I see a lot of searches these days for “free work at home opportunities” or “legitimate work at home opportunities.”
With the internet explosion of the last decade, there are A LOT of ways to work from home these days. More and more large corporations are closing their brick and mortar locations and moving to online service to save money.
I’ve been working from home for a few years now, and in the past year I’ve branched off into other opportunities to work for myself, not just from home, but anywhere. But it can be good to start with a legitimate work-at-home opportunity before branching into working for yourself.
How I Got Started Working from Home
When I first started to have physical problems, I had already been working for a great corporate retail company for a few years. I was having trouble standing and lifting things and heavy exhaustion from my autoimmune disorder had begun to kick in. So I started out by talking with my HR to see if they could accommodate.
My timing turned out to be perfect as my company had just started hiring customer service reps to work from home. I was able to apply and get accepted out of thousands simply because I already worked for the company.
If you already have a job, I would recommend checking with HR or on their website to see if they have any similar opportunities to start with. Most companies prefer to promote or hire from within, especially if you have longevity.
Companies also like to hire people who already have a history of dependably working from home. Once you are set up and working from home, then you can take a look at other opportunities.
If you are not already working for someone who has an opportunity, then you’re going to need to do some research. I would start by taking a look at the career pages of your favorite companies. I guarantee you are going to find at least a couple of them that are starting to hire from home that you can apply for.
The next best option is going to be finding companies who outsource to larger companies. For example, the company I have been working at home for recently hired an out-sourcing company, so half the people answering phones work for another company and are simply supplied to us during peak times. These people get to work for several different companies from home, depending on who hires their outsourcing service. Check out The Richland Group in my suggestions below, for example.
What Set-Up You Need to Have to Work From Home
Most companies hiring people working from home will require you to have the following:
- A quiet, dedicated work space, free from noise, pets, kids, TV, and any background noises or distractions.
- A computer system, PCs are generally preferred to laptops, that is not older than 3-4 years and runs on Windows 7 or newer (some companies require Windows 8 or newer). I prefer to stay updated with Windows 10.
- A quality headset with microphone. I use Logitech, but some companies will have a specific brand or model they recommend.
- A quality webcam. Not all companies require this, but mine does. Again, I use a Logitech hi-def, but there are other options.
- Hardwired internet, in other words, no WiFi. WiFi can go in and out and lose connection, so you will need to connect your router to your computer with an Ethernet cable. It’s really a lot easier than some places make it sound.
You don’t necessarily have to get all this in advance, but being set up and familiar with what is required makes you an obvious candidate.
Recommended Legitimate Work-at-Home Opportunities
Here are some of my favorite work-at-home opportunities, outside of simply finding your favorite company to work for.
VIPKID (V-I-P Kid) is an opportunity to teach kids in China how to speak English through an online platform. You are required to have a Bachelor’s degree, but it can be in literally any subject, and you should have experience with instruction or tutoring kids – most parents or older siblings do. With VIPKID you have the opportunity to earn as much as $2000 per month, by giving super simple 25-minute lessons where you interact with kids in China.
VIPKID offers the class materials and some training on their teaching process. I would recommend watching a bunch of YouTube video demonstrations, there are tons, so you can get an idea. I only recently started working with VIPKID, but I have a friend who made $1000 a month working from home for them for about 6 months. Check out my review: Make Good Money Working from Home Teaching Kids English – A VIPKID Review
Appen is a global media and marketing company that has hired over 400,000 people from all over the world to help their clients on an as-needed basis. The list of jobs they promote for their work-at-home opportunities currently includes titles like: Social Media Evaluator, Crowdsourcing, Web Search Evaluator, Spanish/English Transcriber, Social Media Evaluator, and more.
While they don’t offer full-time positions working from home, depending on the job and what projects they have, you can get 25 hours of work a month, the work is flexible, and it pays honest hourly wages.
Requirements: All it requires is having an updated computer, less than 2-4 years old, that operates on Windows 7 or higher, and a dedicated, private internet line.
As a bonus, Appen was named one of the Top 100 Companies Offering Flexible Jobs in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, by FlexJobs, and the people they hire give them great reviews.
THE RICHLAND GROUP
The Richland Group is a company that outsources customer service reps to large companies. They require a similar set-up to what I list above, with a newer than 3-4 years computer model, hardwired internet and a quality headset for taking calls.
They will train you and you get to choose which of their clients you would like to take calls for. Each company pays a little differently, but starting rates are between $7.40 and $14 per hour, better performers earn between $12-$16.
You will minimally have to sign up for 15 hours per week for a 90-day stretch with each company you choose to work for, but you can work longer hours as well. It’s a legitimate job working from home and one of my top recommendations as someone who has been doing Customer Service from home for the past few years.
What I like best is that you can schedule yourself for as little as 30 minutes at a time, very helpful for managing autoimmune symptoms.
If you already have at least a year of customer service experience, support.com is hiring remote customer service reps to take calls from their customers. This job is getting decent reviews from people all over the U.S. have taken advantage of the opportunity.
There are some technical requirements, as usual, such as having a relatively up to date PC, hardwired internet, quiet space, proper headset, etc. While you may not have the set up right now, it truly isn’t difficult to get everything you need for working from home.
What I like best about this particular job is that it offers a full benefits package. You can work full-time and receive health insurance, among other benefits large corporations generally offer. This is a legitimate job, and it starts at $9 per hour for training, and $10.25 per hour after training.
Don’t Be Fooled
You may come across these listings in your Google search and think you’ve found some great work-at-home opportunities. Don’t be fooled. These are promotional scams and not the real job opportunities they seem to be.
I came across First Rate Response in one of my early searches, with the headline: “Data Entry Rep Working From Home Customer Service Clerk” and I thought it sounded exactly like what I was looking for. It claimed to offer $18-$24 per hour and even asked for a resume. That seems like it would be legit, right? It’s not.
This is simply a “service” that connects you up with several marketing companies to fill out surveys and questionnaires for pennies. If you did enough work, you may be able to make some money from it. Doing surveys from home can still be a way to make money – but it’s not the real job it claims to be and will not offer the hourly wage it promotes.
Doing surveys from home is definitely a way to get some extra cash, but I would not consider it a legitimate income you can depend on. I would only recommend it if you literally have the ability to do nothing more than sit around and answer questions, and if you can handle the frustration of being repeatedly told you do not qualify for a particular survey you’ve already spent several minutes on.
The most I’ve made through survey websites is $50 in a week. The above opportunities are legitimate and a better option if you are looking for steady, consistent income.
The Disadvantages of Working from Home
There are a lot of advantages to working from home that I’m sure you can imagine.
- No commute – more time
- No need to dress up – pajamas are awesome, and shoes are optional
- Fewer awkward social interractions with co-workers – for those of use who aren’t great in person
But there are some disadvantages to be aware of, as well.
- No personal interraction – it can get lonely, for sure
- Learning on your own – you can’t just lean over to the person next to you and ask them a question
These aren’t the only disadvantages, but they are the most common ones that really affect people.
Realize that when you work from home for another company, you still have a boss, a schedule, and requirements to fill. I have not felt any relief of stress simply because I work from home. If anything, the stress follows me around because I have no place to leave it. Anytime I’m at my desk, it reminds me of my job.
Additionally, when you work from home for another company the requirements usually restrict you from moving around. You usually need a quiet space and a hardwired internet line, so it’s not like you can take your laptop to a local coffee shop, or sit on the beach while you work.
A lot of people want to find data entry jobs where they could have a bit more freedom with their schedule and location. Let me be honest, few of these actually exist. If you’re looking for data entry jobs, you’re better off starting your own business and offering services on a freelance app like fiverr or UpWork.
The Best Opportunity
Although I love and appreciate being able to work from home, working for someone else, by their rules, and taking calls from disgruntled customers is not my dream job.
Working from home has given me the opportunity to save money and time without the commute or need to have business casual clothing. I sit in my pajamas and work, and when I’m done I can immediately move on to my own personal tasks. As such, I’ve been able to focus on other ideas for how to start my own business and work for myself.
As someone who loves to write and create, the best opportunity I’ve found is Affiliate Marketing. With no start-up money required, I was able to build my own website promoting products for businesses and earning a commission from them.
I still have my full-time work-at-home job for a retail corporation, but I’m learning how to build my business little by little to replace that income so I can work for myself.
The best training resources and community I’ve found is through Wealthy Affiliate, check out my review: Start Your Own Free Website and Learn How to Make Money from Home Legitimately
Feel free to shoot me any questions you might have about working from home.