Who doesn’t want the flexibility of working from home? Telecommuting and remote workforces are becoming a very common practice today and opportunities aren’t limited by the seemingly scammy “stuffing envelopes or mystery shop for $1,000 a week” ads, or just for entrepreneurs. I work from home mostly these days, and I’ve never been happier.
So how are so many people today getting the work-life balance they desire by working from home? I interviewed Leslie Truex, author of The Work-At-Home Success Bible to share her tips and tricks. We’re also giving away a signed copy of her book to a lucky reader!
What are few possible career scenarios or options for someone who wants to work from home?
Leslie: The options are endless. Work-at-home jobs exist in just about every industry – customer service, teaching, nursing, marketing, administrative support, financial, etc. Many people turn their passion or interests into work-at-home options through freelancing or a home business. I’ve met people making a living writing children’s books, making jam, selling gardening products online, providing virtual support services, blogging and more.
The key point I like people to understand is that they should tap into skills, experiences, knowledge or passions they have, as opposed to searching for the fast, easy way to work at home. Everyone I’ve talked to who works at home used assets they already had to do it.
Where does one look for legitimate work from home opportunities? Are there specific strategies for job searching or helpful resources that job seekers should try?
Leslie: As I mentioned, it starts by inventorying your skills, experiences, knowledge and passions and then matching them to jobs or businesses. For example, someone who works as teacher can find an online tutoring or teaching job, or start their own tutoring business. People who work in retail would be good candidates for home-based customer service jobs. Moms who can feed a family of four on $10 a week, can turn that knowledge into a blog or a self-published book…or both. If someone has a passion for travel, they can find a home-based travel agent job or buy a business opportunity or franchise that sells travel services.
In terms of finding these opportunities, some of them people can create on their own, for example a business or freelancing. Sometimes a current job can be turned into a home-based job. Another great way is to contact potential employers in your industry with a work-at-home proposal. I did this to get a home-based adoption social work job.
Sticking with jobs, you can search online at a variety of job sites such as CareerBuilder, Craigslist and Indeed, but you need to first understand work-at-home jobs and how to identify scams. There are legitimate telecommunity databases such as HomeJobStop and FlexJobs that charge a fee to access their list of jobs that may be worth it to the serious telecommuting job hunter. Freelance sites are good sources, but the work isn’t necessarily ongoing. Sometimes it’s a single project. Elance and Odesk are good choices. Then there are sites that are industry specific, for example writers can find jobs at MediaBistro and WritersWeekly, tech jobs at Dice, and creative jobs (tech, graphic design, social media etc) at CreativeHotList. I list sites I use in each of my daily and weekly job posts.
How do you validate the legitimacy of work from home opportunities? Are there specific things to look out for to avoid getting scammed?
Leslie: There are several red flags people need to look for such as:
- - Legitimate employers will never charge to hire you. Business opportunities, job services such as job databases and resume writers, and educational materials may cost money – so just because something costs money doesn’t mean it’s a scam. But, it’s not a job.
- - Avoid any job that asks you to use your personal bank account to help it do business. These are fake check scams.
- - Envelope stuffing, email processing, rebate processing and assembly work are not legitimate jobs. Also, nearly all jobs I see listed as “typing” or “data entry” are scams or deceptive work-at-home schemes.
- - Direct sales opportunities should be researched fully. For example, I recommend people only work with direct sales companies that are listed with the Direct Sales Association and are more than five years old.
- - Any business opportunity that pays you to recruit people, but doesn’t have a product or service should be avoided as these are pyramid scams. Pyramid scams are not identified by their shape, they are identified by having no product. Legitimate opportunities may allow for recruiting members, but income is earned on products or services sold.
The trick is to realize that you can’t just sign up for a job. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is, and work-at-home is never fast or automated.
Have questions on working from home? Comment below and we’ll do our best to respond to your questions. Then, Like us on Facebook, and you’ll also be entered to win your very own copy of The Work-At-Home Success Bible. We’ll be randomly selecting the winner from those who enter on January 31st!
UPDATE: Winner has been announced. Congrats Joseph!
Leslie Truex is the author of The Work-At-Home Success Bible and owner of WorkAtHomeSuccess.com, which has been recognized by telework and small business associations as a quality resource for work-at-home information. She has been working at home and helping others design home-based careers since the mid-1990’s.