Mr. Fierro, who is 26, has four jobs: working as a bilingual-curriculum specialist for the textbook publisher Pearson; handling estate sales and online marketing for a store that sells vintage items; setting up an online store for a custom piñata maker; and developing reality-show ideas for a production company. So far this month, he’s made about $1,800.
How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise, Alpine Access, VIPdesk, LiveOps, and Convergys, all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you're a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
There are so many articles out there that focus on increasing productivity while working from home. A lot of them are fantastic and chock-full of applicable tips. But some I’ve seen focus on how to set up your home office to achieve feng shui and feature a picture of a woman smiling, holding her baby in one arm, and taking a conference call with the other. Um, no, unless you have the world’s quietest baby. That’s just not how it is.
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Samples. You’ll need some samples before you can really begin marketing yourself. Figure out which market you want to approach first, and then find or create some related samples. For instance, if you want to try your hand at blogging, study some successful blogs, and then write a few posts of your own to use as samples. Do this for any and every market you’d want to write for.
Selection. One of the keys to success on Etsy is selection, according to industry insiders. In fact, the goal of most serious shop owners is to have at least 200 items for sale. If you’re creating all of those items yourself, that’s a pretty big time commitment. But the more options you give to your customers, the higher the chances that you’ll make a sale.
“Working from home provides you great opportunities to connect with some of your core values, like family and community, while still providing quality service to your company,” says Shawn Mason Spence, an entrepreneur mentor, radio host and author of The Work From Home Bible (to be released November, 2012). “It requires discipline, focus and commitment, but the flexibility to define that yourself. You can create a work culture at home that represents you, not just the culture of your organization.”