19 Real Ways to Make Money from Home

Most of us love the idea of earning extra income or quitting our full-time jobs altogether and working from home. If you thought work-from-home companies were just running scams, it turns out there are plenty of authentic and reliable ways to make money by working from home. Christine Durst, cofounder of RatRaceRebellion.com and consultant to the FBI on internet scam issues tells us, “There is currently a 61-to-1 scam ratio among work-at-home job leads on the internet—that is, for every legitimate job, there are 61 scams.” But, there are a lot of opportunities for a “real job.” The secret is knowing how to separate the scams from what’s legit.

Here’s a hint: Legitimate jobs will typically never require you to pay a fee to get more information, and they don’t come in unsolicited junk e-mail messages. Still, there’s plenty of earning potential in working from home because, now, many of the top-earning home-based positions are with big traditional companies like Xerox, Dell and IBM.

No matter what your area of interest or expertise, if you have the desire to work from home, someone, somewhere, has work for you that can use your skills and natural talents. If you remain diligent and flexible, you’ll find it. And you won’t have to spend money on gas or transportation to get to work.

Rebecca Martin from Covergys.com, a call-service supplier, says, “be sure you have a quiet, distraction-free designated work space. Decorate your home office in a style that is appealing and inspirational to you.” Most women do better if they treat their at home job more like an occupation. Let everyone know you are working. Get dressed in the morning, stick to a routine that works for you and those around you and you’ll be on your way to earning substantially more than you thought you could.

Most of the jobs in this article require an up-to-date computer, a high-speed Internet connection, a phone with a dedicated land line and a quiet place to work.

1. CUSTOMER-SERVICE REP

Many companies, such as J. Crew, Express Jet, 1-800-flowers, and even the IRS, outsource customer-service operations to third-party companies who then hire home-based workers or “agents” to take calls and orders. When you call 1-800-flowers, you may be speaking with Rebecca Dooley, a retired police officer and employee of Alpine Access, a major call-center service. When you dialed the number, your call was automatically routed to Rebecca’s spare bedroom in Colorado.

Alpine Access currently employs more than 7,500 work-at-home customer-service agents who take in-bound calls (there’s no outbound or cold calling) for dozens of companies. “This works perfectly for me because I can set up my hours around my family’s busy lifestyle,” says Rebecca, who usually works 20 to 32 hours a week, depending on her schedule.

While the typical hourly rate is about $9, Alpine Access agents who work more than 20 hours a week are eligible for benefits plus a 401k program when they have worked for over 1,000 hours. (Some companies consider their staff independent contractors, so they don’t provide benefits.) Other companies that hire virtual call agents:

2. TELEMARKETER

To do this job, you need a pleasant voice and personality, and really thick skin—you’re bound to encounter some hostility. Still, it’s a good way to earn income. Many large companies now outsource their cold-calling campaigns to third parties who hire home-based workers to place the calls. Telemarketers are typically paid by the hour, and they may earn incentives and commission based on performance.

Companies hiring home-based workers include Telereach.com and Intrep.com. Apply on their websites. Keep in mind that a legitimate company will typically not require you to pay a fee to get information or leads, and will explain how to apply, exactly what is required and what to expect.