Don’t fall for the scams! Learn how to find real work from home jobs with no startup costs
The future of work is at home!
Almost 3.7 million work from home jobs were created over the ten years to 2013 according to the Census Bureau, and job growth continues to increase. Call it the gig economy, freelancing, work from home or whatever you like but the clear trend is to an independent workforce.
Companies are increasingly outsourcing more work to independent workers. The companies save on HR costs and overhead while the contract workers get more freedom to guide their own financial future.
Not getting started in this new opportunity risks getting locked out of the workforce when the only jobs available are for independent workers.
The trend in work from home jobs has brought out all kinds of scams. I can’t count the number of websites offering to teach you a special strategy to work from home or ‘opportunities’ to buy into some multi-level marketing scheme.
Finding your financial independence with an at-home business shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Like starting any business, there will be some ideas that require an investment to get started and launch a product.
There are just as many work from home jobs that require no startup costs and that you can start today.
Whether you dream of a full-time work from home lifestyle or just want to pick up some extra cash, start with the jobs that cost nothing to start. You’ll find a whole new world of opportunities and won’t have to worry about spending your life’s savings.
A Work from Home Job versus a Home Business
First, understand there is a difference between work from home jobs and running your own work from home business.
Most of the articles I found on Work from Home Jobs with No Startup Costs offered a list of job sites and companies hiring at-home employees. Most of these jobs pay less than $10 an hour but you might get some benefits.
It’s not much money but these can be a good option if you just want the benefit of working from home. You’ll have consistent work hours and some companies will even train you. You’ll get started in the work from home economy and will be ready when the only jobs available are for independent workers.
I prefer the other option though, running your own work from home business. It might be harder to get started but you’ll have more control over how much you make. You’ll also build your own business so you won’t always have to worry about finding another job if your employer cuts down on hours. While working as a contract employee for a company should never cost you anything, getting your home business running shouldn’t cost much either.
I’ll cover some ideas in both work from home options as well as some websites that will help you get started.
No Cost Work from Home Jobs You Can Start Today
One of the easiest work from home jobs to start is writing for other websites and even for traditional media sources. It might take a few months to develop your writing style and learn how to type faster but this is one of the freelance jobs just about anyone can do right now.
Writing for online clients was my first freelance job, starting nearly a decade ago writing investment advice for financial advisors and websites. I started out making just $25 an article for a few hours’ worth of work. Over the years, I’ve built a client list and built my business to making $200 or more per project and averaging over $50 an hour.
I detailed how to make money writing online in a previous post. You don’t need to be another Shakespeare or Hemingway, it’s truly something anyone can do and it doesn’t cost a thing to get started.
Freelancing is the general term for a work from home job and includes the world of tasks and ideas. Any job you do for an employer in a traditional 9-to-5 can be freelanced at home. Some jobs are easier to start freelancing but the sky’s the limit on what you can do.
Social Media Manager is one freelancing job that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Any website owner knows the importance of reaching their audience and customers through sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Unfortunately, a lot of website owners just don’t have the time or the ability to really manage their social media marketing strategy.
That’s where you come in! You manage a business’ social media accounts including posting, engaging with followers, growing a community and general marketing. The job goes way beyond just posting to a social profile and managers can make great money if they’re able to grow a company’s online community.
Blogging as a work from home job gets thrown around a lot but I think there are a lot of misconceptions. Too many people think it is just keeping an online journal of your thoughts and rants. That might have been what blogging started as more than 20 years ago, but it’s certainly not what it is today.
Being a blogger is about owning your own digital real estate, your website that is a virtual store front for selling products. You might sell another company’s products through affiliate partnerships or you might develop your own products.
Either way, you have your own business.
Getting started blogging can cost less than $10 a month for web hosting and your own domain. Being a successful blogger goes way beyond just having a website though. You’ll need to put together a traffic strategy and learn how to make money off that strategy. Do it right and you’ll find more opportunity in blogging than you dreamed possible. I’ve had my own sites for just over two years and average over $5,000 a month.
One of the most difficult parts of blogging is juggling the different ways to make money. From pay-per-click advertising to affiliates and creating your own workshops, no two websites make money the same way. That’s why you need to put together a plan for what will work on your website and why I wrote Make Money Blogging: 9 Proven Strategies to Make Money Blogging. This isn’t just a review of different income sources but a complete strategy for making money on a blog. I start with the income sources that pay out immediately and work through to the ones that make thousands a month.
Self-publishing is one of my favorite work from home business ideas. It’s a natural fit for bloggers because you’re already writing but it can be its own business as well. Through Amazon and its related websites, you can release books in digital, paperback or audio formats to reach a huge audience.
Just as with writing as a work from home job, you don’t have to be the next Charles Dickens to be successful self-publishing your books. I put together the entire process for publishing a book on Amazon in a previous post. All you need is your computer and an idea, no startup costs required.
Data entry has become a popular work from home job. This is one where you’ll most likely be working for another company. Some employers will require you to work in a specific spreadsheet software like Excel or Access but these are fairly easy to learn. Most data entry jobs online don’t require much experience or skills other than the ability to use a 10-key and attention to detail.
Tutoring has also grown as a popular work from home job as education becomes an online phenomenon. The most popular work from home tutoring jobs seem to be language instruction but you can teach just about anything. Some jobs require previous teaching experience or some kind of certification program in teaching. Be wary of any work from home job that requires you to pay for the employer’s or website’s certification process to start working. A lot of these websites and job boards are just scams to take advantage of people that want to work online.
Work from Home Websites to Get Started with No Startup Costs
I’ll highlight some of my favorite websites for finding work from home jobs. There are thousands out there, some better than others, and they’re all fairly easy to find with a Google search of ‘Work from Home job sites’.
The best work from home job sites won’t require a membership fee or a fee to apply to jobs. Some websites will charge you to take tests that demonstrate your skills to potential employers or to highlight your resume. I’d avoid these sites and stick with the ones that offer a no-cost opportunity to finding work from home jobs. These websites make money on advertising and other sources, they shouldn’t need to charge job seekers as well.
Fiverr is one of my favorite work from home sites, both for finding jobs and for hiring freelancers. Instead of a jobs directory, it is more of a project marketplace where freelancers offer to do specific projects for a fee. While most ‘gigs’ start at just $5, it is a good way to start a relationship with a client and work up to better paying jobs.
The Problogger Job Board is where I found some of my best writing jobs and its one of the best sources for finding clients that won’t low-ball you on rates.
Upwork is one of the largest freelancing platforms. Clients can post projects or long-term jobs and freelancers bid on the work. I’ve worked with clients on the platform but there are some drawbacks to these freelancing sites.
Many of the projects are never filled, whether the client doesn’t find someone they like or they weren’t really ready to start the job. There are also a lot of freelancers from Asia that will work for much less than you would be able and still make a living.
Telework was established with the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 and is run by the government’s Office of Personnel Management. You’ll be working for the federal government so might be able to get some good benefits and wages are usually well above other work from home opportunities.
VIPdesk is an outsourcing company that hires a range of freelancers including phone, email and chat support, social media support and general administrative tasks.
Capital Typing hires at-home specialists for transcription, data entry, market research, translation, website development, customer support and administrative functions. Hourly and project rates tend to be a little lower than some of the websites above but it’s still a good source for finding work.
There’s no single path to work from home success so feel free to try out different ideas. Transition into your freelancing lifestyle with a couple of projects first until you build a client base that will pay you more to do less. The gig economy is growing and a great opportunity for anyone looking for a change from the rat race.
Whatever you do, don’t fall for work from home scams that require an upfront fee or paid promotion. There are plenty of work from home jobs that cost nothing to get started and will put you on the path to financial independence!