Working from home can be a great way to generate some extra cash, and the truth is, everyone and their brother wants to try it out. Imagine a way to pay for your childcare expenses so you can have a little bit of time to keep up with the housework and other assorted stuff. Or maybe you just want to supplement your current income. But what’s even better is that it can also be a stepping stone for bigger and better things.
But, how do you know if the work at home opportunity is legitimate? Will the company actually pay you for the work you do or are you just being scammed? The truth is that there are plenty of both out there — legitimate paying jobs for those people who want to work hard and be rewarded for their efforts, as well as outfits that end up scamming you out of the work you’ve done and the money you’ve rightfully earned. So, if you’re in the market for something to do with your spare time, here are a few ideas that may get you started in the right direction.
Best Home Based Business Ideas: How To Make A Little More
You may have heard that you can actually make some money blogging. Well, it’s true. This blog is actually a testament to the success of that work from home model. I work from home by running my blogs and doing a bit of freelancing here and there (more on that later). After 4 years, I already employ several people and run my blogs as a business. Depending on how you want to proceed with this, you can aim to blog full time or just decide to earn extra money this way, but just like any other project, you’ll want to devote some time to making it happen. But do remember that it’s a competitive arena and there are many people just as gung ho as you are who want to carve out a living this way. Blogging is an attractive means to make a living as it’s pretty cheap to get started. Just start off with a Blogger.com or WordPress.com account and test the waters. If you’re ready to host your own domain (which you should do if you’re going to be a bit more serious about this), then you can check out a cheap hosting service like BlueHost or HostMonster (which I’ve been pretty satisfied with). Some tips to get going? Go with a topic you enjoy so you never get bored; stay consistent and then learn how to monetize. If you do, you can develop an income stream over time!
Freelancing gives you the ultimate freedom when it comes to working from home. You ultimately control the hours and amount of work to be completed. Many people juggle their full time jobs with freelancing on the side. In fact, I’ve hired several freelancers to help me run my home business ventures! Many have started out by experimenting with this kind of work, and have ultimately found success and gratification. If you’re creative, then you’ve got a shot at doing this sort of thing since many freelancing jobs are in the creative field. Most people I know in this field are either writers, web designers and graphic artists. As I can personally attest, there’s a lot of work out there, and you just have to be willing to try it out. The pay may not be spectacular at first, but you can potentially grow your service over time. Give it a bit of time (say a year or two) and you may just be pleasantly surprised about how much you can make. You may even earn enough to quit your day job! Of course, this is not a given, but it’s a good possibility.
Now, don’t think for one second that freelancing is confined to writing, designing or illustrating. For instance, I know some people who make a great paycheck as freelance photographers. Two friends actually got started by taking pictures for their kids’ ball teams by selling the pictures to the parents. If you have a camera and can take your files to Wal-Mart for professional developing, you can become a freelance photographer. You can also find online gigs on sites like Seed.com (an AOL company). I actually know a few folks who make a decent second income by engaging in mystery shopping. And finally, even my own spouse freelances full time: he’s a software architect who develops online games and runs his own camera site, among other things. The key to freelancing is to get into what you enjoy doing then turn this into a paying gig.
While many people use freelancing and consulting interchangeably, the truth is that there’s a difference, although there can be some overlap as well. The cool thing about consulting is that you are being paid for your knowledge. Look at it like this: a police officer usually has a full time job as a law enforcement officer during the day. This person could potentially start a business in providing freelance security. Now, if this individual didn’t want to commit to making time available as a freelance security guard, he could make money by becoming a security consultant. Instead of putting himself on the front line as a security guard or body guard, he could simply help the client design a security system based on his or her working knowledge of what criminals are thinking and how they take advantage of vulnerabilities. There are virtually no start up costs in becoming a consultant, with the exception of registering your business with your city/county of operation.
4. At Home Customer Service
Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not. It seems as though more and more companies are hiring stay at home moms, disabled folks, and currently unemployed people to staff their virtual call centers all over the globe. Ever wanted to earn an hourly rate while working in your pink fuzzy bunny slippers? This is your chance. But here’s the downside to this one. Because this opportunity has been explored by several media outlets like Good Morning America, CNN and such, and the job situation has not yet fully recovered, the demand for this type of work has outstripped supply. But try to get on the waiting list and be patient. Having call center experience will definitely help your chances. A few legitimate businesses that hire at home customer service reps include LiveOps and Alpine Access. You need to have a quiet place (no TV, barking dogs, or screaming kids in the background), a landline phone and high speed internet access to be considered. Also, understand that you are being hired as a contractor. This means that you are responsible for all your taxes and you won’t have access to benefits like health insurance. You’ll have to get your own low cost health insurance plan.
5. Direct Marketing
If you are a high energy, highly motivated person who loves to interact with people and have what it takes to sell in a tight economy, then AVON, Tupperware, Mary Kay or HerbaLife might be the place you want to go. I personally know two individuals who were able to give up their full time employment in order to sell Mary Kay products full time. As a matter of fact, they really didn’t have a choice — their Mary Kay business was doing so well, that they both had trouble keeping up with it. But, for every one success story I could tell you, there are probably five that don’t do that well. This is a business opportunity, not a job, and therefore, there’s a level of risk involved. You need to be prepared to put in a lot of sweat equity, pounding the ground and rustling up business in order to be successful here. Take note as well that there’s been some talk on this blog before about the multi level marketing field (or minefield!) and the issues they have, so be aware of what type of product you’re selling before jumping in. Make sure you’re comfortable with the business you’re participating in.
6. Online Stores, ECommerce & Other Sales
Other people have found loads of success in selling things online. You can sell just about anything your heart desires. One of the easiest ways to break into sales is to do this in conjunction with direct marketing efforts. As mentioned, you can get involved with direct sellers like Avon, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, or Mary Kay. These are already well-recognized brands, which give you an edge over selling something from scratch. You can choose to sell online which would virtually eliminate your start up costs, except for website design, though there are several options for doing this for free as well. Selling online requires some knowledge of web marketing strategies, good social media skills and a go getter attitude. None of this stuff will sell itself. But, for those who are willing to put forth the effort, there is a lot that can be gained from this form of business.
My advice here is to check out what each company has to offer and decide which products you would be most suited to selling. The key to successful selling is to believe in what you say and what you sell. If you believe, so will your customers. If you are offering a service instead of a product, you might want to add your profile to listings such as Angie’s List in order to gain some attention. In fact, you can try to sell through classifieds and help wanted listings that showcase products and services. Some other things you can sell are crafts that you create or that you source from somewhere, which you can then show off in an Etsy store. You can also do a lot of selling on auction sites such as eBay. This kind of thing is sky’s the limit!
Making money from the comfort of your own home while being your own boss sounds like a dream…and it can be done as long as you understand that you’re only going to get out of it what you put into it. Never sacrifice a good paying full time job for a dream until you have shown that you can make things work out, and you’re confident about sustaining your lifestyle this way. Never — under any circumstances — pay anyone any money to give you a job. Scams do abound, so be wary of paying up front for anything (unless you need to spend on those essentials that are required to start your business). Be smart. Protect your information and do your homework before engaging in any work from home opportunity. There ARE legitimate companies out there, but you just have to find them! Good Luck and happy hunting!
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