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I’m not going to perpetuate the widespread myth that it’s easy to make a solid income working remotely… because it’s not! And the highest paying work-at-home jobs are especially challenging.
Sure, there are ways to make money from anywhere that don’t require much effort or brainpower, like or clicking ads, but if you want to build a real business using actual skills to make a sustainable income from anywhere, you’re going to have to work for it.
What if I don’t have the skills to work anywhere?
You don’t have to have the skills right now, don’t worry — you can learn them (and it doesn’t have to break the bank). My point is that it’s next to impossible to make good money without training to gain the skills and practice to build those skills.
If reading that makes you sad, this post isn’t for you. Stick with the low-paying gigs.
On the other hand, if knowing you can achieve just about anything by using your brain + hard work makes you EXCITED, then keep reading — I’m about to share five of the highest paying, in-demand work-from-anywhere jobs out there.
High-Paying Job #1: Proofreading
Hey, you’re on a proofreading blog — I can’t leave it off!
When proofreading was my sole source of business income, I earned $43,000 in a year. Now, that’s not a fortune, and I know that. But it is so much better than $2 per survey, and because working with authors and court reporters allows you to garner repeat clients (as long as you know what you’re doing and can do excellent work), it’s much easier to build sustainable income this way.
A lot of work goes into building a proofreading business — and a lot of learning, too. General proofreading is a great fit for those who are just starting out and are looking to build a solid foundation of skills. You’ll need to know proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling, plus be able to point out any formatting errors you come across.
If you’ve aced general proofreading or want to start off in a more specific niche, then transcript proofreading is the way to go. Proofreading spoken word isn’t the same as proofreading a term paper or your company’s marketing materials. Grammar doesn’t matter as much as punctuation in transcript proofreading, and this can unnerve some people who consider themselves good at proofreading. It’s unnerving because this type of proofreading isn’t about just spotting errors — it’s also about fully understanding the mechanics of a transcript and how a court reporter’s job works.
High-Paying Job #2: Transcription (NOT Medical Transcription!)
Full-time general transcriptionists earn an average of $45,000 per year — but here’s the catch. You’re not going to make that much if you only work for the “big box” companies who pay beans for your work. You’ve got to get your own clients to make real money. You’ve got to take action — not just wait for someone to hand you work.
And there are a lot of people peddling cheap products claiming a $3 eBook or a $99 “course” about how to get work is all you need to make the big bucks as a transcriptionist… except it’s not.
Transcription is more than just typing work: you actually need to know more than typing to truly make a good living — things like punctuation, software skills, networking, even bits and pieces of virtual assistance knowledge like how to prepare a PDF of show notes for a podcaster.
Transcription is a real skill. Yes, you may be able to get a couple of gigs without actually knowing what you’re doing, but you’ll likely find it frustratingly difficult to make your efforts financially worth it — and next to impossible to get work from higher-paying clients. These clients need someone who actually knows their stuff.
You’re there to make your clients’ lives easier. Higher paying clients are 99% of the time not going to be able to help you along, teach you the ropes, or give you extra time to finish work so you can build your speed. They want it all up front — accuracy, speed, and excellent service.
General transcription is in high demand. I even use transcriptionists for my blog posts! In fact, transcription authority blogger Janet Shaughnessy writes a powerful blog series titled People Who Use Transcriptionists where she profiles the vast array of people who use general transcriptionists to grow their businesses — from best-selling authors to wine bloggers (!!). You won’t see information like that anywhere else on the web.
NEXT STEPS Enroll in Janet’s free mini-course to learn more about what it takes to become an excellent, well-paid transcriptionist.
High-Paying Job #3: Bookkeeping
All businesses need bookkeepers — even mine! I don’t have time to manage all the people I have to pay for what, what payments have come in, nor do I have time to sort through all my receipts and attach them to my FreshBooks account as expenses.
Did you know well-trained bookkeepers can earn up to $75 per hour for their services? The key is niche marketing: don’t market to everyone; instead, narrow down your niche to orthodontists or life coaches. Become “The Life Coach Bookkeeper.”
The catch? To be successful, you have to know what you’re doing. We can’t really call that a catch, though, because if you’ve never done any bookkeeping work before and don’t know how to network properly and find your clients, it’s gonna be awfully hard to get even $7 an hour, much less $75. This is a situation where training from an expert truly pays off.
NEXT STEPS Certified Public Accountant Ben Robinson of Bookkeeper Business Launch is the guru for all things bookkeeping businesses. Check out his free 3-part course to learn more about starting your own bookkeeping business.
A lot of people don’t think of blogging as being a lot of work… but it is! Even running a blog in a somewhat “quieter” niche like proofreading is a ton of work. There’s so much stuff to manage: accounts payable, social media, affiliate programs, course content, grading quizzes/tests for the course, writing blog posts, creating newsletters… the list of things to do is endless!
This may surprise you, but I’ve currently got more than NINE virtual assistants helping me run my blog and my courses! They help me immensely by completing various tasks such as…
- grade tests and quizzes (yep, a human actually does this!)
- help me answer simple emails and prioritize my inbox
- create and send out custom Certificates of Completion for course graduates
- write and edit guest posts for the blog
- manage social media and create images for my Pinterest account
- create new and/or improved reference tools within the course content
- design new and challenging worksheets for our punctuation module
I’m sure I’m forgetting something somewhere, but you get the point: even for a “small” or — dare I say it! — obscure blog like mine, there are lots of things to do! Virtual assistants (VAs) get paid pretty well, too: for simpler administrative tasks, pay is around $10 per hour; for more complicated, technical stuff, the hourly rate can go to $20, $30, even $40 per hour and up. It all depends on the task.
The more skills you have as a virtual assistant, the higher your value is to a busy blogger/ business owner. Put in the time to increase your skills — I have fired many VAs in the past that pitch me perfectly but then can’t deliver. DO NOT attempt to become a virtual assistant without knowing what you’re doing. Just don’t do it.
NEXT STEPS To get started as a virtual assistant, check out our friends at Virtual Savvy.
High-Paying Job #5: Freelance Writing
A fifth high-paying career that would suit word nerds is freelance writing.
I started this blog to help grow my freelance business. Just a few years later, I’ve written more words than I can count — books, blog posts, online course content, social media posts… millions of words. And it’s all because I took the plunge and started making money as a writer. Proofreading got me into the freelance world, but writing is what helped me get to where I am today.
Starting your own blog isn’t the only way to break into writing. Writing is a huge medium for companies to connect with consumers, but they don’t always have the time or writing skills to maintain a blog. Companies hire freelance writers to keep their blogs loaded with fresh content. Other ways writers earn money are through ghostwriting, grant writing, and self-publishing their own books.
The amount you can earn as a writer is limitless!
Do you need a little inspiration on how to start your own writing business? Check out these interviews with women who are kicking some major butt with their writing businesses:
- Holly Johnson shares how she makes $200,000 a year as a freelance writer. (And, no, that’s not a typo — she really makes that much from writing!)
- Yuwanda Black explains how you can make serious cash by writing SEO articles.
Ready to look for freelance writing jobs? Jooble is a great place to start!
What are your next steps? Which work anywhere job do you have your eye on? What challenges are you facing in your life? Share below!