BLUF – Bottom Line Up Front
There are a lot of Work From Home Jobs for Veterans out there. It can be exciting and profitable to work from home, but it is essential to be realistic about the pros and cons. There are many ways you can work from home or wherever you happen to want to set up for the day, and we will be talking a little about each of them. I have broken them down into five general categories to make it easier. No matter which route you choose to take, some added responsibilities come with the freedom, not to mention planning, foresight, self-discipline, and focus. Oh, yeah, and hours of uninterrupted hard work. As many home-based employees will tell you, working from home is not problem-free; it’s just a different location.
So, thanks to the Coronavirus, there has been a significant increase in the work-from-home job force. Still, even before COVID-19 became a factor, the amount of people choosing to work remotely has been increasing thanks to ever-evolving technologies like Skype, Facetime, Slack, Zoom, and Google Hangouts. Between that and texting and email, being stuck in an office full-time is not a requirement to be productive. Many types of work can be done just as effectively, if not more so, from a home office.
But this trend would not be on the rise if employers did not see the benefits too. Studies at Harvard Business School have shown that companies with “work-from-anywhere” policies can boost employee productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs. Employees with complex jobs who don’t require collaboration or social support can perform better than their office-based counterparts, by telecommuting according to another study 4. Also, if there is ever a natural or human-made disaster, like COVID-19, for example, a company set up to allow its workforce to work remotely is better able to keep the business going, even if some of the group goes offline.
Here’s the thing, though. It is vital to understand that work-at-home jobs are just like traditional jobs. You have to have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to get them presented in a great resume. The types of work from home jobs for Veterans are growing too. You can work from home in fields like customer service, teaching, virtual support, nursing, writing, bookkeeping, and more. However, there are pros and cons to any job, including work from home jobs. Let’s talk about a few of them.
Types of Work From Home Jobs for Veterans
Telecommuting – Working for an employer from your home
Pros to Telecommuting:
- The ability to earn a steady income.
- You are a W4 employee, which means your employer handles the taxes.
- In some cases, you could be eligible for health and other benefits.
- Never pay to get hired.
Cons to Telecommuting
- You might not have as much flexibility as you think.
- You may be required to work a set schedule.
- Some employers do not offer benefits to remote employees (If they offer them at all).
- The pay is often lower for remote workers compared to onsite jobs.
- May still need to arrange childcare or care for others.
Telecommuting is probably one of the safest ways to work from home, thanks to the guaranteed income from your employer. However, it isn’t always a feasible option for Veterans who may need more flexibility and freedom in their workday for appointments, family issues, personal issues, etc. That is why many successful work from home jobs for Veterans are either contract or freelance work options.
Contract and Freelance work
Contract and freelance work very similar, but there are some subtle differences. Many work from home jobs for Veterans you find on the myriad of career sites out there hire workers as contractors instead of employees. The listings can be just as varied as the jobs themselves. Full or part-time, and may even include a steady income for an “indefinite” period. The big difference here is this: contractors are independent of the company employee roster for tax purposes, so they have to manage their self-employment income reporting for taxes.
Pros to Contract Work
- As a contractor, you can typically negotiate your fees or rates.
- Most times, you have fantastic flexibility in deciding when, where, and how you work.
- Increased independence (if it meets the employers’ specifications, the employer has less control over how to complete the work).
- If you already have the equipment or tools necessary, there may be no additional “start-up” costs.
Cons to Contract Work
- Companies may consider you more expendable than a regular employee.
- There are often times when your workload may not be enough to support your financial needs.
- You are considered self-employed and may have estimated taxes and self-employment taxes due each quarter.
- Some companies require contractors to sign a non-compete agreement, which will limit your ability to accept other contracts.
- Typically, health or other benefits are not provided with the contract.
Freelancing is like contract work. A company or “customer” hires you to provide a service. But, as a freelancer, you have more control over the jobs you accept. Freelancers usually work under their given name as a sole proprietor. Still, they can also be set up as LLCs or Corporations if they choose to offer their services under a business name and structure. You can usually find freelance job listings on job sites such as Fiverr. Or, you can do your marketing using whatever marketing tactics are familiar. Some of the most common kinds of freelance work are marketing, accounting, writing, graphic design, and web design.
Pros to Freelance Work
- There is more flexibility in your schedule.
- You have better control over the type of work you do.
- Gives the ability to set your job fees and rates.
- It is free to start if you have the tools and equipment.
Cons to Freelance Work
- You may have irregular job offers, requiring active seeking of jobs, or marketing your services.
- Must pay estimated taxes and self-employment taxes.
- No employee benefits, such as health insurance.
Build Your Own Home Business (Or buy one that already exists.)
Typically, Businesses fall into two categories: product-based and service-based. If you are selling a tangible good, such as an invention you made, craft goods, gift baskets, or digital goods over the Internet, for example, you are a product-based business. If your business is offering a service, such as home cleaning, childcare, or digital design, it is a service-based.
Both can be broken down even more into business-to-business (B2B) products or services, services that help other businesses with things like office supplies (products) or bookkeeping (service). Or business-to-consumer (B2C), in which you provide help to individuals such as kitchen tools (products) or handyman home repair (services).
Pros to Starting a Home Business
- You have control of your time and flexibility over your work.
- Turn a hobby or passion into income.
- In a service-based business, they can be fast, easy, and affordable to start.
- Set your prices and pay.
Cons to Starting a Home Business
- It is not immediately successful and can take a while to generate income.
- The income your earn will vary based on the jobs you get or the sales you make.
- Starting a business typically has some upfront expenses.
- You might need to work longer hours, especially when you first start.
- You have to pay for your benefits.
Buying a Home Business
There multiple ways to buy a business; You can buy an existing home-based business; buy into a franchise home business; or maybe a home-based business opportunity or you can even buy a direct sales business, including multi-level marketing businesses.
To be successful in direct sales, you must pick a company with products you believe in and understand what is involved. Watch out for common mistakes, such as not reading the contract or not loving the products.
Pros to Buying a Home Business
- The product or service already exists.
- There is already a market for it.
- You do not have to create your own marketing plans or materials.
Cons to Buying a Home Business
- It can be expensive to start.
- Depending on where your location, you must know the limitations of how and where you can market and build your business.
- It may be challenging to differentiate yourself from your competition.
How to avoid the scams – Things to look for.
- Up-Front purchase requirements: Unless you are starting your own business, you should not have to purchase or pay for resources to begin your job.
- Promises of big bucks: If a prospective employer makes bold claims about your earning potential, they are probably lying.
- Great pay with little work: If the offered pay is significantly more than what you would get at a similar job if you were doing it in person ($50 an hour for stuffing envelopes, for example), it’s probably a scam.
- Numerous “Test” assignments or jobs: Some legitimate jobs might have you complete a task or job during the interview process to assess your abilities, but if a prospective employer asks for multiple tasks with no promise of pay, they’re exploiting your skills for free.
- Vague or poorly written job description: Like fake websites, scam job postings are often full of grammatical errors or odd language. If a listing does not say much about the job’s skills, that is concerning.
- Spam email addresses: If your communications from the employer are not from an official email address such as [email@example.com], or if they will not speak with you over the phone, it may be a scam.
- Lack of an official website: Any company offering bigtime employment promises will most likely have a website. If they don’t, be wary.
- HURRY HURRY HURRY: If you feel pressured to commit to a job or pay for a product, proceed with caution! This is the number one way scammers con you out of your money and personal information.
Ultimately, you should trust your gut when reviewing work-from-home opportunities. If a job seems too good to be true, more than likely it is.
Work-from-home scams can be difficult to identify. Especially because they often appear alongside legitimate opportunities on popular job-search websites. If you are seeking work from home jobs for Veterans to help supplement your income, those leads are very tempting. I know I would love to make a ton of money by doing little to no work! Who wouldn’t?
Very few offers like this ever lead to actual income. Rather, they are more likely to lighten your wallet and leave you in debt. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), they received over 58,000 complaints from consumers regarding fraudulent opportunities to work from home or launch a business between 2015 and 2019. According to the Better Business Bureau’s BBB Scam Tracker, states that the average loss to these scams is about $1,200. The BBB also lists employment frauds as the highest scam risk for military service members and Veterans.
The old promises of big money for stuffing envelopes has kind of fallen to the wayside with the advances of technology. More common scams now include things like doing data entry, administrative work such as processing billing forms for medical facilities, filling out online surveys, or assembling crafts. The common thread is this: You pay something up front (for coaching, supplies, certifications, or leads, for example). You are then provided with a plethora of useless information, a demand for more ads and recruitment on your part, or nothing at all.
Some of the more elaborate cons make promises that they will set you up in an online business (for a price). These can quickly escalate into thousands of dollars out of your pocket as they sell you more and more “training programs.” For example, in February 2020, a Malaysian company called “My Online Business Education” agreed to pay more than $17 million in a settlement because they defrauded thousands of would-be entrepreneurs with their expensive business-coaching programs before being busted by the FTC.
Genuine, legitimate work from home jobs for Veterans do exist. However, it is essential that you identify the true opportunities and weed out the sea of scams. Watch out for the warning signs.
There are so many positive aspects and honest opportunities to work from home and, as I discussed, a great number of ways to do so. If you are like me and decided that you want to be your own boss, dig in, do the research, and go for it! Within this article, we discussed many categories and some of the pros and cons of these options. Trust your gut, and good luck! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!