Work from Home

The top work-from-home scams you need to avoid

If you've ever seen advertisements for jobs that let you make thousands or even millions of dollars from home, you are probably looking at a work-from-home scam. These scams are widespread, especially on the Internet. Some common examples include:

  • Envelope stuffing
  • At-home assembly
  • Shipping refund recovery

However, there are legitimate ways to earn a modest living from your home.

Legitimate Work from Home Opportunities

It is possible to work from home, but in most cases, you have to be plying a trade or skill you already work in or have been trained in. For example, writers can find opportunities for freelance journalism or freelance technical writing, photographers may start a home-based freelance photography business, accountants can begin a home-based practice, etc. Often, such jobs require working for numerous clients, as opposed to earning a steady paycheck from your living room.

If you have a skill but don't want the hassle of running a freelance business, look for online teaching jobs with a continuing education department at a local college or university. With online and distance education gaining popularity, it is possible for professionals to take up teaching without ever setting foot in an actual classroom. (However, you will still need some basic teaching skills for preparing lecture content and exercises, dealing with students, and marking assignments.)

Many businesses have begun to outsource administrative tasks such as scheduling, presentation preparation, word processing, transcription, research, database management and communications (writing letters, making phone calls, creating presentations, etc. If you have skills in any of these areas, you may be able to secure home-based employment as a virtual office assistant. While it is possible to secure your own clients on a freelance basis, you will likely find it easier to seek employment through an agency that provides virtual assistant services to numerous companies.

Work from Home Supplies

The exact supplies and materials you need to work from home will depend on your particular job or trade, but there are a few things no freelancer or telecommuter should be without. First and foremost, a functional, efficient workspace, likely including a roomy desk and a comfortable office chair, is a must. Most professionals will also need a computer with Internet access and a phone and / or email on which potential clients can contact them.