Do you want to know how to start working from home? A few years ago I did too.
However, I noticed a lot of experts recommended all sorts of remote jobs but no one actually shared the practical steps I needed to make to move from my 9-5 office job into a remote role.
I had questions like, where do I start? Where do I find remote jobs? What do I charge? And how do I go from holding down a full-time job and paying my bills, to work remotely, still paying my bills?
I left my full-time banking job in one of the most expensive countries in the world (NZ). I didn’t live with my parents, didn’t have any expensive possessions (my old banger Lance the Legacy did me just fine.)
It was just me, myself and I, with all my bills to pay, trying to figure this whole transition into remote work thing, all by myself.
The good news is, I finally did figure out how to start working from home.
I have since worked in Spain, London, Budapest, Morocco, Bosnia, Thailand, London, Nepal, Singapore, and so many more countries …. while paying my bills and hitting my savings goals.
I am not going to pretend it was easy, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.
Here are the 6 steps you need to take if you want to know how to start working from home.
NOTE-I don’t recommend you quit your job until you get to step 6. Keep your existing job and go through all the steps. When you have reached step 6, you will be ready.
How To Start Working From Home in 6 Steps
1-Ask yourself why
2- Identify the kind of remote jobs out there
4- Monetise your skills and start building a side hustle
5- How to calculate your hourly rate
6- How to transition into a full-time remote role
1-Ask yourself WHY
The first thing you need to do if you want to know how to start working from home is to ask yourself WHY do you want to work from home?
Do you actually want to work remotely or do you just need a vacation?
Are you ready for the practical realities of working remotely, such as working alone, having to tackle IT issues, constantly feeling distracted if you work from home?
Do you want to spend more time with your kids?
That’s great, but who is going to look after your kids when you work from home?
Spoiler alert: You will need a lot of hard work and self-discipline. There will be occasions when you feel scared and confused, as this is a whole new world that hasn’t quite become the norm in many countries. You will have to rely on yourself, A LOT.
Now, I wanted to know how to start working from home for several reasons:
- I prefer working by myself instead of listening to my colleagues’ gossip over the water cooler
- I wanted to travel more and my annual leave wasn’t enough
- I am extremely self-disciplined and can work well by myself without needing to be motivated by others.
- I preferred the advantages of working remotely (travel, flexibility) over the benefits of working in an office (having a support network of colleagues and a steady paycheque, to name a few).
If you are clear as to WHY you are pursuing remote work, it will help when things get tough along the way, (which they will) and you won’t give up.
- Identify the kind of remote jobs out there
When I wanted to know how to start working from home, I thought everyone who worked remotely was good at IT and or needed to know how to code.
I am hopeless at IT and coding makes me want to punch inanimate objects.
But I have still successfully earned more than my banking job doing various remote job roles.
I worked as an online teacher, freelance editor, freelance writer, business coach, virtual assistant, social media manager, and blogger.
Please read these if you want to know how to start any of these remote jobs :
The jobs above are just the tip of the iceberg.
You can be a Video Editor, Transcriptionist, Pinterest Manager, FaceBook Marketer, Amazon Seller, Graphic Designer, Virtual Bookkeeper, Stock Image Photographer, Translator, Life coach, Search Engine Evaluator, Online Fitness instructor, Online Yoga teacher, you name it!
Here is a list of potential jobs you can do:
Now before you panic and say you can’t choose, it’s ok, you don’t need to decide right away.
Just have a think about the different sorts of jobs you have skills for or that you have an interest in, it helps you focus and gives you purpose.
What if you can’t find any jobs that match my skills in the above list?
That’s fine, just google it.
So, for me, I liked writing and talking to people, so I googled,’ Best online jobs for someone with writing and communication skills’.
Voila, freelance writer, editor, and online teacher came up.
The best bit of advice I can give someone wanting to learn how to start working from home is to utilize Google as much as possible. It is FREE and full of great information.
Now, if you don’t have the skills for a remote job you want, it is time to cut back on watching Netflix and FB videos and scrolling IG and start using your time to upskill.
Google free or paid courses you can do to help you gain more skills.
For example – when I was learning how to start working from home, I wanted to become an online teacher, but I had no teaching qualifications.
So I did an online teaching certificate and volunteered to teach at a refugee center.
Then when I wanted to become a freelance writer, I took the amazing Write Your Way to Your First $1k Course by Elna Cain. This helped me gain 3 clients in 3 weeks.
For every job you want to do, there is a course teaching you to do it in one week, it saves you time, tears and stress.
I wish I knew this at the beginning as I would spend hours googling free information which was often incorrect, leaving me more confused.
I know what you are thinking, ‘ But I don’t want to spend any money!’
Well – do you spend money on drinks and dinner out? Do you buy new clothes or gadgets?
The best thing you can do when you are learning how to start working from home is to cut back and use that money to invest in your brain.
- Monetize your skills and start building a side hustle
All right, by now you have some idea as to what remote job you want to try and also you have some skills to apply for the jobs.
But where do you find clients?
You can go on job boards, work marketplaces or pitch directly to a client
- Freelance writing- ProBlogger, All Freelance Writing, Blogging Pro, Media Bistro
- Editing – Kibin, Proofreadingservices.com, Proofreadlah!
- Online teaching- OET Jobs
- Virtual assistant and social media management –MyOutDesk, Belay, Woodbows, Profit Factory, Boldly, 27 Virtual Assistant, Uassistme, Virtual Employee
- Graphic design- Job sites
- Business coach- Linkedin, https://clarity.fm
- Content marketing – Upwork, LinkedIn, job sites
- Bookkeeping – Job sites, Upwork
- Customer Support Jobs- Weworkremotely, Apple At-Home Advisors
Popular remote work marketplaces are Upwork and Fiverr.
Here is a list of 21 companies advertising work from home jobs
Pitching directly is my favorite way to find a client
Because I’m not competing with thousands of other job applicants on job boards
Think about your existing network and also potential clients.
What can you offer them?
If you need some guidance on pitching, get in touch, I have pitching templates and conduct training on how to find remote working jobs.
6- How to calculate your hourly rate
So, how much do you charge? This is a hard one
When you are learning how to start working from home, you don’t want to undercharge and get taken for a ride but you don’t want to overcharge and scare the client off.
When I began, I simply calculated the lowest amount I could afford to charge to be able to live in my dream city (Barcelona) and then raised my rate as I became more valuable.
In the beginning, you won’t have the experience to command high rates (if you do, excellent charge more,)
For example, if you live in Barcelona, it costs around €1,600 USD1,730) per month to pay food, bills, and rent.
Let’s say you work 35 hours a week, which totals 140 hours a month. That means you need to charge at least €12 an hour to break-even and pay all your bills, which isn’t much at all!
It takes the pressure off and you have a starting point where you can gain experience. Anything extra you charge will help you work fewer hours or save more.
I would like to point out that you won’t be earning this rate forever, it’s just a rate to get your foot in the door and gain experience.
Nowadays, I charge at least 6 to 7 times that for some of my clients. but only because I have more experience and I know how to demonstrate value for them.
Useful Tip – In the beginning, when you are learning how to start working from home, it is worth calculating your existing hourly rate, that you earn with your current job.
This will help you realize how much money you are sacrificing (or not sacrificing) when you pursue a remote working lifestyle.
I remember worrying about leaving my well-paid bank job but I took my monthly salary and divided it by how many hours I worked per month.
I included all the times I worked late on projects, and weekends and lunch breaks I sacrificed to complete urgent deadlines. I added the stress and unhappiness my job was causing me and I realized my hourly rate wasn’t as high as I thought it was and it made the transition easier.
- How to transition into a full-time role
By now you have one or two clients and you have started earning an extra income for yourself. You are juggling a full-time job and working evenings and weekends juggling your side hustle.
Now it’s time to be brave.
There will come a time when you need to decide on whether to take the plunge or continue with your current job.
What helped me was knowing I could go back to my office job and continue working in banking if this whole working remotely malarkey didn’t work out.
Time = money, so if you have managed to get a few clients in your free time, think about how many you can get with all the extra time you have!
I would suggest giving yourself a timeline to experiment so you don’t panic.
For example, I told myself if I didn’t earn the same salary I’d earned in banking within 2 years, I would go back to my corporate job.
That way, it took the pressure off and gave me time to give it a good go.
The way I saw it, I was going to be working till I am at least 65, what was 2 years out of my working life trying something that could transform it?
It did transform it and has been the best decision I have ever made.
I now look forward to every money as I can’t wait to start work.
Before you transition to a full-time remote role, you should do 3 things first,
- Build a nest egg (6 months )
I would advise anyone wanting to know how to start working from home to have AT LEAST 6 months of savings first.
This means money to pay your rent and bills for 6 months.
Pretend you are unemployed for months, how much do you need? Save that.
Because in the beginning, when you are searching for jobs and pitching to clients, you will already feel a lot of pressure and stress, so you need to be a positive mindset.
You can’t be in that mindset if you are worried about paying your rent.
Now I’m not saying money won’t come in for 6 months, money came in after 2 weeks for me, but there will be occasions when work will dry up.
You will need to be calm and hold your nerve. The reason for this is, if you are doing all the right things such as networking and pitching to clients, it will happen.
There have been SO MANY times when I don’t hear from clients for a week and start to panic but I hold my nerve and the next week multiple projects come in.
I wouldn’t have been able to stay calm and hold my nerve if my bills weren’t being paid, I would have ended up quitting and going back to my office job.
Essentially, your savings buy you the valuable time you need to build your new career and will ensure you don’t throw the towel in and go back to your old job as soon as things get tough.
Having 6 months of savings is essential if you want to know how to start working from home.
If you are looking for ways to save make and extra money, read these articles:
- Niche down and raise your rates
You may already have some experience but to raise your rates, you need to be a subject matter expert.
This just means you specialize and are good at a certain area, the same way a surgeon specializes and gets paid more than a doctor because he/she has specialized knowledge.
When I worked as an editor, I niched down into legal and financial documents and then charged more.
When I began writing, when I niched down into personal finance, I could command a higher rate.
When I worked as an online teacher, I narrowed it down to Business English and IELTS exam tutoring and then raised my rates from $20 to $40-$50 per hour.
You get the gist.
- Set up a professional website
This is SO IMPORTANT, especially if you are trying to get higher paying clients.
You will come across as legitimate, professional and worth their money.
It doesn’t need to cost much or be too complicated and you don’t need to be good at IT to set one up either!
Here is a free guide I wrote which shows you the exact steps you need to take to set up a freelance website and the total cost :
If you follow the 8 steps you will have a new website in 2 hours for $3.95 per month– it is super simple!
All right, if you have read these 6 steps on how to start working from home, may have some questions, I will try to address them below.
How to start working from home- Questions
What about tax?
Ahh, tax. Yes, tax is important. You don’t want to go to jail for tax evasion.
Now some people will disagree with me, but when I began side hustle, I just saved the extra income. Only when I transitioned into a full-time role did I consult a tax expert and sort my taxes out.
I know this isn’t correct but I was bootlegging it and being risky.
I would recommend you speak to a tax expert about this, especially if you live in the USA, which has the strictest tax laws in the world.
Getting thrown into jail is the last thing you want when you begin your journey on how to start working from home.
What about health insurance?
Yep, also important.
Unless you stay in a country with free healthcare like the UK, you need to factor this cost into your hourly rate.
What about my pension?
When I began learning how to start working from home, I needed a basic income to pay my bills and save, but as time went on, yes I started thinking about pension plans.
Don’t let your company pension plan deter you from quitting (it delayed me by at least 6 months because the bank had a wonderful and generous pension plan)
You can sign up for a private pension plan and pay your own pension because you are a BOSS.
What about visas?
A lot of countries allow you to visit their countries visa-free for a short period which was enough for me.
Please don’t go round proclaiming you are #digital nomad at the immigration counter because 1- you sound like a twat 2- you will be kicked out the county.
Work in the day, enjoy the sights after work and leave when your visa is up.
If you want to stay somewhere long term, speak to an immigration adviser, preferably one that is familiar with digital nomad visas. (Use google)
They will give the best expert advice on how to start working from home and appropriate visas.
- Wondering if this was all a scam and whether I could make enough money to sustain myself.
- My grandma passed away and I had to buy a flight to the UK from NZ, which ate a big chunk of my savings. I already felt shitty, but I felt worse because I was worrying about money.
- People constantly assuming I’m unemployed
- Finally – not having anyone to go to for advice on whether I am doing the right thing or on the right track.
The good news is – you have me! (awkward cough as you shake your head and say you don’t need me O_O)
Anyway, ask me any questions and I will try and provide you with as much support as I can along the way.
You can do this!
- Working remotely climbing up to Everest Base Camp
- Working while doing a motorbike tour through Vietnam foe 30 days
- Being able to move to NZ to Ireland, to Spain then to KL at the drop of a hat.
- Doing ski and road trips and still working and earning in between.
- Woking where and when I want – it’s such a liberating feeling, I am happy all the time!
If you have reached this point, you should have a good idea of how to start working from home. Try the 6 steps and let me know how you get on!
I would love to hear how you progress on your journey and if there are any questions I haven’t addressed, mention them in the comments below.