No. I’m not talking about the oldest profession in the world. I’m talking about all these get rich quick while working from home schemes that now more than ever have been proliferating in the media. As our ailing economy leaves more and more people scrambling for extra money just to make ends meet, those very same ads we used to ignore (and all their new offspring) are starting to grab our attention.
Sure it would be great to lounge around at home eating bon bons, sipping your favorite blend of coffee (or whatever), and saving just enough strength to rip open those never-ending envelopes filled with gazillion-dollar checks. And some of these ads offer you the chance for something pretty close to that. So maybe they’re worth checking out after all? I mean, what’s to lose?
Well…not so fast. In an interview on Marketplace Money, Alison Southwick of the Better Business Bureau tells us they’re seeing more and more of these easy-money schemes; and most of them are anything but a path to quick riches, at least according to the complaints that pour in. In some cases, you will be able to make a bit of extra cash, but nowhere near what the ads suggest. And in other cases, these offers are simply out-and-out bogus, with the only people making any real profit being the slimy sleaze-bags who tell you to send them your hard-earned money.
To read more of what Southwick says, including advice about a major red flag to help you recognize when this may not be the goldmine you were hoping for (hint: any get-quick-rich scheme pitched by loud excited people on late-night TV probably isn’t), check out this April 24, 2009 piece on Marketplace Money:
Southwick goes on to suggest the best way to make money at home…brace yourself for this novel idea…is by getting an actual job. And it doesn’t have to be a full-time job. For instance, I’m a part-time freelancer who often gets to work from home. And many freelancers and part-time employees telecommute regularly.
So where can you find these at-home jobs?
First place I’d start is through your own networking contacts or former employers. You never know what you’ll find if you set your mind to it – and if you actually ask. Especially in this economy, more and more companies are open to part-time help. And as an added benefit, a part-time job can sometimes turn into something more down the road if you want it to.
But for those of us without handy-dandy contacts or whose contacts are asking us for a job, Southwick suggests FlexJobs, an online service where, according to their site, “you’ll find the best telecommuting and work at home jobs, from freelance to full-time, all hand-screened and legitimate.”
Although I never heard of this company before, the idea sounds pretty cool to me. At least worth checking out. I especially like that they say they verify the authenticity of companies listing jobs – although I’d guess, as with any job listing service, a bad apple gets through every now and then. But at least it looks like they’ll be watching and deleting where necessary. Very nice idea, especially in this economy.
For more info, here’s a link to their website: FlexJobs.
And although they don’t only offer jobs that can be done in your pjs, if you’re looking for freelance work, you might also want to check out Sologig, which I found in the CNN.com article at the end of this post. According to Sologig’s site, they specialize in hooking up “contract-to-hire, contractors, freelancers, and consultants with quality employers looking for independent professionals.” On a similar note, Elance, according to their website “delivers an immediate, cost-effective and flexible way to hire, manage and pay independent professionals and contractors online.”
And to all of you looking for some extra at-home cash, my suggestion is to view all those late-night TV ads as mostly entertainment, get some sleep, and try your best to go find yourself a real job.
What about starting my own business at home?
Yes. By all means. I didn’t mean to leave that out. There are plenty of viable at-home businesses you can start for yourself. In fact, I have a neighbor who is slowly building her own business based on strong knowledge of her industry. But she’s playing it smart and building it step by step until she can quit her job. Start-ups like this are almost never the route to fast money.
Another example comes from the above-mentioned Marketplace Money segment. Vickie Sayce started her own eBay business selling books from her home. She’s doing pretty well and enjoys what she’s doing, even though she admits her business has unsteady cash flow. Still, she is making extra money.
But just a word of caution…businesses like Vicki’s don’t always take off, and even if they do, they take a lot of time, effort, and patience to make a real success of things. So if you’re looking for a way to pay your monthly bills sooner rather than later, a steady part-time job would be a much better way to go – at least until your own business takes off!
Good luck to all of you looking for ways to bring in those extra bucks.
Have you found good ways to bring in that extra cash while working at home? Or have your work-at-home encounters been of the sleazy, EZ-money snake-oil kind?
You might also be interested in this article I just found on CNN.com: