It seems that everyone these days wants to work at home. Every message board I frequent has almost daily posts asking, “How can I work from home?” The problem is that many work at home opportunities are scams. There are many legitimate options out there, but you have to sort through the garbage to find the gems. Your best chances of finding legitimate work at home jobs are in the media and customer service/call center sectors. Both of these fields lend themselves well to working from home. But even if you’re not looking for that type of work, there are opportunities, you’ll just have to search a little harder.
When you go looking for work at home opportunities you have to have your scam radar tuned in and be on the lookout for anything fishy. However, there are some places to look that are better than others. Avoid just putting “work at home” into a search engine. Almost everything that comes up that way is a scam. So where can you look if you want to work from home? Here are some places to start.
Your current employer
If the work you do can be done from home, consider approaching your current employer about converting your position. Don’t just ask, though. Put together a detailed proposal for your boss so that she can see what you can do from home, how you plan to be accountable and available, what you’ll require from the company to work from home, and how much money, if any, you can save the company.
Monster.com, HotJobs, CareerBuilder, and other job hunting sites
Companies that hire work-at-homers do sometimes list on the mainstream job hunting sites. Look for keywords like “telecommute,” “work from home,’ and “independent contractor.” These sites try to police for scams, but you still need to check everything out thoroughly as some do slip through.
Looking here is a crapshoot. There are a lot of scams, but there are also legitimate offerings. Smaller businesses that can’t afford or don’t want to bother with the larger job sites often post here. Tread carefully, though.
If you’re looking for a writing, designing, editing, or film based job, this is a good place to start. Not all offerings are work at home, but many are.
This site posts offerings for freelance writers and bloggers. Many of the opportunities are short term, single piece jobs, but sometimes offers for more permanent positions crop up.
WAHM.com (Work at Home Mom)
This site list job opportunities and provides helpful articles and resources for those looking to work at home. They also have helpful message boards.
When you search for a job at this site, by skill or location, you can further filter the results for telecommuting jobs. They try to police for scams, but double check everything.
This site searches company websites for job openings. Since it’s searching legitimate sites, the chances of scams here is lower, although you still need to be careful. Search using terms like “telecommute,” telecommuting,” or “work at home” to find at home opportunities.
This site lists job opportunities and offers other helpful work at home information. If you’re looking for call center/customer service type work they have a great comparison tool that shows you at a glance which companies are out there, their requirements, and pay ranges. Find it here
This site is a message board site, not a job listing site per se. However, there are lots of people here who have prior experience with work at home companies and can give you the lowdown on opportunities you are considering. It also has sub-forums dedicated to some of the more popular companies that hire work-at-homers. There is also a job leads forum that can give you some leads. There are sometimes scams that slip through, so be careful.
There are many places to look for work at home jobs; I’ve listed just a few that are more trustworthy than others and that I’ve heard good things about. Ask people in your industry where they look for jobs to get more ideas. As with any job search, if you can get a lead from someone you know, you’re better off than pursuing a cold lead.
Some more tips if you want to work from home:
Never pay to work at home
Anything that asks you to pay for supplies, a list of referrals, or any kind of get started kit or video is probably a scam or a pyramid scheme. The exception to this rule is if the company asks you to pay for a background check. Some legitimate companies do ask you to cover this expense.
If it seems too good to be true…
You know this. If something offers you millions in the first year, or $50,000 per month if you only work three hours per week, it’s a scam.
Research any opportunity or company you are interested in
Chances are that if it’s a scam, others have been burned before and you’ll find that out before it’s too late. Use search engines and message boards to find others with prior experience with the company.
Legitimate work at home jobs are going to require you to have experience, skills, and you’ll have to actually work
They are not “easier” than office-based jobs. This is no different from applying for a “real job.” You have to meet what the company is looking for and excel. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you don’t need to have experience in the field and work hard. Anything that promises otherwise is a scam.
Frankly, if you want to work from home, you’re probably better off creating something for yourself. Your own business is just that: Yours. You control everything about it. Yes, it may take some time to set up and get running, but imagine if you spent all the time you spend chasing work at home leads and sorting out scams developing your own business. You could have a business you love if you channeled that time wisely. There’s nothing wrong with working from home for someone else if it’s work you enjoy, but if you hate the work and are only doing it because you can be home, you’ll quickly end up disappointed and angry. If you create your own business, on the other hand, you’ll be more likely to enjoy your work at home adventure.