Working from home is not the scam it used to be. It has always been many people’s dream job-type. This used to mean you had to come up with things you can create or do. Or you could run the risk of being scammed out of money not to mention time. While the work at home environment has changed, more companies out there offering legitimate jobs than before. There are still some opportunities to do it on your own.

No matter which way you go, there are some important things to keep in mind and things to know before you start working from your home. It’s not always the dream everyone imagines it to be. It takes a certain type of individual. Skills and characteristics that you may not have.

Beware

There are still scams out there praying on the uninformed and making work at home a bad taste. Be savvy about the scams and always research potentials. Even if they are clients in the making.

Vague Claims

Scammers will make large but non-specific promises. This is usually in how much money you’ll be making. Some will give you an actual dollar amount but not tell you exactly what the job duties would be. If there is no clear job description, then skip it. Concrete, specific directions and descriptions are what you want to look for in a legit work opportunity.

Testimonials

Great way to promote a legitimate business (think about getting your own if you go that route) but read the testimonials carefully. Any that sound far too glowing or unnatural and how many of them there are should be noted. Move on to the next opportunity if there are a lot of “I was able to quit my job after just a week and now I make thousands a month!”

Representatives and Consultants

If you are getting calls constantly from people trying to get you to sell their product or join their company, don’t fall for it. Legitimate businesses will not harass you, pin you down on selling a product or contact you more than a few times.

Customer Service

Contact the customer service department. If you cannot get through on the phone and get nothing back from your emails, it is quite likely that you are dealing with a scam.

Fees

It’s normal to expect a fee for signing up with a membership community that specializes in work at home job listings. Do not however, pay fees that do not seem to have any basis or a fee for training that does not have to do with an accredited school. Avoid companies that tell you that in order to work for them, you need to pay them a fee.

Working for Companies

Amazon, Uhaul, Apple, Samsung. They all have work from home jobs available at any given time. These are almost always customer service related. The customer service side isn’t as scary as it used to be. Many more people are understanding when they call up and know that it is not the agent’s fault that something has gone wrong. Not all the calls are complaints either. There are from time to time other related jobs available from companies, but expect the bulk of them to be customer service in some capacity.

Equipment

Every company will require you to be able to use a computer. You don’t have to be an expert at it, just able to know enough to follow directions when given to you. Some companies may supply you with all the equipment you’ll need. The most common items sent are a laptop (Chromebooks seem to be the favorite), a headset, and some may include an adapter for Ethernet cables as they will want you to be connected directly to the modem/router. There are some who do require you to use all of your own materials.

The one thing they will not supply you with is broadband or faster internet. You need good internet to be able to handle the job efficiently. Good internet is not available in all areas and can be pricey.

Training

I have not seen a single company not offer training to employees. This will generally cover any programs you will need to use and some basics on the system (laptop) if it’s not your own. These usually last a week or two but is a good way to feel out whether you’re going to be able to handle the job itself.

Environment

You’ll need a place to work where you’re away from the normal activities of your household. This means no working in the living room with the television going. You’ll need a quiet space that has all that is required from both the company and yourself. There’s nothing I’ve ever seen that says that you can’t sit in a recliner with your feet up and a movable desk across your lap! As long as you don’t fall asleep.

Keep in mind…

These will typically be scheduled jobs. Meaning perhaps not 9 to 5, but you will be expected to work certain hours and days. They may be temporary, full or part time or permanent. Some may start out seasonal or temporary but offer you the option of being permanent. You may have option to select the times and days you want to work, but the options available may be limited.

Pros

Having a guaranteed work schedule and pay check. Meeting new people who have the same job as you. A support team to help with any problems. Learning something new about a company you like. Can work in your pjs and no one will know.

Cons

Not being able to work whenever you want. There are still rules that need to be followed. Being fired for anything. Having to report to someone else.

Working for Yourself

So many people strive to be their own boss and while they always have good intentions when starting, some never get very far and end up working for someone else again. It’s always been difficult to be your own boss and be successful at it. There are many books, websites and articles on this subject alone. People have spent quite a bit on these items as well and ended up frustrated and down.

While no one person has all the answers, hopefully some of the information shared here will help you prepare yourself so that you’ll have a better understanding of what you’re going to be up against. You can have the perfect product or idea, but it won’t go anywhere if you aren’t ready.

Technology Knowledge

You don’t need to be an expert in technology. It’s hard to be one as it’s always changing. You do need to know about computers. This of course is where all the work happens. If you are working on your own, there will be no IT department. You’ll need to know how to handle problems that will arise. Or be willing to possibly pay someone to help you out.

Task Orientation

Whether you find great satisfaction in making lists and doing all the tasks or not. You need to be honest about if you can stay on a task and not get distracted by other interests and ideas. Being naturally task-oriented is not automatically the key to success. You just need to plan accordingly and create an environment with little distraction.

Motivation

Recognizing that you have trouble staying motivated and asking someone hold you accountable periodically is rather a helpful idea. Self-motivation can be a challenge. Understand your limits and strengths then put some safeguards in place.

Perks

When you are working for someone else there is quite a bit going on that you never see or think about after the first month of hire. These are going to be things you will need to think about as no one else is going to do that for you. Unless you pay them. Health insurance and taxes should be at the top of your list to look into. Other benefits like 401K and disability insurances should also be researched as well as any others.

Time

You will have to be aware about the amount of time you are willing to spend against the amount of time a certain job needs. Keep in mind other obligations you have. If in the end you only have 10 hours a week to put into it, then go with ten hours a week. Trying to do more than you can is going to frustrate and annoy you.

Skills

Figure out all of your practical skills. No matter what they are, write them down and be realistic. Being able to do tongue twisters without difficulty may not yet be a marketable skill. You should note the income needs of your household. From groceries to monthly payments, you obviously are going to need to cover those. Even if this isn’t your only income, you still need to see what you will need to make to cover those items. Do not forget about the perks mentioned above.

Obviously

Research is the key to almost everything these days. Or it should be. Look around, see what is there. Don’t drop any money on anything without looking into it carefully. Use the word ‘scam’ when Googling particular companies or products. Join message board and communities that offer information about real work at home jobs.

Money

There are some opportunities that do require you to take care of some upfront costs. There are of course monthly costs that you’re already paying. You may have to upgrade to a better internet speed as not all speeds are equal depending on if you plan to work for a company or yourself. Also keep in mind costs for a domain name that includes website hosting, site designer, marketing and advertising.

Business Ideas

You don’t really have to invest in an idea with a lot of money. There are ways out there that require very little investment.

Start with a website

Now it is quite possible to make money with just a website – and we have gone into details about that before on this blog – and it is generally a good idea to have one out there no matter what you plan to do. Everyone is online and you can send potential clients to your website so they can get more information on you and your skills. Think of it like a virtual resume. Domains can be purchased for cheap and you can even skip that and just create a blog tailored to what you have to offer.

Virtual Assistant (VA) or Telecommute

This is someone who is like a virtual secretary. They can do a number of different tasks from transcribing, translating, administrative duties, web design, marketing and some even do technical support. There are VA classes online, but they are not a necessity in order to be a successful VA. It has more to do with how many hours you can put in. And there are quite a few successful VAs. Many have started their own VA company who turn around and hire other VAs.

Consulting

Teaching online is a low cost idea. You can start with acquaintances and friends, get word out that you have valuable knowledge and are willing to teach others. You can teach about anything you are good at or have great knowledge of. One untapped skill many overlook is simply how to use a computer or smartphone. There are quite a few elders who find themselves needing to use these devices but not sure how to do certain tasks. You can tailor lessons based on what your client wants to learn.

Creating Web Content

This isn’t the same as creating web pages or websites. This is creating the content for particular websites already out there. Like being a digital news reporter or doing blog posts. People will pay you for content you create if it is good and fits in with their niche or theme. Information is gold, especially if it’s the right information and people will pay to get it.

Freelance Work

Offer marketing advice, web design, articles, eBook editing, and plenty of other things. This is good if you have a few skills you can offer and get bored doing the same thing day in and day out. As a freelancer you are responsible in finding clients and keeping track of all the work and invoicing. There are many things one can do with freelance work, you just need to be motivated and keep on working at it.

Late this week, I’ll share some tips and resources you can use to be more successful at your work at home adventure. Have any horror or success stories? Drop them in the comments!

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