It’s the dream – work from home. Wake up in the morning, work a few hours from your laptop in the kitchen, then call it a day. However, you’ve all heard the horror stories; scams where people were stuffing envelopes for $.01 per letter. Make millions of dollars with vending machines or ATMs. You’ve all seen them, get rich schemes that promise to make millions in real estate. Buy the house for $100K and flip it for $200K, right? While some people do make a decent living doing these jobs, the majority do not. If making millions of dollars was as easy as you see in a 2am infomercial, everyone would do it. So what are the viable options when it comes to working from home?
First, we recommend not quitting your day job. Start by doing a few work at home options to test an opportunity. Once you are making a decent income on the side, you then have the option to devote more time to your part-time work and make it a full time gig. That said, before moving to full time a work-at-home job; also consider things like health benefits, large fluctuations in your monthly income and self employment taxes – to name a few. These items will cost additional out-of-pocket expenses and time. If these opportunity costs are outweighed by the potential income, it’s time to take the leap.
When thinking about what you could do from home, first focus on your skill set. By leveraging the skills you already possess, you can find great opportunities that will allow you to continue doing what you enjoy (assuming you like what you do). As an example, if you enjoy writing, consider becoming a freelance writer or copy editor. A mechanic, work on cultivating your own client base. Lawyer, consult on the side for a fee for legal issues.
Just for fun, this next one may sound crazy… Need a car; how about agreeing to put advertising on your vehicle and get paid? You’ve seen marketing on the side of taxi cabs (in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc). If you want, you can also get paid to put similar ads on your car, and drive a car with advertising to promote a product. While it’s not going to make you enough money to quit your day job, it can subsidize the high cost of gas and help with your monthly car payment. Also consider, they put a GPS in the car to insure you’ve driven the proper miles to “promote their product”. If you’re OK with this, why not?
In ending, pick something you’re passionate about when pursuing at-home-work. Working from home brings freedom, however you must choose something you enjoy. Do not get caught up in scams. To protect yourself, review the scams at the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. If you’re looking into an opportunity promising millions per month, take the opportunity for what its worth. Stuffing envelopes for $.01 per piece is not worth the time, but attending an online focus group during your lunch hour for $100 is time well spent. If the job promises an outrageous income or a free car, then it’s probably a scam. If you do fall victim to a work at home scam, you should report it to the FTC.