Get Started Working from Home
When looking at home-based opportunities, there’s a good chance you’ll have to work as an independent contractor, not an employee. This can be a daunting prospect for many people who prefer the simplicity of employee status. However, you shouldn’t dismiss an opportunity simply because you’re unsure of how to handle the tax liabilities associated with being an independent contractor.
As an independent contractor, you are in essence working for yourself. Your paycheck will not have taxes deducted, so you’ll be responsible for keeping track of your tax liability and planning and saving accordingly to make such payments.
Another difference: as an independent contractor, you do not receive traditional employee benefits such as paid vacation or sick days, health insurance benefits, and other perks. (You may be able to buy into big group insurance programs at a discount rate, but the entire cost would be yours to bear.)
As an employee, you use your social security number for tax identification purposes. As an independent contractor, you will likely need a tax identification number (TIN). If you’ve formed a corporation, LLC, or partnership, you will obtain a tax ID number for that entity. If you are a sole proprietor (self employed), you may be eligible to use your social security number as your tax identification number. At year end, the company/ies you’ve performed work for will send you a 1099 stating your wages instead of a W2, which is reserved for employees.
There are many nonprofits that donate computers or sell them at a reduced cost to individuals and families in need. “Need” is defined and determined differently by every organization, so you’ll have to follow the guidelines and instructions listed.
At www.techsoup.org/mar you can search by zip code for organizations in your area that provide free or low-cost computers. In the navigation bar, use the Directory link ‘Refurbishers List by Community MAR Location.
You can also Google “computer recycling and reuse” to search for other resources. Be sure to include your state in the search box, so you’re steered toward appropriate groups in your area.
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.
While thinking about making money, it’s also important to note how to avoid losing it too. While there are many legitimate ways to make money at home, there are also plenty of scammers out there too. Christine Durst, author of The Rat Race Rebellion, says her research indicates the ratio of scams to legitimate opportunities is 42 to 1.
I responded to ads to stuff envelopes that boasted the ability to earn up to $1,500 a week with little effort. Though I was highly skeptical, I bought a dozen different starter kits for $20 to $50 each, figuring one might work. Each instructed me to mail flyers aimed at recruiting other people to stuff envelopes. I wasn’t promoting a product or service—I was just told to get other people to stuff envelopes with the same offer. If they purchased the same kit, I’d receive a commission. I’m pretty resourceful, yet I couldn’t get this to pan out. Not a single cent. Recruiting people to stuff envelopes is the oldest work-from-home gimmick that fools people every day. Don’t be one of them.
1. Have you been considering the idea of working from home for six months or longer?
- Not really