Telecommuting & Work-At-Home
Please check out our information on Work-At-Home Scams, Freelancing & Franchising, and Considering Self Employment
Telecommuting / Work-at-Home Information and Opportunities
Most telecommuting or work-from-home opportunities are arranged after employment is secured, not necessarily advertised as such. Any other situation should be considered contract work where you must supply your own office and use your own equipment. If that's the case, then you should declare yourself a self-employed private consultant and establish your own business in the basement or spare bedroom.
I am only listing these resources as a service to you. I have no interest in nor any relationship with these sites, I have not received any money in exchange for providing these listings, and I have not done background checks on them. Use these services at your own risk.
I apologize for being forced to take this stand, but I have been accused of collusion with problematic sites formerly listed here which forces me to make the previous statement.
If you have problems with any site or service listed in the guide, I want to know so I can remove the listing and post a warning to others. Please take a few minutes to read the articles I have listed under Work-at-Home Scams to learn how to protect yourself.
- Nice Work If You Can Get It: Web Sites for At-Home Jobs, Sue Shellenbarger (WSJ Online/CareerJournal)
- A very good article from the Work & Family columnist for CareerJournal. Since she (like me) receives many requests from readers for good work-at-home options, she took the time and enlisted some help in finding "a few honest Web sites that actually help people find real, paying home-based work". Please read the entire article, not just the list of links. She points out that the sites she chose have a track record (meaning they are not new) and they had users she could actually interview to get feedback. She also makes the following point early in the article: "A word of caution: Although at-home opportunities are increasing, most are only for part-time, low-paid work without benefits; some people who use these Web sites make as little as $5,000 a year. Many work very hard at tasks most people would find difficult, such as telemarketing. Competition for at-home work is keen; prepare to wait months to get a client, project or assignment." I looked at some of the sources she listed, and many have minimum requirements for phone, office and computer setups for persons they are willing to hire. If you still want to consider this option for yourself, I cannot imagine a better list of sources for you to use to start your search.
- Work at Home Employment Opportunities, Alison Doyle (jobsearch.about.com)
- Nice gateway to a collection of articles all discussing Work at Home opportunities, including ways to avoid all of those scams (which seems to be about 90% of the claimed opportunities out there).
- ...telecommuting and work-at-home opportunities, but not just any old listing from anyone with an ability to post an ad. The FlexJobs team actually reviews and researches each posting to be sure it is a legitimate opportunity. The only downside I'm seeing is the fee for you to join, but if you are serious about finding positions (temp, part-time, or full time) that allow you to work here for those guys there, then the fee is extremely reasonable to see only quality, REAL listings. You can look at the list of posted jobs, but you cannot see the full posting until you register. You have the option of posting a personal profile which, if you want, can be viewed by registered employers who use this site, but I am told it is completely up to you. FlexJobs was started by Sarah Sutton Fell, and the phone number is posted under "About FlexJobs: Overview".
- Home-Based Working Moms
- ..."The association that helps bring working moms closer to their children. "Home-Based Working Moms provides its members with support, networking, information, resource guides, a monthly (print) newsletter, email discussion list, membership directory, free listing on the Member's Home Business Showcase, free ads in the newsletter, and discounts on various products and services." Not everything here requires you to be a member. They list home business and work-at-home opportunities, some of which require you to pay fees but many which don't.
- The Telework Advisory Group of WorldatWork
- ...a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the economic, social and environmental benefits of teleworking. Formerly the Telecommuting Advisory Council, the group offers information on telecommuting, resources to aid employers and employees.
- "Home Based Business, Work At Home, and Freelance Job Advice". Kate Lister and Tom Harnish have been working from home for several years, running home-based businesses and advising others on the same. This site offers advice and research for people searching for the opportunity to work from home, either by starting their own business or by working for others in telecommuting positions. Yes, they do have a database of these kinds of jobs which is indexed from other sites, but I think you'll find their advice on the topic more interesting and more valuable. They have several warnings about spotting scams and avoiding rip-offs.
You may also want to review our information on Self-Employment.
No, I'm not kidding. On March 24, 2009, I saw a report on this topic by Liz Crenshaw, Consumer Reporter for NBC Washington. While we all know there are numerous scams involving opportunities in this field, her interview with the editor of Consumer Reports' ShopSmart Magazine offered 2 legitimate sources for information on opportunities, and they are both FREE!
- Get Paid for Shopping, Volition.com
- If you a really turned on by those ads that say "get paid to shop," then you must visit this page. Volition.com has put together a list of sites and sources for nationally known and reputable companies. "There is no obligation and there is no cost, ever." Sites are broken into "USA only" and "International" companies. "We are the oldest Free Stuff site on the Internet. That was the beginning and now we have much much more than just free stuff. Although we still really like the free stuff." Started by Ray Sola, a Marketing Management and Internet Marketing expert who has taught at a few colleges in the US. He also hates stuff like Spam. Volition.com was recommended by ShopSmart as a great place to go to learn about legitimate opportunities and be warned about scammers. They also have additional information on additional ways to Get Paid for things like surveys, focus groups, etc.
- Mystery Shopping Providers Association
- Yes, Virginia, there are some legitimate "secret shopper" operators out there, and this is their trade association. MSPA is "the largest professional trade association dedicated to improving service quality using anonymous resources." The association counts over 200 members worldwide, many of whom are constantly looking for new independent contractors to take on short-term assignments. You'll find these opportunities and more in the Shoppers section under "About Us".
You may also want to review our information on Self-Employment.
Remember, check out our resources for Freelancing & Franchising
We have some articles here covering Freelance Writing (Ghost Writing). This may be an option for you if you are a good writer and/or editor, can work quickly, and are diligent about assignments.
You work all day, your dog sits at home just waiting to bowl you over as you come in the door. Or you must go away on a trip for a couple of weeks and need someone to come over and care for the cat while you are gone. Enter the professional pet sitter, an animal lover who will shower your pet with love and yummies while you are away. Many pet sitters even offer playgroups and pick-up/drop-off service. Learn more about this business from our resources under Animal Sciences: Pet Sitting & Training, but also remember you can start something quite simple like a local dog-walking service.
Here's an idea that is growing in popularity. Rather than eat out every night because they are too busy to cook, people are hiring personal chefs to come to the house once a week and prepare a week's worth of food! Doesn't this sound like an interesting business to get into? Of course, you have to be interested in cooking and be willing to work in someone else's kitchen and cook to their standards, but it could be interesting. The resources we have listed under Hospitality: Personal Chef will tell you more about this career choice and how to get started.
A quick review of any home magazine will tell you about the current popularity and growth of this field. You don't work in your home, you work in your client's. Check out the The National Association of Professional Organizers on our page for Personal Services to learn about educational opportunities or to find a professional organizer you can speak with about this work.
There are so many people searching for private instructors in almost any subject you can think of, and I am not just talking about school age children. From guitar lessons to cooking lessons, people are interested in learning, and you could be one of the numerous educators sharing your knowledge with them.
You must actually have training and experience if not formal certification in the subjects you agree to teach, but you will have the freedom of a somewhat flexible schedule plus the opportunity to set your own prices. (Be sure you survey the market so you know the normal fees for your area.)
We have a couple of listings of online tutor-matching services under Education: Private Tutoring
This is a relatively new field growing in popularity and possibility with the expansion of access to high-speed internet. According to the International Virtual Assistants Association, "A Virtual Assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilizing advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional VA assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office on a contractual basis." You must have the skills needed plus the technology necessary (a good computer, high-speed internet, etc.) to set yourself up in this business, plus you might need to be very flexible in scheduling, but it could work. We have some information included under Business: Office Administration & Support.
My neighbor operates a licensed program from her home, and she has a waiting list of people wanting to bring their children to her because she is so good with the children. We have all heard the reports about shortage of Child Care Providers. Most states have programs to allow you to operate a licensed day care program with a limited number of children in your own home.
Be aware you will have to make an investment in training and you may need to make some changes in your home to prepare it for such a program, like adding more smoke alarms, but in some states there may be financial assistance to help you pay for this. You will be subject to a criminal background check and will be required to pass an extensive medical exam, but if you truly want to run a business from your home while you care for your own children, this is probably the best one you can run and one that is in high demand.
The resources we have listed under Personal Services: Becoming a Child Care Provider can help you find out how to get licensed and registered in your state. While terminology may differ from state to state, in most cases the day care center you want to operate from your home is a Family Care Center, not a child care center. However, read the information carefully and contact your state agency for the most up-to-date information.