Long ago, home was often the center of work, where people farmed or operated cottage industries. The industrial age drew workers into factories and offices, but advancing technology is bringing back work-at-home jobs. Now, for people who are out of work, looking to change jobs or just seeking to earn extra income, home is once again the workplace. Everyone wishing to specialize in their skills and interests, and who learns to avoid scams, can put their computers to work for them.
The Internet has opened up a world of opportunities for freelance writers. New writers can get started by writing a blog. Beginners can also look for work on an online job board, such as Elance or oDesk. Applications will require a sample of your writing that must be grammatically correct and typo-free. Freelance writing jobs can be paid at flat rates while others must be bid on, and rates can go from a penny a word to thousands for a single article, depending on your experience, training and skill.
Selling Arts and Crafts
If you love crafts and are gifted at sewing, knitting or creating jewelry or art works, online sites such as Etsy and eBay offer a virtual showroom to display and sell your goods. Artists and craftspeople who sell on these sites should check out other sellers to see what is popular and how items are priced. You can provide potential buyers with photos of your items.
One-on-one online tutoring for high school students offers help to students having problems with specific subject areas. Tutor.com offers online courses in SAT and other test preparation as well as AP classes, math and English. You'll need to have a college degree and, for some tutoring sites, pass a test in the subject in which you'd like to do tutoring.
Customer Service and Call Centers
Call centers and customer service centers are increasingly relying on outsourcing their services to people who work from home. Calls to the center are routed to home workers who have software to help them respond to customers’ questions. The job requires a pleasant speaking voice, a quiet work environment and good organizational ability, as well as patience and courtesy in dealing with the public. A call center worker needs a high-speed Internet connection, earphones and a land-line phone. The Call Center Careers site -- among others -- offers job opportunities in this field.
Yes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and many a dollar has been lost by those who forgot that old saying. Legitimate companies will never ask you to send money for equipment or information about selling their product or for any other excuse. No job is likely to pay thousands a week, as they promise.
- Photo Credit John Howard/Photodisc/Getty Images
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