Working from home used to be too good to be true.
But 20+ years since the web went mainstream, companies are moving away from the traditional 9-to-5 model and workers are seeking out opportunities to work on their own terms.
We’re not talking about piecing together a modest income via TaskRabbit, Upwork, and delivering for UberEats. Nor are we going to show you how to earn $$$$ just like our neighbor’s mother-in-law or whatever.
While the gig economy has had a hand in some of these remote working trends, plenty of legitimate companies such as Dell, Humana, and Amazon hire remote workers for a range of positions.
Instead, we’ll look at some career paths that can rake in a decent living from your living room, coworking space, or wherever.
These are the highest-paying online careers
If you’ve got a keen eye for grammatical errors and a tight grasp on syntax and style—at-home copy editor could be a solid career path for you. Your job is to work with writers to enhance readability, conciseness, and more.
According to the BLS, copy editors earn an average of $59k per year — but this accounts for people working freelance, as well as working remotely for one employer.
Copy editors might also work as freelance bloggers or journalists or work on social media — as such, earnings can range considerably.
This person, of course, should be able to communicate clearly — and tactfully — work well under pressure and bring a ton of organization to the table.
Social Media Manager
Social media has risen to the top of the heap when it comes to online job prospects. Social media managers are in high demand as social media is no longer optional for brands hoping to compete in a digital world — well, brick and mortar companies, too.
If you’ve got the writing chops and a knack for posting short, sweet, and engaging content, you could carve out a decent living as a social media manager.
Many companies hire a full-time social media professional to handle their online presence, while others seek out the services from freelancers.
According to Upwork, you could charge each client between $200 and $10,000 per month, depending on the workload and sector.
The amount of money you can make as a blogger or YouTuber varies quite a bit. Earnings are based on niche, follower count and how much time visitors spend looking at your content.
This career path is a bit of a gamble—you’ll need to become an influencer to generate the big bucks, but if you’ve got the touch, it could be a real windfall.
That said, this path is a challenging one. We recommend pursuing another at-home opportunity while you develop a personal brand. If you’re a strong writer or video editor, those skills can translate to some supplemental income. In other words, you can ghostwrite or edit from home, in addition to building your personal brand.
A little different than the blogger building their own brand, the freelance writer typically works with a company–or a collection of clients.
That said, blogging – and writing other types of web content for companies, whether as a ghostwriter or under your own name is a more realistic option if you’re a skilled writer. Just about every brand needs content, so with a little know-how and a firm grasp on the written word, there’s money on the table.
You’ll need a portfolio, and preferably a niche—think fashion, technology, sports, or whatever. Salaries vary considerably—with earnings averaging between $10 and $100 an hour.
Different from a blogger/vlogger, but there might be some crossover, a technical writer might work as a medical writer or focus on topics within the science and tech scope. According to information collected from Glassdoor, technical writers earn roughly $70k, on average.
If you’ve got expertise in medical writing, computer science, finance, or something else requiring a high-level knowledge of a topic, this is a good opportunity to carve out a niche and make some good money in the process.
Whether you’re front end, back end, UX or UI–web development is in-demand, and often in a telecommuting capacity.
As such, this area is a good one for those who want to find a full-time job that they can do from anywhere. Salaries range from $30k at the entry level but can easily approach—or top the six-figure range, as you level up.
Because web developers have long worked from home, job postings can be found on all of the usual sites. Check Indeed, AngelList, Monster, Glassdoor, and wherever else you look for jobs—and filter by remote or telecommute.
Virtual assistants can work on a freelance basis or for a company, or by supporting staff from afar.
Small businesses often look for remote assistants when they need help, but can’t justify the costs of a full-time employee.
We should add a disclaimer here—the salary range is kind of all over the place. As are the quality of employers.
Companies often look for someone who can offset some of the admin tasks associated with their work, as well as a wide range of industry-specific tasks.
For example, we found many postings asking for a virtual assistant with design skills or social media know-how.
Salaries can range from $45k and $85k annually for full-time assistants—though there’s no shortage of part-time, $10 an hour jobs.
Finally, do your research
While remote opportunities are becoming the norm, so too are the scams that take advantage of job-seekers. So, to wrap things up, here are a few things you should watch out for during your search.
While remote employers might not be able to meet in person, a call or video conference is the norm. Be wary of people unwilling to take the conversation outside of the inbox.
The exception here is freelance writing jobs. Some clients prefer to exclusively through email. If this is the case, ask for a deposit before completing any work.
If a job description focuses more on the money than anything that pertains to the job, it’s a bad sign.
Postings that use overly sales-y language or no caps on earnings are likely too good to be true. As are those labeled “no experience necessary.”
Real companies want to find the best person for the job—not just some warm body.