Bedridden and earning a living? Yes, it’s possible!

Bree Goldstein London

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a salon experiencing one of the most wonderful manicures I’ve had in a long time. It was a splurge, and I deserved it. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately. Scaling back one business to launch another. Dropping my full time employees’ hours to part time and actively helping them find a new full time position. Deciding to cut back my own income from moderate. It’s been stressful, and not having friends in a similar situation or who have been through something similar, I felt alone in the process.

However, I handled myself with grace (at least I think I did for the most part). Client services haven’t skipped a beat, and we’re still achieving excellent results. I called leaders from other local public relations and marketing agencies that my team was interested in, described the situation and recommended my employee as a possible new-hire for them. I gave the team members two weeks notice before reducing their hours and offered them a guaranteed minimum number of part-time hours through the next three months with a possibility to extend the new agreement. Each person whom I let go, received a top notch job offer. So, I think I’ve been fairly successful at scaling back, despite the anxiety, sadness (planning to shutter my doors to new clients isn’t wasn’t in my plan a year ago), and embarrassment (calling my peers – and competitors, explaining that I’m scaling back to pursue a dream wasn’t easy).

Through this process, and the months leading up to it, my nails took a beating. My cuticles looked atrocious, my nail beds were bleeding and my nails were barely long enough to file. I was due for an hour of pampering.

My appointment was on a hot Wednesday evening, shortly before my team’s last last soccer game of the season. As I entered the salon, I was greeted by a familiar face, a smile and a cup of cold, refreshing water. 

My manicurist and I chatted while she removed my old gel nail polish and applied the new.

We talked about her family, her daughter and her pregnancy. She mentioned that she was on bed rest for more than half of the grueling nine-months and she’d planned to start a blog. Her sister was going to edit it for her, and she would write every day. However, she couldn’t figure out how to set it up, so she never ended up starting it.

As I reflect on that conversation, it makes me think about the various opportunities a pregnant woman can pursue while splayed on her back. 

Below, I’ve outlined a few work-from-bed/ home jobs.

These take some initiative, but they’re all possible. One way to test your idea, before you invest in starting it, is to post your services on CraigsList and see if anyone contacts you. Similarly, you can run a local ad-campaign on Facebook or LinkedIn (for $20) to see if anyone clicks your ad. If they don’t you can take that as a sign that you should try a different idea. If your ad receives X (a certain number of clicks that you should determine ahead of time) number of clicks, then you have your green light to get started.

You’ll find that I’ve also noted standard rates. This may help guide you in setting your prices so you can be competitive within your industry, and show you what the competition is charging (at least in Orlando, Florida). 

The first five ideas that come to mind take special skills:

Graphic designer

With the advent of Fiverr and various crowdsourcing websites, it’s harder to get established in this industry. My graphic designer friends started working for nearly free to build a portfolio, then they began charging. Industry standard hourly rates are $75 and projects vary.

You need to be creative, have a “good eye” for design, and both access to and knowledge about how to use Photoshop, Illustrator or similar software.

Social media manager

Social media management can be tricky. To be an effective social media manager, you need to understand the differences of each platform, which platforms to use for which type of client, how to use them to meet client goals, and how to respond to delicate posts. Independent contractor rates vary widely. I’ve seen everything from $99 to $1,200+ per month for daily posts on multiple platforms.

working from bed


You need to be fluent in at least two languages. For example, anyone can use Google Translate to translate a paragraph, however the program doesn’t always catch nuances in the language. You need to be able to converse verbally and in written form fluently, like a native speaker, to provide high quality, better-than-Google services.

I’ve never needed to hire a translator, so my knowledge on industry rates is limited. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, translators earn anywhere from $10.69 to $38.78 per hour. I am so bold as to presume that some also charge by the project, or even word, as opposed to by the hour.

These ideas may take more skills than you currently have. For instance, I would love to be a translator, (mostly because it means I would be fluent in more than one language) but the time I would spend learning a second language could be better spent doing something else. As you think about what you want to do while on bed rest, consider the amount of ramp-up time it will take you to get set-up.

There are other opportunities that don’t require special skill sets. Some may require a pleasant phone voice, or polite customer service, but these aren’t skills you’d learn in a class. Here are a few positions that you can start from home and do while on bed rest.

Appointment setter / answering service

Whether you’re making outbound calls or answering inbound inquiries, you may be the front line answering service for a company that desperately needs help but can’t find the right person, or doesn’t have space in their office to accommodate another employee.

You might be working for the regions best salesperson who needs appointments, or a nonprofit leader that can’t handle his/her busy schedule and needs some assistance.

Virtual assistant

As a virtual assistant, you may become the secret weapon that keeps someone from losing his/her mind. You schedule restaurant reservations, research venues for events, confirm that his/her laundry is ready to be picked up, complete new-client digital paperwork over the phone, send flowers for his/her partner’s birthday, and more. Without you, your boss’ world might just fall apart.

Telephone sales

One of my strategic partners fed my company so many leads, all we had to do was follow-up with them. It was ideal. Except, we didn’t have anyone to call them, nurture the relationship and ultimately close the sale. We ran lean, and passed the savings on to our clients, so we each worked to the max. As a result, many of the leads only had 2 touch-points, one by email and a second by phone. Had we had an outside telephone salesperson, we could have rocked the leads and doubled or tripled the company in size. Finding the right person to tackle the telephone wasn’t on the top of my priority list, since I knew the plan was to scale back, so I passed the leads on to a friend in the industry who has since closed a 6-figure contract with at least one of them.

If you’re a good sales person, and you’re on bed rest, telephone sales may be a great fit. Whether you’re looking for base + commission, draw against commission, or commission only there are a lot of companies looking for the Supreme Queen of Telephone Sales.


Are you artsy, crafty or a hobbyist? If so, you may have future selling your goods online. Whether you set up your own online store (in which case you’ll face similar issues to setting up a blog) or your use a website like Etsy, there are lots of ways to sell all sorts of crafts online.

Wether your make jewelry, decorate picture frames or restore remote control cars, there are sites that will let you sell your products for a percentage of the sale.

Online researcher

If you love learning, you might enjoy online research. Depending on your local library, you might be able to access their materials remotely; otherwise there is always good ol’ Google and YouTube – where you can learn (almost) anything.

An effective researcher sifts through information and pull out the most relevant (and obscure) details. They find golden nuggets of data, supporting information and primary sources. They can discern between credible and deceptive or inaccurate sources. They ask questions and dig deeper to provide a well-rounded report, without taking a task at face-value.

Online freelancer

If you want to try your hand at working from home and don’t know how to get started, you can always sign up to be a freelancer online. This may be quicker than finding clients, since people who use these websites are already looking for someone to perform a job. Most have a price in mind, and some may be negotiable. They are also fairly comfortable hiring someone they’ve never met and probably never will. On the flip side, these sites work to ensure the providers (you) get paid.

A few popular outsourcer websites are: Fiverr, Elance, iWriter, Upwork (formerly Odesk)

working from bed

Data entry

So often, individuals and organizations have data that needs to be entered into a different program. You may be able to remotely access their server to access their CRM or other software, or you may be able to use an online program (such as Google Docs) or Excel.

Necessary qualities include accuracy and speed. Most projects have a firm ending, and your boss will want to know when the project will be finished (approximately). She or he will also want to know that your work is flawless. A simple typo may mess up an entire section of information.

I once had an intern who entered email addresses into a spreadsheet to be uploaded in to our email blaster. There were so many typos that I had to manually fix more than 50 emails, which meant I had to find the correct business card from more than 3,000 cards and enter it by hand. Why didn’t the intern redo it? I couldn’t trust her to do it without mistakes, and double, triple checking her work would have taken longer and been less efficient than for me to handle the emails directly. 

Whenever you start working from home, or pick a home-based-business, watch our for scams!

Remember friends, bed rest doesn’t have to mean, stop working, stop earning a living, close your business. It can mean, Pivot! it can mean, it’s time to become a pregtrepreneur!