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Both online and in the real world, I’m seeing more and more people desperate to work from home these days. I hear many reasons for this: The high price of gas is making commuting too expensive. Those already at home need to bring in extra income to make ends meet or pay for extras. It’s better for the environment. It’s less stressful than working in an office. It’s more family friendly. Whatever the reason, there are many people looking for work from home jobs.

Unfortunately, in their desperation for quick money and a quick exit from the rat race, I see too many people looking for the “job in a box” – that job that will pay handsomely with little effort on their part. If they’re not looking for the job in a box, they’re chasing the “hot” career of the moment, whether it’s medical transcription, telemarketing, or something else. These hot jobs are supposedly easy to get, require little training, and generate big incomes. Of course, everyone else is trying to get in there, too, which means stiff competition for few legitimate openings. The problem with both of these methods is that neither is the best way to work from home. If it was really as easy as signing up at a website or latching on to that hot career, we’d all be doing it.

Most of the “jobs in a box” are scams. They require you to pay upfront for materials or “training” and then pay you nothing in return. Either that or they’re pyramid schemes in which the only person making money is the one at the very top who’s running the scheme. Some of the hot careers are so hot they’re being taken over by scammers. There are many services that promise to hook you up with clients for a fee, but they never deliver. Or they’ll put you through an accelerated training program that’s “guaranteed” to get you a job upon completion, but guess what? No job ever materializes, and just try collecting on that guarantee. And if you’re only chasing the hot at-home career for the money and not because you enjoy the work, how long do you think it will be before you burn out on that job and start looking for something else?

So if the easy way doesn’t work, how does one get to work from home? The answer is the same as it has always been: hard work. Those who are really lucky will be able to talk their current employer into letting them work from home, even if it’s only part time. It is easier than ever to work from home thanks to modern technology, but many bosses are resistant to give up “face time” in the office. They think that if they can’t see you, you aren’t working. But if you have an understanding boss, try asking because this is the only legitimate “easy” way to work from home. The rest of us need to prepare for some hard work and soul searching in order to create our own jobs.

Create your own job? I see you shaking your head and muttering that such a thing is impossible. No one would pay you to do your own thing. No one would pay you to do something you enjoy. That’s where you would be wrong. In today’s fragmented economy, there is a market for almost any product or service. It is completely possible to create your own job, doing something you enjoy from home. Creating your own job is far preferable to getting involved in a scam, being tied to work you hate just because it lets you work from home, or wasting money on contact lists, training, or programs that lead nowhere.

So what does creating your own work-from home job require? You need three things to be successful long term: 1) Passion for the work you’re doing, 2) Perseverance and, 3) Plain old hard work. Passion is what will get you out of bed every day and keep you engaged with your chosen work. It is why you will stick with this work long term, rather than burning out after six months. It’s why you’ll be successful; because you’re so passionate about this job that you have no choice but to be successful. Others are attracted to passion. If a customer has to choose between two products/services that are equal in every sense, they will usually go with the vendor who oozes passion for the job because they realize that passion equates to a willingness to work harder.

Perseverance is what keeps you going when every one around you is saying, “No” to your ideas. It’s what sends you back to the drawing board when the first idea fails. You have to keep plugging away at your work until you are successful. Unless you’re very fortunate you won’t be an overnight success. You’ll have to persevere until your work gets noticed and takes off. Those who don’t give up and keep persevering are the ones who are ultimately succeed, if for no other reason than they’re the last ones standing when everyone else gives up.

Plain old hard work is self-explanatory. Nothing worthwhile in life is ever accomplished without hard work. Your mother told you the same thing. Prepare to spend many hours making your chosen venture pay off. You’ll have to work hard to get noticed, to perform your job, and run your business. If it sounds daunting, it is. But any legitimate work from home job requires hard work to be successful. Even those “hot” careers require hard work to make them pay off. But wouldn’t you rather work this hard for something that’s your own and enjoyable, rather than working hard for something you hate or merely tolerate?

If you want to work from home, there’s no easy fix, no magic trick to instant wealth. Rather than spending time looking for the easy way, dedicate that time to finding something you’re passionate about and then working on it until you’re successful. Instead of spending money on contact lists and “training programs,” invest in the equipment you need or the real education your chosen job requires. Rather than sitting around saying, “I wish…,” get out there and research your target markets. Get involved with the communities you hope to serve. Rather than begging for leads to easy jobs on message boards, spend the time learning about home based businesses, or study the tax and insurance requirements for your new venture. Stop complaining about how hard it is to find a work from home job and create your own job.

I realize this sounds harsh, but I see so many people wasting their lives and money looking for the easy way that I think a wake up call is in order. If there were an easy way to work form home, we’d all be doing it. If most prospective work-at-homers would spend half the time they spend looking for the easy way on creating their own job, they’d be a success in no time. Instead they waste years piddling around and saying, “I wish,” and, “If only.” They spend hard earned dollars on leads, scams, or training for work they ultimately hate. Wouldn’t it make more sense (and be more rewarding) to spend that time and money on something enjoyable that you create for yourself and that, at the end of the day, you own and control?

-J. Derrick
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