Ann Poirier is a mom who didn't want to be away from her 1-year-old daughter 10 hours a day anymore.
So she decided to work from home.
"When I had my daughter a year-and-a-half ago, I decided that I wanted to stay home with her, but I still wanted to stay involved in the field and make some money," she said.
Poirier now often works in the kitchen of her home while her little girl plays just a few feet away.
How did she do it? She went to a recruitment site called FlexJobs.com, a marketplace for thousands of work-from-home positions.
She found something that matched her skills as a business writer, and now works part-time writing news releases and training manuals for major companies.
"It's flexible, you can pick and choose articles based on how much time you have and how much ability you have," she said.
Explosion in home-based positions
Forbes Magazine says 24 percent of workers are now doing at least some of their job from their home, thanks to high speed internet and Skype.
The majority are customer service and sales jobs, but you might be surprised by the number of other jobs you can now do at home, such as IT consulting and helping businesses fix their computers.
And these aren't only jobs for stay-at-home moms and dads.
Kalli Sassack is a home-based pharmacist for health insurer Humana.
"It's very nice for work-life balance," Sassack said. "I have a young family at home, and the extra time I get to spend not driving it invaluable for what I do."
How to find great, legitimate jobs
If you're interested in this work-from-home lifestyle, how do you find a legitimate company that will let you do it? An online search will quickly turn up scams, from companies that just want your money.
Or check the employment website of major companies you'd like to work for.
Humana spokeswoman Kate Marks says home based work saves the company millions, and makes for happier employees.
"There are all types of positions at Humana for work-at-home (jobs)," Marks said. "Locally in Cincinnati we have pharmacists who work at home, we have nurses who work at home, we also have call center associates, etc."
9 best home-based jobs
Forbes Magazine and FlexJobs recently listed companies offering the most home based jobs for 2017.
The top 9:
- LanguageLine Solutions
- Working Solutions
- Kelly Services
- Sutherland Global Services
In addition, health insurers are now among the most remote-friendly employers. Among them:
Humana is where Sassack now gives patients advice on their medications. She loves the fact that she doesn't have to commute anymore.
"I have an extra 10 hours a week I get to spend with my husband and son, and you can't put a price tag on that," she said.
Watch out for scams
Unfortunately a Google search for "work-from-home jobs" will produce dozens of questionable search results, many of which will leave you disappointed -- or worse. So how do you know which are legitimate and which are scams?
The Better Business Bureau warns you to be suspicious of any offers that:
- require you to pay $100 or more upfront.
- require you to purchase expensive books, DVDs or other materials.
- promise you'll easily earn thousands of dollars per month.
- show photos of smiling people with their paychecks.
- send you a large check in the mail, typically around $2,000, before you start working and tell you to cash it (this is the classic fake-check scam).
Some legitimate job boards will have a small sign-up fee (such as FlexJobs), but don't require any more.
However, in most cases you will have to recruit sales people to work "downline" from you in order to make money. So MLM work may require more of a time commitment than you anticipate, and you'll have to encourage your friends and family to sell along with you. You should also know that some of these companies have been accused of being "pyramid schemes," so do your homework first.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
For more consumer news and money-saving reports, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com