How These People Started Successful Work-From-Home Businesses From Scratch

Updated February 8, 2017
by The Penny Hoarder
Contributor
work from home

We write about a lot of work-from-home job opportunities.

But have you considered starting your own work-from-home business?

You can work in your pajamas, create your own flexible schedule, hang with your spouse or kids more often…

So, you probably have the same initial question as me: How?

Even if you have zero experience owning a business — or working in a certain field — working from home is still possible.

We rounded up three online courses that’ll help your work-from-home dream come true.

Here are the stories of three real people who have done just that.

at home business
Alaina and Keith Roth with their son Leo. Alaina makes $2,000 per month as a work-from-home transcriber. Photo courtesy Alaina Roth

Alaina Roth makes $2,000/month as a work-from-home transcriber.

After graduating with a business management degree in 2011, Alaina Roth worked various jobs in the management and hospitality industries.

She put in long hours — nights and weekends. And that was OK.

Until she got pregnant.

With a baby on the way, Roth started looking for flexible, work-from-home opportunities to support her future bundle of joy.

That’s when she stumbled across Transcribe Anywhere.

Transcribe Anywhere offers online transcription courses that not only teach students how to transcribe, but also how to start their own freelance transcribing businesses.

Without much hesitation, Roth signed up.

“It was easy,” Roth says. “I might say it was too easy because, since I was starting a new chapter in my life, there was quite a bit of risk associated with spending the money and not knowing if it would all pan out.”

The online course led Roth through modules, practice dictions and quizzes. It even showed her how to create a website and how to secure clients. She moved along at her own pace — a blessing with a newborn at home.

In all, she completed her training in about four months.

Now, Roth works on a contract basis with two companies and puts in about 30 hours a week. She transcribes anything from training webinars and audiobooks to radio broadcasts.

She says one of the biggest perks of transcribing from home is she gets to pick and choose how many projects she wants to take on at the beginning of each day.

“If I want to spend my entire day with my son, I can,” she explains. “I may be up all night finishing work, but that’s what I choose to do. If I want to spend the week at my family’s house, I can. I can bring my work along with me. If I want to take a vacation, I can.

“If I want to make more money one week, I can work as much as I need to make that money that I need.”

But for all of the flexibility, Roth says solid time management skills are a must. That, and the best training — which she says she received through Transcribe Anywhere.

Her son Leo is now 10 months old, and Roth loves being able to spend time with him, while also being able to financially support him. On average, she earns $2,000 per month, happily taking jobs when it suits her.

If you’re even a teeny bit interested, try the free introductory mini-course. That way, if you’re in the midst of big life changes like Roth was, you can test the job out — without any financial risks.

Daniel Honan and his wife Melissa Honan make $50,000 a year as virtual bookkeepers for professional painters. Photo by Made You Look Photography

Daniel Honan rakes in $50,000 a year as a virtual bookkeeper.

Daniel Honan is only 30, but he has a variety of experiences tucked in his professional portfolio.

He’s a former military officer. He has years of experience in the residential and commercial painting industry — from grunt work to manager. He also has an accounting degree. Oh, and an MBA.

Even with all this experience, Honan still didn’t feel settled. So, when he stumbled across one of our articles about becoming a virtual bookkeeper, he leapt.

Honan signed up for Learn to be a Bookkeeper last April.

The online course helps people start and grow their own virtual bookkeeping business — no experience required. The course boasts you can start your own business from scratch in 10 weeks or less.

And that’s exactly what Honan did.

After taking one class a week, he started his own business in about three months. With his painting industry knowledge and accounting background, he created the perfect niche: bookkeeping for painters.

He completed his training on July 3 and started marketing his services July 4. Honan secured his first consultation before the end of that month.

Now, he works with 10 clients across the U.S. — one of the many perks of working virtually. In addition, he spends more time with his wife of 2.5 years.

Today, Honan works 40-hour weeks and estimates he’ll gross about $50,000 in his first year. (That’s before taxes, according to the bookkeeper.)

He encourages anyone interested to check out the Learn To Be A Bookkeeper course.

And yes, you can do so for free. The founder of the program, Ben Robinson, says the first courses are free, so potential students can get a feel for the business and see if it’s a fit.

If not? Move on.

Work from home
Joanna Kelley, center, makes up to $1,200 per month running her own business as an online proofreader so she can stay home with her daughters Nyla, 11, left, and Maevis, 7. Photo courtesy Joanna Kelley

Joanna Kelley makes up to $1,200 per month as an online proofreader.

For the past 12 years, Joanna Kelley has been a stay-at-home mom, home-schooling her two young daughters.

Then, suddenly, she was a single, stay-at-home, home-schooling mom — who needed to figure out how to support her family.

For a while, she took odd jobs, including nannying. But it was really important for her to be available to her kids while they were growing up.

The best solution I could think of was finding a way to work from home,” she says.

While doing some research, she came across Proofread Anywhere. It offers online courses to train students to proofread court reports.

It seemed like a great solution for Kelley; she could still home-school her daughters, while also supporting her family.

And as someone who constantly spots spelling and grammar mistakes, well, the gig just fit.

“I couldn’t believe people get paid to read and spot mistakes,” Kelley says. “I do that by default!”

She signed up for the course in May 2015. By August, after thousands of practice pages, she aced the final exam.

Her hard work continued to pay off: She began marketing her services — which the course taught her to do — in September.

Within hours, Joanna Kelley Proofreading had its first client.

Since then, Kelley’s been working to build up her part-time clientele. She works anywhere from five hours a week to 20.

On average, she makes between $500-$1,200 a month, but hopes to keep increasing her workload as her kids grow up.

The part she’d never trade?

“I love the flexibility of this work,” she says. “I can attend my children’s activities and work. I can be home if my kids need me without having to take sick days. I can travel when I want or need to. I am available for family emergencies.”

She says the list of pros are very long.

“This is a lifestyle that I have dreamed about for years, and this profession is making that dream a reality,” she says.

She eventually hopes to move overseas, perhaps to Chiang Mai, Thailand. But, really, she’d settle with (proofreading) anywhere.

If you’re interested in this line of work, Proofread Anywhere offers a free seven-day introductory course.

Your Turn: What’s your dream work-from-home business?

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.

by The Penny Hoarder
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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