Many people who work from home actually work for someone else. They do their work and collect a paycheck every week. They can be considered employees or independent contractors. Either way they have to follow the guidelines of the company they work for.
There are many great opportunities out there to work. Many companies only hire people who work from home. They may not even have a brick and mortar office. They may be entirely virtual. Others hire at home workers to supplement their staff.
Your Current Employer
The first place to look is your current job. Think about the task that you do at your job on a daily basis.
- Could you do these tasks at home on your computer?
- Could your employer benefit in some way to having you work from home?
Many jobs can be done at home to the advantage of the worker and employer.
Don’t think because you aren’t a clerical person that your job can’t be done at home. Many tasks can be performed away from the office. Even if your entire task cannot be performed at home, you may be able to telecommute part time.
Approach your employer with an open mind. Do your research beforehand. Be prepared to give them the benefits to them. Benefits to them can be many. They would no longer have to provide you with office space.
Many people who telecommute are more productive without the office distractions. Show them that you can be an independent worker.
You can even suggest a limited trial. This may be a great avenue for both of you. It would let you see if your job is suitable for working at home. It may also give you the opportunity to see if working at home is what you really want. Set up a certain amount of time to try this.
Schedule a meeting with your employer after that time to discuss the trial. At that time, you can work out more details or go back to the original arrangement. This idea will show you both the pros and cons of having an employee telecommuting.
Be prepared to be honest with your employer and yourself. Once you start working from home things may happen that you did not figure into your plan. This happens to everyone. That is where a trial would be another benefit for both of you. Work with them to get through any rough patches. You may decide you love it, you may decide you hate it.
Whichever way it works out, in the end you will make the right choice for you and your employer.
There are many companies out there that now offer this option Unfortunately; larger companies do not advertise that they allow their employees to telecommute. It isn’t until the interview or until you actually start working for them that you may become aware of the possibilities.
This may be where your researching skills can come in handy. Research the company you wish to work.
Many places on the Internet will tell you if the job you want is one that the company is willing to employee telecommuting. Google the name of the company and the word telecommuting and you may find surprising results.
Don’t be afraid to call and ask. Tell them that you are interested in a position that you would be allowed to telecommute. You can also ask at the interview.
Even if they do not allow you to telecommute when you first start, they may let you once you have proved you are a valuable asset to them.
A very popular work at home position is that of a customer service representative. This has become a viable option with high-speed Internet and secure software. Both inbound and outbound phone workers are needed.
Different companies have different guidelines, so the first suggestion is to do your homework. Google the company you are interested in to see what information you can find. Another suggestion is to join a work at home forum to see
what other people have to say. Many of these forums have job specific boards for companies. You can chat to people who are actually working for these companies.
Phone work takes a certain type of person. Inbound calling is the most common. Through software on your computer, calls are routed to your phone or through your computer.
Using a headset, you answer the calls and provide the customer with the service they need. This could be a variety of services, from taking orders from an infomercial, answering question they may have on their phone service, or ordering flowers. Many larger companies use at home customer service representatives.
To work one of these positions you usually have to have a quiet place to work. You cannot have loud background noise. In other words, you can’t have a dog barking or a baby crying in the background. They want you to sound professional and these things don’t give that image.
You also have to have high-speed, dependable internet. The software the companies use requires this. Many companies are now routing inbound calls through the computer. Even
those that use traditional phones to answer calls, you are still entering the information on the computers for orders. You do not want the customer waiting while your dial-up Internet goes from screen to screen.
Outbound calls have the basic same requirements, but most have automatic dialers. You will be selling materials or even giving surveys for these types of calls.
Different companies have different pay structures. If you are an actual employee they pay you for the time that you are logged on their software and available to take calls. Other companies pay you for what is referred to as talk time. This is the actual time you are helping a customer. They may offer bonuses and incentives as well.
Phone work, either inbound or outbound, can be a great opportunity for those who want to work at home. There are some positions that are seasonal and others that last all year long.
Some companies will hire you as actual employees and others will hire you as independent contractors.
Writing is a profession that lends itself well to the work at home environment. Magazines, newspapers, e-zines and Internet publishers hire people to write for them. While this is working for someone else, writers are typically considered freelancers or independent contractors.
The Internet is a vast storehouse for knowledge. Websites abound that need the information written in a format that their visitors will be able to take in and use. These companies will hire writers to produce articles for them. They are usually paid by article.
Newspapers also hire writers that work from home. You can contact your local newspaper, regional newspaper or even those newspapers that specialize in certain industries.
Send out queries and clips. If they are interested, they will hire you or ask you to submit freelance articles.
Writers can also find positions writing for e-zines. These are an electronic type of magazine. Found on the Internet these non-print magazines are said to be the wave of the future.
They are becoming vastly popular and more are appearing. Finding one that fits your writing style is becoming more of a possibility. Again apply as you would for a newspaper with a query letter and clips of your writing.
Traditional magazines also hire writers from home. Though again these are traditionally freelancers. Top magazines may be harder to find positions with, but if you are persistent, you will find a magazine to write. Try submitting to several different magazines.
There are many different online places where you can submit your writing for pay as well. Many pay according to how many people read your articles, while some may pay you an upfront payment. Places such as Associated Content, E-How and Hellium are vastly popular for writers.
This is a way to get your writing out there and a way for an author to get clips. You will have to do some self-promotion.
The more people that read your articles the more money you make. More of these places are appearing as the Internet grows.
Writers must keep portfolios of what they have written. Keep a record and copies of your work. Publishers will want to see clips of previously published works. Having clips to show them is part of your resume. The more clips you have the better your chances are of landing that position.
Everyone has to start somewhere though. If you don’t have clips, start collecting them. A great way to get started is those volunteer writing positions, the ones that don’t pay but get you published.
Data Entry, Transcription and Medical Billing
There are companies that hire people to enter data for them.
This is a small market, but one that is very competitive to get into. Typing skills and 10-key ability is necessary.
Companies will give you a typing test before they hire you. Transcription does take practice and in some cases specialized training. Many companies will hire transcriptionist to take audiotapes and put them into word documents. This takes attention to detail and dedication.
Most companies that hire transcriptionist expect them to have their task done quickly. The sooner you finish a project and do it correctly the more valued you are.
Medical billing is also very competitive to get into. Once you are in and have established a reputation, the offers will be forth coming. A good transcriptionist is in high demand.
This position requires special training. There are college courses for these. You can also get the training working for these positions in house. Once you have the training, it is possible to telecommute or contract for other positions in this field from home.
These are also positions that are highly prone to scams. Beware of any company that wants you to pay for training and then assist you in getting a position.
These companies are more than likely trying to get several hundred dollars out of you, to give you a certificate and then a list of companies that hire transcriptionist and medical billing personnel.
If you are interested in these positions, see if there are classes at your local community college. Inquire at your hospital or doctors office what kind of training they require for their employees in these fields.
It is best to do your own investigation before sending your money off to a potential scam.
Being an independent contractor means that you are self-employed. You work for yourself. Many larger companies use independent contractors to fill their employment needs.
You work for people, but you get to decide who you are working for, the projects you accept and the hours that you will be working.
As an independent contractor, you are responsible for paying your own taxes, maintaining your own workspace, and acquiring health insurance and other benefits.
At the end of the year, you will get a form called 1099. This is different from a W-2. A 1099 is a record of how much a company has paid you during the year. There will be no
withholding listed, because none was made. You will have to keep good records of your earnings to compare to this form.
The company is not required to issue a 1099 if the independent contractor made less than $600. So keeping good records is necessary as an independent contractor.
Even if you made less you still need to claim it as income, come tax time.
While being an independent contractor may seem more of a hassle, it does offer many benefits to both the individual and the company. It is becoming a more viable option in the business world today. Independent contractors may also refer to themselves as freelancers.
There are many companies that hire only ICs and
freelancers, where others hire them to supplement their own workforce. Freelancers are writers, customer service representatives, virtual assistance, accountants and the list goes on.
Many of the online position you apply for will hire you as a independent contractor. You will sign a contract, but there is
usually no long term guarantees that an employee may expect. When applying for a position read the fine print to see if they are looking for an employee or a freelancer.
Weigh the pros and cons of freelancing and decide if it is the type of position you want.