Today we’re tackling a question from a reader about working from home without a college degree. Read on to see what advice I have for this single mom.
I have been following your site, and I like it very much. However, it seems that most, if not all, of the women who decide to work from home, have college degrees, and leave an already established career to pursue a career at home – these women have much to pull from in order to succeed.
For years now, I have desired to run my own life and dearly want to work-from-home – but I do not have the aforementioned degree or career to pull from, as I was a stay-at-home wife and a homeschooling mom for 22 years. About four years ago, I suffered a divorce and now am struggling to survive as I foolishly thought my marriage would last forever.
How can a woman like me do what you promote on your site? Please keep in mind that due to all that I have recently suffered, my personal self-esteem and self-confidence has taken quite a hit – but I am still hopeful that there is something out there that is perfect for me.
My questions and my concerns are legitimate, so please, be realistic in your answer.
Thank you for your time and consideration, as it is greatly appreciated, Sherri G.
That is a great question. No matter who you are and what your background education may or may not be, everyone has some sort of talent or skill that can be translated into a work-at-home career.
But first, you need to do some brainstorming:
- What are your talents and passions?
- Are you looking for a company to hire you for a remote position?
- Do you want to start your own business?
- How much money do you need to earn?
- How many hours a week can you work?
By answering these types of questions, you can start to narrow down the types of opportunities that would make sense for you.
Here is a small roadmap to get you started.
Finding Your Calling
Finding a career path that you’re passionate about is hard, and it’s even more difficult when you’ve been working as a stay-at-home mom for the last umpteen years. But with a little elbow grease and thought, there are ways to get unstuck and find your dream calling.
First, you’ll want to take inventory of all of your skills, talents, and passions. Once you have this list, start correlating jobs to the various areas. If you find yourself struggling, place your keywords in sites like Google, Indeed, and FlexJobs and see what comes up.
Perhaps your skills as a homeschooling mom translate well to online tutoring or coaching other parents who want to homeschool their children, or maybe this is a topic that you’d like to blog about. In fact, when I placed the keyword homeschooling into Indeed, there were positions for a homeschooling tutor, a curriculum support specialist, and a personal learning coach – none of which required a college degree.
Secondly, you’ll want to connect with others in your desired field of work by conducting informational interviews. Find out the ins and outs of the position, and see if it is something that you’re really interested in pursuing. Having inside connections can also lead to referrals and potential job opportunities.
Third, make sure that you’re educating yourself through reading. Get your hands on different work-at-home guides, finding your niche books, and read lots of industry-related blogs and articles. By educating yourself, you’ll be better equipped for the road ahead.
Here are some of my favorite books for career development:
- Tory Johnson – Will Work from Home
- Marcus Buckingham – Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently
- Michelle Goodman – The Anti-9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube
Do You Want to Work as a Home-Based Employee?
If you’re looking for a company to hire you as an employee, you’ll need to seek out companies that hire telecommuters. But instead of searching the major job board sites individually, try using an aggregated search engine site like Indeed. Aggregated job boards pull listings from all of the major job boards based on your keywords and location, saving you time. While aggregated job boards are great at pulling listings from major job boards and newspapers, they often miss the smaller niche-focused sites that contain valuable listings.
Try looking at these sites:
- 8 Companies That Don’t Require a Degree Hiring for Flexible Jobs
- 21 Work at Home Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree
Do You Want to Be Your Own Boss?
Have you heard of Coco Chanel, Rachael Ray, Richard Branson, Simon Cowell, and Walt Disney? Yup, you guessed it, none of them obtained a college degree. In fact, Walt Disney and Simon Cowell both dropped out of high school.
It just goes to show you, if you have the determination and drive, you can do whatever you put your mind to. And with all of the technological advances, launching your own home-based business is easier and more affordable than ever. Plus, it’s an excellent way for you to combine your passions with a career that’s going to give you a better work-life balance and financial freedom. There are many ways in which you can start a business, and none of them require a college education. Here are just a few ideas to get the wheels turning.
For a small start-up fee, you can join a direct sales company and start selling products and earning commissions on sales. Many opportunities cost less than $100 to get started, and with that, you get support, training, sample products, marketing materials, a website, and more. Find a product or niche that you love and explore the hundreds of companies that are available in this business model.
Here are a few to get you started:
- cabi – Clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories
- Kaeser & Blair – Promotional items
- Sseko Designs – Fair Trade clothing, bags, jewelry, and coffee
- Tastefully Simple – Food products
- Traveling Vineyard – Wine
Start a Service-Based Business
Maybe selling isn’t your thing. Perhaps you rather offer a service like virtual assistance, freelance writing, graphic design, event planning, or travel assistance to clients. Not only do these types of businesses not require a college degree, but they’re simple and affordable to start. Set up a website, tell your friends and family about your business, and score your first client. Deliver your very best work, and ask for recommendations and referrals. It really is that easy — you just need to take the first step.
Related Content: 22 Business Ideas for Starting Your Own Service Business
Purchase a Home-Based Franchise
If you’re feeling like you could use some in-depth training, consider getting involved with a home-based franchise. A franchise is an easily replicated business due to intensive instruction and training. That’s the beautiful thing about a franchise; all the hard work has been done for you; you pay for the franchise, and you’re given a detailed manual, training, and tools on how to replicate the business exactly. Some franchise opportunities even have on-site training where you can get immersed in learning the ropes of the business.
Here are a few companies to check out:
- Cruise Planners – Vacation Planner
- Fit 4 Mom – Fitness Instructor
- Healthy Hands Cooking – Healthy Cooking Instructor
- Just Between Friends – Resale Events
Getting the Skills You Need
Nowadays, you don’t need to go back to school to get the skills you need to work from home. Technology has enabled high-level learning through a variety of online mediums, such as video courses and webinars, online learning portals like Skillshare and Udemy, as well as open courseware opportunities. And because these options are online, you can take the classes when it works for your schedule. Did I mention the affordability?
Related Content: Free Online Courses to Launch Your Work-at-Home Career
Going through a divorce is a major, life-changing event, and besides focusing on your finances, you should also focus on your well-being. One way to do this is by connecting with other women who have gone through similar experiences. Being able to talk to others who have dealt with the same challenges can be very cathartic, but it can also open your eye to new possibilities, opportunities, and hope.
Here are four single moms who have overcome adversity in their lives:
- How This Single Mom Became a Virtual Assistant from Home
- This Single Mom Started a Professional Résumé Writing Business
- How This Single Mom Blogged Her Way to Six Figures
- Single Mom Finds Success Working at Home as a General Transcriptionist
While working from home may seem like a far-fetched dream, especially when you don’t have a college degree or prior work experience, you can make it a reality by putting in some hard work, dedication, and persistence.
Are you in the same boat? No college degree, but looking for a work-from-home job? What opportunities have you come across that didn’t require a degree? What advice do you have for Sherri? Drop us a note; we’d love to hear from you. If you enjoyed this post — please share it on your favorite social media site.
Originally published April 12, 2013. Content updated February 13, 2019.