5 Legitimate Online Self-Employment Opportunities

Wendy Limauge 06-10-2008

5 Legitimate Online Self-Employment Opportunities manbriefcaseIn today’s world there are so many more options than just working in a cubicle or behind a cash register. Maybe you are a teenager and you’re having a hard time finding your first job, or perhaps you’ve been recently laid off, disabled, or you’re a stay-at-home Mom and do not have the opportunity to work outside your home.


Whatever the case, if you want to set your own hours, work at home, and possibly have some fun then read on! We go over some of the best online self-employment opportunities here.

As with any of these at-home positions you will find key benefits and drawbacks.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Key benefits include:

  • Flexible hours
  • Convenience of working at home
  • Convenience of setting your own hours
  • Free training (depending on the job)
  • The more you work the more you earn

Can you think of some other benefits?


Drawbacks may include:

  • No benefits such as health insurance or overtime
  • You must keep your own records and submit invoices for payment
  • Pay your own employment taxes
  • Repetitive nature of the job
  • Being alone for a long period of time with no one to talk to
  • Having to motivate yourself to work

What other drawbacks do you see or have experienced?

If you find that working at home is for you, here is a list of opportunities you may want to consider:

1 – Virtual Call Center Representative

virtual call center job The need for At-Home Call Center Reps is growing. This is a job opportunity with long-term growth potential. This type of at-home work involves answering in-coming calls for companies and can range from taking customer product orders to answering questions, or scheduling appointments. Many companies will allow you to work at-home as little as fifteen minutes a day to full-time hours each week. Some companies may want you to do the calling. It all depends on the needs of the company you work for. Always ask questions about the work involved and never pay any upfront fees to get started. Legitimate call center companies will pay and train you.


Some requirements for this type of work may include:

  • Minimum of 18 years of age to apply
  • Legally permitted to work in the United States
  • Criminal and credit background check required
  • You must like talking on the phone
  • Must have good typing skills
  • Having a room that is free from outside noise and distractions
  • Have excellent verbal skills
  • Basic computer knowledge
  • Have attention to detail
  • The ability to set aside certain blocks of time for work

Optional but often necessary requirements are sales skills and data entry knowledge.

Some Equipment that is needed:

  • A computer with high-speed Internet access
  • A dedicated land line telephone line
  • Telephone (not a cell phone)

I tested LiveOps which is a Virtual Call Center. The registration process was quite easy. You have to fill out your basic contact and background information, take a reading comprehension test and record a voice audition. You do all of this online. If you are interested in trying out LiveOps start here


Some other Virtual Call Centers you might want to check out are Working Solutions (to apply) and ACD Direct to apply)

2 – Freelance Article and Ghost Writing Jobs

Ghost Writing, Ghost Writer Online business owners need to drive more customers to their website to ensure a steady stream of potential buyers. Many business owners do this through blogs. Keeping content written for a blog is very time-consuming so many blog owners turn to freelance article or ghost writers.

This is where you come in! You can offer to write articles (from 400-1,000 words depending on the need) for small websites or blog owners. Usually you can get paid $10 to $20 per article, sometimes even more.

If you decide to become a ghost writer you will not get the credit for writing the article. You get paid to write articles for other people and they will put their name on the article.


Here are some categories you could write for:

  • Health and Beauty
  • Technology and Computers
  • Internet and Blogging
  • Music and Video
  • SAHM (Stay-at-Home Mom) and WAHM (Work-at-Home Mom)
  • Business and Financial
  • Real Estate
  • Health and Wellness
  • Women’s and Men’s Issues

Basically, you need to have experience and expertise in your chosen category. But that doesn’t mean you need to be an expert. What are you good at? What hobbies do you have that you could write about? Do you have a good writing style? Are you able to teach someone else what you know?

How do you find places to submit your work or bid on projects? Craigslist is a very popular site to find writing jobs. It is free to post a job and free to find one too. You can search in your local area or nationwide. Here are some other popular sites you may want to check out as well.

3 – Freelance Contract Work

Many people enjoy running their own business from home. I was a computer consultant for years working out of my house. I taught classes at the local college but studied and wrote my lesson plans from home. I was and still do occasional web design work and all of that was done from home. There are a lot of freelance at-home opportunities if you look for them and you don’t want to be limited by the jobs you can do in your local area. The internet provides so many more opportunities.

A couple of websites you may want to consider are and At companies post freelance jobs and as a freelancer you can bid on them. Once you register and fill out your profile, submit a quote and once picked, work on projects. You get paid once the work is done. If you are just starting you may have to bid low to get a project but over time you will be able to raise your prices. As of this writing they had over 5,200 projects to bid on.

More on Guru. Basic membership is free but the basic account cannot upload Package Deals or a Video Profile. Their Services page will give you the breakdown of fees for their paid package deals. Once you login you fill out your profile and can also upload photos, your resume, samples of your work and videos. charges all professionals either a 5% (Guru and Guru Vendor accounts) or 10% (Basic member) Project Fee.
The PeoplePerHour is essentially same. Currently they advertise nearly 21,000 freelance jobs from various categories such as web design, article writing, Photoshop and more.

4. Sell Handmade Crafts Online on

Etsy is an online marketplace similar to eBay but it is strictly for the buying and selling of handmade goods. If you have a talent for making anything from pillows to clothing, jewelry to baked goods, dog collars and everything in between then you can sell them on Etsy.

From their website:

“Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.”

sell handmade crafts online Instead of buying something that is mass produced you can buy something on Etsy that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. They have over a million visitors looking to buy and they are growing fast and it is free to join. There is a 30¢ fee to list items and a 3.5% fee on sold items.

If you don’t already have one, you should set up a PayPal account 9 Tools PayPal Users Should Know About Read More because it is easiest way to accept payments on Etsy. It is free to set up a PayPal account. Of course, PayPal takes a very small cut of the money you earn but without a service like PayPal you would have no way of taking online payments so the fee is worth it.

Once your items sell you have to ship them to your customers. If you use the post office you can get free USPS Priority boxes sent to your house. Just sign up online and the postal worker in your area will deliver them in about a week. You can sign up by going to USPS and clicking on Supplies.

When you sell online you should get a separate email address just for selling. It helps you keep your sales emails separate from your personal emails. There are many places to get a free email address.

5. Get Paid to Take Surveys

Get Paid to Take Surveys While this is not really a job or career and you won’t get rich by filling out surveys, it is still an easy way to make some quick cash. Companies will pay you to fill out brief surveys or try their products. Usually you will make between $5 and $10 per survey and will often receive free product samples to test out. The key with paid surveys is to sign up with as many paid survey companies as you can. The more surveys you take the more money you are going to make.

These companies want to find out what you like and don’t like. They use the collective information and statistics from the surveys to help them decide who to market their products or services to. Large companies can spend millions on product research before putting them on the open market. They are willing to pay for your opinions and ideas to help them to figure out how to market their product.

It doesn’t cost anything to sign up to fill out surveys. Make sure you are using reputable companies though. If you are in doubt ask friends who take surveys for referrals or look for messages boards online where people are talking about taking surveys.

You should also set up a separate email account just for taking surveys to help you keep your personal email from getting mixed up with the survey email.

Of course, I think the best benefit of working at home is sitting at my computer typing away with my fuzzy slippers on while I watch the Ellen Degeneres show. And, yes, I do get up and dance!

Do you have any other suggestions for home-based employment?   How do you make money from home (legal methods only please!!)

Related topics: Freelance, Job Searching, Make Money Online, Self-Employment.

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  1. Anonymous
    April 26, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Work from home

  2. Tammy
    December 19, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    This company pays by talk time. .15 a minute or more. if not on phone talking they pay for just sitting at my computer. Pay more if talking. May not get rich but never had to pay West. They even paid for my testing. This is a great company and I LOVE IT. God is GOOD!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Make Money Online X
    December 9, 2009 at 7:53 am

    So how much money have you made from this since you started?

  4. chartergain
    November 12, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Searching for a job can be at times a harrowing experience. There are a number of factors that come into play while taking into consideration a job search & job selection. And the question of satisfaction in a particular job can be even more complicated. Hr recruitment consultants and recruitment consultancy agencies even make it more confusing in a bid to make their own business prosper at the cost of the job seeker. But now there are many options available as alternative to jobs and some jobs are being redesigned to synchronise with modern day situations.

  5. Stephanie Fryer
    November 11, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    J. Lodge is a quality call services company that incorporates an employee model consisting of disabled Americans. By using their educational and business experience; employees are able to pursue a work from home, part-time career. Working for J. Lodge has given me the opportunity to work from home and have flexibility in my schedule. J. Lodge is currently expanding. They are looking for individuals who are interested in their company and who qualify for their positions. If you are interested, please visit and apply online.

  6. Mike H
    November 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Most of the real home business opportunities assume some skill level and experience. Medical transcription. Technical support. Freelance photography. Tech writer. Paralegal. Most employers need to know and trust your work first hand. Perhaps that is why it is far easier to transition from a traditional job to a telecommuting position.

  7. centralairconditioners
    October 28, 2009 at 4:13 am


    A central air conditioner is a system that uses ducts to distribute cooled and dehumidified air to several rooms in an office or home. Different types of central air conditioners are available that can be rented to keep the entire building cool in summer and warm in winter.

  8. susan
    October 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Wendy, Really nice article. You educated me. I would like to add a work from home site. I just read about it a couple of days ago on rat race rebellion. It is LiveWork, they are affiliated with LiveOps. It is kinda like mturk only on a bigger scale. It is worth checking out if you need an extra egg in your basket.


  9. Wendy Limauge
    October 7, 2008 at 9:58 am

    John - Absolutely - as far as I know everything I wrote about is legitimate and the key to any true work-at-home opportunity is to make sure YOU aren't paying anything out of pocket to earn the money. If you search online with keywords phrases like "virtual customer service opportunities" or maybe "telecommuting job opportunties" and also check places like Craigslists as I mention you will find the work you need. ~ Wendy

  10. John
    October 7, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Excuse me but I do have a question, I am interested in the "work at home" field of work. I am having medical problems which makes it hard for me to "goto work" but I do have skills in Customer Service" and would love to do something during the day. Are they all legit? I know this is probably a silly question, but I just wanted to know. I was ripped off once with a medical billing "work at home" payed $25.00 to get the software and all I got was the software, they never told me that I had to go out and get my own clients. This is why I asked, thank you in advance


  11. kaly
    October 7, 2008 at 5:47 am

    This is an interesting post Wendy. Newer heard about virtual representatives, it is like call center job from comfort of your home.

  12. Ted Murphy
    October 7, 2008 at 8:30 am


    I started a new business recently that lets people who have an online presence get paid by their audience on a per-minute basis:

    I think it is another category for legitimate online self employment. You do need to have an online audience, however. Please take a look and tell me what you think.

  13. Wendy Limauge
    October 6, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Kelly and for taking the time to read the article. I know it is quite long but I wanted to make sure to cover the topic completely and provide content that had real value. ~Wendy

  14. Kelly McCausey
    October 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Thanks for providing a hype-free view of telecommuting and work at home online opportunities Wendy :) Good job!

  15. Wendy Limauge
    October 6, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks for the update about Pinecone Research. That is actually similar to what I received back from them today after I contacted them.

    This is my response from them:

    Thank you for your interest in PineCone Research!  Currently we are not accepting new members through general referral nor offering membership opportunities from our website. Throughout the year we will be posting new membership opportunities via banner ad (and a variety of other methods) on various unspecified websites for residents of the contiguous US.  This is so we may better target more specific groups needed to meet the needs of our clients.  Should you come across one of the PineCone Research membership opportunities, feel free to sign up with us.  Until then we appreciate your patience and understanding, as this is our only way of accepting new or returning panelists.

    • Gary
      April 11, 2009 at 11:39 pm

      I did surveys for them probably around 2 years. You would have to take surveys to see which surveys you qualified for. At the end of the month you usually got to take 2 paying surveys and the pay is 5 dollars a survey. Not really worth the hassle. While we are on the subject I did three mystery shopping jobs and everyone I completed that found some reason not to pay me. I did one at Lowe's and they said the manager didn’t sign me in and out. I worked about 20 hours on this since I did exit interviews with customers. I told the dude I would get the manager to sign another form and he gave me some cock and bull story. Not a dime.

      Another, I went to apply for a loan at a bank to see if they offered me other programs they had to offer and to see how I was treated by the personal. They didn't send my check and finally after calling countless times they made up some crap that disqualified me from getting paid for that job.

      I tried another company and actually can't remember the name but my job was to search civil judgments at the courthouse and get a certain percentage of collections that were made. After about a month of research and sending out hundreds of letters to judgment holders they said their server was down and they were going out of business but they still had all the judgment research papers I had turned in. It wasn’t a month that I saw that they were wide open again.

      Another deal was to get nurses to sign up for certain types of traveling jobs. I had 500 flyers made passed them out and had finally got one that had signed up under my code. I was to get a percentage of their pay but right when things got rolling they sent me an email stating they were discontinuing the program. Not a dime.

      I was playing some game on a site one day and I figured the deal out and won about four hundred dollars. They kept my money and blocked me from entering the site.

      Man I could go on all night and should have not been so trustworthy. The Internet has really created some evil people that will stop at nothing to take you for a ride and never look back.

      Yes there are some legit jobs online but getting one is like winning the lottery.

  16. Caine
    October 6, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    PineCone Research
    We have made the decision not to accept recruits through general referrals nor will we be posting recruitment on our website. We will be posting banner ads on various unspecified web sites from time to time throughout the year. This is so we may better target more specific groups needed to meet the needs of our clients. Unfortunately, this is our only way of accepting new panelists at this time.

  17. Chris
    October 6, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    You've described some great opportunities and povided terrific links, some of which (freelancing, surveys) I already use, but you left out the entire category of home-based direct selling businesses. Even though you sign on as a representative or consultant for a chosen company, you are essentially self employed because you are working with the supplying company and not for them.

    The Internet has made direct sales and network marketing into a whole new game and hundreds of fun, legitimate and inexpensive options now exist for those who want or need to work from home!

    • Nancy
      October 18, 2008 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks for your mention of "home-based direct selling". I am interested in pursuing one (or more) of these opportunities. Can you recommend any good, non-scam websites? Thanks. Nancy