Some of the “gotcha” job offers from the past include check-cashing schemes, mystery shopping, medical billing “jobs” that require you to purchase expensive computer software, and craft-making jobs that ask you to pony up the cash for materials before you get started. And let’s not forget about the famous envelope-stuffing scam that was nothing more than a pyramid scheme designed to siphon money from as many people as possible.
The main driving force behind the growth of home-based businesses is the increasing capability and availability of computer and communications technology. Powerful yet affordable home computer systems equipped with modems allow people to send and receive messages, transfer data, and conduct research from their homes, largely eliminating the need for those employed in such endeavors from having to commute to a place of employment. Similarly, sophisticated software programs offering applications in desktop publishing, database management, financial management, and word processing enable one individual to do the work formerly handled by an entire support staff. In addition, the widespread use of cellular phones, pagers, voice-mail systems, and toll-free telephone numbers has enhanced the ability of home-based business owners to remain connected to the outside business world. Rapid improvements in technology have enabled large numbers of home-based business people to earn the same income they could at a regular jobs while also gaining a number of lifestyle benefits. Another important factor in the growth of home-based businesses is the transformation of the American economy from a product orientation to a service orientation. Since service businesses generally have no need to store inventory or run production machinery, they are less disruptive and more adaptable to a neighborhood environment.
Then you can move on to more immersive sales education through online courses like Sales Training and Prospecting on Udemy, The Guide to Pitching and Selling Clients on CreativeLive. Once you're ready to put your selling skills to the test, check out Angel List and see if any sales position opportunities align with your interests—the last thing you want to do is get stuck selling products or services you're not interested in. However, by starting out your sales career as a side business idea, that gives you the flexibility to easily change courses if you ever need to.
3. Birch Creek Communications – BCC periodically looks for people to do data entry; when they do, they’re looking for independent contractors just like everyone else. Pay is by the job and your performance, with their uppermost pay range going to those with consistent near-perfect accuracy. You can set whatever schedule you wish with them, but it looks like work is most widely available Monday through Friday on a corporate schedule.
“The massage therapy business has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last decade, tripling in volume. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, it should grow by an additional 20% through 2016, meaning this home business has strong potential for growth. And, because all in-home massage services are necessarily local in nature, it’s work that can’t be outsourced to another country.”
But once you’re in your home office—alone, every day—you might start to miss that collegial camaraderie. Since the UPS incident, I’ve reached out more to colleagues via IM and will post cute pics of my new puppy for my colleagues to see on Yammer. And when we’re on deadline, we even (gasp!) talk on the phone. It’s helped tremendously to make the disconnect not feel so severe. It’s a good balance between having peace and quiet when you need it and much-needed interaction with others, too.
Companies might also retain more employees if they enact a work from home benefit. Stanford professor, Nick Bloom, conducted a study to evaluate the benefits of working from home. He found workers were more productive, got more done, worked longer hours, took less breaks, and used less sick time than their in-office counterparts. These employees were also happier and quit less than those who went into the office on a regular basis. He estimated that, on average, the company saved about $2,000 per every employee who worked from home.
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Packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that delivers value to those seeking to learn a skill, advance in their careers, or start their own businesses, makes for a strong value proposition if you target the right audience. Check out Leslie Samuel's great guide to selling eBooks online and start building your strategy around this side  business idea. This class with Tara Gentile on CreativeLive will also show you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Put in some serious work with your eBook, build an audience and you'll have a platform to pitch traditional publishers on landing a book deal—then you can write one of the best business books and really build your personal brand.
Work at home transferring data from one source to another. Most of these companies do not require past experience, although with few exceptions the pay may not be enough to consider it a stable income. Before you begin applying to any of the companies below (many of which sadly are almost never hiring), you might want to read the post I wrote about data entry jobs from home. It explains what your expectations should be prior to pursuing a career in this industry.
Hubstaff – Looking for a remote position that you'll actually enjoy? Hubstaff is hiring. Hubstaff is a completely remote team that is distributed across the globe, they currently have openings in their marketing, development and customer service departments. Working for Hubstaff means you have the freedom to work from wherever you want, whether it's in your home, at a coffee shop or halfway across the world – they won't trap you in an office. Enjoy the ability to create your own schedule and work during times that makes sense for your schedule. Hubstaff values the work and time of their team and believe they should be compensated fairly, join Hubstaff and start getting paid what you deserve. Be a part of a team that loves what they do. Apply today: https://hubstaff.com/jobs
How to Get It: Begin with sites like UserTesting.com, YouEye.com and Userlytics.com. Register with multiple companies for opportunities to test as many websites as possible. Once you're in the system, you'll be emailed when testers are needed, and if you're one of the first to respond, expect to spend 15 to 20 minutes completing the test. Many sites require a microphone and/or webcam, which are built into most laptops—but if you need to buy one, they aren't expensive. The tester sites typically pay within a week or two via PayPal.
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