In 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
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
2 – Freelance Article and Ghost Writing Jobs
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 Guru.com and PeroplePerHour.com. At Guru.com 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. Guru.com 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.com
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.”
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 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
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!!)