It’s not just tough times that send people to the Internet looking for ways to make money from home. Maybe you’re an author looking to support yourself while you get that book finished?
Or maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent looking to bring in a little extra? Maybe you just want to ditch the day job?
Whatever the reason, there are two basic approaches. Some people know exactly what they want to do. They’re going to take existing skills and put themselves out there in the marketplace, or they’re going to turn their passion into a business. Which is great?
The majority, however, are simply looking for a source of extra income. If that’s you, then the bad news is that it’s true: there are a lot of scammers out there. The good news is: (1) they’re pretty easy to recognize and (2) there are plenty of real, honest jobs that could allow you to work pretty much when and where you want.
Golden rule 1: scammers always want something
Let’s get rid of the scam artists first. Typically they’ll say you’re going to earn a surprisingly huge amount for remarkably little work. However, they do need a $50 “deposit,” for some reason.
Ask yourself why. Actually, don’t bother. It’s a classic scam. Never pay people to get work; you’ll be saying goodbye to your money.
Another red flag is that they’ll want your bank details, or Paypal address, in order to pay you. Legitimate businesses do this too — but a legitimate business just needs your Paypal email address, not your password. If they want to pay into your bank, the details will vary, depending on which country you’re in, but it’ll usually be nothing more than an account number and routing number (sort code in the UK). They certainly won’t need your account login information.
Always check. Visit the company website. If they don’t have one that’s a definite red flag. Check any emails you’ve received from them: Do sender name and actual address match up? Is it a gmail or other free account?
There are also sites like Scambusters.org that do their best to expose the latest frauds. Your safest bet, if you have any suspicions at all, is simply to look elsewhere.
Golden rule 2: be realistic
Being realistic should probably appear in the section above too. Do you really think someone is going to pay you $500 a week to stuff leaflets in envelopes? Not going to happen.
The same realistic approach has to be taken to potential earnings from legitimate businesses. If you want to freelance at places like Elance or oDesk, bear in mind that initially you could be competing with people from countries with a much lower cost of living. You may have to take jobs below your expected rate in order to establish a reputation … and that can take months.
You could try looking at Fiverr where people offer to perform all kinds of services (legal ones, that is) for $5 a task. In fact, you can raise the rate by adding “extras.” Take a look; there might be something that sparks your imagination. However, like the freelancer sites, you’re still reliant on people finding you.
One big, trusted site is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Here they advertise HITS (Human Intelligence Tasks). It could be anything from searching the web to transcribing a video. HITS might take a few seconds or a few hours and pay rates vary from a few cents to forty or fifty dollars per task. Swagbucks is similar.
There are many other options. Companies like Mindfields pay you to complete online surveys. ChaCha pays you to answer questions. Leapforce will reward you for conducting online research.
Forlocations encourages you to help them on their site in return for gift cards. It’s an interesting idea; and just as good as cash if you can get things you’d normally pay for anyway!
Some gigs pay peanuts; but if it only take moments, you can do it multiple times and end up making the same as another site would pay for a single task. Look around and you’ll almost certainly find something that suits your particular skill set or the things you like to do.
The challenge with making money from home is the same as the challenge making money on the “normal” job market. It’s never easy. If you want to replace a full-time income, it will take a lot of work and plenty of determination.
On the other hand, if you’re simply looking for an additional source of income, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up some extra cash (or other valuable rewards) and you can even have fun doing it!