Without falling victim to a scam, you can use the Internet to safely work at home and make an income. Start your own website with minimal overhead or participate in sites that provide freelance work for certain niche areas. There are also sites to get you started selling a company's wares and making a commission.
Payments and Pitfalls
Beware of websites asking for money. Large payments required up front or even minimal monthly payments are often a bad sign. The potential for the whole operation to be more scam than genuine source of work is much greater when fees are attached to self-employment. Plenty of good opportunities won't cost you a dime, although some paid business opportunities are genuine.
Research freelance websites. Guru.com, Allfreelancework.com, and Odesk.com are three places to get started in the world of freelance. Most online work will require a potential hire to have a PayPal account and to fill out tax forms. If you are a writer, web designer or video editor, or have any skill that can be performed remotely with a computer, you can find work on these sites.
Read all the guidelines and fill out a profile on these sites. People will hire you based on your posted resume and your work samples and portfolio. Packaging your profile is an important step in seeking work online. The better your profile looks and the more information and examples you provide, the more likely it is that you will get a job. Some sites, such as demandstudios.com, which hires web-content writers and editors, allow you to immediately choose and get a job, once you have gone through the screening and hiring process. Some websites use profiles which are browsed by potential employers. Others list jobs for freelancers, and some websites work for both the client and provider.
Browse and list yourself on Craigslist. Work locally or internationally through Craigslist.org. Craigslist has "services" listings for many categories, and you can post free ads to promote your specialty and availability. Browse job opportunities on Craigslist; you do not need to limit yourself to a particular locale to do so. A craigslist page exists for most major cities in the United States.
Start Your Own Website
Get a URL and host a website. GoDaddy.com is one of the best places to start. This website has a variety of domain selecting and hosting options. You can buy a domain name for less than $5 and get hosting for under $10 per month (with limited storage space and bandwidth capacity). Either hire a web designer or learn html, one of the programming languages used to create Internet pages. Find free html tutorials online. If programming isn't for you, find a local designer under "computer services" on Craigslist.
If you don't already have a skill you can market independently, you might want to obtain a "kit" to create a business setup. One such business opportunity comes from Google.The small fee you will pay for the Google CD and kit will typically come with another "free trial" of another service. Cancel within the designated trial period to avoid additional fees. The CD will sufficiently explain the Google program and teach you how to use Google's "Ad Sense" and affiliate advertising programs, as well as other strategies to earn cash through one of the largest companies on the Internet. Even if you don't use Google's specific income generators, the CD package contains valuable resources and teaching tools about how the Internet works and how to market any product online. But you don't have to buy the kit to learn how to work with Google. Simply type "work with Google" into any search engine to get started.
What to Sell
Sell informational products through sites like clickbank.com, or use other affiliate programs to eliminate most of your overhead costs. You can sign up at Commission Junction (cj.com) to get access to multiple affiliate programs in cj.com's database. For supplemental ads use Google "Ad Sense" with targeted keywords for the niche you are selling in.
The Internet is expanding rapidly, and consumers are constantly looking for deals on merchandise by doing web searches. Building your own website and using search engine optimization will give you access to a worldwide customer base. Many free or affordable resources are available online to help you start an Internet business, and you might even find a grant program to provide you with seed money.
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