Common Questions & Work From Home Tips
Q. Can anyone work from home?
No! Not everyone has the personality, skills or work style to successfully work from home. You must have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. You must be resourceful, highly motivated and able to work independently. If you require consistent direction and feedback, then working from home probably isn’t ideal for you.
Q. How can I find a legitimate home-based opportunity? There are so many options, I don’t know where to start.
There are several great ways to find full time and freelance openings.
Work from home opportunities: We’ve compiled a list to help you get started. Only you can decide what’s right for you, but this page is a good place to start.
Job Boards: All the big job boards—CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com—feature an abundance of postings for home-based positions. SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com pull from a variety of sources. The key is to use the words “virtual” or “home-based” when you’re searching. Don’t get fooled by ads or postings that sound too good to be true. Before you’re quick to pay $20 to learn how to make $1,500 a week, ask yourself if such an offer could really be true. We’ve yet to find one that pans out.
Cold-Calling: Sometimes the best way to land a home-based job is by calling someone you’d like to work for and offering your services on either a full-time or freelance basis. Don’t limit yourself solely to responding to advertised openings—sometimes you have to create the opportunity for yourself by initiating the contact on your own.
Q. I work in an office and I want to approach my boss about allowing me to work from home one day a week. I’m also interested in asking my boss to consider other types of flexible work arrangements. Can you give me advice on how to approach the boss?
We’ve created a link specifically to address that question. CLICK HERE for details.
Q: How do I know if a specific company is legitimate? Is it a scam if they ask me to pay an upfront fee?
Just because there’s a fee required doesn’t mean it’s a scam. Many legitimate companies require a start-up fee because it covers the cost of training materials to get you started. However, we can’t vouch for every company for you; you’ll have to do your own research to make the best determination if something is right for you.
There are a few key things to keep in mind: Don’t send money or sign up for a money-making opportunity if you can’t talk to a live person. Many people are comfortable mailing a check after reading the hype on a website. But we recommend that you talk to a person to learn more about the requirements and the realistic earning potential. Since they’re likely to focus on the positive, it’s up to you to ask specifically about the obstacles and challenges. After all, if it’s so easy to make big bucks, why isn’t the whole world doing it?
Ask for a few names of people who are doing it successfully now and talk to them about their experiences. Compare the access to knowledgeable people just as you’d compare access to opportunities with companies like Avon or Mary Kay. If you wanted to become a consultant with them, you’d have no trouble finding people to talk to you—not just email you—about the opportunity. The same access to information should be true for anything you’re considering.
Click here to read more about avoiding scams.
Q. I can’t get high speed Internet in my area. Can I still work from home with dial up?
This varies with every company and every opportunity. You’ll have to check with companies directly to find out what they require. Some opportunities that rely on technology via the Internet require you to have broadband access. Dial-up connections aren’t good enough.
Q. I haven’t heard back from the company I applied to. What should I do now?
Follow up. Women For Hire doesn’t do the hiring; we’re simply sharing information for you to use on your own, so we won’t know the status of your application. With any type of job searching, it’s up to you to continuously follow-up. Think of successful sales people: They don’t assume they’ve lost the sale just because a prospect hasn’t returned their calls or responded to their pitches. They follow-up with further information about what they have to offer until they seal the deal. Apply that to your job search.
Q. My area of interest requires training. Do you recommend any particular school or training program? How do I know if a training program is legitimate?
Since there are literally thousands of online learning programs, we can’t recommend a specific school. You should check with the professional organization that governs your industry. Ask for their recommendations and ask how they’ve determined those recommendations. Ask people who are currently working successfully within your industry for their professional recommendations.
Once you narrow your choice to a couple of schools, ask about their career placement programs. Most adults take courses to improve their career potential, so if the school doesn’t have a STRONG record of placing its graduates in professional positions, you should think twice before paying big bucks for their services. Ask about the employers they work with and the salaries of their new graduates.
Q. I’m not exactly sure what I’d like to do, but I know I want to work from home. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Most home-based opportunities fall into a few key categories: entrepreneurial (you run your own business), direct sales (you sign up as a consultant with a company such as Mary Kay—there are now thousands of direct sales opportunities in all categories), and contractor (some companies hire home-based independent contractors). The section below offers some opportunities to consider mostly as independent contractors.
Keep in mind a few basic rules before embarking on any type of work from home:
1) Stick to a schedule. There’s no manager watching the clock to see whether you report for duty at the designated hour. You’re the boss, which means you bear the responsibility of getting to your workstation on time.
Create a realistic schedule each week, and do what it takes to stick to it. This includes building in breaks for lunch, personal calls, emails, and other brief time-outs from your work just as you’d have in a traditional office setting.
2) Create a dedicated work space. Your dining room table shouldn’t double as your office. Select a quiet space where you can work uninterrupted. It’s important to have an area to look forward to working in each day—no dreary corners—and a place that you can walk away from at the end of your shift.
3) Measure your progress and success. Determine in advance the goals you’re aiming toward, and then work to achieve them. Be willing to re-evaluate your expectations if necessary as you go to adjust for the realities of your home-based opportunities.
Don’t give up. Even though we all crave overnight success and instant gratification, there’s no such thing as an easy way to make tons of money with minimal effort. Everything takes work.