With the dramatic changes in the employment landscape in recent years, more people are looking to work from home and find freelance work. The problem is that there are many ripoff work-from-home outfits that claim to find you jobs for an upfront fee. They're just trying to make a quick buck off you. Below are some sites and companies Clark has determined to be legitimate. Of course, you should check them out thoroughly yourself before getting involved. Good luck!
Remember, these are not ways to get rich; most opportunities just pay enough to allow you to supplement an existing income.
Legitimate work-from-home opportunities
• AlpineAccess.com - Virtual call center provider using home-based customer service agents. They charge $45 for a required background check.
• CashCrate.com - Make money online with paid surveys.
• ConvergysWorkatHome.com - Be a home agent providing customer care, human resources and billing services
• eJury.com - Online mock juries and focus groups allow large groups of people to help attorneys determine case value, develop case themes, find the facts to emphasize, and learn "public" attitudes.
• Elance.com - Find clients and freelance jobs offered by small businesses to do freelance web design, programming, SEO, graphic design and more.
• Epinions.com - Get paid to write product reviews, both favorable and negative. Some users report earning $100 or more annually from this site.
• Fiverr.com - People share things they're willing to do for $5. The low price is often a loss leader allowing a contractor to develop a client base for their particular area of expertise.
• Google Opinion Rewards - Answer quick surveys and earn Google Play credits.
• IntelliCare.com - Call center company that provides clinical and non-clinical telephone services to health plans, healthcare providers, and care managers nationwide. Anyone who is not a qualified nurse needs to work at one of their their bricks-and-mortar call centers, not from home.
• LiveOps.com - Virtual call center using remote and home-based agents. All applicants are required to undergo a mandatory background check that costs $50. For an optional fee of $175, a more extensive background check allows you to work with specific Fortune 200 companies that have partnered with LiveOps.com. You also have to install a second, dedicated, telephone landline for this work -- only to be used for LiveOps work.
• oDesk.com - Find work as freelancer doing coding and web work, business consulting, writing, planning, newsletters and more.
• OnlineVerdict.com - Provides online case review and juror feedback services to attorneys. (Editor's note: Onlineverdict.com's website has an Expired Security Certificate, so no one should access their website at this time.)
• RedBeacon.com - Market your services in your local area to provide services for others. This website only serves select metro areas.
• Sutherland@Home - Work from home customer service opportunities. Includes paid training, paid background checks, and no hidden fees.
• TaskRabbit.com - Market your services in your local area to run errands for others. For example, if you're good at building Ikea furniture, you might position yourself as a "rabbit" who gets the furniture at the store and then assembles it for others. This website only serves select metro areas.
• WAHM.com - An online magazine for work-at-home moms
• WAHVE.com - Offers remote contract opportunites for retired insurance industry workers
• West.com - Be an "at-home-agent," with duties including obtaining, entering and verifying customer information, answering questions, resolving issues, explaining sales features or offering additional products or services. (Some users have reported being asked for their Social Security number when filling out the Work Opportunity Tax Credit [WOTC] info. However, filling out the WOTC is strictly voluntary -- not required.)
• WorkingSolutions.com - Hires independent contractor home-agents to provide sales and customer service. Home-agents earn anywhere from $8-$20 per hour, depending on the program.
• WorkplaceLikeHome.com - An active discussion forum where you'll discover lots of job leads
• Zintro.com - Market yourself as a consultant based on your area of expertise. (Unlike other sites, Zintro requires the hiring business to put the money it intends to pay a freelancer into escrow. Once the work is completed, Zintro releases the money into the freelancer's account, generally through PayPal. )
• 2020Research.com - Market research services for professional marketing researchers, including online focus groups, hosted focus groups and online surveys.
One bit of advice before you take the leap into a work-at-home opportunity: Take an inventory of your talent, add a dash of creativity to your thinking and come up with a plan that suits you.
• Can you sew? Do alterations. Handy with crafts? How about making costume jewelry and gifts?
• If you have a good grasp of a particular subject, tutors are always needed.
• Good with a computer? Consider teaching others how to use one. You might also want to do computer work for college and graduate students. Try putting up flyers around your area as well as the local colleges and universities.
• Everyone's busy these days. Consider the needs of your friends and neighbors and provide a service that can save them time. Could they use help with errands or odd jobs? Do they need pet or child care?
The list can go on as long as you align your talents with services or products others need. Be imaginative and create a job! If you choose to go the standard work-at-home route, heed these warnings from the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.