As someone who has been living with migraine for about 30 years, I can tell that I’ve tried every treatment in the book. From prophylactics to triptans and everything in between, you name it, I’ve tried it.
Plant-based foods? Check.
Go to bed early? Check.
Essential Oils? Check.
Vitamin combos like magnesium and b2? Check.
For those of us who suffer from chronic migraine, the ability to work from home is much more ideal than leaving work early, or feeling the pain and internal guilt of struggling with a functioning migraine.
Good jobs for migraine sufferers and people who experience chronic pain are actually on the rise. But, the reality is, not all employers understand migraine triggers or how to have a migraine friendly work environment.
For the past 18 years, I’ve found some success in treating my acute episodes with Maxalt. I get between 12 and 16 migraines a month. Many times, on days when I don’t have a migraine, I still take Excedren for a “regular” headache.
I’m lucky if I have 5 headache free days a month.
So how does a person work a normal job with so many migraines?
Two words: We don’t.
I’m living proof that it is possible to earn a living and do it on your own terms, and I’m going to teach you exactly how to do just that in this article.
Jobs for Chronic Migraine Sufferers are on the Rise
I spent the first 10 years of my career working in a corporate job. I was younger then, and I toughed it out because at the time, there were no blogs about migraine, not many publicized research studies, the only preventative was an off label like memantine (and that particular drug wasn’t helpful for me at all.)
People were not yet speaking candidly about migraine triggers, migraine remedies, or even migraines and work disability.
Fast forward to today, after seeing countless neurologists, doing countess diagnostic tests, and taking countless different migraine drugs, I will tell you that no matter how good your HR department is, working at a traditional 9-5 is not the best option for people with migraine, especially women, who suffer from chronic migraine or any other chronic condition such as fibromyalgia.
Making a living while living with migraine IS possible though, and in this article, I’m sharing 5 different ways migraine sufferers can earn money from home. Legitimately. None of this “do a survey” bullshit.
I have been working from home for the last 14 years, and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to prioritize, get things done with countless interruptions (i.e.: motherhood), and become more efficient so that when a migraine strikes, I have the ability to take the time I need to lay down.
Online jobs, not just for migraine sufferers but in general have been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years, and most especially now due to the pandemic.
Top Work from Home Jobs for People with Migraine
It’s no secret…working from home can seem like a luxury. After all, once you have children, you know the responsibility of family increases astronomically.
Whether you have already experienced how difficult it is to work outside the home with migraine (and kids!), or you’ve been thinking about a critical pivot so that you can finally have the flexibility you need to live this kind of lifestyle, my first piece of advice is don’t get stuck in comparisonville wondering why others make it seem so easy when your own wallet is actually empty.
The first thing you need to come to terms with is this:
If you want to earn a living from home with migraine, there are only two choices.
1. Work for a company that hires remotely, or
2. Start your own business
Every article on the internet lately is damning because people are giving you advice about something they are not qualified to give advice about.
Don’t follow advice from someone about how to start a blog when the only blog they have ever started was their own. More on that in a minute, but first…
Here’s the real deal: Remote work can be found rather easily if you have a marketable skill.
That's the key word (marketable skill) that is going to differentiate the way you go about making money by working from home.
In other words, if you are educated, if you’ve already worked for several years, or if you have knowledge about a specific topic that is unique, then you already have a marketable skill.
Don’t get stuck in a box though.
Do you know how to create a killer garden and homestead by canning what you grow? That's marketable.
Do you love to work with beads and make jewelry? That's marketable.
Do you like to mix household ingredients and essential oils to make soap? That too, is marketable.
You don’t have to have a standard education, you just have to know how to do something that you can either sell or teach others how to do.
If you do have a standard education, then jobs like content writers, copy editors, marketing strategists, SEO specialists, medical billers, bookkeepers, customer support representatives, and virtual assistants are among those that are hired for most often in a remote capacity by large companies, and It’s no secret that you can find most of these kinds of jobs on Indeed or flexjobs.com.
But if you don’t have interest in working for a corporation, or, you KNOW you have a unique, creative, marketable skill to create something you can sell, then what you’re really searching for in work from home ideas for migraine sufferers, is:
What kind of business can I start from my home?
The answer is, it depends on what your passion is.
Starting a home-based creative business has been one of the most rewarding journeys that I have ever taken in my entire life. It’s allowed me the freedom to be a more present mother and wife, the flexibility to work on my own schedule as I manage the migraines, as well as pay the bills.
Anybody can do this…YOU can do this, but it’s important to follow advice from those who have done it before and not some random YouTuber who promises that you can make $700 an hour by following some shady tactic or some dumb Facebook advertisement suggesting you to invest in their “system”.
Starting a Home-Based Creative Business for People with Migraines
This is not a high-level, out of reach kind of article. It’s not an “order this expensive thing and you’ll be good” type of advice.
That’s nonsense. I promise to help you get where you’re going.
The reality is, tricks and hacks are not long term solutions at all.
All those photos you see on Instagram of people working from home with a perfect cup of latte, a clean and organized desk, and a gorgeous outfit…those are not reality. In fact, in my experience, most of the people who post beautiful photography are not actually earning any money at all.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my kitchen, wearing pajama pants with a purring cat on my lap, and hair that has relied on dry shampoo for one too many days.
So yeah, the non-instagrammable work from home life is reality, but reality is what pays the bills.
The first and most important thing you need to know is that everyone starts somewhere, and starting a business from your home does not happen overnight.
The second most important thing to know is that starting a home-based business is actually not that much different from starting a regular business. Sure, you don’t have the overhead of paying for an office building or employees, and you certainly don’t have to go to the bank and take out a loan of $10,000 or more to start your business, but you do have to invest in yourself as well as the tools necessary to get your from point A to point B.
Starting a business is not free.
Starting a blog is not free.
If you want to start any kind of home-based creative business, you do have to create a website or start your shop on Etsy or Shopify, and it’s not free.
If someone told you that you can create a free blog, then they have never made any money from their website.
I’m not talking about creating a website where you document your life, I’m talking about starting a website or a blog that actually puts money in your wallet!
You can expect to spend around $100 or less if you want to DIY it.
Keep in mind that most small businesses pay upwards of $5,000 to a creative agency to get a beautiful website, so a hundred bucks is nothing.
Now I’m using the word blog more generally, because it doesn’t really matter whether you want to start an online fashion boutique or an Etsy Shop to sell your own creations, either way, starting a business still requires a small investment of both time and dollars.
With that in mind, here is my short-list of the most lucrative work from home job ideas for those who suffer from migraine, even if you have no experience.
Top Work from Home Jobs for People Who Have Migraines
Start a Blog
Starting a blog is very exciting because you have an opportunity to write about whatever your heart desires and get paid for it.
It’s very rewarding, but it’s important to remember that starting a blog is like starting a business, it takes work and it doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s important to keep your expectations in check if you go this route. Remember, people don’t care what you ate for breakfast, so that type of blogging isn’t going to pay the bills.
Start a Social Media Marketing Business
If you are good at using social media for business and you want to provide this as a service to other businesses, then you can start your own social media marketing business.
Depending upon which social channel you use, you can do everything from running Facebook Ads to managing Pinterest Accounts. If you don’t want to create your own website to offer these services, you can always get started by offering your services through a company like Upwork.
Start an Etsy Shop
If you love to create, you can sell your creations on Etsy. Starting an Etsy Shop is relatively simple and you could be up and running within hours, not days.
With Etsy, you can sell anything that you make, physical products or digital products.
Whether you want to sell tea, jewelry or custom pillows, Shopify comes complete with all the integrations you need to make that happen from start to finish. It’s one of the only ecommerce systems that is an all-in-one solution for selling anything online.
Start a Service-Based Work from Home Business
If you have a particular type of knowledge, whether it’s in a professional industry such as law or accounting, or even if you’re a musician, you can provide services for those who are looking for that type of service and do so from your home.
Getting started with a service based business online is as simple as starting a blog. The first thing to do is look up your name, or your intended business name as a URL.
These are the five different business models that will make you the most money over the long-term.
But what about the nitty gritty of actually growing your business?
What if you only have 200 followers and someone else you know has thousands, or even millions.
Maybe you’ve heard you can make money blogging but you aren’t quite sure how that works or where to start.
Maybe you have a product you’re trying to sell, or knowledge about a specific topic that you’re tying to monetize, yet nobody is opening up their wallet to buy.
The Journey toward a Successful Online Business
In order to stay connected, stay efficient, and stay resilient beyond the four walls your living in right now, lets talk about what you can do TODAY to start making progress toward your goal of working from home:
Wake up at a consistent time
It’s so easy to get lost in migraine mode, especially right now when you are being told to stay home.
In order to define what success looks like for an at-home entrepreneur who suffers from migraines, you’ve got to get into a consistent rhythm that works for your schedule. Only you know what your schedule is.
It’s so highly dependent upon what stage of life you’re in. Whether you have kids, what age they are, and your current work situation.
Pull out a journal and outline what an ideal schedule looks like for you. List what you want to accomplish in your day. From time for exercise, time for work, to time for family, before you can truly feel accomplished and happy, you need to define what those goals looks like.
Be intentional about how your fuel your body
I’m not saying everyone needs to start juicing, here, but lets get real. Binging on cheetos and chocolate peanut butter ice cream is not going to make you feel better. In fact for me, junk food brings on the migraine most of the time.
It’s a good time to plan your grocery list carefully, and be hyper-aware of what you’re eating and serving your family. It may sound cliche, but you are what you eat, and so are your children.
You have the ability to make conscious decisions about what you eat and what you feed your family, so if you want to ensure your kids aren’t bouncing off the walls, then pay close attention to what they eat.
Create your workspace
I get it, not everyone has the luxury of a closed office space in their home, and your office doesn’t have to look like the ones on Pinterest.
Trust me, I do have an office space in my home, but the internet connection isn’t good in the office, so I end up working from my kitchen 90% of the time.
But what I’ve found is that when you define a space, even if it’s your kitchen, you’ll be more efficient and get more done than you would if you sat on the couch with your laptop on your lap. That isn’t what working from home is about.
I rarely, if ever, sit with my laptop on my lap. I just can’t type that way. I rarely have the TV on when I’m working.
Too many noises and lights just aggravate me and if I don’t have a migraine already, you can bet I’ll get one if all of those things are going on simultaneously.
At your workstation, you should have your computer, charger, a notebook or your journal, a glass of water, cup of coffee or tea, and headphones. Then, turn off your notifications. Cell phone, email, slack. Focus and efficiency only happen when you’re not distracted.
Each day, (or the night before) start out by writing 3 things you want to accomplish that day to move the needle. One thing I do to focus is to work in only one browser tab at a time.
When I had lots of tabs open, I got distracted. In order to focus on accomplishing one task at a time, I try to keep the browser tabs to a minimum so that I can finish what I started.
I’ll be the first to say that things don’t always go as planned when you’re working from home, but if you take the time to sit your family down and have a short meeting about expectations, things will go much more smoothly.
The kids need to know that when the door is closed, they shouldn’t barge in. Do you need to tape a sign on the door during specific hours of the day when you have a planned conference call or need quiet time to record a video?
It sounds rather simple, but your life will be much less stressful if you take the time to communicate with your family about the expectations you have for them.
Let them know the importance of leaving you alone at that specific time, or that breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be at specific times of the day so that they’re not complaining that they’re hungry while you’re on a conference call.
Set the expectations and then follow them.
If you’re anything like me, migraine can change your plans in an instant. In the moment when you feel out of control, take 3 deep breaths and remember the things you can control: your thoughts, your response, and your own actions.
It seems simple enough, but taking a deep breath activates a response in your body that can help equalize your fight or flight response that makes you overwhelmed in the first place.
Acceptance of the fact that your current situation isn’t perfect is the first way to breath life into your plans. Close your eyes, and focus on telling yourself that you are resilient and adaptable.
You might find yourself working odd hours or unusual places like your basement to escape the chaos.
It’s important to let go of the perfection you see on Instagram and fill yourself with gratitude for what you have.
But how exactly do you express gratitude when you yourself are feeling so overwhelmed?
Successful people don’t actually do extraordinary things, they do ordinary things better than the average person.
It’s easy to feel isolated and overwhelmed, especially trying to navigate with migraine. In these moments, the first thing I do lay down and try to just breathe.
The simple act of knowing in your heart that you can lie down without having to answer to anyone (like a boss!) is already going to make you feel better. I promise!
Moving the Needle: First, Define Progress
Slowing down and expressing gratitude is great in theory, but up until now, many of us just didn’t have the time to do that.
One of my mentors taught me this:
If it’s not a “hell yes” it’s a “no”.
Will this time really change us?
Will we truly learn to slow down, be grateful for family time, or learn to go deep with a small group of people?
Now that we do have the time, it’s important to outline what things you can do to create the biggest result in your business, to drive you to move forward and change the impact on your wallet and your freedom.
What should you do more of and what should you do less of so that you can generate real results?
What action can you take to put the most money in your wallet in the next 30 days?
What is it that will bring you the most joy?
What will give you the most freedom?
What will make you more efficient?
Whatever you’re actually going to measure here, you need to define it. This is called a KPI, or key performance indicator. A fancy phrase that just means keeping yourself accountable. Establish the one thing, whatever it is, the one goal you want to accomplish and write it down.
Which of the 5 businesses above do you want to focus on?
Next, write down the 3 biggest positive outcomes that will happen for you when you accomplish your goal. Write it down in your journal and write down today’s date.
In order to keep yourself accountable, you need to write down your goals. If you don’t write them down, they are not goals, they are just thoughts. So get it on paper!
This is where moving the needle comes in.
Focus your energy on what exactly you need to do in the next 30 days, in the next 3 months, in order to get closer to the result you desire.
Work backwards with your goals. If your goal is to start making money with your blog or start an online business so you can finally have financial freedom, you will need to be realistic.
Look, there are no blogging fairies that are going to pay you to write about your your daily routine. So figure out what your goal actually is and then be realistic about what you need to do to accomplish that goal.
Thinking about starting a blog? Use that form above to see if your preferred URL is available, then download my free Start a Blog checklist to help you move closer to your goal.