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Saturday, April 10, 2010

10 Questions for the Woman Who Wants to Work from Home

    Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, temporarily out of work, or simply want to supplement your family’s income, you’re in the market for some ideas on earning money from the comfort of your home.  
    We’ve done some research and gathered some ideas on how to use the resources you already have to get started without a big start-up investment--or any up-front money at all in many cases.
  1. Have you cleaned your closets lately? You’ve probably got cupboards full of items you don’t need or want. Studies have found that most Americans have more than $3,000 worth of saleable items lying unused in their homes. That collection of dolls or decorative plates you treasured but no longer have time or room for?—someone else shares that interest and will offer a ready market. Check out the possibilities for selling your unused and unwanted stuff through eBay, efleaa, Hoobly, or your local Craigslist.

  1. Got a camera? Your camera is an indispensable tool for selling online, but did you know that there is a market for your photos themselves? Websites and online businesses all want pictures to adorn their sites—without the expense of hiring photographers. Clearinghouses like ShutterStock, Fotolia, and BigStockPhoto let you upload your own photos for these businesses to purchase. You earn a percentage or flat fee (25 cents+) each time someone uses one of your pictures.

  1. Can you write? Those millions of websites need words even more than pictures, and many of them hire freelance writers to fill that need. Elance, ODesk, and GetaFreelancer offer thousands of large and small writing projects every day. If your language skills are college-level, you don’t need to be a professional writer to find an enthusiastic market for your ability to express in words the knowledge you already have or can readily find through a little online research.

  1. What about a website of your own? You’re probably spending a lot of time online already, so why not make that time productive? A website of your own is a great outlet for your ideas and interests, and a way to connect with people who share them. It might sound intimidating, but there are tools to help you get started, like a free website builder program. They provide all the software, training and support you’ll need. Other sources can teach you more about blogging, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing, backlinks, and ads to help you create a site that will earn money.

  1. Do you like to shop? This may sound too good to be true, but you really can get paid for shopping  and eating out. Mystery shoppers provide a useful service to business owners who rely on their anonymous visits and reports for a customer’s-eye view of how their business is doing. This is a great opportunity for work-at-home moms, since you can bring the kids along on many of these expeditions.

    Several specialized services can help you find these opportunities, like Service Intelligence, Shoppers View, and Service Excellence Group. It costs nothing to register, and you could earn $20 for one shopping trip—and may even get a free meal.
  1. Can you type? Update a spreadsheet? Or make travel plans? Someone needs your “virtual assistance.”  Small businesses and independent entrepreneurs who don’t need or can’t afford full-time staff are outsourcing more and more of these routine office tasks. Work a few hours a day or week, or even full-time from your home. Alpine Access, Team Double Click, and Virtual Office Temps can help you find jobs that pay as much as $20 an hour. Freelance websites (like Elance and Odesk) have extensive listings for virtual assistants as well.

  1. What do you know? Not just book-learning, but life experience, hobbies, previous job expertise--all can be needed resources for others who don’t have your background. Are you a gifted party planner? Is your eye for design fabulous? Are you the world’s savviest online shopper? Get the word out through friends, flyers, inexpensive ads in the local pennysaver, and start marketing your expertise. And of course, don’t forget the online marketplace. LivePerson and JustAnswer pay people like you to answer questions online.

  1. Are you crafty? Marketing your handiwork to local shops is one approach, but again, online enterprise offers you a much larger scope. For a small registration fee and 3.5% commission, Etsy was designed for selling your creations. In 2008 this site alone sold more than $88 million in goods! Ebay is another outlet, as is Silkfair. Joining Silkfair is free, or you can open your own virtual store on their site for $24.99 per month and 3 percent commission. You can also market your collectibles here.

  1. Are you a reader? You don’t need write books to make money on them online. The rights to many complete eBooks are available for resale through your own dedicated online bookstore or website. Again, free website builders, such as Wordpress, can get you started creating your virtual bookstore.

  1. Would you love to teach? If you have a college degree, even if you’ve never taught in a classroom, online services will hire you to help students with tutoring, mentoring, problem solving and essay-writing help. Tutor.com pays by the hour, and through transwebtutors you can provide live homework assistance to students all over the world.
    Once you’ve got a start in any of these areas, you may begin to see how they can be combined. With your own website, you can market your skills, expertise, and products directly and multiply your opportunities. The online business world provides boundless opportunities for women (and men) to work from home creatively and successfully.
About the author: Melanie Citron is a freelance author who wants the web to be open to everyone. She regularly researches and writes about great free or low cost resources to help all have a great presence on the web. See more of her writing at BuildMySiteforFree.com.

1 comment :

  1. Just have to say this is an excellent and helpful piece... Tons of great info all in one place. Thanks so much from a mom who tries all of these ideas sporadically :)

    ReplyDelete

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