How to Get Started Working at Home

Whether you’ve decided to work at home out of necessity or choice, getting that first work at home job can be a frustrating and daunting task. Everywhere you go on the Internet, advertisements and banners flash work at home possibilities. With the promise that if you just “click here”, you could begin seeing those thousand dollar a week checks. The sad reality is that nothing in life is that easy and working from home is no exception.

Be cautious, many work at home opportunities are legitimate but even more are schemes concocted to scam you out of your hard earned money. Real companies offering legit work at home opportunities will not require a fee to “get you started”. They will be more interested in paying you, for what you can do for them. There are a handful of companies that will charge for background checks and this is an acceptable practice. A background check is usually no more than $20.00. Be very wary of the companies that will charge you fees for training. While there are some legit companies that practice this, there are many more that do not.

It’s essential that you have a well-put-together resume if you plan to find work from home. There are templates available in Microsoft Office and free templates and tools all over the internet to help you get started. Consider a cover letter as well, something generic that you can easily manipulate, changing a few words here and there to use for different positions and applications. It’s not mandatory that you provide your exact home address or even telephone number when submitting your resume online. Your email address is a good substitute. Employers who are interested can contact you via email to request more information. Be considerate of your referrals information as well. Under the referral category of your resume simply put, “Available upon Request”. If you don’t want your sensitive personal information passed out, you should be aware of how you handle others.

When submitting your resume or online application to a potential work at home company, make sure you’ve done your research. Do not blindly submit your personal information to these companies without knowing first if they are a legitimate business. There are many online resources that will help you through this process. Check out the Better Business Bureau online, for a comprehensive list of complaints lodged against the company you are applying to. Even if the company has a good track record with no complaints, they should be listed with the BBB. This is one really good way to determine if this company is an actual business or an Internet hoax. Also try and to see what others have to say about the company you are investigating.

There are many types of work at home employment. As for how you are paid and what your title will be, can be lumped into two categories; Independent Contractor or Paid Employee. An independent contractor will be contracted by a company to provide a service. For this service, you are paid, according to your contract agreement, a fee that has not been taxed. This is up to you. You must account for your own taxes and social security, taking a percentage out of what you’ve earned and giving it to the IRS and local governments yourself. At the end of the fiscal year, you will be given a 1099 form from the companies that have contracted you, providing information about your earnings. Whereas a paid employee’s taxes are deducted from every payroll check and then given the standard W-2, to be filed at the end of the year. There are benefits to being either a paid employee or independent contractor.

An independent contractor can write off many of their home utility bills on their taxes, for business purposes. This can include your electric and heat bill, a portion of your property taxes, rent or mortgage, office supplies, child care and grocery bill. By doing this, you lower your taxable income allowing for a greater sum in return or less money owed. However, an independent contractor will incur fees associated with being a business and must pay that tax accordingly. It’s best to research this fully before making any decisions or filing your returns.

A paid employee has the benefit of not having the added stress of extra paperwork, records and extra filing fees. And too, they have their taxes automatically deducted from their payroll checks alleviating the stress of having to figure out how much of what they earned is payable tax. Employees are often given the option of health benefits, 401K or retirement, vacation time and sick leave, after a period of gainful employment.

As for the types of employment you can expect to find as a work at home person, your options are nearly limitless. Here is just a sample of what others are doing to make real money from home. Bear in mind, this list is not comprehensive.

Survey Taking
Data Entry
Administrative Assistant
Virtual Assistant
Customer Service Representative
Telephone Sales Representative
Mystery Shopper
Reading Emails
Paid to Play Websites
Paid to Try Websites
Online Chat Support
Java/HTML/Script Writer
Debt Collector
Online/Phone Technical Support
Computer/Software Programer
Insurance Agent
Lawyer/Legal Assistant/Paralegal
Website Developer/Webmaster

Any company that you consider working at home for, will have requirements you must meet for employment consideration. Here is a list to help give you an idea of what to expect. (Not every company will require IC’s or employees to have everything listed here.)

Personal Computer or Laptop
Fax Machine
Dedicated Telephone Line
Telephone and/or Compatible Headset
VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol
Cell Phone
Router – typically 4-port
Reliable High Speed Internet Connection (rarely Dial-up)
128 or 512mb Ram
Pentium 4 Processor or better
Microsoft Office
Available USB port(s)
Dedicated Work Space
Paper Shredder
Up-to-date Anti-Virus Program
Instant Messenger Service

Other requirements would include knowledge of specific programs, x number of years experience in the field of the position you are applying for, references, criminal background check, drug screening, and verifiable employment history. But again, these lists are not all-inclusive.

Working at home can be a rewarding experience for the right candidate. It can give you flexibility in your schedule allowing you more time with your family as well. In some cases, it can save you money in commuting, daycare and wardrobe costs.

Finding a work at home job is not as easy as it may appear. It’s important not to quit your current job until you’ve found suitable work at home employment. More and more people are trying their hand at work at home careers and there is a wide variety of qualified people to fill these openings quickly. You must be vigilant and dedicated to land the job of your dreams and willing to work hard to keep it.

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