I got an email from a frustrated applicant who told a story that, sadly, I’ve heard many times before. She’s wasted time and money with what turned out to be scams in her efforts to find work she can do from home. She’s wondering if there are ANY real work-from-home opportunities out there.
What are your strengths?
Yes, there are real possibilities. But it can be tough to find them. And it may mean drawing on other skills you have, instead of just filling out surveys online.
That’s why in my questions when you apply and my follow-up letter I ask you what your strengths and barriers are. Many of you have strengths you could be using to earn way more money from home than you could ever get doing online surveys or even (dare I say it? ) web mystery shopping jobs.
Here’s what I wrote to Gloria
Sorry to hear that you paid for one of those lists. Sadly, they do catch a lot of people that way. All they’ve done is scan the internet for names of companies and they sell you that list. Could have been worse, though — I know of shoppers who actually gave out their banking info and then had their accounts emptied! It makes it a lot harder for legitimate companies like ours.
The reason that even legitimate marketing research companies have to get a lot more people signed up than they have work for at any given time, though, is because our clients need people with a different type of background for each job. So we need a panel of people we can choose from on short notice who meet specific criteria. That’s why we often have little screening surveys, like the one you just did.
For example, the first project Web Mystery Shoppers ever did was for the Royal Bank. They needed us to select 200 people who were clients of that bank, but they could not give us a client list, obviously. At that time about one in five Canadians had accounts at the Royal Bank, so, on average, out of every five applicants, only one qualified for that project. Frustrating for the other four, I know.
Virtual adminstrative work
So, virtual administrative work: Clearly you write and express yourself well. Presumably you are pretty good at typing. Perhaps you also have good organizational skills and phone skills. Thanks to the internet, there are businesses that outsource all those things.
The problem, of course, is separating the real jobs from the fake ones. That’s where a service like elance (http://elance.com) or odesk (http://odesk.com) helps, because they have feedback systems to weed out fake or bad employers. It is free to sign up with them. A small percentage of any work you do through them goes to them to cover their operating costs.
The rate of pay won’t be great, as you are competing against people living in countries with a much lower cost of living, but as you gain experience (and thus more positive ratings) you will be discovered by people who would rather work with someone in their own time zone, and are willing to pay rates that are more usual in your part of the world.
So if you have strong skills in areas like typing, writing, or transcribing audio to typed documents, give those services a try.
Have you ever done work through Elance or Odesk?
If so, how did it go?