The ideal lifestyle for many people is to spend their lives outside of a corporate workplace, living their life while at the same time making a living.
The path to their happiness is home based work – but what exactly does that mean?
There are three main categories of home-based work:
Working for a business or corporate entity, performing tasks as if you were “in the office” but working online or via the telephone (or occasionally by mail), and receiving a regular payment for your efforts. There are usually very few problems with this method of working from home – after all, it is considered a “proper” job, and you are just working outside of the office. With the recent coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become more common than ever.
Running your own business from your own home. This might be selling audio equipment on eBay, or selling your paintings on Etsy, or any number of other things. The amount of satisfaction you can achieve from working this way varies entirely on your success – as does the amount of money you earn. Your biggest problems are finding customers, keeping the tax man happy, and avoiding bad suppliers.
Working for others from your home. This can be the most problematic, as you can easily be taken advantage of, and end up doing lots of work for no real payment. Scams abound, pyramid schemes are rife, and it can be hard to tell the best way forward.
This article will focus on the third option, working for others from your home.
The Online Work-at-home Job Market
Over the years, hundreds of websites have popped up to help you find your ideal job. They vary in size and professionalism tremendously; at one end you will find sites that require you to upload a CV and digital copies of certificates you have received in the course of your education and training. At the other end of the spectrum, you will find places that want you to do nothing and offer you the world.
Gumtree is a site that sits firmly in the middle – it’s more of a classified adverts website than a job site, but does indeed have a job section – including a “work available” and “work needed” section.
Not wishing to single out Gumtree, there are many sites like this – but Gumtree is an example that many people are familiar with. Another similar site is Craigslist. The work available section always – not often, but always – includes “jobs” that you can apply online to by following a link to a different website. Nine times out of ten, this link turns out to be a “referral link” – the person who advertised the job will make a commission from your interest. Some referral systems pay per click, others pay per email address, others pay a percentage of anything you earn to the original referrer. A lot of these sign-ups are for survey sites – you take a survey, you earn 10c here and there. Of your 10c, the referrer earns 2c.
You will not become a millionaire by making 10c taking a survey – but if the referrer can get enough people to take the surveys, they can make a tidy sum from doing very little work other than listing an advert! This is not exactly a scam, but the wording of the adverts often indicate that you will be driving a Ferrari next week which is entirely misleading – unless you can afford a Ferrari this week, it’s unlikely that you’ll be driving one next week just because of a survey website.
Other classified advert tactics include selling information products – eBooks and/or videos – that are usually not produced by the original advertiser. “Buy this guide to running your own automated business for just $37!” – and if you do purchase the product (“All major cards accepted!”) the referrer may get 50% of the profit for once again doing little more than placing an advert. You may also become aware, should you purchase the product, that the promised “automated businesses” just require a small amount of setting up – usually placing an advert somewhere online…
This does not preclude any purchases of guides or information products from the internet, but only those where the claims seem too good to be true. If you’re purchasing plans for building a chicken coop, then go ahead – it’s just the get rich quick scams you need to keep an eye on.
The worst kind of link leads to a “business opportunity” that you need to pay to sign up for. If a business has an office and staff, and you apply for a job with them, how many times have you been made to pay a sign-up fee? So if an internet-based business, with no physical office or real staff, wants you to pay a sign-up fee…why would you? The chances are strong that you will never make enough to cover the initial fee – but the business doesn’t mind that you underperform – it’s perfectly fine. They’ve got your money already.
There are some true opportunities out there – but there are also a lot of scams. The simple rules are:
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you have to pay to apply, the business isn’t making enough money to fund itself – and neither will you.
Do you want to work at home safely and make a profit? Start your own business – don’t rely on anyone else.