General Question

augustlan's avatar

Can you help me piece together a living?

Asked by augustlan (47376points) September 17th, 2012

As most of you know, I’ve recently taken a drastic pay cut. I love my job managing Fluther, and don’t want to quit doing it… but I can’t live on a stipend alone.

My hope is to find freelance work that I can do from home, while continuing to manage this site. A little bit of this and a little bit of that is fine… my income needn’t all come from one source.

Some of my skills:

> Writing (see the Fluther blog and my personal blog to get an idea of my ‘style’)
> Proofreading (but I have no professional experience as a proofreader)
> Good communication skills (in person, by phone and in writing)
> Management experience in real and virtual environments
> Woodworking
> Decorative painting

I have fibromyalgia, so that limits what kinds of things I can do, and the schedule I can do them on (flexibility is key.) Do you have any recommendations for me?

Thanks in advance, jellies!

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30 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@augustlan Let me chew on this one for a bit. Lot’s of newspapers and such are going virtual. I just spent half a year helping two of my regular clients set up their companies advertising periodical on line.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I have nothing offer, but the best of luck to you!!!

janbb's avatar

I used to have a friend who did free-llance copy editing. Maybe Writer’s Market would give some leads?

gailcalled's avatar

I have had friends who picked up old furniture (must be real wood), stripped them and then decorated with various finishes and styles. I see them in the antique and specialty shops in the high end communities (where shoppers love to spend money,) like Lenox and Stockbride, Ma.

Check these out on Etsy.

These are wonderful choices for children’s rooms, for example.

You can work at home, in a ventilated area, when you choose. Mark can do the stripping if you don’t want to breathe the fumes and sawdust. He should, of course, wear a mask.

I have used stencils, combing, decoupage and free hand designs for old furniture that I inherited in an Adirondack Camp. They lent an folksy look to the rooms, mostly bedrooms.

Buttonstc's avatar

Are you familiar with Donna Dewberry?

She had a passel of kids and a love for decorative painting and it morphed into a whole career path for her.

She took all different kinds of everyday objects (clay pots, glassware, furniture, small wall plaques etc.) and turned them into beautifully decorated pieces.

I believe she also wrote a book (I’ll have to check on that) talking about how she got started. It was all in her spare time between dealing with her kids and other responsibilities.

I only mention her because she started up from next to nothing but just followed her creativity and she now works with Plaid (a major craft co.)

Not that you would necessarily want the same but a lot of her decorated objects and designs might give you an inspirational jumping off point to take it in your own unique direction.

But she also trains demonstrators for craft stores and to refer people to her. But that’s to learn and teach her method. Don’t know if that would be of interest to you.

Bellatrix's avatar

I mentioned this privately but will mention it here in case some of our community have contacts. The need to provide accessible learning materials may provide work opportunities. For instance, transcribing lectures or online audio/visual content. There is also work transcribing interviews for researchers or focus group material.

So if anyone here works for a university, perhaps they could check out what opportunities are available for that sort of work. In the disability support area, as new courses are written, and new material is produced, transcripts have to be created. Plus existing materials may have to be adapted by changing the font used or the format generally.

tinyfaery's avatar

Pet Sitting at your own home.
Other websites might need community managers.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Tinyfaery covered what I was working on saying—other websites definitely need community managers and you’ve got several years of paid, professional experience which puts you ahead of many when looking for those jobs. Plus, it is the kind of position that often allows for telecommuting so you can cast a wider net.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’m sorry I can’t think of anything specific, unless you’d like to sew up some paid plants plaid pants, or create gourmet pancakes. I wish you luck and send you (((hugs)))!

wundayatta's avatar

If you do decide to do transcriptions, I would suggest you get some training. There are standards about how to indicate pauses and sounds and multiple people talking at once. You should also learn about various data collection techniques: interviews, focus groups and the like.

If you like, I could help you figure out a marketing strategy. I can help you figure out who to talk to in order to market your services. I could also help you figure out how to make a good pitch. I get these offers regularly, and I still haven’t recommended anyone to clients. I could tell you what I’m looking for, which might help you market.

gailcalled's avatar

Aside: Old-fashioned line-by-line proofreading is dying (as we can tell from general reading these days). Publishers can no longer afford them. And in order to do it well, you have to be certifiably bonkers…your eye sees every speck on the line, even if it might be a dead earwig rather than a misplaced comma.

Kardamom's avatar

I’m going to put my thinking cap on and I’ll get back to you.

In the meantime, have you considered This

Sorry, couldn’t resist

Maybe you could be a paid Nanny for adults! That is what you do best, my friend : )

JLeslie's avatar

I’m thinking you don’t get paid enough for the work you do here.

You would be a great virtual assistant. I have thought about doing it myself. I don’t know which companies are legitimate. A friend of mine gave me the name of one that does work for realtors a week ago. I need to go back to find the info. Maybe ask a Q here about it. Basic administrative assistant work like planning travel, taking minutes for meetings, scheduling meetings, creating and editing documents for presentations, etc.

ETpro's avatar

I’m very sorry to hear of the job situation. Let’s hope this turns out to be a blessing in disguise. I can probably hook you up with clients of mine who need wordsmithing done on their website content. Of recent, Google and Bing have become much more dismissive of duplicate content. Lots of Web stores just used product descriptions verbatim from the manufacturer of their goods—with permission usually, but still it’s duplicate content. And the product manufacturer is almost always going to rank above small retailers moving that manufacturer’s wares on their website. So there’s a real call for this service now. And if you set up to do it, there are numerous web developers who could forward you potential customers.

Sunny2's avatar

Looks like there are some possible suggestions here. I can only wish you well and good luck.
2nd thought: Many large organizations have in-house newspapers or monthly publications of some kind.

augustlan's avatar

Thanks for the tips, jellies. Keep ‘em coming if you’ve got more!

@ETpro I’d be very interested in writing web copy. Please keep me in mind if it comes up.

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geeky_mama's avatar


I have two friends with work-from-home jobs, and a few who work several very flexible jobs.
One does remote training sessions/life-coaching, the other works for an Insurance company (I think in her case it’s Aetna).

Here is one place to look for leads on legitimate work-from-home jobs.

Many call-centers now have workers who are based at home. Try large insurance companies, large corporations and even travel agencies (Carlson Wagonlit).
When searching their job portals try looking with the key word: Front Line support—these are the folks that just need to get the information down accurately and route the issue to the correct internal team for resolution) and online businesses (i.e. Amazon, 1–800 Flowers). needs writers AND Community experts/leaders.

Also, from experience with a friend who pieces together several part-time jobs:
She’s found an evening job where a volunteering gig ended up earning her a paying job—she works Mon. & Wed. for just 4 hours each evening. She tutors adult learners (mainly ESL, some GED, some for their Citizenship test) for a nearby school district’s adult learner’s program.
She does some sewing for local film-makers (she’s a talented seamstress) who need costumes.
The same friend also recently took another part-time job tutoring at local chain (can’t remember if it was Sylvan or another place)..
And lastly if tutoring sounds interesting/like a job you’d like to do, but you don’t want to go into a center, there is an online tutoring job possibility here .

Wishing you improved earning opportunities that work with your schedule and health!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Okay, I thought of something: I will pay you to move here and whip me on a daily basis. Hours would be mostly flexible, so long as it’s between 8AM and 3PM. All weekends off.

anartist's avatar

A lot of insurance companies are outsourcing some claims processing work?
crafts shows and festivals? sell crafts on etsy?
learn to reverse-paint on glass and market to antique restorers?
Try your hand at editing/proofreading [buy Chicago Manual of Style and even pay for the one with the online assistance.
Also for writing work join dcpubs and similar groups to get leads and help with questions.about style, etc.

linguaphile's avatar

There are writing companies out there—they do press releases, write grants, write the text for brochures and ads. A friend of mine owns one of those types of companies, but isn’t hiring. She says there are companies out there like hers- I’ll ask her for more information.

I wish I could add something different to this thread, but everyone has really good ideas.

I also wish I was running something and could hire you, with your excellent work ethic and wonderful people skills!!! Sending 1000 hugs your way—

kimchi's avatar

Ooh! I know. Maybe you can work as one of the newspaper commitee in The Seattle Times or something. You can write a section about news. It’s good since you’ve experienced Sandy, you can write about that. Or perhaps you can make a blog. Who knows? It might get famous one day. Best regards!

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gailcalled's avatar

^^^OP lives in W. Va., a long way from Seattle.

Jeruba's avatar

Have you looked into hobbyists’ magazines for your craft skills? They might well use freelancers for editing and rewrites of articles by contributors who are subject-matter experts but not skilled writers.

augustlan's avatar

Ooh, I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for the idea!

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
augustlan's avatar

Update: I am currently piecing together a living, thanks to jellies!

Dutchess_III's avatar

:D <<< you can’t mod that!

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