Tips for Finding Legitimate Work at Home Opportunities
[Editor's note: If you recently lost your job, take a look at Wise Bread's collection of tips and resources for the recently laid off.]
When you search for work at home opportunities on the internet, oftentimes you will find sites pitching programs that could make you thousands of dollars a week. Usually these programs are scams designed to take your money. So how do you go about finding legitimate work at home jobs that pay you for your time? Read on for some ideas and resources.
1. Craigslist - The Craigslist job board is where I have found all of my jobs after college, and it is a great resource. When you search for jobs you can check the "telecommute" option for jobs that allow you to work at home. I have found a work at home job with a technology company this way that paid $15 an hour when I was in college, and I was able to pick my own hours and fill out my work online.
2. Freelance sites - eLance and iFreelance are two sites that allow you to find freelance jobs and bid on how much you wish to be paid. The problem is that you will be competing with people all over the world so the pay may not be as high as you would like. However, as long as you do quality work it is possible to charge a premium for your services. You can also try your hand at freelance writing at a content hub site like Suite101.
3. Virtual agent companies - If you do not mind working as a customer representative or an virtual assistant, companies such as LiveOps and Working Solutions might be right for you. Both of these companies have on demand call centers, which means you take calls at home. I know LiveOps pays 25 cents per minute, which works out to be $15 per hour of talk time.
4. Work at home online communities - A great site that I read from time to time is WAHM.com. They post job opportunities for free on their site and they have plenty of tips on avoiding scams and starting your own business. The forums is also a great place to find out other peoples' experiences with various opportunities.
5. Your current job - Would your current employer let you work at home? Some of my coworkers actually live in other states and work from home exclusively. If you can show that you can be extremely productive at home, it may be worthwhile to ask your current employer for the opportunity to work at home. They may be more accomodating than you think.
Most of these work at home opportunities are part time contract jobs that require you to do your own taxes and do not have benefits. However, there are fulltime positions that offer an entire benefit package including health insurance and 401k. You should always find out the terms of the job before you start.
Finally, if some opportunity requires you to pay a startup fee and promises an incredible amount of return, it is probably too good to be true. As with any endeavor, you should do your research before you plunge into a job. Search for what others say about your potential employer, and see if the job matches your interests. As long as you are professional and cautious, you will be able to find great opportunities that allow you to work from home.