If you don’t relish the thought of hustling to a workplace every day or you’re having a hard time securing a local gig, there’s never been a better time to work from home: More than 40 million Americans do it, according to the advocacy group Telework Coalition. And as the economy improves, more companies will be looking for additional staff. For most at-home jobs, you’ll need a computer and an Internet connection, some basic skills and a can-do attitude.
The Job: Website Tester
What It Pays: $10 to $15 per test
What It Is: Many companies pay online testers to make sure websites are intuitive and easy to navigate. Follow the instructions you’re given to check out the website, it usually only takes about 15 minutes per test. Register with 10 to 12 different companies as the opportunities to test these sites are doled out on a first come, first served basis. You could earn $100 to $200 a month.
How to Get It: Register with multiple companies for opportunities to test as many websites as possible. Once you’re in the system, you’ll be emailed when testers are needed, and if you’re one of the first to respond, expect to spend 15 to 20 minutes completing the test. Many sites require a microphone and/or webcam, which are built into most laptops—but if you need to buy one, they aren’t expensive. The tester sites typically pay within a week or two via PayPal.
The Job: Film and Post How-To Videos
What It Pays: $1 to $2 per 1,000 hits; Payment depends on how many people click on your video. Views on popular YouTube tutorials range from 20,000 to 300,000 and higher.
What It Is: Do people ask you your secret to perfect pie crust or how you made that wreath? This knowledge can easily be turned into profits. Simply sign up for a free YouTube account. Then use a smartphone or digital camera to record yourself explaining and demonstrating how you work your magic. (If you’re more tech-savvy or have a burgeoning teenage filmmaker in your house, you can use desktop software, such as Windows Movie Maker, to create a slicker video.) Once you upload the video to YouTube, enroll in its partner program, YouTube will then place ads inside or near your video, and you will earn money from the ads themselves, video views and click-throughs.
How to Get It: If you shot the video with your phone, open the YouTube app and hit “send.” If you’re uploading from a computer, visit YouTube, and click the “upload” button in the upper right corner of the screen. You’ll see a place to drag your video file. To enroll in the partner program, click on YouTube settings, check the circle next to “Allow Advertisements,” then click on “View Additional Features.” On the YouTube monetization page, opt in. Generally, you must earn a minimum before you get paid, and YouTube pays monthly—if you don’t earn enough in one month, the balance rolls over.
The Job: Direct Salesperson
What It Pays: It depends on the company, but you typically take home 20% to 35% of sales in commissions.
Perfect For: Someone with an entrepreneurial spirit, loads of energy and a love of meeting new people.
What It Is: Think Avon or Mary Kay—you organize get-togethers to sell a company’s wares, whether those are bath products, gardening supplies, books or wine. Over time, you build a base of clients.
How to Get It: You can apply directly through the companies, such as Stella & Dot, a jewelry company that had over $100 million in sales in 2010. A few other good ones include Silpada (jewelry), The Pampered Chef (kitchenware) and Dove Chocolate Discoveries. You can also visit the Direct Selling Association website at DirectSelling411.org—all the companies listed there agree to abide by a code of ethics, so they only offer legitimate opportunities. Typically reps make a small investment to get started (this is a legitimate and standard practice), and sometimes pay a fee for the merchandise being sold. After that you can work as much or as little as you want, and see profit based on how much you sell.
The Job: Day Trading
What it Pays: All dependent on the amount of investment.
Perfect For: Someone looking for a different experience every day and not afraid to accept bad days as well as good.
What it is: People often think that full-time traders only work for investment banks, with advanced degrees and a high pedigree. Equally as common is the thought that, in order to trade for one’s self large amounts of capital and expendable time are needed.
It is probably true that to get into an investment bank or onto a major institutional trading floor, you will need to have connections or a prominent educational background that sets you apart. It is possible though how the average person, with extensive or very little trading experience, can enter into the arena of trading and creating wealth.
The first option, and likely the easiest because it is so flexible and can be molded around a person’s current life, is trading from home. However, day trading stocks from home is also one of the most capital-intensive arenas. Therefore, potential traders need to be aware of the other markets that require less capital and have lower barriers-to-entry. The foreign exchange (forex) or currency markets offer such an alternative. Accounts can be opened for as little as $100 and, with leverage, a large amount of capital can be controlled with this small amount of money. This market is open 24 hours a day during the week, and thus provides an alternative to those who cannot trade during regular market hours.
How To Get It: Find out more details from MoneyMorning.com/tag/silver-prices/ on the market variants.
The Job: Search Engine Evaluator
What It Pays: $9 to $10 an hour
Perfect For: English speakers who are up on movies and music, as well as those familiar with other cultures.
What It Is: Companies like Google and Yahoo! give you information to search for, and you tell them how closely their results matched what you were looking for. Does a search for Lady Antebellum turn up sites about the music group or links to pre–Civil War period information? If you are Latina, for example, you might be asked to search the way a Spanish speaker might perform a search in English. Jobs are usually between 10 to 25 hours a week.
The Job: Customer Service Representative
What It Pays: $8 to $18 an hour
Perfect For: “People” people with patience to spare who are good at talking on the phone while on the computer.
What It Is: Companies are looking for workers with excellent speaking abilities and solid computer skills to help customers find a correct size, place an order or resolve a conflict. Both full- and part-time positions are available, and you are generally required to devote a four-hour block of time.
How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise (Arise.com), Alpine Access (AlpineAccess.com), VIPdesk (VIPdesk.com), LiveOps (LiveOps.com) and Convergys (Convergys.com), all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you’re a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
Watch for these red flags when you look for online money making opportunities.
- The website has no contact information. A legitimate business has a way for you to reach them. Look for an “About” page that offers information on the company or CEO, along with a phone number, address or contact email. (Try calling the number to see if anyone answers.) A website with only a contact form and no other way to get in touch with an actual human is suspicious.
- It sounds too good to be true. The promise that you’ll make thousands of dollars a week at home is never the reality.
- There are complaints online. Do a quick Internet search: Type in the website’s name and “scam” and see what pops up. If people have been taken for a ride, they’ll usually have posted about it.
- There’s a fee. Most legitimate sites won’t charge you to sign up. There are a few exceptions—such as membership to a legitimate job board, like FlexJobs.com,which posts freelance and telecommuting positions—but if you’re not sure why you’re paying a fee, look elsewhere.
Photo Credits: Pixabay