How to Make Money at Home

by WorkFromHome on January 22, 2012

The idea of working from home as a way to earn extra income, or to replace a current income, is one that is gaining popularity. Rising costs of child care, transportation, and other expenses associated with employment make working from home a welcome alternative.

Most people believe, however, that all work from home opportunities are a scam. Because of this belief, individuals that are searching for ways to earn an additional income, or simply work from home full time, do not pursue any opportunities they come across out of fear of being scammed.

The truth is that there are many legitimate opportunities for people to work from home. Most of these opportunities can be done over the Internet, and most pay as well as their land-based versions.

The trick to finding these opportunities is knowing the difference between the scams and legitimate positions.

Spotting A Scam

As a general rule, any work at home offer that requires you to pay for employment is a scam. Employers do not require you to pay when you work at their business, and they do not require you to pay when you work from home.

Offers that come via e-mail are generally a scam. Opportunities that claim you can make large sums of money for little work are also a scam. As a rule, always remember that work at home positions pay very similar to their office based counterparts.

Finding Legitimate Work

Work at home opportunities often fall under the following categories:

To perform most of these job functions you will need:

  • A quiet space to work in your home
  • A computer with high speed Internet access
  • Updated word processing software
  • Dedicated landline (for some Customer Service positions)

Customer Service Representatives

Many major retailers hire home-based customer service representatives. If you have ever called an online retailer for assistance, there is a very good chance that you were speaking to someone that was working from home.

Alpine Access (www.alpineaccess.com) is one of the leading employers for home based customer service reps. This company currently employs over 7,500 home based employees and is one of the few companies that provide benefits and 401k plans to their employees. Most work at home positions are considered self-employment, so finding a company that has benefits is an additional bonus.

On average, employees working for Alpine Access make around $9 an hour to answer calls. However, bonuses and incentives are available and many employees make $20 or more per hour. Alpine is an in-bound only position, so there is never any cold calling required.

Other companies that offer Customer Service positions include:

Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a very large business, but it is also one that requires much patience. All that is required to be a telemarketer is a pleasant speaking voice and tolerance for rude people. It is inevitable that you will encounter rude people on the phone.

Telemarketers usually call people to inform them about new products, carry out promotions or schedule appointments. While many people consider these phone calls a nuisance, it is still the most effective way to gain new customers for many businesses.

Telemarketers are paid hourly and often receive bonuses for their performance. The three largest companies that hire home-based telemarketers are:

You can apply for a position directly on each of their websites.

Remember: Telemarketing companies should never charge you to be an employee, for your leads or any information or tools required to perform your job.

Freelance Writer

The Internet is often referred to as the Information Super Highway because of the vast amounts of data that can be found on any subject. All of this data has one thing in common however, it all needed to be written by somebody.

Freelance writing is one of the fastest growing segments of the work-at-home industry. The need for web content continues to grow exponentially, and with it the need for writers.

There are several types of writing assignments that can be found online. Product reviews, site content, answer forums, and technical writing assignments are just a few of the many opportunities. In addition to these writing services, many writers can also find work-at-home opportunities in editing.

Current companies that are seeking freelance writers and editors include:

Most positions pay either per article written or an average of $15 per hour.

Online Juror

Law offices often create mock trials to see if their case is presentable to a jury. These mock trials need mock jurors. After listening to the evidence and the arguments, mock jurors deliver a “verdict” on the case. Law firms look at the results and adjust their case accordingly.

Mock jurors can make between $5 and 50 per case. However, because jurors are selected by specific demographics, work is not constant. This is a great opportunity to make extra money by giving your honest opinion. The two online juror sites are:

Survey Taker or Panelist

Research and development is the most important part of product development. Companies devote a significant amount of time determining if a new product will be accepted by the public, and what demographics they should target with their advertising.

In the past, many companies would have individuals polling people over the telephone or in shopping malls. This process was very time consuming, and in many cases the results were skewed. The Internet, however, has opened up a new avenue of gathering people’s opinions on a product or service. This new format has been so effective for these companies that they are willing to pay to have the information.

Online surveys takers can make extra spending cash each month by spending a couple of hours online each week completing surveys. Some of the more popular sites include:

Craft and Homemade Item Sales

It is not unusual for someone to enjoy creating crafts as a hobby or a form of relaxation. Many crafters have discovered now that their hobbies can lead to a second income. Handmade crafts are very popular on the Internet, and crafters can benefit from the worldwide market place.

Some crafters establish their own websites and promote their items through various methods on the Internet. Others use craft marketplaces to promote their goods.

www.Etsy.com is the largest marketplace currently on the Internet for handmade items. The site is free to join, and craft items can be posted to “individual” stores for an incredibly low fee of .20 per item. When the item sells, Etsy will receive a small percentage of the sale. The site currently has over 10,000 artisans listed and they are continuing to grow.

www.eBay.com is another site where people may wish to showcase their items. However, eBay is an auction site and in many cases crafters cannot earn as much off of their items as they could from a site like Etsy.

Online Guide

This work at home position is very specific to the Internet. If you are the type of person that someone comes to when they have a problem, and you are able to help in most cases, this may be the perfect online job for you.

An online guide is someone that provides assistance to others who are looking for information on the Internet. The advice can be anything from how to make the perfect meatloaf to advice about a product or service.

Online guides need to be able to communicate well and should possess some writing skills. Several sites are looking for freelance guides, including:

  • About.com, Visit beaguide.about.com to see what areas of expertise are still available on their site.
  • www.Chacha.com This new search engine is currently hiring guides. Visit the main site and click on the “Be A Guide” link
  • www.Justanswer.com This site pays a specific amount for the amount of questions that you answer

Guides that work for About.com make about $750 a month, often more. The more you interact with this position, the higher your potential is for earning.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are the second fastest growing work at home profession after freelance writers. Virtual assistants, or VA’s, provide a variety of services for management positions in every type of company. A VA will do everything from making travel arrangements to compiling mailing list for their executive.

A virtual assistant performs the same duties that an executive assistant does, only from their home. VA’s make a comparable income to their office bound counter parts, and in many cases have the ability to work for more than one executive.

Unlike other positions, a VA may have some startup costs associated with entering this profession. Since you will be communicating with your executive via phone or Internet at all times, you may need to invest into a webcam and an Internet capable phone. The good news is that most people already have these items, and the startup costs are relatively low.

To find legitimate virtual assistant positions you can apply at:

On Call Nurse

Registered nurses can supplement their income by offering their services over the phone for triage or other medical information. You may be providing information about medications for a pharmaceutical company, or answering questions for a insurance company. You must be a registered nurse to apply.

Online Tutor

If you hold a college degree, and feel you have the ability to teach basic subjects such as math, science, social studies or English, you can work as an online tutor. This is a perfect opportunity for teachers and other professionals looking for additional income.

Once you have been accepted and have passed your probationary period, you can expect to earn between $10 and 14 per hour for your tutoring services.

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