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A work from home job can be any position that does not require you to be in an office. There are a wide range of work from home jobs. Some companies offer opportunities for employees in traditional roles to work remotely for all or some of their workweek. These jobs often use technology for meetings, assignments, and collaboration. This practice is called telecommuting. Other work from home opportunities may include jobs such as customer service representatives for which companies will hire remote workers, or part-time virtual assistants to manage work which does not require a physical presence in the office.
I may as well start with something I know well. When I started out as a freelance writer 20 years ago, things were very different. I wrote mostly for magazines, and I had to rely on snail mail to send out drafts and queries. I’d wait weeks for a response from my editors. Not many people had the patience for it, and few stuck around long enough to ever start earning a real income from it.
Shipping. You will only have a few days to ship a book after it sells, and even less time if you agree to include two-day or overnight shipping as part of your options. And since you’ll want to save as much as you can on the shipping, you’ll have to devise a plan. Many people set aside specific days for shipping – say 3 days a week – and then make one big trip to the post office. As long as there isn’t anything else in the package, you can send books via media mail, which is the least expensive option. Finally, your books will need to be packaged in a way that they won’t get damaged in transit.
How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise, Alpine Access, VIPdesk, LiveOps, and Convergys, all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you're a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
However, with online employment comes fraudulent companies who scam job seekers into signing illegitimate offers. "There is currently a 61-to-1 scam ratio among work-at-home job leads on the internet — that is, for every legitimate job, there are 61 scams," says Christine Durst, cofounder of RatRaceRebellion.com and consultant to the FBI on internet scam.
You might be desperate for work, but don’t necessarily jump at an opportunity that sounds too good to be true. In my article about common Craigslist scams, I wrote about fake employers who “hire” new employees, then “accidentally” send them too much pay. They’ll ask their victims to wire back the difference, but a few weeks later, when the bank discovers that the initial check is a fraud, the “employee” is on the hook for hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars. If a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Amazon: Many people don’t realize that Amazon is a haven for third party sellers, including regular Joes and Janes cleaning out their attics and garages. If you plan to sell more than 40 items per month on Amazon, consider registering as a professional seller. You’ll need to pay a $39.99 monthly subscription fee, a referral fee that usually ranges from 6% to 20%, and a $1.35-per-item closing fee for media items. You won’t pay the $0.99-per-item selling fee, however. Alternatively, register as an individual seller. The fee schedule is the same as for professionals, except you do have to pay the selling fee and don’t have to pay the subscription fee.
Direct Sales Home Businesses – Host “parties” at your home to get discounts and a little cash, or become an independent sales rep yourself to make even more money. Many of them offer online shops that you can set up under your name. Some of the most popular ones are: Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Thirty-One Gifts, or Pampered Chef; there are also numerous companies selling candles, jewelry, children’s books, children’s clothes, etc.)
Samples. You’ll need some samples before you can really begin marketing yourself. Figure out which market you want to approach first, and then find or create some related samples. For instance, if you want to try your hand at blogging, study some successful blogs, and then write a few posts of your own to use as samples. Do this for any and every market you’d want to write for.
The top sectors offering such work are health care, computer/IT, education/training, sales, customer service, finance and travel/hospitality of the 19 industries represented on the list. Five of the fastest-growing remote career categories are therapy, virtual administration, client services, tutoring, and state and local government. The 20 most common telecommuting job titles include teacher, writer, developer, analyst, sales representative, nurse, accountant and program manager. Five companies are fully remote, and 30 are newcomers to the list.
These three points may seem like common sense, but the truth is that the people who run these scams are very good at what they do. They’ve been able to deceive many intelligent people because they present their “opportunities” so well that almost anyone will believe them. When you’re looking for a new job or extra income, it’s easy to get lulled into a comfort zone where they can take advantage of you. Keep your guard up – always.
If you're a crafter, the internet is your showcase — and not only at auction sites like eBay. DeWitt Young of ObviousFront.etsy.com has had success turning her crafts into cash online. She has a booth at Etsy.com's Craft Mall, an amazing place where thousands of artisans and crafters offer their goods for sale. DeWitt turns salvaged parts from old TVs and VCRs into artsy necklaces, earrings, and figures. Colleen Jordan of wearableplanter uses 3D printing to create her necklaces called wearable planters.