Surviving the Work at Home Blues and Avoiding Scams
At the end of January 2011 I found out I was pregnant with my second child. Shortly thereafter I got a call from my employer at 8:00 pm on a Friday. I was told that I was no longer employed. I was devastated at the news. The staffing agent informed me that my work performance was excellent; however the company had to cut back.
There I was losing my well-paying job and staring down the road of unemployment for a few years to come. Trying to find a job in the Michigan job market proved to be unsuccessful. My plan was to find a job before I started showing. Who would want to hire a pregnant lady? While I was waiting for responses from my job search I found myself showing almost immediately. I figured it would be best to wait until I had the baby to return to the work force. My plan almost worked. I received a phone call from my previous employer letting me know that I would be returning to work in April 2011, just a few months after I was laid off. Nothing ever materialized, however. From that day until now I set out on a mission to find the perfect work at home opportunities.
The following is a timeline of a journey into finding work from home and some helpful tips to surviving work at home scams and avoiding the work at home blues.
In 2012 I found Hubpages. It was my first attempt at working from home. The success stories of other writers were reviting. I figured, if they were able to make a substantial amount of money, I could too. Much to my surprise I found myself only able to make payout 9 months after I began. I wrote over 60 hubs on my first account. I wrote about whatever came to mind. That approach proved to be unsuccessful. I needed a niche topic. I thought about a niche topic and decided to venture off on my own to try blogging.
Hubpages is absolutely a great learning experience for someone that is new to the notion of article writing or blogging. Once I tried my hand at blogging I found there was much to learn about running my own site and monetizing my blog. For two years I worked tirelessly to learn some html coding, video marketing, and social media marketing. Eventually I wrote a short ebook, but really did not know how to promote it. It’s a learning process that may never end.
Elance and Odesk
One day I stumbled across an article about signing up to do freelance work at Elance and oDesk. The success of the blogger led me to believe this could really work. I followed the advice in the article and signed up with LinkedIn to get advice on how to land a freelance job. The helpful hints I received allowed me to get my first job on Elance in two weeks. My first job was working as a data researcher and mailing list builder. Things seemed to be going great until I turned in my work. The client would not answer my questions on how many fields he wanted on the excel spreadsheet. I sent in 100 for a few days work; however, he was expecting 1,000. He refused to pay me. I contacted Elance to resolve the issue. It was resolved and I was paid through escrow 30 days after I completed the work.
Then came oDesk. I found myself quitting a job from an overseas client that was clearly trying to get someone to click his adsense ads. Someone reported him and was banned from the job board and probably adsense. My next job was to post ads on Craigslist for a real estate company. I was able to complete the work, but there was a problem, I had to have photoshop software. So, I quit the job and was never paid for the work that I had done.
What to do if you are scammed
Avoid Scams and Avoid the Work at Home Blues
After several months of working from home I started to think that every work at home job was a scam. Truthfully, majority of them are. Being new to working online may cause many to unknowingly succumb to them. It is worth the time and the effort to check out an employer before proceeding with any job.
You may also find that work at home scam artists will post jobs saying no experience required. Just as corporate jobs require a person to have some type of previous experience, you should be looking for at home jobs that are asking for experienced people to apply.
I’ve learned that majority of secret shopping jobs are scams because some ask you to pay up front for getting a service; and they will reimburse you the money. I signed up for one of those secret shopping sites and was told that I had to watch my spending because they would only refund the money of $20. If you ended up spending $40 for a service then you would not be making any money. Well, $20 reimbursement is not making any money either. Only go with those companies that pay when you turn in your forms at the end of the job.
If you are searching for a work at home job on Craigslist be aware of their tactics. Legitimate businesses will have remote workers and will post these jobs on their websites. If you are unable to research the job directly on the website, then most likely the job is a scam. Also, steer clear of postings that show up in more than one city. It is definitely as scam.
Never send money or give away personal information before they will allow you to apply to the job. Watch for any dubious claims of making so much money per month without having to do much work.
With all of the not so great things I experienced while trying to work from home, I became very disillusioned. I gave up on the idea of ever trying to find something legitimate. I felt as if there was no one to turn to for answers. The one piece of advice is to never give up. Many that look for corporate jobs must have a tenacious mentality. Just as there are scammers waiting for individuals to apply for their corporate job, there are scams within the world of online work. Many of these jobs promise big money for no experience. Some are purely commission based jobs or require you to give out your social security number to get placed in a job. The fact that many are still willing to participate in the scam is all the more reason these con artists are able to stay in business.
Things to do to beat the work at home blues
Your main motivation for working from home should be survival for your family and paying your bills. Stay focused on this goal. I was very fortunate to have a husband with a steady paying job and other talents that allowed him to make extra money. It is still difficult to live off just one income; therefore I am on the trail again with the motivation to bring in more income.
Find your niche
Since writing is my niche, I know I must stick with that. When you know what works best for you it is best to stick with that one thing and explore many ways to make the income flow. For example, I can get freelance writing jobs on Elance while writing for Hubpages, and while writing for my own websites.
Surviving working at home takes an inner strength in knowing that you will succeed and have the career you want. It takes a lot of effort to land your first job and work consistently.
When things get overwhelming it is best to find a safe outlet. Find the time to be outside of the house. A lot of work at home moms and dads that homeschool may find it more difficult to be out since everything is done inside the home. Sometimes you will have to take a day off from work and homeschooling to find recreation. You will be able to think clearer and handle your tasks at home.