In the current economic climate, many people are looking for reliable ways to supplement their income to avoid having to count every last penny. Some companies have offered working from home opportunities for a long time via telephone sales, but with the increased use of the internet as a business tool of choice, choosing one's own hours has never been easier.
Opinions and Copywriting
One way of making extra cash which has really become popular within the last few years is writing informative articles or giving opinions. Marketing companies will pay for people to give their products the right kind of exposure, for example to review products or services favourably (or simply impartially!) or just to spread the word online about a particular product or service. Search engine optimisation is one example of this, where companies will employ copywriters to use certain keywords which will bring their products and webpages further up the list on search engines, thus directing more people's attention to them. Often, no experience is needed: it is more important to have a good grasp of language and grammar and access to a computer.
Organisations will also pay for people's opinions. Often these are marketing companies who are interested in finding out what people think about certain brands, or in identifying social or commercial trends. Sometimes this can take the form of survey completion, which will generally be quite a low paid job (usually no more than a pound per survey in the UK, unless it is quite long). If a person has the time and patience to keep going with these surveys however, they can add up to extra income, although they cannot really be considered a reliable source of income. Occasionally survey completion can lead to invitations for focus groups and similar, which can be more highly paid.
Direct sales opportunities can often constitute full time work if the person is disciplined and can organise their own hours around their home life. Direct sales have traditionally been associated with stay-at-home mothers who needed or wanted to supplement their income while fitting in childcare. This may now be somewhat of an outdated stereotype. Many people from all walks of life are involved either in direct sales or in providing training for sales representatives. The companies they represent tend to sell items such as cosmetics, homeware and cleaning products.
Much of this kind of work can be described as working from home as most people, with the right training and phone and internet access, can make extra income from the comfort of their living room. However some work outside of the home usually needs to take place as often sales representatives will be involved in delivering goods or collecting payments from customers. Direct sales can be a good source of income as often representatives are paid on commission.
People looking to work from home should always ensure that the company has a valid way to pay them for their work. If a contract is not provided, reputable companies should use a secure third party payment agency, the most popular choice still being Paypal. People should never give their bank details out online if they have any doubts whatsoever, and should try to research the company as thoroughly as possible before submitting any work - and certainly before paying out any fees - as invariably scams do occur.