There are many misconceptions about what work at home actually is. I often see questions posted on forums, Q & A websites, and comment threads asking what work at home pays or if all work at home is just a scam, as though “work at home” were a single job title or opportunity.
Many times these questions are unfortunately followed by answers posted by equally misinformed people confirming that work at home is a scam or by others posting their scam links. This is not always the case, I do see good referrals from time to time, but in general, the entire concept of working at home gets very blurred.
Understanding What “Work-at-Home” Is and Is Not.
I first want to state that scams are everywhere, whether they are intended to lure people in who want to lose weight or lure people in that are looking for ways to make money at home. When there is a flashy website, e-mail, or advertisement that seems too good to be true and guarantees viewers thousands of dollars easily if they just purchase a simple program, you can rest assured this is not “work at home.” People who post these types of scams will usually teach you to post the same type of scams, which is not something I consider legitimate work at home.
It is best to think of “work-at-home” as a reference to location (at home) rather than a single opportunity. It is also important to accept that no matter what type of work you are doing from home, it will definitely be work and is very similar to any regular outside job, except you are allowed to do it at home.
It is also impossible to determine how much you will earn if you do work at home because this depends entirely on what type of work you are doing out of your home, the company you are working for, and also whether you are running your own business.
Types of Work-at-Home Opportunities
When a person says they work out of their home, they may operate a business out of their home, telecommute, or freelance. Below I will discuss the common ways people make a living from home and give examples.
1. Home Jobs and Telecommuting Positions
There are a variety of companies in many fields that offer work-at-home positions. The requirements, application process, and expectations are much like those you will find with an outside job. You will most likely not ever meet your boss in person, but you will be expected to qualify for such a position and be required to fill out an application and submit a resume.
Some of the most common telecommuting positions a person can expect to find that hire entry-level applicants include: customer service jobs, telemarketing, virtual assistance positions, data entry, and online research. More professional-based positions offered at home include teaching and tutoring online, health care jobs, transcription work, translational work at home, accounting and bookkeeping, legal work, insurance positions, and computer professionals also can find a wide range of opportunities to work out of their home.
Sometimes these positions will be 1099 based and you will work as an independent contractor, while other companies prefer to hire home workers on as employees and sometimes offer benefits. With this type of work at home, it is common to be expected to work a set schedule or a set amount of hours weekly.
The most effective way to find this type of work is to do a careful search, and the best way to do this is not to search with keywords like “work at home” but rather by searching with terms related to the field you would like to work in. For example, if you would like to find an online bookkeeping job, you would search, “hiring remote bookkeepers.” There are additional terms that can lead to a successful search. In addition to your preferred type of job (bookkeeping), you can add, “needed,” “wanted,” “virtual” or “at home.” Another helpful search term is “home office required.” You will have the most success when you search with keywords an employer would use in posting such a position.
Freelancing is a preferred way by many to make a living at home because they can set their own hours and negotiate with clients on the pay they will receive. There are many fields a person can freelance in. Common fields for freelancing are very much the same as telecommute jobs and include writing, data entry, virtual assistance (administrative assistance work at home), graphic design, computer programming, photography, sales and telemarketing, technical work, and much more. There are many options for freelancers.
The most common ways to gain work as a freelancer are to register with freelancing communities online or to advertise your service on forums and classified ads. Some of the common freelance communities are Guru and Upwork. These are some of the larger freelance networking sites and tend to have a wide range of work available. They may offer free memberships and paid memberships. A tip for getting your foot in the door on these websites is to accept a low paying offers early on to be accepted and gain reviews and recommendations from clients. It is also important to create a thorough and highly professional profile. Once you have established some recommendations, you can accept higher paying assignments.
Writing has become a very common and legitimate way for both professional and non-professional writers to earn money from home. With writing, there are many options when it comes to how you can earn money. One way to earn money online as a writer is to sign up with websites that offer to share advertising revenue for your articles based on the amount of traffic to your article(s). Popular websites that offer writers this opportunity include Helium, Associated Content, and Examiner.
Another way to earn money as a writer is to sign up with companies that pay writers based on word count. Websites that offer writers these opportunities also offer a service to clients seeking specific writing assignments to be done. With this type of writing work, you will be given subject matter, sometimes specific, with a set amount of keywords to be included in the article. A popular company that hires writers for this type of work is Text Broker.
4. Creating a Blog
This requires a lot of time and dedication to build traffic, but over time and with enough readers, you can earn money by promoting services and products for companies, as well as through placing ads on your blog. There is a lot to learn to become a successful blogger, so for those needing to earn money quickly, this is not a method by which you will earn money immediately.
5. Selling a Product
If you like the challenge of sales and being in control of your success, you can become a representative for companies like Avon, Stella & Dot, and similar companies. These opportunities can be great for social people with a large network of friends locally or online. If you are persuasive and able to connect well with people, having a product to sell can be a good opportunity.
6. Offering an Online Service
Choosing to go into business by offering a service is great for those who are business minded and understand the service they are offering. Starting a business is a challenge and will require start-up money, but can be a real pay off if the service you are offering is one of high demand, you can advertise your business well, and gain a good reputation.
The examples above are only a few of many ways people can and do earn money from home, but they all require legitimate hard work and dedication.
Sometimes, early on, home workers decide that working at home is not the best option because being your own boss can be very difficult. It requires a lot of self-discipline and effective time management abilities. For many, there are distractions at home that are not otherwise found at an outside job, because with a job outside of the home, the environment is focused on work, while at home, the phone might be ringing a lot, visitors stopping by, or if you have kids at home, it can be almost impossible to work if there is nobody to help take care of them.
However, working at home can indeed be a dream come true for others who have a way to manage such issues. Working at home is also ideal for people with certain disabilities who would otherwise be limited to financial assistance from the government. For people living in remote locations or in areas with high unemployment rates, having a way to make a living from home can be a life saver.
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Traci L. Dillard-Bell is first and foremost a mommy and wife. She also owns All Stay at Home which is a home job bank dedicated to helping others find legitimate ways to work independently. Traci works as a Search Engine Evaluator, Freelance Writer, Courthouse and Title Researcher, and is an MSPA Gold Certified Mystery Shopper.
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