by Sharon Brewer
If you’ve ever looked for a job on Craigslist, you’ve seen those work-from-home scams far too many times. “Work from home for 4 hours a day! $2500 per week!” If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Most of these are check cashing scams, where a scammer gives you a check for more than they owe you, and then instruct you to send them the difference. Later, the check bounces, and you’re out a few thousand dollars from your account.
Because these kind of fake job listings are so disturbingly common, it’s no wonder that a lot of people think there’s no legitimate way to make money from home. However, this isn’t actually true. There are a surprising number of things you can do from home to make real money. Some of them, like freelance web development work, can be quite lucrative. Others may come out to slightly below your local minimum wage, but still offer a legitimate opportunity to make some extra money.
Here are just a few of the legitimate work-from-home options you can consider. Some offer more flexibility than others, and some offer a better guarantee of income than others. But if you’re a stay at home parent, a college student whose class schedule makes it hard to take on a part time job, or you otherwise need something you can do remotely, here are some of the real, legitimate options for working from home.
There are quite a few professionals who work as freelance contractors. Now, the caveat to this option is that you need to have a skill. If you don’t, you’d need to learn one. Here’s a partial listing of some of the careers that translate well into remote freelance work:
● Graphic design
● Web design
● Web development
● Digital marketing services
Here’s the caveat, though: if you really want to succeed, you need to approach freelancing like running your own business. You need to find leads and bring in good clients, which many of the most successful freelance workers achieve through networking, SEO, a strong social media presence, or other means. There are platforms like Upwork where you “bid” on freelance jobs, but they have a poor reputation for offering low-paying work. They can be a great way to get started and build up your portfolio, but it’s unwise to rely entirely on a middleman.
Appen, Lionbridge, & Leapforce
These three companies hire remote workers for positions like “search engine evaluator” and “social media evaluator.” Workers are under an NDA, and aren’t able to talk in much detail about what exactly they do. For that reason, it’s a bit confusing for many people. However, their job appears to be rating the quality of things like Google search results or social media ads.
At around $12.50 an hour, and a minimum requirement of four hours per day, these services are very attractive options for people looking for a work-from-home job. But, there are a couple of caveats. The positions are almost always location-based, and there may not currently be an opening for someone from your US state or Canadian province. Also, there is an entry exam you must pass, which is reputed to be surprisingly challenging. The third issue is that these jobs are not particularly permanent or long-term. Most people who work for Appen, Leapforce, or Lionbridge have their contract unexpectedly terminated within 12-18 months of starting. However, it’s a really good work from home option overall, offering relatively decent pay and flexibility.
There are companies like Rev and Babbletype who hire people to transcribe audio from home. The pay rates can vary, and are generally given as per audio minute. Keep in mind that one audio minute generally takes around two to three minutes to transcribe. You can make anywhere from $7 to $15 an hour, depending on what company you work for and how many hours you’re able to put in.
Phone Support & Customer Service
Some companies, notably AT&T, hire people who work from home providing customer support. At around $12 to $15 an hour on average, it can be a good choice if you’re looking for something stable, consistent and above minimum wage. However, most of these positions are a full-time commitment.
Fulfillment by Amazon: Make Money Through Dropshipping
Another way to make money online is to sell through Amazon. What should you sell? Well, there’s no easy answer to that question. Finding a profitable niche is a bit of an art form, and even experienced marketers and Amazon sellers can’t tell you which niche you should choose.
Fulfillment by Amazon is a dropshipping service. This means that you don’t need to store inventory in your home, or worry about mailing out packages yourself. Instead, you send shipments of products to Amazon, and they’ll handle the logistics on your behalf. Many FBA sellers source their products inexpensively from China through AliBaba or AliExpress.
Becoming an FBA seller is an entrepreneurial endeavor, and it’s not guaranteed that you’ll succeed or make a profit. However, many people make significant income with FBA, and a handful of sellers make up to seven figures from it.
You Really Can Work From Home
There’s a widespread misconception that there are few, if any, legitimate work-from-home opportunities. However, this isn’t true at all. There are quite a few different opportunities to explore. Whether you take on freelance work or hold a remote job within your career field, or you do something like transcription or tech support from home, there really are opportunities to bring in income that allow you to work from home, sometimes with flexible hours.