Monday, January 25, 2016

The Work from Home Landscape

What would be better than pursuing your dream of writing and supplementing it with a part time job that allows you to set your own hours or utilize your own personal skill set? Let's welcome B. K. (Brenda) Jackson as she opens the discussion on juggling your dream of writing with the very real obligation of paying the bills.

Take it away, B. K. (Brenda) Jackson...

I once spoke with a writer at a Western Writers of America conference who told me he wrote his first draft manuscripts in three weeks! He did not indicate how long the revision process took afterward, but I would suspect that like me, most authors need considerably longer to write a manuscript draft. One of the reasons it takes longer is because of our “day job”.

I work at a hospital in the Phoenix metro area as an Administrative Assistant/Scheduler. My 8 hour a day job typically costs me 13-14 hours a day, plus I’m in school at night, so during the week days, being up 19-20 hours a day is typical (and those hours don’t include time for writing).

This scenario is not ideal for many reasons. Desperate for alternatives, I wondered about work from home jobs—not only to save several hours’ time out of my day and to improve my health, but because I have office space in my apartment that is to die for, and I’d like to be able to use it.

Don’t you just love all the natural light that fills this office?  I do!

I have found the whole work-from-home scenario to be absolutely mystifying. In day to day life, I come across people who work from home. When I watch HGTV reno shows, almost every couple who is going through a house reno has one or both adults working from home.

Where do all these mystical, magical work from home opportunities come from? I posed this question to a writer’s loop back in October to get feedback. I gained several good insights into the work from home market as well as emails from many others who were as frustrated as I about nailing down legitimate opportunities for work from home jobs.

Responses to my inquiry boiled down to two main categories of work from home:

First, people who moved into work from home positions at companies for whom they’d worked for a number of years and the opportunity became available. The typical types of jobs in this category included people who worked in:

·       Direct sales
·       IT
·       HR
·       Medical Billing
·       Government field rep
·       Test grading
·       Banking related jobs/analysis

The second category of work from home jobs comes from those who are freelance/entrepreneurs:

·       Photography
·       Freelance writing/copywriting/editing/reviewing
·       IT (ad sales, web design, etc.)
·       Consultants of various types
·       Teaching music
·       Corporate trainer
·       Virtual assistant

The first category would seem to be the most dependable financially, especially for people like myself who are our own sole source of income. Unfortunately, not all industries lend themselves to the forward thinking concept of work from home.  In healthcare, the closest you will get are experienced coders, but transcription opportunities are dwindling as technological changes occur. And while the work I do as an Administrative Assistant and Scheduler could easily be done from home, healthcare will never be able to make that leap.

The wonderful, tranquil view from my apartment—you should see those desert sunsets!

Freelance work seems to be on the rise and has great rewards—if you can manage the financial ebb and flow endemic to that career path.

Also as I have learned in my own searches, you have to be very careful when searching online for work from home jobs because the majority of them are scams. Someone recommended checking Monster or Indeed. I also checked into another website someone had forwarded to me but reading about them on the Better Business Bureau website left me with mixed feelings. Even those who use websites to search for any type of work get scammed—instead of legitimate opportunities, they get emails pressuring them to enroll in various colleges and rack up consumer debt.

A couple of the respondents to my query thoughtfully summarized that they felt the best opportunities to work from home probably fell among these instances:

* Web related work - coding and design
* Accounting
* Artistic work - painting, Photoshop, Etsy, Fiverr, 99designs, etc.
* High paid short burst work that takes lots of unpaid prep time - e.g. training
* EBay trading - buy low, sell high
* Daycare

The two most interesting responses I got were from one person who worked as a doula (I had to look that one up) and one who did some agricultural related work (goat cheese, handmade soap etc.)  How cool is that?

While it is not work from home, I also know someone who garners a nice side income as a house-sitter and she has really developed her business. 

For what it’s worth, here’s a link to a news video with work-from-home opportunities and websites (I cannot vouch for their validity): Legitimate Work from Home Jobs that Really Pay

For me, it boils down to changing the industry within which I work, or going freelance and taking the associated financial risks. I still have no definitive answers.

What about you? Have you dipped your toes into the work from home life to make more time for writing and other things? I’d love to hear your insights.

If being self-employed or working from home is just a glimmer in your eye, check out these 50 Self-Employed Business Ideas, then come back to Seekerville and let us know which one is the perfect shoe-in for you and your unique skills.

And, to get your creative juices flowing, Seekerville is giving away FIVE copies of the ebook 130 Work From Home Career Ideas. Mention in the comments that you'd like a copy of the ebook.

B.K. Jackson is an author of Arizona-based historical fiction as well as devotionals and screenplays. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her co-authored screenplay, Esperanza, was a 2004 quarter-finalist in the national Fade In Awards. In 2008, her devotional work appeared in the compilation book Devotions For Writers.  In 2010, Principle Engagement won the Historical Fiction category in ACFW’s Genesis Contest.


Marianne Barkman said...

Why have I not heard of your novel before? I'm an over 50 person needing to go into the workforce. I have been self imployed, (independent small gift store, including books, and later, a farmer) and I really want to keep my life style of coming to Arizona for the winter. Being a Canadian makes for less opportunities. Ideas? Judy does proof reading or something of that nature. Thanks for opening the week with these questions. I look forward to hearing what others are doing.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome to Seekerville!! What a great topic.

This will be my third time to attempt work from home and frankly unless I had someone else carrying the health insurance, I couldn't even try. There are a few things I have learned along the way.

1. You have to know your budget inside and out.
2. You must be willing to cut out a lot of things in your life that you once thought were essential.
3. You have to have a financial cushion, of either a regular gig or a savings. Writing is simply too unpredictable.

There are many writing opportunities that bring in small amounts, and if you are willing to keep that flowing it can really help.

Check out Craig's List under Part Time and Writing and Editing and ETC. Many of these are small jobs that you do and never even meet the other person and they pay you via PayPal.

As you said many sites are writing mills that end up finding a way to creatively not pay.

Writing short stories is another option, TRUE STORY, TRUE CONFESSION have features that pay 60-100 dollars and they do accept sweet short story. Check out the Yahoo Group. Splickity Magazine pays. Woman's World pays for many features in the magazine, scroll through and read the fine print.

There are also companies like TASKRABBIT ( that hire you for pay by the job tasks! Or or FancyHands ( You sign up for a task, but the catch is you have to say yes to a certain percentage which is an obligation.

Much is going to depend on whether you can develop multiple streams of income BEFORE you quit your day job and add passive income (indie publishing for example) to your income.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Hey and Marianne and I and also Sandra Leesmith are all in the Phoenix ish area.

BK said...

Marianne, you ask a good question. When I raised this inquiry the last time I also had a Canadian responder who was looking for some answers. When I have searched Google on that before, I get the same types of typical work from home links, but geared toward Canada. It’s a weeding process to find something legit. I hope through this post that perhaps a fellow Canadian will respond with some suggestions from that angle.

You certainly have entrepreneurial experience given your previous experience operating a gift store and a farm. That gives you skills to put to use in a new venture that will work for you. Are there skills or interests you could put to use in a new way?

BK said...


You’ve nailed the sticky part right off the bat. Enough income to cover health insurance and trying to cut a budget that’s already thin—big obstacles to a lot of work from home opportunities. That’s why I wish I could figure out the right industry/company to work for to get a work from home option that way—it seems the most stable choice.

Good suggestions on the short fiction. That is a route I had not pursued before but have begun to look into.

I had not thought of Craig’s list so that’s a great idea.

BK said...

Yeah Phoenix! I've met Sandra many times.

Rose said...

Hi BK,

This is a great topic because almost every writer I know who has a day job hopes their writing will allow them to quit and work from home. I've been writing both short stories and books since 1991 and I still have my day job. And my reality is: I will always work full time while writing until I retire.

Vince said...

Hi BK:

Wow! Some people's dream is to live in Phoenix! You're already a winner. : )

Given your ideal home office, perhaps you should seek a job that gives you lots of time off. Firemen typically work 24 hours on and then get 48 hours off. Often the pay is also good. Nurses can work long days and then get three to four days off a week. Some companies have four day work weeks. That's almost 50% of your time at home.

Then there are jobs where you can write on the job. Lighthouse keeper, house sitting, dog sitter for x hours a day while people are on vacation. I'm sure there are many more such jobs that are not advertised as jobs that allow you to write your novel.

Nevertheless I'm a believer in the view that we don't need more time to work at home but rather we need to spend more of the time we are at home writing.

Since a serious writer can write two to four books a year by just writing 2 to 3 hours a day, everyday, most writers don't need to work at home. They just need to work when they are at home.

Think of how many women with day jobs and kids to take care of and who also have pets and husbands who think that somehow they deserve a little attention too, still manage to write two to three or more novels a year.

The fault often lies in our drive and not in the drive to the office.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi BKand welcome to Seekerville. Great to see how well you are doing with those awards. I know your writing skills and so am not surprised. smile

I think Vince has a great idea in that some jobs that would supply a steady income, steady hours and possibly benefits lend themselves to a writer. I always remember when I first met Nora Roberts in the eighties, she said she started out as an employee of some insurance company that had a booth in Sears. I remember those booths. Most of the time you are just sitting there until someone stops by to ask questions about the insurance. She said she wrote a lot of books sitting there. smile

Night watchman, caregiver/companion (I used to get a lot of writing done while caregiving because I could write while they were napping)

And the way you love dogs, the pet/care idea sounds fun. In the city there are lots of owners who need someone to walk and exercise their pets.

Have fun today and thanks again for joining us. Great photo and fun to see you again. smile

Great topic too.

kaybee said...

Hi BK,
I have done it for years. I'm a reporter for small-town newspapers, and the pay is, umm, not that great and worse after the recession. So even when I had office jobs, I freelanced from home. Now my "office" job, while a staff position, is done out of my home, and I also freelance steadily for another newspaper and do magazine work. It's easier now that the kids are on their own, but I have the usual house distractions, the unmade bed and unwashed dishes, so I try to take care of all that stuff before I sit down to write. My husband works nights and sleeps days, but he doesn't sleep well, so he's up and down and I maximize the time when he is "down." Pros: I can start dinner or a load of laundry, I can switch back and forth between projects, I can go on Seekerville when I feel like it. A Pro for some people would be working in their pajamas, but I always get dressed, it makes me feel more professional. There are a lot of interruptions, phone etc., but no more than in a regular office. And I save time not having the commute, but I still have to drive to the people and events I'm writing about. There's no wasted time, it's like home schooling, when you're done you're done for the day and you don't have to sit around and do busy work while everyone else catches up.
Cons: The pay still isn't great, you have to think about the Self-Employment Tax, and you don't have an IT person so when something goes down, it's really down. And it doesn't really give me any more time for the fiction writing, but the time I do have is more flexible.
But it's a good retirement gig and I am shoring up my freelance contacts for when I retire from full-time work in one year.
We have options and in that sense this is a good time to be alive.
Kathy Bailey
Mulling her options in NH

kaybee said...

HA! You're BK and I'm KB! Just got that....
Kathy Bailey

Sandra Leesmith said...

BTW love the photo of you and the Lab. He is really a handsome dog.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Welcome, BK! I love my day job and it provides excellent health insurance and benefits, but what I don't like is the commute. Working from home would be a dream come true. Please throw my name in for the e-book.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, B.K.. Congrats on all you've accomplished with your writing while working fulltime. Your work schedule is grueling! Love your office and the view outside your window. Hope you get the opportunity to work from there at a job with fewer hours. How do you manage with so little sleep?


Sarah Claucherty said...

Where do you squeeze in your writing time? What are you taking classes for?

BK said...

Yes, I've seen the jobs with a lot of downtime between tasks. Another reason to get out of healthcare. 8-)

Vince, I totally agree about the time management. I'm fanatical about managing my time. The trouble is, with an extremely long commute (which must be done driving my own car in order to meet my various obligations) there are only so many waking hours left in the day.

Rose, I agree--it's very realistic that I will continue to have a day job and do my writing when I can. I'd just like better balance.

Sandra, good to "see" you! You are always an inspiration to me.

BK said...

Janet, Yes, this is the best home office space I've ever had. The amount of natural light that comes in during the day is absolutely wonderful! I sleep 8-10 hours on Friday and Saturday nights to "make up" for shorter sleep during the week. I don't recommend it. 8-)

Sarah, my classes are un-related to writing. I'm in the middle of a 360 degree career shift. One of my other passions is helping people stay mobile longer (not cell phone, but body wise. LOL!) so I'm taking the pre-requisites to begin my journey toward physical therapy.

As to writing, I squeeze in a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday between homework. When I'm not in the research or plotting stage, I can write in little 15 minute snatches here or there during the week too. Thank goodness for smaller and more lightweight laptops.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Brenda, so nice to meet you!

This is not an easy business to break into, or to find time to break into, but I'm convinced that the tougher it is, the less devastated folks are when they come to understand the realities of putting our precious work into someone else's hands and then changing it! EEEEEK!

I've watched authors crumble and fall, #notpretty!!!!!

I worked two and three jobs for so long, while raising six kids, that I'm probably the least sympathetic person on the planet, and the most empathetic.

I get it. I live it. I do it.

But it's because my dream is worth whatever it takes now and I love it.

I worked from home and outside the home. I woke up at 4:00 AM (still do) to write before work. I wanted it, it was my dream once my kids were raised... and it still is my dream.

Only now I'm living it.

Time-management and self-discipline and never give up. The most successful writers aren't necessarily the most talented... they're the ones who didn't quit.

Pam Hillman said...

I think this topic is near and dear to so many women. Men too, but women seem to gravitate to stay-at-home jobs more. Looking forward to the discussion today.

Throwing a quick buffet up of fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and sausage, coffee, tea and juice. Dig in and let's talk!!! :)

Jackie said...

Fresh fruit Pam? Yum.

I'd love to work from home but I never really considered my options before. Thanks so much for this post today. I'd love to be in the drawing.

Your office is beautiful and what great sunlight. I have a room designated as my office which gets the early morning light, but my view is the brick house next to mine. Oh well, at least I have an office.

Have a great day!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Rose, that is a perfect example... You're still working your day job, I'm still working part-time now (like Tina said, to cushion the income because writing and writing checks are sporadic. Even a part-time job that brings in that cushion money is clutch.) And health insurance is a big expense depending on income, so that's a touchy one, isn't it???

Pam Hillman said...

Marianne, i feel for you. If you could pinpoint 5-6 skills you've enjoyed tremendously, like... growing veggies? Is there a farmer's market near you? mentioned the gift store. If selling is something you really enjoyed, then you might enjoy the selling aspect more than the actual growing. :)

Speaking of fruits, veggies and meat... for someone who has a spot of land that isn't governed by city laws or neighbors who can complain about X, Y, and Z, growing your own veggies, maybe having a few goats and chickens would be a huge contribution to the food budget. Time-wise, I hate the thought of growing my own veggies, but every year I say I'm going to do it. Maybe this is the year! I keep hoping one of my kids will have a green thumb! :)

Wilani Wahl said...

I can so understand. When I first became disabled in 2009. I tried to find a job I could do at home on days when my health would allow. All I could find were scams. My disability is a permanent injury in my inner ear after I was attacked by a patient on the Psych ward when I was a CNA. At first I was having trouble adjusting to the constant feeling of vertigo and always staggering. Eventually I have been able to push through those sensations and read and write but sometimes it is difficult to think clearly enough to write.

Living on disability is not much money to live on and affects my being able to be able to go to writers conferences and such. This year I am asking the Lord to make it possible for me to go to these if it is His will because He will have to provide the money. (Someone on facebook this weekend told me about a scholorship for ACFW conference. I will be checking that out.

The Lord has been so good through all of this. He never left me. I have learned I can rejoice in the Lord no matter what life's circumstances are.

An added bonus is some of what I went through working at the hospital has found its way into the stories I am writing.

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Brenda, and thanks for bringing these helpful insights and suggestions! You certainly need to weigh the pros and cons before venturing into a home-based business or work-from-home job.

Pam Hillman said...

Vince said: The fault often lies in our drive and not in the drive to the office.

This leads directly into a comment that was lurking in the back of my brain. You are 100% right that the fault doesn't lie in the drive to the office. Nope, many times it lies in the drive HOME from the office and being so exhausted and stressed that there isn't any brain power left to write. I worked for 28 years in corporate America, the last 15 as a purchasing manager at a manufacturing company. Without going in to too much detail, my job was extremely stressful. Add in an hour commute, plus overtime and I was gone from home 10-12 hours some days.

At home, I had two strapping youngsters, and a 6'2" husband who worked two jobs. One in construction and the other building our farming operation. The boys helped their dad on the farm when they got out of school. So, it wasn't like they could cook or clean for me. Lots of winter evenings they were driving tractors putting out hay. Summers they were in the hay fields. Saturdays they were working cows, building fences, bush hogging. And, occasionally, I had to pitch in on the farm.

All this dirty work left lots of clothes to wash and huge meals to prepare for the guys, and that job fell to me. I say all this only to show that for women who work outside the home, they already have at least TWO jobs, their day job and running a household. In my case, I had 5 "jobs" in those last few years before I finally quit to work from home: The highly stressful day job, treasurer for ACFW, aspiring author, wife and mom, and bookkeeper for the family farm. 5 1/2 if you count running errands and being backup tractor driver. I'm down to 4 1/2 jobs now since my son just started his own business and I'm HIS bookkeeper.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all can assume we have it tougher than anyone else, but who knows? I know how mentally exhausted I was for years. Looking back, I can't see how hubby and I accomplished everything we did. We were a lot younger and had more energy, that's all I can say! So I can't begin to guess if someone else has any "drive" left in them after working 8 hours, battling an hour commute, picking up the kids, washing 2 loads of laundry, figuring out supper while trying to help with homework (Algebra, anyone?) and then falling into bed at 11 pm, knowing they have to get up at 5 am to start all over again.

Whew. I'm exhausted just thinking about those years. I don't see how I got any writing done. Wouldn't it have been wonderful if I could have put in my 10 hours at the day job, came home to my stress-free "she-shed", decompressed for an hour, maybe ventured out when the enticing smell of burgers or chicken spaghetti and garlic bread wafted into my private haven, then had 3-4 hours to write before kicking back in my recliner and snoozing until daylight. (Neither my husband nor I had or have a "she-shed" or a "man-cave", but as a building contractor, he's built homes with a special room for the guy in the family. What guy gets his own room???)

Drive is a wonderful thing to have. Yes, we must have it to accomplish just about anything. During those crazy years, drive came after time and sanity. But, yes, it was still there. The dream was there. Hubby and I worked hard to pour everything into the farm, which is his passion. And eventually I was blessed to have writing, bookkeeping, and the family farm to come home to so that I could work from home.

Pam Hillman said...

Kathy makes some excellent points. Working from home saves me the commute time, the downtime, the getting really dressed up time. And it saves cooking time, too. At home, I can defrost something, throw it in the crock pot and let it simmer while I'm working.

I can also wash a load of clothes or throw them in the dryer during breaks. How in the world two people have as many loads of laundry as we do is beyond me.... Now, the college kid was home for the weekend, and he washed 3 loads of clothes while he was here!

Julie Lessman said...


Both my hubby and I work from home and absolutely LOVE IT, but he makes most of the money, thank God, or we'd starve!! Saying a prayer RIGHT NOW that God plants you in the PERFECT home job for you!

My hubby's home jobs came about when his employer of 30 years downsized, and he was part of the layoff. BEST thing that has ever happened to us because although we spent the first weekend in total shock, praying and walking around The Dollar Store with glazed eyes (because it was the only place we could afford given our income just went out the window with a daughter still in college), it ended up being a total blessing. My husband is a graphic designer who always wanted to go out on his own but NOT until my daughter's college bill was paid. But not only did he double his salary in his freelance business the first year, BUT his old company desperately wanted him back, so how cool is that?

I do know that my old travel writer job still hires freelancers to write travel copy from home, so that's a part-time option, as well as writing catalog copy or greeting card copy, although I think writing short stories for pay would be the best part-time job ever.

My heart goes out to single moms and single-support homes because as mentioned, healthcare is the biggest issue to contend with. Like Tina, I couldn't do it if it wasn't for my hubby's medical (through an early-retirement pkg.).

Wish I knew the answer, but I know the solution -- prayer for a job that is abundantly, exceedingly more than we hope, think, or pray. God bless each writer in this scenario -- praying each of you find the perfect at-home job for you!


Pam Hillman said...

Jill, what a blessing that you love your day job. There's a difference in loving it and liking it. I liked my job. I liked the people I worked for. But I always said that I gave 50-70 hours a week of my life because they paid me.

I'm very much a home body. I'm happy not leaving the house for days on end. And maybe that's another aspect of the dream of working from home. Those who love their solitude vs. those who like to be out and about with other people. My husband is basically self-employed now since they've cut back on construction jobs. Mornings, he's out the door bright and early, checking cows, dropping by the local watering hole checking in with the other farmer/loafer types. Periodically, he might have to go to the parts house (more guy talk), take something to get it welded (more guy talk), stop working on fence to chat with the guys who just left the deer stand.

Me? All those interruptions and chatting would drive me insane. Let me stay here at home and work with my writing, bookkeeping, and housework, and chat online in Seekerville. :)

Jill Kemerer said...

BK, your office is so pretty! I wish I had some advice. I think we all have times in life where something's got to give, and that something is our writing. When my kids were tiny, I put writing to the side for a few years. Sure, lots of stay at home moms write through those early years, but we kept moving for my hubby's job, leaving me NO support system and long, long hours at home alone with the kids. My point? Your day job is different than many other writers' day jobs. You can't really compare.

At least your eyes are open to possibilities, and you're continuing to move forward any way you can with writing. So, I actually do have some advice. Pray for God to find a way for you to work from home. He loves surprises! Maybe He'll drop the ideal solution in your lap. :)

Jill Kemerer

Jeanne T said...

I love this. I've considered trying to find work I could do from home, on a part-time basis to supplement our family writing income and pay for some of my writing expenses. I really appreciate your tips, Brenda! And your links. :) I'm fortunate that I don't have to work outside the home, but a little extra to pay for conferences and whatnot would be nice.

TINA, what great suggestions. Thanks for sharing!

Pam Hillman said...

Great motivational speech, Ruthy! :)

Could you expand on this though. It got my creative thoughts churning.... I've watched authors crumble and fall, #notpretty!!!!!

In your opinion, was this because they didn't have the drive Vince was talking about, that drive to go above and beyond, or they just didn't persevere through those crazy "burn-the-candle-at-both-ends" child rearing days, or ... what? I don't want to put thoughts to your comment above, so I'd really like to know what you're thinking here! :)

Jill Weatherholt said...

Thanks, PAM. For over twenty years, I worked in the accounting field and was never happy. When my company closed in 2011, I was unemployed for the first time in my life. It was scary, but God placed me into a better job, with better benefits and I no longer have a calculator on my desk! Working for the police department is a great mid-life switch for me. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome, Brenda! Your post really got my brain to working. :) As I read that list of 50, the ones about food, meal planning and grocery shopping stuck out to me. I love to talk food (you can see that on the Yankee-Belle Cafe blog!). And that might be an area I could look into. Thanks for the ideas!!

Missy Tippens said...

Tina, I had no idea Craigslist had jobs like that!

Connie Queen said...

BK, I used to work outside the home and thought if I could just stay at home I'd get so much more writing done. I was working a fulltime job and had 8 kids and a husband at home. I finally quit the day job. The truth is, it didn't change much. I had more time, but it got used for other things.

I'm a stay at home mom. Now I only have 2 teens at home that I homeschool. I raise/sell dogs to supplement my income. It's not much, but it helps. It's also time-consuming.

My husband and I are planning on going into business for ourselves in next 5 years so he can quit his day job. He LOVES to cook and we're considering opening a small café. We have the same problem as you. We need to build the business before he quits. He makes decent money, has good health insurance, and a retirement. I've been doing a lot of research and it seems a lot of new businesses fail, even the ones making money. Why? The time requirements and stress.

I know a lady who does the medical transcription from home for several years.
Another lady, a writer, worked for a popular hotel chain. She signed up to work certain days and hours, and then answered phones taking reservations.
Also I had a sister that opened a tutoring service. She didn't do the tutoring, but was the middle man between students/teacher.

Just some ideas. Good luck.

Sally Shupe said...

In the past I've looked into work from home jobs, but we needed the stability of a full-time job, and the job I have right now does not offer work from home. Luckily, I enjoy it! I like working outside the home because, even though I do enjoy staying home, I think if I had to do it, even with writing to do, I'd want to get out. I've finally gotten into a routine where I will get to work a little early and write before the work day starts. Then I have time in the evenings and on weekends to write. I also freelance edit for several authors and two e-book publishing companies. One publishing company is volunteer; I get free books in exchange for editing. I've had this job the longest and used it to gain editing experience and a reference. The second publishing company is paid based on a percentage of sales. Not a lot, but it's a little extra income. I'd love to edit for more authors and have a steadier income in that regard. One thing I've learned is if you want to do work from home for something you do, like graphic artist, editor, bookkeeper, etc, it's a good idea to have a website. Some place where people can find you. If you're interested, you can check out my editing website: Weebly . I enjoyed this post and reading what others do working from home. I've wanted to learn how to carve animals out of wood. I don't know if they'd sell or not. I'd probably want to keep them all lol.

Pam Hillman said...

Jill mentioned a mid-life switch. You know, I worked for the same company for a long time. Partly because I'm afraid of change, afraid to take that leap of faith, and partly because I'm just a stick-in-the-mud person who embraces the familiar.

However, I know people...hard-working people who make good employees ... who change jobs every 3-4 years. Sometimes they jump ship, and sometimes they're pushed. But they always land on their feet and these job changes seem to keep them energized and happy.

And in some cases, as in Jill's company closing, and Julie's husband's layoff, you don't have a choice. Then you realize it was the best thing that ever happened to you! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Jill, what an amazing thing that your career change worked out so well!

Missy Tippens said...

Sally, you should try those carvings! And then set up an Etsy store. :)

Vince said...

Something to Consider: Your drive to write does not necessarily expand proportionally to any increase in time to write!

They say that if you want to get something done, ask a busy person.

I found that I wrote just as much useable text in the little time I had available when I was being overworked as when I wrote on days I had off with all day to write. There is just something about highly valued writing time -- because it is so scare -- that makes you a more productive writer during that limited time.

Before you bet the farm make sure that having more time really results in an increase in useable writing production.

I say this because while more time to write may well be used in your preparations to write, it does not always lead to greater useful production.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Awww Brenda What a sweet thing to say. You inspired me too and also showed me so many writing skills. I've always appreciated that also.

Like Julie said, I'll be praying for the perfect job for you. I hope you get some great ideas today.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Goodness Pam You absolutely wore me out. I am in awe girlfriend.

Pam Hillman said...

Missy, I think it would be cool to be part of a food co-op in my area where the group buys staples in bulk at wholesale and then shares in that expense. I don't really have a business model to go on, and it might be more hassle than it's worth, but that's one area where I think we could save money.

And, as Tina mentioned earlier, cutting expenses where you can helps offset the uncertainty of income when someone is self-employed. Also, it doesn't hurt (I actually recommend it!) to cut corners while someone is living high with 1 or 2 day jobs. I know there are areas where I could do better.

Pam Hillman said...

Connie, what great ideas! Good luck with the cafe!

Kav said...

Really interesting stuff -- from the blog post to the comments. Sounds like we've all dreamed about working from home! I really looked into it a few years ago when my disability started to get more severe. I was working full days at a school library and part-time at a college library. Loved both jobs but I wasn't physically able to keep up that pace any more. Like you, I found a lot of scams and dead ends.

Has anyone tried writing for They post an extensive list of available topics. They also hire people to manage the different topic pages which pays a bit more. I knew a woman who supported her family from home doing that.

Kav said...

Hey is actually looking for a writing expert on Downton Abbey!

Sally Shupe said...

I hadn't thought about Etsy. I'll have to check that out. Thank you!

Jan Drexler said...

Hey Brenda! It's so good to see you here at Seekerville!

Great ideas for using all of our talents to make the writing dream a reality.

DebH said...

Very interesting post today. I've contemplated work from home type stuff to attempt to supplement my current income. I'm best suited for web graphics stuff, but I completely bomb on the self-promo type stuff. I'd love to get into some eBook cover design, but of late, I've struggled with lack of creative energy when I get home from my day job (also graphics).

Nice to know there are still options. My problem is pulling up the ol' big girl panties and being disciplined enough. I can sort of hear Ruthy crackin' the whip and saying 'there is no try, only DO' - which, btw, is exactly what my mom says to me as well.

My 2016 goal is to attempt short story stuff like Tina. She's my current inspiration heroine. Just sayin...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pam asked about what I meant when I said "I saw authors crumble and fall, #not pretty".

I won't name names, but I'll say this: there is a good, old-fashioned hide toughening that occurs when you have to write, re-write, and re-write and then present stories continually.

You learn to watch for trends, and follow some and ignore others. You learn that writing is a job with great benefits, but your work is no longer your own. So you have to accept criticism...

(Some people cannot or will not do this, but if someone is paying us for a book, we've literally "sold" the book. It's no longer ours, and we need to change things up)

You revise. You edit, You resubmit, and you still get rejected.

So fine-tuning those habits BEFORE publication can be your lifeline once published.

I've seen debut authors with great promise, never be able to deliver book #2 of a 3 book contract.

We've seen authors never get that second book through the doors. Those closed doors can make us or break us, so part of that is right back in our capable but scared hands.

So what I mean is that if you love it.... (and Pam, I loved your answer about the long days, the jobs, the kids, the lack of time, because I think we've all been on that wagon train!) you have to steel yourself to dealing with a whole lot more than lack of time.

Like with any job.

But, having said my sympathy is lacking... My empathy for understanding the long and winding road of getting established is RIGHT THERE!!!!!

But boy, in my humble opinion, you've got to be a little bit hungry to make a mark in this business...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Deb H., I'm not sure if it's good or bad that I sound like your mama, LOL!

But I'm going with GOOD!!!!!

Meghan Carver said...

My day job consists of six children and a whole lot of homeschool curriculum. :-) My husband's hours are odd and changing every semester, so he's home quite a bit, which, surprisingly, doesn't help me write. :-) I'm not in the same position as those with paying day jobs, but time management is still a must as well as the patience to deal with interruptions. Great post today and thank you, BK!

Pam Hillman said...

Ruthy, thanks for coming back and clarifying. I think what we're all getting here today is that life's tough, no matter how you slice it. Depending on life's circumstances, jobs, skill sets, health, fill in the blank______, it's tougher for some than others.

One person might have a mindless job that allows them to brainstorm while working. (PS...raking hay for my hubby allows me to do this. At my age, though, my aching back doesn't like the job, though!)

Another person's stressful job, family obligations, etc. might not allow for much brainstorming or writing for days on end, but they carve out what little time they can, even if it's just 20-30 minutes a day to devote to writing.

Another plots their path and attempts to make changes to pursue that dream. Those changes are scary, and they can backfire. Changing careers or starting that home business doesn't always work out, but people do it.

The key is to be strategic as best we can.

Pam Hillman said...

Meghan, I'm so there with you with my hubby being in and out of the house more these days.

I hear him coming now on the 4-wheeler. He's been in and out of the house about 5 times already. It's the nature of farming.

But the man lives here. What can I do? lol

Rhonda Starnes said...

Welcome to Seekerville, BK. Working from home full-time has been my dream for more years than I can count. Mountain Man has a good job with great benefits, and though it would require tightening our financial belt, I'm sure we could manage on his income alone. If only his employer offered health care insurance to their retirees, I would have walked away from the day job three years ago and devoted all my time to writing. At this point I'm six years away from having the twenty-five years needed for retirement (and health care for retirement), so I doubt seriously I'll be able to walk away from the day job before then. With that said, I'd love to be entered into the drawing for the ebook. A girl can dream! Besides who knows, God may have another path for me.

Sarah Claucherty said...

JULIE, would love to hear more about those work from home opportunities you mentioned. Any links to share?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Pam, I agree wholeheartedly.

I can totally see Nora in the booth, writing away, then popping a smile for the next customer!

But in so many jobs you have to be truly present, so you're absolutely right.

I love what I do, what we do, but I feel bad when folks walk in with stars in their eyes, and get gobsmacked.

But I do remember being VERY MUCH LIKE THAT ten years ago!


And I survived!

Sarah Claucherty said...

SALLY, can I ask how you manage the legal side of your editing service, etc.? Taxes, payment, pricing, reaching customers? I'm very interested in setting up something similar, so I'd appreciate any advice or insight you can offer.

If writing it in an email is easier, feel free to email me at! Thanks :)

Jan Drexler said...

Ruthy said:

"But boy, in my humble opinion, you've got to be a little bit hungry to make a mark in this business..."

That "hungry" can take a whole range of forms. For me, it's land. After nearly 34 years of moving from pillar to post, I crave some land of our own. A home. I write so that we can buy some land in the Black Hills to live on when my husband retires in a few years.

"Hungry" barely describes that craving. :)

So I write and persevere. I'm hungry!

BK said...

WOW. Listening to what everyone is juggling makes me even more tired! LOL!

Loved the bit about the she-cave. LOL! Technically since I'm the only one in my apartment it IS a she-cave, but I'm pretty much only there to sleep for the most part. I'll keep working on that. 8-)

I love that a couple people mentioned That's on my list to check into. They have an page for physical therapy which I visit often. And while I'm not qualified to write for that market, I want to check and see if they have a general health and fitness section, because I'm also working toward gaining my personal trainer certification and once I have some cred in that area, that's another market to tap. Now that I think of it, I know that some personal trainers do consulting online as well.

BK said...

Wanted to post a word of caution about the work from home websites. As I was prepping for this post, I found another work from home website that was supposedly advertised through Forbes, CNN, etc etc. I knew it was a scam when I got the long ad copy and a request for $97, which I most certainly did not do. However, what I forgot is that Windows automatically populates your phone number and email if you enter your name into a website form, so this "company" immediately grabbed my email and phone number and I've been getting a flurry of spam phone calls and texts and emails.

You have to be careful even what sites you click on. Oye.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Ruthy said "But boy, in my humble opinion, you've got to be a little bit hungry to make a mark in this business..."

That is definitely the TRUTH. When I started out, I wanted to write and write and write. I think I wanted this so badly for escape and because I wanted to change jobs. I really pushed. But now that I'm retired and don't need the writing income, it is tough getting the motivation to stick it out. I have been tempted many times to just chuck and say I'm retired from writing also, but then God puts some big nudge out there and here I am. chuckle

But being hungry definitely helps. So be thankful if you are. And take advantage of it and write your heart out.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hey BK Is a personal trainer like a physical therapist? I recently had an injury and I emailed my physical therapist that I really like but he is in Oregon. He set up a face time appointment and diagnosed the problem. I thought that was so cool. So yes, go for the personal trainer thing. Or at least look into it. Our world is changing so fast and becoming smaller.

Sally Shupe said...

Sarah Hi! I sent you an email. Sorry it was so long! If you have further questions, just let me know! Thanks!

DebH said...

sounding like my mom is definitely a good thing. the older I get, the smarter she is.

Just sayin...

Pam Hillman said...

Brenda, thanks for the warning on scam sites! I'm also very careful, but it's scary how easy one slip up can come back to bite us.

Pam Hillman said...

My youngest is about to graduate with a BS in Kinesiology with the goal of going to PT school. I'll have my own PT as I age. ;)

Wilani Wahl said...

I have a question. I had an email from Nano about a contest where you send in a pitch for your book. A winner will be selected--the prize is an agent for your genre. My question is this:Is a pitch the same as a synopsis?

I am also thinking about entering the Great Beginnings Contest. I would appreciate any advice as I step out in this scary water. No one has read this story yet. Should I have someone look at it before I send it.

Chill N said...

Brenda, the earnings from writing work I've done from home certainly wouldn't pay all the living expenses. That said, non-fiction magazine work was wonderful for me and definitely the highest pay. There's a quick turnaround, simple contracts, and I only worked on pay on acceptance. For years I sold craft and needlework designs to magazines and manufacturers. Then I wrote non-fiction articles for magazines. Every story brought info for more stories. Research can be used for several articles with different slants (for different publishers). The article can also bring extra earnings if it's used on a publisher's blog in addition to a print magazine. And you don't need to know a lot about a subject for an article. A bit of research and then finding the people who do know about the subject worked for me :-)

Best wishes with your endeavors!

Nancy C

Cara Lynn James said...

I'm retired except for writing, but I'm afraid I'd never have the courage to work from home if the job wasn't steady. I'd be a BAD freelancer of any kind. But it would suit a lot of people, I think.

Myra Johnson said...

WILANI, a synopsis is typically 3-6+ pages that describe the main turning points of your story--beginning, middle, black moment, ending.

A pitch is maybe 1 paragraph--2-3 sentences at most. The outline below can be used to give a very brief overview of your story for a pitch.

Somebody (the main character)
wants or doesn’t want (character’s goal)
because (motivation)
but (the conflict, or why he or she can’t have it)
so (what the character does to solve the problem).

Sarah Claucherty said...

Thanks Sally!

Pam Hillman said...

Cara, that's the important part of any freelancer or self-employed person. They MUST be a self-starter. I'm not that good at self-starting in some areas, but I do better in others. Writing and bookkeeping are the two I excel at and don't mind getting up every morning and going at it.

There are lots of other tasks I'd drop the ball on for sure!

BK said...


A physical therapist is MUCH better equipped to handle physical issues that come up. Aside from the fact that training for a physical therapist is rigorous (it is now a doctorate level position--used to be masters) there is no true regulation of the personal trainer industry. You can get certified from any of 30 different organizations---it is not schooling, it is studying and passing a test. Having worked with a several personal trainers over time, I can tell you that there are some really awesome ones and some that are a waste of time.

Some community colleges, like the Maricopa Community College system, have an associates program in Exercise Science that follows ACSM's (American College of Sports Medicine) guidelines, and good trainers go on to get their Bachelor's in Exercise Science. But it is NOT required. Shop VERY carefully when looking for a personal trainer.

BK said...

Pam, that is so awesome that your youngest is just about finished with their kinesiology B.S. degree. For my money, of all the types of clinical positions out there, I think physical therapists give you the most useful treatment and advice.

BK said...


The self-motivation is a good point. There was a time in my life in the early years where I would have to say I didn't have the self-motivation to be responsible to myself working at home. But now I know I do. But in any case, any kind of work from home requires vigilance. It would be easy to let up off the gas pedal.

BK said...

I forgot one other area---does anybody here do book indexing or know someone who does? The last time I investigated that (it's been a year or more) they were still using real live people to do that, not automated. Don't know if that's still the case, but that is also another option.

Leslie McKee said...

You made a lot of great points. Thanks for the article! I am a freelance editor, so I can identify with this post. While I love working from home, especially the commute, it is sometimes challenging to not focus on everything else that needs to be done around the house. Time management is certainly important. However, I'm blessed to be able to do what I love, though I'd love it to be a bit more consistent at times.

Please throw my name in the drawing for the e-book.

Wilani Wahl said...

Thank you, Myra! That helps

Terri said...

I have a demanding full time day job that pays the bills, provides health insurance, and has a great retirement plan. Translate that to I can't quit. Still the job is a blessing in so many ways.

There are times I'm not as dedicated to my writing as I should be and there are times after working on a computer all day that the last thing I want to do is go home and stare at another one. Balance is key to making both work. I'm working on decommitting from other outside obligations that separate me from writing.

Debby Giusti said...

Great topic! I write from home but like time to interact with other folks away from the computer.

I also worked PRN in the clinic laborratory for a number of years when my children were in college, which was a nice change of pace.

As they say, sometimes the grass looks greener...

Walt Mussell said...

This was interesting. I am blessed that I do get to work from home most of the week. I work hard, but I do appreciate the flexibility my employer provides.

Pam Hillman said...

Leslie, the commute from home to office is great, isn't it? :)

Pam Hillman said...

Terri, I hear ya. I'm on my laptop WAY too many hours. I love it, though! :)

Debby, having worked corporate for so long, I can't imagine ever wanting to go back to the 9-to-5 workforce. Currently, I'm working 24/7, but with lots of little breaks sprinkled in at MY choosing. Love it! :)

Pam Hillman said...

Walt, what a blessing that you can work from home. You must have a wonderful employer! A true blessing. :)

BK said...

Walt, that's great that you have a good work from home arrangement with your employer. Glad to hear it! Here's hoping many more employers will present such opportunities to their staff.

Thanks everyone for all the information shared and for telling me about your different situations and experiences. It all boils down to meshing our experience, interest, ingenuity, and what we can and can't live without to find the best work option to get us through.

I'll be sure to share as I progress in my own quest and provide any good tips I pick up.


Pam Hillman said...

Brenda, thank you for visiting Seekerville. We've all learned a lot about searching out jobs that suit our lifestyles and what works for each of us. Everybody keep up the good work ... at home and abroad! :)

Edwina said...


What a timely article for me, and I'm sure for others. I'm looking for work-at-home positions and your article was a great help. I will share that just this week I almost got caught in a scam by a person who stated she was hiring an Administrative Assistant to work from home. As the emails continued back and forth, I became more suspicious. I called the company she claimed she represented, and there was no one working in HR by that name. I spoke with the Director of HR and I was the 3rd person to call about this same situation. The moral of this story is even when the emails look legit (this person even included the history of the company) beware!

I would love to receive a copy of the book.


Pam Hillman said...

Edwina, thanks for sharing that. I received an email from someone who says all the right things, provides all the right links and background information, but I'm still leery. It pays to be extra careful in this day and age!

Beth Schwarzlose said...

Great information! I am constantly wondering if I could manage my time better. We homeschool and I'd love to work from home or support my husband in a home based business. Some practical ideas would be wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing!

Phyllis Wheeler said...

Thank you for the informative article!

#50 sounds the most fun to me but I've been thinking about starting a house-sitter business in my county so I can get a feel for all the different neighborhoods before we (God willing!) build our first home. If your friend who has the house-sitter business wouldn't mind chatting with me, could you please give her my email? I totally understand if she doesn't want to talk with a stranger though, obviously.

And I'd love to be entered in the drawing too, please.

May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

ohiohomeschool said...

Hello--I work from home. I complete home-school assessments as a certified teacher for home school students in Ohio. I love it. . the hard part is work is always there. :-)

Pam Hillman said...

Beth, hope you got a chance to read through the comments. Lots of great ideas here. Each of us come to the table with different skills and a love of different things. Maybe you and your husband could compile a list of home-based businesses that both of you would love to do and go from there. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Phyllis, good luck with your house-sitting endeavor. I'm not sure how much need there is for a house sitter in your area. Long-term or short-term, etc. I heard of a lady who was a house-sitter on an international scale. She house-sat in GREECE one summer, and even Italy, I think! I thought that was the coolest thing.

I don't know how she got started in that industry, but it sounded very glamorous to me. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Becky, thanks for that tip. Another great idea for the teachers among us to tuck in their cap for a possible home-based career opp.

bonton said...

Thanks for the enjoyable post, B.K.!!

I can relate to your situation. I would have loved working from home, so I could spend more time with my children- however, was in the same position as you in not being able to have a fluctuating income as I was also a sole provider.

Praying you find the perfect "at-home" position to fit your needs!!

Please enter my name in the drawing for the eBook - thank you!!