Guest Post by Jennifer Kardish

If you’re one of the many women faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to return to the workforce after the birth of your child, you may be interested in the prospect of working from home. There’s no need to be torn between the desire to raise your child and the necessity of earning a paycheck…in this modern world of interactive technology, you can do both. But if you’re just starting to consider home-based employment, you may find yourself at a loss when it comes to the particulars, such as what, exactly, you are qualified to do. Don’t fret. When it comes to alternative employment, there are plenty of options for people with little or no experience (as well as those who have marketable skills), and there are also a lot of resources to help you find work.

1. Freelance. There are about a million jobs available for individuals interested in freelance work, including writing, photography, graphic design, research, data entry, medical billing, and even virtual assistance (just to name a few). If your interests lie in clerical or creative endeavors, simply sign up with one of the many free websites that caters to freelance workers, such as ODesk and Elance, create your profile, and start searching jobs. A few good reviews will soon allow you to turn the tables as clients begin seeking your services.

2. Secret shop. The growth of the internet has seen a parallel in the expansion of mystery shopper companies. While these businesses were very few in the past, the online explosion has allowed them to multiply as they realized the ability to reach a much larger client and employee base. Unfortunately, this also led to a lot of scams. So if you’re interested in getting paid to give your opinion on shopping experiences, be wary of companies that don’t require any testing to determine your aptitude and/or ask you to provide a fee or bank account information. These are scams! To find a list of reputable companies and search for jobs, go to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association website.

3. Blog. Starting your own blog is not just for entertainment anymore. You can now earn a living by blogging about your interests. Of course, there are a few caveats. First of all, you have to find a niche. An uncountable number of blogs meet their untimely demise because their owners are either not dedicated or simply don’t know how to make them profitable. So start by getting some traffic and adding pay-per-click, pick up an SEO for Dummies book, and learn how to market yourself so that you can get paid advertising, adopt affiliates, and really learn how to make your blog a successful and lucrative undertaking.

4. Start a business. If your dreams go beyond spending your days cooped up in an office with only your cat and your baby for company, you may want to think bigger than a sole entrepreneurship. Consider whether you prefer to offer products or services and your strengths at management before you begin, determine the strengths (and weaknesses) of your competition, and then form a business plan to get started with running your own home-based business, whatever it may be.

5. Sales. Whether you’re starting an eBay store, peddling pharmaceuticals, throwing Tupperware (or Cookie Lee jewelry, or naughty lingerie) parties, or selling Avon and Mary Kay to the gals in your neighborhood, engaging in sales can be a good way to stay connected to other people while you capitalize on your sparkling personality to earn a little extra cash.

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