some image

Having fun, writing about the stuff I like

In Praise of ‘Work from Home’

Oscar Foulkes January 30, 2011 Uncategorized No comments

Formal employment is not something to be sneezed at. For starters, there’s the near-certainty of a salary hitting your bank account on the same date every month. Being on the receiving end of said salary also implies that you’re not the person who’s in a state of anxiety over finding the money to pay that salary.

If you work for the right company you also have the chance of bonuses or share options that could dwarf your salary. And, depending upon the labour laws in your country of residence, it could be almost impossible to get fired.

But the picture isn’t entirely rosy. For starters, you’re committed to 10 ‘rush hours’ per week (i.e. five days per week of the morning and afternoon commutes), which I suppose is fairly manageable. No, the time when you truly pay the price is on a Saturday morning. This is the time of the week when everyone who works nine to five comes out to do the things they couldn’t do during the week, because they were at work.

Shopping centres are jam-packed. Their parking lots are battle zones, where otherwise upstanding members of the community commit random acts of rage and violence upon similarly normal people. There’s no getting away from it; no matter how upmarket the shopping centre, the people frequenting them on a Saturday morning are working class.

You may suggest online shopping or banking as a solution. It is, kind of, but what’s the point of ordering something for home delivery when you’re never there to receive it?

Accountants would calculate the hourly cost of labour (or return, depending which side of the salary you find yourself) on the 40 hours per week implied by the stereotypical ‘nine to five’. Economists are more likely base their calculation upon the time that’s being sacrificed.

So, the rational employee would want to be paid more if a job required a longer or more arduous commute, or for a job that otherwise makes greater inroads into leisure time (e.g. the pain of Saturday morning shopping). I’d go so far as to suggest that the hour between 6.00 and 7.00 am would require higher remuneration than any hour between nine and five.

None of this applies to those of us who work from home, whether we have our own businesses or telecommute. However, even a conventional work-from-home arrangements seems too much like … well … work. There’s nothing like the internet to dangle fantasy, tantalisingly, before one’s eyes. In the spirit of ‘career porn’, here’s a run-down on a few ways of making a crust without getting dressed, or brushing your hair (i.e. online):

Here’s a chance to take your passion, no matter how ‘niche’ it may seem, and turn it into cash. The cost of hosting a website is dirt cheap, thanks to the efforts of the likes of FatCow, UK2, 1&1 and many others. Using WordPress (and the potent Thesis Theme) it’s possible to have a professional-looking website up and running in minutes. But, getting the kind of traffic that would make your blog interesting to advertisers – which is how your rent is going to be paid – takes a lot more effort.

Online shops
Much of the above is true for ecommerce (WordPress has a very effective plugin for web shops), with the additional benefit that you can be selling stuff to an audience all around the world, 24/7, without having the cost and time investment of an actual shop. Some shops may not even require an investment in inventory, but as with blogging, the lifeblood of the business is traffic. If you already own a substantial mailing list you could be on your way.

Professional gamblers are characterised by the ability to find value in the odds, or employ skill in finding an edge. And, internet platforms like Betfair enable gamblers to both lay and place bets, which puts the gambler in the middle of an active marketplace. Numerous guides on the subject are available: Betfair Espionage , Project Betfair, 500 Every Week from Betfair, Sport Trader, and the ambitiously named Betfair Bullion. I read a story about a guy in the UK who makes his living by betting on Eurovision. Regardless of the market, the principle is generally the same: place a bet at long odds and lay it off at shorter odds. The ideal situation is to go into the event with the opportunity of making a profit regardless of the outcome.

Here’s your opportunity to find your inner George Soros. Various forex (FX) platforms (eToro is just one example amongst many) offer huge leverage, which means that you can soar like an eagle if you get it right, or crash spectacularly if you’re wrong. Forex trading is possibly the most advertised service on Facebook, with alluring claims of how many thousands of dollars can be made on a weekly basis. Something tells me it cannot possibly be that easy, but these guides have other claims (Forex Trading Machine, Forex Robot and Forex Overdrive.)

Spread Trading (aka spreadbetting) operates on a similar principle, in that the positions are leveraged, but the underlying instruments are equities rather than currencies (although commodities and currencies are generally offered on the same platforms as well). In basic principle, holding a blue chip stock via spread trading isn’t any different to owning the actual shares, as long as the price doesn’t hit your stop loss. Proceed with caution!

Almost every creative profession – photography, design and writing, to name just a few – can be practiced from a home base. OK, so getting dressed will be required from time to time, but one does need to interact with other people, after all.

Any ‘work from home’ Google search will reveal thousands of opportunities. The bottom line, though, is that doing any of them successfully requires professional and persistent application. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours aren’t applicable.

The difference is that you can expend those 10,000 hours in a manner that frees you from the horror of Saturday morning shopping trips.

(Disclosure: this website contains text links and advertisements, some of which generate revenue for me – at no extra cost to yourself – should you make a purchase after clicking on them … it’s part of my strategy for avoiding Saturday morning shopping.)

Add your comment