Before the advent of the internet, the only real job opportunities for those who wanted to work from home were stay-at-home parent, artist or craftsman. The only way to utilize your skills and earn some money was to get out of the house and clock in from nine to five. There wasn’t much need for writers or web designers, but as technology grew a whole new job market opened up. Nowadays, you can sit down at the computer with a cup of coffee and a bag of donuts by your side, and look up job opportunities on one of the many freelance websites like Elance, Freelancer, Odesk and Guru. We will take a quick look at the most popular and lucrative jobs that you can do from home and ways of starting your freelance career.

1. Writer

Being a freelance writer doesn’t just mean writing books and trying to get them published – there are many opportunities for writing articles for blogs on various topics, writing page content for websites, product reviews, technical documents and much more. There are currently 263,700 writers on Elance; 24,177 on oDesk and over 180,000 on Guru, making this one of the most popular freelance jobs. You can create a profile on any of these platforms and get started.

2. Editor

Where there is a need for a huge number of writers, there will be a need for a great deal of editing. You can edit posts for big blogs before they are published, edit website content, e-books, etc. There are currently thousands of freelance editors, many offering both editorial and writing services so it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact number, and people with good grammar skills are in high demand. Look for opportunities on one of the freelance platforms or contact administrators of large blogs and magazines to try and find an editorial position.

3. Translator

With over 180,000 writers and translators on Guru and over 15,000 translators on Elance with a four star or higher rating, you won’t find it too difficult to land a job as a translator if you do a bit of looking around. Translating from Chinese, Spanish, French and German to English and vice versa is the most common type of job available, however there are tons of different opportunities, so if you are bilingual there is plenty of work for you.

4. Consultant

Business, legal, web and marketing consultants are fairly well represented in the online world of freelancing, with thousands of consulting-related jobs on Guru, and over 12,000 highly-ranked consultants on Elance. There is a very wide spectrum of consulting jobs available in different fields, from legal to SEO and IT, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a job offering best suited to your particular skills.

5. Engineer

It may surprise you just how many engineering jobs there are available online. There have been 832,465 engineering projects on Freelancer as of now, and there are well over 300 engineering jobs at any given time on oDesk, with nearly 1,500 highly ranked engineers on Elance, making these platforms a perfect place for a budding engineer to offer their skills.

6. Customer service representative

This is a very popular job title for companies to outsource, so it’s no surprise that there is a huge market for customer service reps online. There are currently over 60,000 freelancers doing this type of work on oDesk and nearly 1,000 highly ranked customer service reps on Elance, and there is plenty of work for everyone.

7. Sales representative

The online job market for sales reps is fairly large, yet there aren’t as many people offering these services, so there is less competition to worry about. There are a little over 8,000 sales reps on oDesk and under 200 highly ranked freelancers with skill sets related to sales and marketing.

8. Software developer

Software developer

The job market for software developers is vast and ever expanding, so there is always room for more skilled people with experience in this line of work and like to work from home. There are nearly 30,000 mobile developers alone on Elance, and nearly 60,000 software developers on oDesk, nearly 30,000 of which are ranked over 4.5 stars, but despite all that competition many new developers are earning a decent living.

9. Case manager

As far as case managers are concerned, there is plenty of opportunity online, as there aren’t a lot of highly qualified freelancers with the right skills and background for this line of work. There are currently over 3,000 freelancers fitting this description on oDesk, but there are a number of telecommuting opportunities that you can find by doing a few simple online searches and combing through a few job websites.

10. Web designer

Web designers are all the rage right now, as many small business, companies and individuals are taking their business online. From small online shops and blogs to big company websites, everyone needs a good web designer, so it’s no surprise that there are over 40,000 web designers on oDesk; 24,000 with a rating of over 4.5 stars, and over 30,000 web designers with a rating over 4 stars on Elance.

11. Data entry

Data entry work is something a lot of people can make some good money doing – it’s not incredibly complicated and this type of work is often outsourced by companies, so there are many job opportunities. Add to that the fact that you can work from home and have flexible hours, and it’s easy to see why there are so many people interested in this type of work. There are over 85,000 data entry specialists on oDesk, and over 9,000 highly ranked data entry specialists on Elance, and a whopping 149,000 results for data entry services on Guru.

12. Recruiting coordinator

If you have good people and communication skills, the position of recruiting coordinator may be just the thing for you. You can find the right people for a given job by doing some online detective work, checking resumes and weeding out the bad apples, which can be an interesting and lucrative job. The best place to look is Elance, with over 2,000 highly ranked recruiters, and oDesk, with nearly 8,000.

13. Teacher

Teacher

You can teach people a variety of subjects online, from language to math and all things in between, and all you really need is a good internet connection, web cam and some type of certificate that proves that you are qualified to teach. Even without proper qualifications you may be able to teach English as a second language if you are a native speaker. There are over 7,000 teachers on oDesk; over 3,000 highly ranked teachers on Elance and around 4,000 teachers on Guru. You can also look at websites like Tutor, which offer exclusively work-from-home teaching jobs.

14. Online personal trainer

If you are a seasoned gym rat, with years of strength training under your belt and have a recognized certificate, you can try to find new clientele online. There are currently over 9,000 fitness trainers on Guru, only around 200 on oDesk and nearly 400 fitness experts ranked four star and above on Elance. Many personal trainers also market themselves through YouTube and social networks, a personal website or blog through which they sell programs or coach clients via Skype.

15. Entertainer

We’ve touched on the subject of YouTube as a viable way of marketing ones skills, but a YouTube channel can be a source of income in its own right. If you have a great, likeable personality and have a good amount of knowledge on a subject or are funny and creative, you can build a popular YouTube channel and live comfortably off the ad revenue and eventual sponsorship deals. There are no strict rules here, but you need to be either very informative, creative or funny – the combination of the three works best – and devoted. You’ll need to put up videos daily at first, promote yourself through social networks and patiently grow your channel with every new subscriber and with each viewing of one of your videos.

Working on laptop on couch

For the skilled and hard-working person looking to earn a living working from home, there are plenty of opportunities. The online freelance job market is a vast ocean, and there is plenty of room and money for everyone. Find something that you are skilled, talented or experienced at, and there will be someone looking for your service – you just have to find them and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook