Those with fluency in more than one language translate audio files or documents, not just word for word but often with cultural differences in mind. "Companies can access home-based translators with hard-to-find language skills without being held back by geographic location," says Fell.
Foster's site lists 15 companies that seek home-based translators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09, which groups translators and interpreters, notes a projected employment increase of 24 percent over the 2006-to-2016 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The national mean hourly wage for translators and interpreters was $20.74, with a mean annual wage of $43,130 as of May 2008, according to estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some industries pay significantly higher, with the highest paying jobs generally in the management, scientific and technical consulting services areas, in which the mean hourly wage was $56.50 and the annual mean wage was $117,530.
Information technology is the sector, Durst says, where most of the home-based hiring is being done. Terri Orlowski, a virtual assistant and Web developer based in Ledyard, Conn., offers services such as custom Web site design, template modification and redesigns, code updates, hosting, and usability reviews. She previously held administrative positions in a variety of industries, and makes a higher per-hour rate now. The job is in high demand. Of the more than 15,000 new monthly work-from-home job postings on Odesk.com, Web developers are in the greatest demand, says spokeswoman Elizabeth Gordon. A list of companies that post at-home tech jobs is available at ratracerebellion.com.
Call center representative
When you phone to order something from a catalog or infomercial, a big office with rows of cubicles may come to mind. But the person on the other end of the line is likely to be sitting in a home office. "It's a huge and growing industry," says Durst of companies that hire independent contractors to take calls from home. She says the "home-shore movement" started in response to complaints about the many companies that looked offshore for workers. While some Web sites, such as Alpineaccess.com, actually hire representatives, most use subcontractors. Just be aware that the pay may be by the minute rather than by the hour, so you may not be paid for time you spend waiting by the phone. A list of companies that hire call center reps can be found at Homewiththekids.com.
Tech support specialist
Call centers also hire technical support specialists to work remotely. Kate Lister, co-author of "Undress for Success: The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home," names it as one of her top three "best-bet work-at-home jobs." And according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, jobs for computer support specialists (on-site and remote combined) were expected to increase by 13 percent from 2006 to 2016 -- much faster than the average for all occupations -- with 71,000 new jobs.
Scams abound in the travel industry -- particularly organizations that charge for information on how to break into the field. But operating a home-based travel agency can be an excellent business, says Tom Ogg of the Home Based Travel Agent Information Center. "Real home-based travel agents have experienced robust growth over the last decade, and there are probably around 35,000 of them and growing." A growing (although small) number of people earn $100,000 or more a year, he says. "A solid business concept and plan focused on profitability will take you a long way to achieving your monetary goals." There's also the joy of helping others enjoy their leisure time.