Nigerian Prince

Something I see online a lot on Facebook, Twitter, and Quora that people want to work from home online; of course, they don’t want a scam. That’s usually how they word it, too: “I want to work at home online. NO SCAMS!”

I don’t blame them for saying that…because there are a lot of scams out there. Yet, sometimes there are things that are labeled a scam when they aren’t. It’s just that people don’t necessarily have the experience or understanding of the differences between a work at home business and a work from home job.

Sooo…I thought I’d take some time and explain a few concepts to you all so that you can more easily spot a scam and also know the difference between jobs and business opportunities.

They Wanna Wire You Money to Pull Out of Your Bank or PayPal Account? Scam

We all work for one reason: money is a necessity. Even if you’re a minimalist, money is a necessity. You have to buy food. You have to keep a roof over your head. You have to pay the electric company (turns out, they want dollars and not thoughts and prayers…who knew?)

And, you know, when you have a traditional job…you generally give up your bank account info to Payroll or HR so they can direct deposit your pay. Yes, work from home businesses and jobs may end up with you getting your pay directly deposited into an account…

However, if someone says your job description is simply to receive deposits and then withdraw the money and send it back to them, that’s a scam. Period. Dot. Point blank. I’ve seen some on Facebook who claim they are employees of Wells Fargo. Ask yourself this question: why would a major financial company or any other big business need you to take their money for them, pull it out of your account, and then give it back to the person? They have corporate accounts that are managed by professionals. They don’t need you. Just say no to these scams or anyone that wants your bank LOG IN info. Not even a traditional HR / Payroll rep would ever need your bank LOG IN info.

Email “Processing” That Pays $25 Per Email? Scam

If you’re on Facebook and you’re looking to work from home, you’ve seen this one. It’s often called EPS (email processing service). People post that they’ll pay you $25 for every email you process, but you have to pay $25 to get started. Oh, and sometimes they use some cute little colorful graphic to grab your attention. Sure, legitimate businesses you can work from home may have a start-up fee of some kind.

Yet, when you pay your $25, you’re told to do what they are doing. Post in groups and online about needing email “processors” who will get paid $25 for every processed email. Then, you charge each person $25 and tell them to do what you do. That’s not email processing.

Legitimate email processing is something generally done by virtual assistants. You review incoming email for one or more people, reply, forward, or do whatever it is that they’ve asked you to do with it. It’s usually paid on a flat rate or hourly basis. So, if that’s what you’re looking to do, go to Upwork and find a virtual assistant job.

The Difference Between a Work from Home Business Opportunity and a Job

When you’re looking at work from home groups, you have to be careful with how things are worded. They’ll say things like they need health benefits reps or customer service advisers or what have you…and when you follow their link, you’re taken to a page to become an independent rep of something. That’s not to say that they are scams. They aren’t. Most of those people are just doing what their upline told them to do by posting online. And they rely on the fact that most people don’t know the difference between a business and a job.

A work from home business opportunity requires you to pay some sort of fee. Generally, you get a kit of some kind. For instance, Usborne Books (I am not a rep, but I used to be one) will send you books, catalogs, and a ton of other stuff for a fee. Sometimes, you have to pay extra if you want a direct link website…or maybe you go and buy your own domain. You become your own boss, but you’re also responsible for moving product. Oh, and even if it says “no sales,” there are sales. People aren’t going to throw money at you for looking pretty unless you’re on a pole in a strip club. (By the way, I don’t have an issue with people who want to strip or who enjoy stripping for a living. Do yo’ thang, boo.) And even then, the strippers are doing something – dancing, giving people attention, giving them false hope of getting laid…whatever.

spider stripper

Even when something says “no sales,” you have to push product (as I was saying). The people who say “no sales” are trying to fool you into thinking that there is an extremely high demand for their product. Remember the ItWorks craze? Sure, there are still reps (and some who are successful) out there, but think about how often you saw it in  your social media feed compared to now. I have nothing against ItWorks, but you can do pretty much the same thing (with their wraps) if you wrap your tummy in Saran Wrap for 24 hours. Use lotion because otherwise it will hurt like hell to pull off. Those wraps make you lose water weight. Nothing wrong with it, though.

If you find a business opportunity you really love and believe in…and you’ll use the products yourself, great. Save up the fee and give it a go, but don’t quit your current job. If you’re a stay at home parent, make sure you work the business as much as possible.

Know whether you’ll have extra fees or quotas. For example, Thrive. I like Thrive’s products. You can sign up for free to be a rep (I don’t remember what the reps call themselves, but don’t think it is rep). But…to make commission on sales, you must first buy a certain amount of product. And be on autoship (I could be wrong here at the time of writing this in January 2018, but that’s how it was when I was a rep in I think it was 2015). You can get your product for free if you have at least two paying customers of certain packages of supplements. Again, the stuff is good. In my opinion, it worked. But…it was and is kinda pricey. If you don’t have a certain amount of sales (that includes what you buy for yourself), you don’t qualify for pay. Again, not a knock on the company or the product. It’s just one of those things you’d need to know. It’s something you have to check with any business opportunity.

Okay, So What’s a Work From Home Job?

Most people who are looking to work from home aren’t looking for a business opportunity. They want something with a steady paycheck that allows them to sit on the couch in their fuzzy kitty cat with laser eyes pajama bottoms they bought at Walmart (guilty as charged on the PJ bottoms. Clearance, amirite?). In short, you want to be an employee who works on a remote basis.

Yes, there are companies who hire you to work from home in many capacities. Lots of call centers do it now (but sometimes you’re still an independent contractor), U-Haul hires some, AmEx, UnitedHealth used to (I don’t know if they still do) as well. So, where can those jobs be found?! Follow these links:

A couple of notes about my list there. I am not affiliated with any of those sites. I don’t get anything out of mentioning them. I used the top two myself before settling on freelance writing. They do have affiliate links (hey, they gotta make money, too). They do have some business opportunities or surveys and shit posted from time to time. So just be mindful and read carefully. And, yes, the teaching English from home positions are legit if you have the right qualifications and good Internet.

Okay, so with FlexJobs, you may have visited and noticed that they charge money. They’re not scammers. If you’re looking to work with major businesses from home as an independent contractor or employee, it is the place to be. Search online for a coupon code to take cut down the fee. The fee isn’t that much to begin with, but I know how every little bit helps.

Where Does Freelancing Fall Into the Mix?

I’ve been told I’m not a real writer. I’ve been told that I can’t really make money writing since other people couldn’t manage. I’ve had people say, “No, really, what’s your day job?” When I teach freelancing basics, I get called names for requesting a modest fee for my time. So, what is freelancing? Is it a work from home job or a business opportunity?

Well, it can be either one.

From the job side, you could end up with one or two permanent clients that take up all of your time and constantly keep you busy. You have a steady income and little overhead (outside of your own Internet, electricity, CPA, whatever). So, you feel like you’re an employee although you’re a contractor.

For the most part, though, it’s a business opportunity that you place yourself into. You have overhead. You must market yourself. You must market your skills. It is your responsibility to get clients. It is your responsibility to do the work. They won’t stand over you to make sure you do it.

It can take time to build a freelance business and as I always say – if you have a day job, don’t quit your job until you’ve built up your business enough to survive…and be aware that sometimes (especially in December and January) things are slow for most of us.

If you’re not working because you’re a stay at home parent or can’t find work, take some time to think about your skills. What can you do? What do you enjoy? What do you hate? Try to stay away from what you hate because otherwise you’ll dread the process. Do research on industry rates for freelancers in your industry. Do research on your target market. Learn what you can. Set up your professional profiles and accounts. Make it your job to solicit clients until you have enough clients. Start asking for referrals. Work the business. Don’t fall into the trap of working whenever you want because you do need to be available when your clients need you. Protect your time.

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