carries very little value in a saturated market of dime a dozen MBA. It also leaves very little opportunity for self employment.
  20. Cate

    Cate New Member


    TCord, what a cool job! Friartuck, thanks for the tips. Fed, thanks for the great links and ideas. I'm going to look into them.

    Appreciate all your input. I've also thought of getting a master's in English, solely to teach English online. I'm sure that technical writing would be more lucrative though. Although, I don't have a technical background.

    You've given me a lot to consider. Thanks much.

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