Securing a work at home job can take a lot of time, patience, and persistence. Unfortunately, by the time most people begin searching for a job to do at home, they are already in a severe financial bind and need to begin earning right away. That's just not realistic with most work at home jobs and businesses. However, it is very possible to begin earning some income almost immediately by using your existing skills and abilities.
The first step is to figure out exactly what your skills are. Don't say you don't have any. Everyone has things they are good at. Whether your skills have been learned in a job or everyday life doesn't matter. What type of work have you done in the past? Are you good with accounting, clerical work, filing, typing? Look at your hobbies and interests also. Can you design web pages, take great photographs, sew, knit? Do you love children or animals? Are you a great organizer or cleaner? Do you love to shop? Write down all of your skills, abilities, and interests.
Once you know what you can do, figure out a way to use those skills to earn some money. Get creative! Think in terms of products or services. What products or services can you provide that others will find value in? Big hint: people are always looking for ways to save time, save money, or improve their quality of life. Can you help them do that?
Here are some examples of ways you could use your skills: shopping, cleaning, organizing, party planning, childcare, pet-sitting/dog-walking, taking pets to veterinary appointments, errand service for Moms or elderly, assisting small businesses in your area with clerical work, painting (both interior and exterior), junk removal, yardwork, taking photographs at special events or tourist attractions, making and selling craft items at fairs or flea markets, designing websites for small local businesses, catering or cooking.
That's just the tip of the iceburg, but you get the idea. Once you have some ideas for possible businesses you could do, find out what legal requirements you'd have for starting a business like that in your home. Call your Town Clerk's office and your state's Dept. of Revenue to find out what paperwork or licenses you'd need to get started.
Then research the going rates for the work you're considering. If you're really not sure how much to charge, consider how much you'd like to earn per hour, and ask yourself whether most people would be willing to pay that or not. You don't want to under-charge and make it not worth your while, but you also don't want to charge ridiculous rates that people wouldn't pay. Your rate per hour will vary depending on the type of work you're doing, but in a general sense, try to keep your rates reasonable while still paying yourself what you're worth.
Then you can start marketing. Marketing does not have to be expensive. Make up some flyers yourself or have a print shop do it, and begin posting them on public bulletin boards. You can also pay for an inexpensive classified ad in your local newspaper. You might need to invest a little money to get started, but there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars. Start small. Once you begin building a client base you can always pay for more advertising. You can also have some business cards made up (or make your own) to pass out to potential clients. Don't be afraid to approach your target market directly, either! If you want to provide a service to small local businesses, go in and introduce yourself. Tell them who you are and what you do. Leave a flyer with them. Don't sit home waiting for the phone to ring, get out there and make it happen.
Guess what? You're in business! Even if this isn't what you want to continue doing forever, that's okay. You can still continue searching for jobs or researching home businesses that will more closely match what your career vision is. In the meantime, at least you will be earning some money to reduce the financial pressure in your household.