One of the hardest parts of having a chronic illness is feeling like you are not as capable emotionally, physically, or mentally as other people. The self-doubt that accompanies those feelings can be crippling at times, and it at some point affects everyone who suffers from some sort of limitation.
When it comes to your career, feeling “less than” can be extremely difficult. You may require different things than your coworkers, you may feel like you can’t keep up, you may worry about your financial contribution to your household, or maybe you are not able to work a normal job. No matter what the reason behind it is, a lot of people who have chronic illnesses have a tough relationship with their career, or lack thereof.
Here at Chronic Illness Entrepreneur, our main goal is to show you that you have options. There are so many ways that you can create a job for yourself working from home that will allow you to feel powerful, contributory, smart, capable, and strong. Just because these aren’t typical jobs does not mean that they are any less potentially lucrative, enjoyable, or worthy of your time. And we know first-hand that it’s absolutely a possibility to work from home and make very good money.
Interested? Here are 25 work-from-home jobs for people with a chronic illness that are legitimate and awesome. Take a look!
25 Awesome Work from Home Jobs for People with a Chronic Illness
If you’re good with numbers, going into bookkeeping or accounting can be one of the most profitable work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. Or anyone, really! It’s flexible, it’s in high demand, and you can work with a variety of different clients or specialize in one particular niche. If this sounds like a good fit for you, there are a few different types of jobs here to consider. You can either be a regular bookkeeper, an uncertified accountant, or a full-blown CPA.
The difference between the three is that, as a bookkeeper, you don’t need to be certified and most people don’t expect you to (although, if you want, you can go through a course to get your Certified National Bookkeeper’s License). A bookkeeper does basic monthly or weekly tasks for businesses or sole proprietors, including using a software like Xero to input income and expenses, organize expenses into the appropriate tax categories, resolve discrepancies, reconcile accounts, forecast future earning potential, and help with budgeting. To learn how to do all of these things, you can take a free online bookkeeping course or check out this Bookkeeping Basics course on Udemy.
If you want to go a step further, you could also choose to be an accountant or a CPA. They do pretty much the same thing, which is preparing taxes, but a CPA can do a lot more (like actually filing the taxes on someone’s behalf) vs. an accountant. Plus, most people specifically search out a CPA when they are looking for someone to do their taxes, so actually going through the process to become a Certified Public Accountant can be well worth it. Requirements for the license vary state to state, but most include: a college degree, passing the CPA Exam, and going through the licensure process.
Another of the popular and potentially lucrative work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness is a video editor. When most people think of video editing as a career, they probably think professional movies and television. While that’s certainly one route you can go down (here’s exactly how to do it), it’s also possible to sell freelance video editing services from home.
Lots of people who run online businesses use video as part of their social media marketing, but few of them actually know how to edit video (and do it well). Plus, video editing is fairly time-consuming, so most business owners like to outsource it instead of stumbling through it themselves for hours on end.
If you already know how to edit video, it’s actually super easy to jump in and start looking for work. Good video editors are (in my experience) hard to come by. I mean, just check out Indeed.com. There’s currently 355 openings for freelance video editing jobs! There’s also a cool site called VideoPixie that just exists to connect people with video editors for hire.
Depending on your current skill level, it might be possible to find smaller jobs and simply gain experience “on the job.” (Check out this article that goes into some of the particular ins and outs of navigating the freelance video editing world.) But if you’re truly starting from scratch, you should probably teach yourself the basics first.
There’s a cool online course that teaches creative video editing called Inside the Edit that’s only $50/month, with immediate access to all materials. If you want to dig into a particular program, there are some courses available on Udemy that teach you Final Cut Pro as well as Adobe Premiere, the two most popular professional video editing software.
Speaking of which, unlike some of the other work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness that we’ll discuss in this post, video editing does require some startup costs. The biggest of which being that you’ll need to have a nice laptop or desktop with a high-resolution screen (I recommend a MacBook Pro), plus at least one of the big-name video editing software — Final Cut Pro ($299) or Adobe Premiere Pro ($19.99/month).
If you’re just getting started out, you can definitely teach yourself the basics on a free program like iMovie, but you’ll need to upgrade when and if you want to start marketing yourself as a professional video editor.
My third recommendation for work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness would be data entry. This is kind of unspecific, but it’s really easy to learn how to do (in fact, you might already know how!) and is a great place to start in the online freelancing world.
Data entry typically involves inputting information in spreadsheets, calculating statistics and analytics, etc.
While data entry is a great job to get your feet wet in the online world, it’s not really a sustainable career, so this should not be your long term goal, as you can only charge a maximum of about $15 per hour for this type of work.
If you’re a big animal lover, starting your own pet sitting business could be one of the best work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. Not only is it super rewarding, it’s also a lot of fun!
The downside to this job would be that, while you can technically run the business from home, you won’t actually be at home while you’re doing the work. So this type of job would be best if your chronic illness is less physically debilitating, as you will probably have to do a lot of traveling, walking, and light physical activity. Plus, the only way to make a full-time income in this business is if you can double up on visits.
So, for example, you might go to multiple people’s houses throughout the day and walk more than one dog, or visit and feed cats at multiple houses. This allows you to create compound income, as you are doing more than one job at one time. Since it’s typical to earn about $5-15 per visit or walk, if you can only do one per day, you will obviously make a very small income (although every little bit counts!). But if you can complete multiple jobs in one day, you could potentially make quite a bit of extra cash.
When you have enough testimonials under your belt from listing your services online, you can break away and claim your own businesses. Service listing sites tend to be lower on average, but commanding your own rates can have its own benefits and depend on the area, you would earn a sustainable income. Some pet sitters charge up to $25 per visit, adding $5 for additional animals. If you are comfortable with overnight care, those visits can range from $50-$100 depending on a number of animals involved, and if they would like additional duties such as cleaning, checking mail, additional walks during the day etc.
Ready to get started? Read more about how to be a freelance pet sitter.
Especially if you already have kids of your own, running a daycare from your house could potentially be one of the best work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. Taking care of children isn’t easy, and it can be particularly hard if you have debilitating symptoms from a chronic illness. But if you are able to be fairly physically active and enjoy spending time with children, opening a daycare could be the perfect option for you!
If you aren’t already an experienced child-rearer, it’d probably be a good idea to start off with getting some babysitting jobs from a site like Care.com. That will let you “practice” for opening your own daycare and get used to the needs and lifestyle of children.
You will also probably want to get certified in First Aid and CPR, which you can do if you sign up for one of the childcare classes offered by Red Cross. Next, you’ll want to follow these steps on how to open up your own daycare, which includes getting licensed by the state to operate a childcare facility.
Customer Service/Call Center
This job could potentially be freelance, or as a regular employee with a company that needs customer service representatives to communicate with clients or customers via chat or on the phone.
There’s actually quite a few places where you can find a job in this field, including:
This is a great option for work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness who are super creative and artsy. If you love knitting, crocheting, making jewelry, or hand-lettering, why not try your luck at opening up an Etsy shop or Shopify site? There are tons of resources out there about how to start and market your own handmade shop, so just do some Googling and get started! One of the best ones is Creative Hive Co., which has a bunch of lessons on how to get your handmade business off the ground.
Just as a head’s up — similar to video editing, starting a handmade business is also a work-from-home job that requires more start-up capital than some of the other ones mentioned on this list. You may have to buy tools, materials, or product in bulk so that you can make multiple items and ship from home. You also might need to invest in packaging materials, listing costs, physical branding, and purchase a membership to a shipping company like Stamps.com. Plus, there’s always the possibility that you may lose money if someone returns an item or you need to replace one that was damaged during shipment.
Similar to data entry, transcription work can be a great way to get your feet wet in the online freelance world. There are even free courses and free resources out there about how to get started as a transcriptionist!
It may seem like kind of a weird job, but quite a few people have a need for this service. You might’ve heard of medical transcription as being one way to make money online, and while that can be a good option, there’s plenty of other niches out there to specialize in!
By offering your services on your own website, or an online marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork, you can snag transcription jobs in a variety of different fields. A ton of online business owners out there need transcription work done. For example, many people use Facebook Lives or webinars as part of their marketing strategies, and then like to get them transcribed so that they can easily turn those recordings into a blog post or newsletter. That’s money in your pocket!
Most transcription work on Fiverr or Upwork goes for about 50¢ per minute, but if you can find reliable jobs around the $1.00 per minute range (price varies depending on your clientele and what your niche is), that’s a $60 per hour job. Not bad! And since the overhead is so minimal, you’ll get to keep a ton of that in profit, potentially making for a very lucrative long-term career if you like doing it.
Virtual assistance is one of the fastest-growing fields in online business, and could be the perfect option if you’re trying to find good work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. The hours are extremely flexible, there are tons of clients out there who need help, and there’s a million free resources on how to get started.
Curious about whether or not virtual assistance is a good fit for you? Take this quiz!
Proofreading, similar to transcription work, can potentially be one of the best work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. The flexible hours, and salary growth potential is great. And it’s fairly easy to get started! There’s little to no start-up costs, especially if you are already professionally trained. If not, Proofread Anywhere has a great free course.
Similar to proofreading, editing can be a really great field to get into. Whereas proofreading is more about the technical aspects of writing (like grammar and spelling), professional editors require more skill and experience, as they dig deep into sentence structure and typically do a lot of rewriting. People who have an important message to tell, but aren’t great natural writers, will often hire professional editors to clean up their words for blog posts, newsletters, speeches, and even books. There’s also a lot of work out there for proofreaders and editors from indie fiction authors.
If you’re ready to get started, you might want to start by checking out this book: How to Become a Freelance Editor (it’s free on Kindle Unlimited!).
If you like proofreading, you could also check out freelance writing if you’re looking for good work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. Similar to proofreading, you need some basic skills to get started, but there aren’t really any start-up costs. And it can be a lot of fun if you’re someone who already loves to write!
There are basically three types of freelance writing that you can pursue. You can be an author, a ghostwriter, or a writer for hire.
Confused? Here’s the difference between the three. As an author, you’d write your own books or novels and either self-publish them or collaborate with a publishing house to market and sell them. You’d get paid depending on how many books were sold (or, with big publishing companies, they’d give you an “advance”).
A ghostwriter is similar to an author, but you get paid upfront (typically by the hour, per number of words, or on a project basis), and your name would not be associated with the end product. Basically, someone pays you to write a book, a blog post, or an article, and uses that content as if they wrote it themselves. This field is becoming extremely popular, so if you’re good with words, you definitely should consider being a ghostwriter.
The third path in freelance writing is becoming a writer for hire. This is typically what people think of when they think of a “freelance writer,” and there are tons of courses and free resources out there about how to write articles in exchange for money. Elna Cain, a successful freelance writer who teaches others how to do it too, has a great 7-step formula for becoming a profitable writer.
Other helpful sites include Writing Revolt, Be a Freelance Writer, and Make a Living Writing. Ready to start your search for paid freelance writing jobs? Check out the jobs board on ProBlogger, learn how to perfect your pitch, search through this list of websites that pays people to write articles, and discover blogs that pay for guest posts.
If freelance writing sounded like one of the better work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness, you might also be interested in professional copywriting as well. Copywriting is similar to freelance writing, but instead of writing books, blog posts, and articles, the focus is on marketing materials like newsletters, Facebook ads, product listings and sales pages.
While it might seem like you can jump easily from freelance writing into copywriting (and you might want to, since typically copywriters get paid a lot more), it’s not necessarily as easy as it sounds. Writing persuasively is more difficult than your typical research-based article and requires a decent amount of marketing knowledge.
It might seem hard to learn, but copywriting is becoming more and more profitable, as tons of online business owners need it for their business. (And, again, it’s hard to learn.)
But if you’re serious about learning how to write for sales, CopyBlogger has a great free Copywriting 101 course that covers a lot of the basics. Once you’ve conquered that, there’s an Advanced Copywriting Strategies for Online Sales course on Udemy that looks really in-depth.
Blogging is probably one of the most well-known work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. It’s what a lot of people start out doing, until they realize that it’s actually kind of hard to monetize a blog! The misconception about making money with blogging is one of the reasons why it’s so important to consider all your options (and it’s why there’s 25 things on this list!).
So, before you jump into blogging, really consider how difficult the process might be, and do a lot of research before you decide to jump in with both feet.
That being said, the four main ways that you can monetize a blog are: affiliate marketing, advertising, sponsorships, and products/services.
Affiliate marketing is when you sell other people’s products by recommending them to your own audience in exchange for a small percentage of the sale. Amazon.com has one of the most popular affiliate programs around, but there are also smaller and more niche programs you can join as well. Just search “[your blog’s topic] affiliate programs” and see what comes up!
Advertising is what people typically think of when you’re talking about making money from a blog, but it can actually be fairly hard to make decent money at it unless you have hundreds of thousands of pageviews each month. It typically comes in the form of sidebar ads, banner ads, and pop-ups that larger companies pay you for (per click or per engagement). Popular programs for this include Google Adsense and BlogHer.
Sponsorships are similar to advertising, but instead of putting a direct ad on your site, they pay you to chat up their product or service for a flat fee. Have you ever seen someone like Kim Kardashian promote a detox tea on her Instagram? Yup, that’s sponsorship. Depending on your audience size, you can make a ton of money doing this. But again, it requires building up a large following before you can even attempt to reach out to sponsors.
Lastly, you can use your blog to sell your own stuff, like products or services (i.e. anything on this list!). If you want to go ahead and start your own freelance writing business or sell crafts, you can do that by starting your own website and promoting your stuff with blog posts. Blog posts are one of the best ways to bring traffic to your site, and once people are on your site, you can entice them into purchasing something.
Sell Your Stuff/Flipping and Reselling
Something that you probably see a lot on “how to make extra cash” lists is selling your stuff on eBay or having a yardsale. But did you know that selling your stuff, flipping, and reselling could actually be work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness?
You can start out small by selling lightly used clothing to consignment shops or listing old furniture on Craigslist, but you’d be surprised how much you can make if you turn it into a full-fledged business. Seen the new Netflix show Girlboss yet? That’s exactly what I’m talking about!
There’s tons of ways you can make money by reselling stuff if you are good at scouting out at thrift stores or are willing to go dumpster diving (even if it’s just in your own trash).
Here’s a bunch of sites and apps to check out if you’re interested in the resale business:
If you already have a full-time or part-time job and are searching out work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness because you are having trouble working, you might not need to transition completely!
A lot of companies will allow you to telecommute, or work some of your hours from the home. Especially if you have a concrete diagnosis, your employer (especially if you work in the corporate world) is required to help you work despite your limitations. Sit down with your boss and discuss possible options for working from home.
If you don’t work in corporate, or this simply isn’t an option for you, there are actually plenty of telecommuting and work from home jobs already set up for you!
Simple admin work and customer service jobs can be done just as effectively from someone’s home, so explore your opportunities. There’s even a National Telecommuting Institute that has special listings for work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. Check it out!
Have an eye for good design? Graphic design is one of the best work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness. If you enjoy working with programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, this could be the perfect thing for you! It’s creative, artistic, and fun. Plus you can set your own hours, work in a variety of different niches, and make pretty decent money, too!
If you already have skills in this industry, check out these 13 steps to starting your own graphic design business. There’s also a really great resource for creative businesses like graphic design called The Futur on YouTube (tutorials and business advice). If you have a good eye but no technical expertise yet, you’ll want to spend a lot of time learning Adobe Illustrator and discovering the intricacies of branding.
Out of all these work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness, web development is probably the most profitable option, with tons of potential for growth. If you know how to code, it’s super easy to make money online selling services like website maintenance, website design, custom hosting, app creation, eCommerce tech, and custom API development.
That being said, while this is easily one of the best work-from-home jobs out there, it’s super hard to learn how to code if you don’t already know how, and especially if technology doesn’t come extremely easily to you.
Know what you’re doing and ready to job hunt? There’s a cool site called Stack Overflow that is a job site just for web developers!
If you’ve dabbled in iPhone photography and take pride in your snazzy Instagram feed…why not explore becoming a professional photographer? It’s a very creative business, and while you’ll have to be on point during the actual photoshoots, you pretty much have free reign over when you edit the photos, which makes for a pretty flexible schedule. And if putting on your “I’m not sick” face for clients isn’t really your thing, explore product or stock photography instead.
While professional photography can be a great choice if you’re looking for work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness, there are a few downsides. One being that, if you do decide that you want to photograph people, you might have trouble moving your body into awkward positions to get those beautiful shots. And you will almost definitely want to stay away from those 8-hour days that wedding photogs take on multiple times each week. Therese Kay opens up about what it’s like to be a photographer with a chronic illness.
Photography is also a fairly expensive job as far as start-up costs go. You definitely need a fancy camera and lens, plus there’s tons of other expensive pieces of equipment and software that you’ll want to purchase as well. Never mind the cost to rent a studio if you want to do portrait work! Plus, if you don’t already have the skills, you’ll probably want to brush up and take a few classes (like Photography for Beginners from Creative Live) and read a lot of tutorials first.
Search Engine Evaluation
Yes, this is actually a thing! There are a few companies out there who actually exist in order to evaluate search engines to make sure that the results popping up are valid. These companies hire people who work from home to check the results for them. This is a super low-paying job, and not even something that I would necessarily consider a “job.” But, if you’re just looking to make some extra cash each month, you could get a few hundred bucks doing this for a few hours each week.
Again, I would hardly call this a job. But if you have free time on your hands (as a lot of people with chronic illnesses do), this is an easy low-stress thing you could do on the side to make a few extra bucks each month. Hey, it’s something, right?
The best places to find reputable survey-taking jobs include: Darwins Data, Market Force, Pinecone Research, and Paid Viewpoint. A few other ones are listed on The Penny Hoarder’s article: The Best Paid Survey Sites to Make Extra Money.
Website Testing and Evaluation
This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with surveys and search engine evaluation, except some of this work does actually require some true skill, such as having a good eye for design and knowing what is good UX (the way a site is laid out for user experience and conversions) and what isn’t.
This job would be best for people who have some type of previous creative experience and have a good eye for design. So if you’ve done photography or website design before, try your hand at website testing!
A few sites that are more “testing” that evaluation include You Eye, and Userlytics, whereas if you’re looking to do more evaluation-type stuff, you can sign up to work with User Testing. Another great option would be to start your own business doing website evaluations! If you’re looking to get into marketing or web design, a great way to get your toes wet would be to offer low-priced website critiques, or even give away a free quick review to get potential clients in the door.
Similar to website evaluation, tutoring is one of those work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness that you can do by joining a service (like Tutor, Tutor Vista, or Tutorzilla) or you can branch out on your own and start your own business offering tutoring services virtually or in your home.
The great thing about tutoring is that you can do it in virtually any area of life. Math, science, english, foreign language, cooking, life skills, babysitting…basically anything you’re good at, you could probably figure out a way to tutor someone else in that area. Consider contacting your local library or private high school to see if there’s a way you can get involved locally as well!
Here’s a great resource about the pros and cons of starting your own tutoring business.
Offering music lessons from your home, similar to tutoring, can be a great option if you’re searching for a work from home job for people with a chronic illness. It’s creative, flexible, and can be so much fun! Plus, private music teachers can often make up to $100 per hour.
If you’re doing it locally or from your home, keep in mind that you will pretty much only be able to offer services during the evenings and on the weekends, as most of your students will be at school in the daytime. But you could try to fill up your schedule by offering lessons virtually or targeting homeschoolers.
We love this article from BandZoogle on 10 Ways to Make More Money with Your Music Lesson Business.
Driving for a rideshare company definitely has its perks. Both Uber and Lyft operate in similar ways. For someone who has a chronic illness, being able to choose when you work is important. With Uber and Lyft, you earn as you drive. If you are not feeling well one day, you can simply leave your app off. But on days when you feel up to it, all you need to do is turn on the app and take a fare.
The downside to both of these options is that you may not always have control where you are going. You may end up far from home if you are not paying attention to your clients, or end up driving someone who adds more stops, so you would have to keep this in mind. And although you earn as you go, both of these companies do take a portion of what your clients pay (but you can earn more during peak hours and it’s possible to earn bonuses).
The DMV has a page where you can learn all about the requirements to be a driver and how to apply. Blogger Ilana Jacqueline also has a helpful blog post about when you should not drive if you have a chronic illness.
Lastly, online freelance sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and Indeed can be great places to find jobs or list your services. Especially with Fiverr and Upwork, it’s very easy to set up a profile detailing your proficiencies and experience, then apply for jobs that fit your expertise. Depending on how good you are, it’s possible to make up to $75 per hour working on these sites, although most of the jobs pay pretty low.
While Upwork is mostly admin and other virtual assistant work (often long-term), Fiverr tends to learn more towards obscure and one-off jobs. The site Real Ways to Earn Money Online details a whole 40 things you can offer on Fiverr!
Still unsure about which of these work from home jobs for people with a chronic illness is right for you? First things first — take our quiz!
Secondly, there are a few resources and organizations out there that exist to help people with chronic illnesses and disabilities find jobs that are a good fit for them. If that sounds like something that could help you, check out Disability Job Exchange, Recruit Disability, and Ability Jobs for more information.