If working from the comfort of your own home sounds appealing, consider telephone answering. You can start your own freelance answering service, or you can work for an existing answering service. Many legal and medical professionals prefer to have all of their client calls answered by a live operator rather than a machine. You can often find work at any hour of the day, and modern technology routes calls directly to your home.
Install a separate land phone line in your home to take calls. Keep the answering service phone line separate from your home phone line, and don't use the answering service phone line for any activity other than taking calls. Check on the telephone line requirements for the job. Consider installing a multi-line phone or professional switchboard if you work as a freelancer with your own clientele so you can accept calls on multiple lines. Most companies that hire home-based receptionists prefer that you get a basic single line phone with no extra calling features.
Update your resume to include any past experience you may have had working on the telephone or as a receptionist. It may be helpful to find local work as a receptionist for a period of at least six months if you have no previous experience.
Demonstrate your reliability and professionalism in your resume and cover letter. Search traditional job listings in the newspaper and on websites that specialize in home-based employment opportunities. Look for answering service companies that offer positions to telecommuting employees. Send in your application for any open positions.
Arrange your home office to be a professional, quiet space where you will take calls. Verify that your telephone line is working and that your telephone equipment is comfortable and functional. Invest in a telephone headset to keep your hands free for recording messages on a pad of paper or on the computer during each call. Make sure your home office is in an area that can be closed off from noise or activities within your house. Remember that your callers should never hear the sound of dogs barking or screaming children when they are calling their doctor or dentist's telephone number.