5 Jobs You Can Do From Home

What You'll Need

In order to succeed in the work-from-home world, there are a few things you'll require:

  • A laptop, desktop, or internet-connected tablet
  • A fast and efficient internet connection
  • A good record-keeping and organization system
  • A PayPal account that is connected to your bank account

1. Data Entry

Data entry is among the best, and worst, of the work from home opportunities. Best, because there are literally thousands of companies in Canada and the U.S. that will hire data entry workers and allow them to work from home. Worst, because countless other scam artists will lure you in by asking you to buy a "kit" or a book of companies which will never lead to legitimate work. Don't let the scammers discourage you, however - if approached properly, data entry can provide a decent income. Make sure the companies are well-known and have a good reputation, and assume that anyone wanting you to pay to get started is scamming you. No reputable company requires you to pay them. Check out this About.com article for legitimate leads.

2. Freelance Writing

If you have a talent for writing, and particularly if you are an expert in any sort of field, you can make a more than decent income from freelance writing. Sites like HubPages, among many others, will pay you for your tips, expertise, and creative content, through ad-revenue and pay-per-click systems. Some will even buy your content outright for a very nice sum.

Many people don't consider themselves experts on anything, unless they have a degree or a couple of decades of experience, but chances are, you aren't giving yourself enough credit - have you mastered the art of growing a garden? Do you know how to make your own soap? Have you ever changed a spark plug yourself, or brewed your own beer? Anything and everything you know how to do well can benefit those who aren't so sure. And, even if you can't think of anything you are an expert in, if you have a skill for writing, you can take other people's information and turn it into a well-written, easy to read piece that freelance sites will be more than happy to pay you for.

What Work From Home Opportunities Have You Tried?

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3. Home-based Businesses

Home-based businesses are probably the most lucrative on this list. They also tend to require a start-up fee, so they're not for everyone. If you do happen to have one or two hundred dollars to invest, however, you have many awesome options. From make-up and body care businesses like Avon and Mary-Kay to purveyors of goodies like Veleta to the naughtier side of things like Passion Parties, the possibilities for home-based business are truly limitless.

4. Secret Shopper/Market Research

Okay, I'm bending my own rules a bit, here. Secret shopping isn't done entirely from home, obviously - you need to hit the shops to do it. I count it as a work-from-home opportunity because it can generally be done on your own time, and in places you would frequent anyway, such as banks, grocery stores, and restaurants. Further, market research companies like Nielsen allow you to scan or record your purchases and then sell that data - every company on earth wants to know what you're buying and when so that they can adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. Like data entry, however, there are a lot of scams among the legitimate companies, so a bit of diligence is necessary. Be sure to Google the names of each company, and read reviews from others that have tried them. Some, like ShadowShopper, do require a small fee to get you started, but the money you make is well worth the investment - a $4/mo. membership can earn you several hundred dollars a month.

5. Cold-caller

The term "cold-caller" is most often associated with telemarketing - a much maligned field of work - but there are several other forms of cold-calling, and, for the right type of person and the right company, even telemarketing isn't so bad. A little research can lead you to jobs taking surveys, selling products, or census-taking for well-respected organizations and businesses, and can often be done at home for a fair wage. Everyone from the government to newspapers to animal shelters require cold-callers, and if it's a cause you actually believe in, you have the added benefit of getting paid for talking about something you love.

Do Your Research

While there are thousands of legitimate work-from-home opportunities available, there are twice as many scams. Don't fall victim to dishonest people looking to take advantage of those of us who, for whatever reason, need to work from home or on our own schedule. There are a few basic rules: legitimate companies won't promise you thousands of dollars, won't ask for really personal information, and won't require payment from you. Knowing those basics helps avoid being ripped-off, but it isn't enough to tell you which companies are best suited to you, and can deliver on what they offer, however. Before signing on with any company, spend some time reading client and employee reviews, searching for their information with the Better Business Bureau (or your country's equivalent), carefully reading their "terms & conditions" and legal information, and talking to other home-based workers. Working from home can be a highly lucrative and personally rewarding enterprise, so make sure you take the time to do it right.

© 2014 Robyn J Williams

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