Working from home in the United States is becoming more common. As technology advances, many jobs can now be performed online.

In February 2013, Forbes Magazine had reported that approximately 20% of Americans already work from home either full-time or part-time as small business owners, self-employed contractors, or corporate employees working on telecommuting jobs.

And the numbers keep growing.

This is a great option for those who need to be home for personal or health reasons or new moms who cannot afford to take time off after giving birth. Most countries offer some sort of maternity leave options but not in the United States where health care costs can wipe out your life savings in a matter of days.

Having an option to work from home can be a lifesaver for many families. Can it work for you?

Companies That Let You Work From Home

If you have the skills that can be delivered online, then you can start applying to some of the companies that allow telecommuting.

But first you need to develop skills that can be delivered online and that are in high demand. With so many candidates competing from India, the Philippines and other low cost of living countries that also have high education standards, you need to focus on money making activities with low competition.

Focus on skills that overseas candidates and non-native speakers cannot deliver as easily as you would… skills that require stronger language and presentation skills or a deeper understanding of local customs, cultures and industries.

In chapter four of my book Pajama Paydays : How To Make The Internet Work For You, I go into more details on what these skills are and how you can use them to stand out in todays market.

To get some ideas on who's hiring and what types of jobs you can do online visit FlexJobs. FlexJobs is a popular job listing site and they have just released their annual list of the top 100 employers for telecommuting jobs.

Benefits of Working From Home

Test the waters by working from home as an employee or freelance contractor to start. But when you are ready, make the leap to a business setup instead.

With a business you can:

1. Save on Taxes

Instead of being taxed at the higher individual tax rates you can save by paying the lower corporate tax and paying yourself a lower salary or dividends instead. Depending on your income, this could save you over 5-30% of your income each year.

Talk to an accountant to assess your needs.

2. Outsourcing

As an employee you might not have the option to outsource some of your workload. Employers are hiring you and trusting you to do the work and will need to know that you are doing the work yourself. This is very critical if you are working on confidential projects and proprietary material.

However, as a business owner, you can outsource many of your day to day repetitive tasks or seek specialized contractors for select projects in lower cost of living countries. This allows you to make an income even though someone else is doing most of the work for you. This will allow you to do what is called “Service Arbitrage” where you manage the process and hire other lower cost contractors to do the work.

That is how many services companies are born.

3. Scale Your Income With Products

You can start a side or full-time business selling products online. With products you have a wide selection to choose from.

  • Make: You make products and sell them online
  • Manufacture: Get a factory to do the products for you
  • WholeSale: Buy existing products for wholesale and sell at retail price
  • Drop Shipping: Sell products and get paid before you buy them!!!!

Each option has it's advantages and disadvantages and depending on your circumstances one will work better than the other for you. Check out chapter five of Pajama Paydays for more details.

4. Expand Your Reach With Affiliate Marketing

If you want to tap into the products market without worrying about market research, product development and testing, payment processing, fulfillment or customer support, you can tap into Affiliate Marketing.

Unlike network marketing where you have to buy and stock up on products so you can sell them, with affiliate marketing you get paid for making referrals. There are no minimal quotas or income targets you need to reach. In a way you are already an affiliate marketer but you don't know it or you are not setup to get paid on your referrals.

Every time you refer someone to a product or service you could be making a commission! 

Learn how to get paid for making referrals on products and services you already love and use or products that are already in high demand.

If you are a product creator and want others to sell your products for you, you can give affiliates a commission every time they make a sale for you.

Whatever business or income model you have right now, make sure to add affiliate marketing to the mix!