There are lots of sites promising legitimate work from home jobs with no startup fees. But, after combing through the suggestions, I saw a lot of bogus jobs.
It’s not a real work from home job if you have to leave your house. And, having to spend hundreds of dollars on inventory sure sounds like a startup fee to me.
Being able to work from home is one of my favorite parts of my job, so I understand why you’re searching right now. There’s the flexibility of being able to make extra money on your own time, or while you’re staying home with your kids.
This article will help you find real work from home jobs that don’t require any money upfront. Plus, you’ll learn how to avoid work-from-home scams.
8 Legitimate Work From Home Jobs with No Startup Fees
1. Run Facebook ads
Running Facebook ads means creating and managing digital marketing campaigns for small business owners, both online and brick-and-mortar. Facebook ads work so well for these businesses because it’s a low-cost way to run a highly targeted ad campaign.
You’ve probably come across a Facebook ad that seems to know you. It’s relevant to your interests or maybe you’ve heard a friend talk about this specific product or business. That’s the work of a Facebook ads manager!
Unless it’s a large company, most Facebook ads managers are freelancers who work from home, and likely don’t have a background in marketing or advertising.
The skills you need to become a Facebook ads manager are all things you can find online in tutorials and videos. I highly recommend Laptop Empires as a source of information on how to start running Facebook ads. Here are a few of my favorite articles:
- Your 7-Step Facebook Ad Manager Training Guide
- The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads for Entrepreneurs
- Facebook Local Awareness Ads
Running Facebook ads is one of our top picks for legitimate work from home jobs with no startup fees because you can realistically earn $1,000-$1,500/month per client. Most ad managers spend 2-3 hours a week on each of their clients after they’ve set up a campaign.
Now, I said you can learn how to run Facebook ads on your own – and you 100% can – but if you want to streamline the process and get the support of trained experts, check out the Facebook Side Hustle Course.
2. Work as a freelance writer
Freelance writers contract out their writing services for all different kinds of businesses and professionals. I’ve been working as a freelance writer and editor for almost five years now, and here’s a shortlist of the kinds of writing I’ve done:
- Articles for bloggers
- Sales copy for a couple of high-end online jewelry stores
- Ghostwriting for a best-selling author
- Emails for CEO who said, “I hate writing emails, can you do it?”
That’s a wide range of clients and projects, and most freelance writers test out different kinds when they get started. You get to see what you enjoy doing, what you’re naturally good at, etc.
In the beginning, it’s all about gaining writing experience and identifying what topics you’re best suited for writing about. Experience and knowledge are what higher-paying clients want, and that’s when you can focus on a niche and really start to grow your business.
Now that I’ve established myself, I’ve been able to raise my rates and get a little pickier about who I work with. My business costs are pretty minimal, and I make a full-time income working from home.
Freelancers are paid differently depending on the job. You could be paid per hour, per word, or per project. Writers who are paid by the article can earn anywhere from $50-$1,000/article depending on their experience and their clients.
If you to work from home as a freelance writer, here’s what I recommend doing next:
- Read this article I wrote: How to Become a Freelance Writer | The Ultimate Guide for 2020.
- Check out Fiverr – it’s a freelance marketplace where you can list your services and find your first client. You can learn more about it in Everything You Need to Know About How to Make Money on Fiverr.
- And if you want to jumpstart your writing career, consider the course Write Your Way to $1K by Elna Cain. Elna is a well-known writer, who’s built an incredibly successful online career, and her course teaches you how to build a freelance writing business.
You’ll notice that several of the legitimate work from home jobs with no startup fees that are on this list are for freelancing. That’s because you can leverage skills you already have to start working from home.
3. Become a copy editor or proofreader
All of those freelance writers and their clients need to make sure their content is polished and ready for publication. That’s exactly what copy editors and proofreaders do. They’re similar jobs, but here’s the difference:
- Proofreaders: They check for errors spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. They are usually the last set of eyes on something before it’s published.
- Copy editors: They may do proofreading work, but they also check for style, tone, and flow. They may rewrite sections of text.
Both of these work from home jobs require attention to detail, but they pay fairly well – freelance proofreaders can make $15-$20/hour, and copy editors can make $30-$50/hour.
Like freelance writing, Fiverr is a great place to start finding clients.
You can also reach out to bloggers or website owners if you see errors in their writing. Write an email that points out the mistake, and see if they’re in the market for your services. I’ve done this in the past for both writing and copy editing jobs, and it’s worked. Make sure you’re familiar with their content and explain what you’re bringing to the table.
This free Proofread Anywhere Workshop will help you decide if proofreading is a good fit for you and how to start appealing to clients.
4. Work from home as a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants, or VAs, help business owners keep up with all kinds of routine work that doesn’t have to be handled by the business owner themself. These are things like:
- Billing and invoicing
- Social media management
- Email inbox management
- Scheduling appointments
- Managing travel arrangements
- Organizing calendars
- Data entry
- Online file storage
You might do all or just a few of those jobs – it depends on the client. Entry-level virtual assistants can earn $15/hour with experienced VAs earning $25-$50/hour. You can earn on the higher end for more valuable tasks like knowing how to run Facebook ads, for example.
This is a great work from home job with no startup fees because most of the skills you need are easy to learn on your own. Some of the most important ones are knowing how to use software like Google Docs, Excel, WordPress, Quickbooks, and project management tools like Asana or Trello.
Fancy Hands is a popular online platform where virtual assistants can get connected with clients. You can learn more about the job and how to get started in How to Become a Virtual Assistant in 2020 (Best Courses Included).
5. Resell on eBay
We have a reader who’s earned over $85,000 in one year selling things on eBay, and she was only working 15-20 hours a week. She finds things from garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores and then lists them for sale on eBay.
You can find things for cheap, and selling them on eBay lets you reach a wide market of buyers for vintage, unique, and collectible items. There are also eBay sellers who do really well reselling gently used clothes, sporting goods, video games, and home goods.
Successful eBay sellers get their start by selling things they already have at home. This lets you get started with no startup fees. You can test out this work from home job to see if you like it before dumping any money in your business.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out How to Sell on eBay (and Actually be Successful). Here are a few of the things you’ll learn in that article:
- How to research and write listings
- How eBay’s algorithm works
- What sells well on eBay
- How to avoid listing fees
- How to keep your ratings high
6. Become an online tutor
Online tutoring can mean a few different things these days – from helping young Chinese students learn English to offering ACT and SAT test prep.
If kids are falling behind in a school subject or need a competitive edge, parents are willing to pay good money to help their kids out.
Like many of these other work from home ideas, you’re leveraging your knowledge and experience to find work. Maybe you’re amazing with math or you speak a foreign language fluently. If you’re able to make that knowledge easy-to-understand, then tutoring could be a really good fit for you.
Here are a few ways you can make money as a tutor:
Teach English online with VIPKid
VIPKid is a platform that connects native English speakers with kids in China who are learning English. Parents select times for their kids to be tutored, and VIPKid tutors fill time slots and teach in 25-minute lessons.
VIPKid tutors make $14-$22/hour, and you don’t need a degree in teaching or English to sign up. But you do need at least a bachelor’s degree and some experience working with kids. That can include babysitting, raising your own kids, working at a summer camp, etc.
Tutor on Wyzant
Wyzant offers one-on-one tutoring in hundreds of different subjects, and you can meet online or in-person. Tutors on Wyzant are certified teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, industry professionals, etc.
While there aren’t specific requirements, you will need to fill out an application that asks about you to prove your expertise. This might be your educational background, job titles, certifications, licenses, awards, etc. Those qualifications show up on your profile so you can prove your value to potential students.
Wyzant tutors can earn around $30-$60/hour, and Wyzant takes a 25% commission.
Reach out to parents and students in your local network
An alternative to using online platforms to find work is to put your name out in your community. Reach out to your friends with kids, send your contact information to local school districts, list your services on local boards like NextDoor or Craigslist.
Make sure you write a good description of your services and explain how you can help. If you’re able to offer high-level tutoring for college test prep, maybe even helping kids write college applications, you can earn $50-$100 depending on the market.
7. Work from home in customer service
You probably know that companies outsource their customer service teams. There was a trend a few years ago to outsource to overseas call centers, but the trend is reversing because customers prefer U.S. based customer service reps.
There are now more and more big companies outsourcing to remote, contract-based positions in the U.S. These jobs involve answering questions, handling complaints, processing orders, etc.
I did a quick search, and here are a few companies that are currently hiring:
- Williams Sonoma
- UnitedHealth Group
- GE Appliances
You can earn $11-$19/hour for part-time work or $27,000-$45,000/year for full-time work.
There are no startup fees with this work from home job, and many jobs only require a high school diploma or GED. You’ll need to be patient, know the company well, have excellent communication skills, and be compassionate.
8. Become a pet sitter or board dogs
Anyone who has a pet will tell you that one of the hardest parts of going out of town is finding a trustworthy person to take care of your animals while you’re away. It’s like finding someone to watch your kid!
Rover is an online marketplace of pet sitters and dog walkers, and pet owners specify the kind of service (boarding is where you watch animals in your house, pet sitting is going to their house) they need, their location, animal size, and dates.
What you can earn varies by area, but most pet sitters where I live (St. Louis, MO) charge $35-$50/night for boarding and pet sitting. There’s no fee to list your services on Rover, but they charge a 30% service fee per booking.
This article on Rover explains how to sign up for the site and answers FAQs.
Can you really make money stuffing envelopes at home?
You may have seen ads online claiming that you can easily make up to $500 to $3,000 a week stuffing envelopes. You contact the company, you have to register or request a starter kit, and you need to give them your credit card number.
This is a common scam, and the Federal Trade Commission warns consumers about this scam.
Stuffing envelopes is something that pops up when you search legitimate work from home jobs with no startup fees, but there’s nothing legit about it.
The fake company claims it’s “just a small fee” to start working, but you’re never sent the starter kit or envelopes to stuff. They’ll tell you to extend this “opportunity” to your friends and family, which is the only way you get paid.
The final word on work from home jobs with no startup fees
Being able to work from home is an awesome opportunity for stay-at-home parents and side hustlers.
But whatever you do, watch out for scams. Envelope stuffing isn’t the only one out there. It might be a scam if it sounds too good to be true or requires a big upfront investment (think multilevel marketing). A quick search on the FTC’s website will let you know if those questionable jobs are legitimate or scams.
But there are some really legitimate options that require zero money upfront. Think about the skills you already have and what you’re passionate about doing. There courses that streamline the information and share best practices from people who are extremely good at these jobs. But, you can learn a lot of this stuff on your own if you’re willing to put in the time.