What work-at-home things are available that aren't scams?
May 21, 2007 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Is there any sort of part time work that I can do from home in my spare time that I can actually make money at?

Ok, so I have a pretty good 9-5 type job. My wife and I have a young daughter, so the wife works part time evenings. That allows one of us to be around to take care of our daughter at all times. Money isn't tight, but I'd like to find something that I can do from home to make a little extra cash to get us where we want to be quicker. I've had a look at some things, and they all seem like scams, usually requiring you to pay up front for stuff, etc. I generally have a few hours in the evening, and time on the weekends, but since that time is usually when the wife is working and our daughter is sleeping, I need the work to be something I can do from home. I'm hoping there is something out there that I could possibly make about $100 a week or so. Can anyone make any suggestions?
posted by drgonzo2k2 to Work & Money (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This question has been asked before. A quick Yahoo search shows at least three similar questions.
posted by vacapinta at 1:01 PM on May 21, 2007

posted by nitsuj at 1:12 PM on May 21, 2007

Do you have any sort of talents that you could spin into money making ventures?

For example, if I was slightly more motivated I could work pretty steadily sewing custom window treatments (curtains etc.). Pretty decent money as well.

Think creatively about the things you can do, and try to figure out a way to earn money while doing them.
posted by davey_darling at 1:20 PM on May 21, 2007

Four hundred bucks a month is not an unreasonable amount to get from Google ads. The trick is coming up with a Web page people will visit.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 1:47 PM on May 21, 2007

If you have programming experience you can try RentACoder.com, but I have no idea how competitive it is.

I've run Google Ads on a very large forum and we've been lucky to make $70 a month.
posted by rolypolyman at 2:05 PM on May 21, 2007

Sell stuff on Ebay can net you some decent money but you will need volume or quality things to make cash. You could supplement that with other type of web sales if you come up with a good idea.

If you have special talents you can write articles, do photoshop retouching, proofread, etc. Above all stay away from ads that claim that you make $20,000/month at home.
posted by JJ86 at 2:26 PM on May 21, 2007

Yep, stating the obvious, lots and lots of people would like a job that paid $100 a week without being too demanding to do around their other commitments. So basically you are going to have to find something special that most of those others can't do. The rates for things most people can do will be very low. Unfortunately, even if you have computer skills, so do quite a lot of people seeking part-time work. You will need to build on a high level of skill, or an unusual skill.
posted by Idcoytco at 2:41 PM on May 21, 2007

You could get involved in a multi-level marketing project of some sort -- vitamins, household goods, cleaning supplies, jewelry, candles, makeup, and dishware are among your choices in this arena. I'm not saying anything positive or negative about the aforementioned companies and no such judgement should be implied.
posted by parilous at 3:16 PM on May 21, 2007

Awhile back the NYTimes had an article about home-based customer service / call center work. My partner, who is disabled, was interested in it, although was unable to pursue it.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:32 PM on May 21, 2007

I've run Google Ads on a very large forum and we've been lucky to make $70 a month.

Hey, that's more than I ever made (tops $25/mo). But I do know:
* a forum means regulars, who will habitually ignore ads
* the key to high-paying ads is specificity and focus
* different topics pay differently

* "the car forum" will be lucky to make back hosting
* "the mopar forum" might do better
* "mopar muscle cars" (an actual example, sorta) will do fantastic

Also, blogging generally garners incoming googlers better than forums. This seems to be an intentional aspect of the Google algorithm.

Google AdSense Case Study (and the same ubiquitous, annoying demi-net-celebrity has another blog you might be interested in if you follow this path).
posted by dhartung at 4:14 PM on May 21, 2007

If you don't mind brain-numbing things, Amazon's Mechanical Turk might be good for you. A company sends mturk a bunch of little tasks (hits). You (the turker) complete these tasks. You get paid a certain amount per task and it varies. I've seen hits that pay $20 and hits that pay $0.02. The hits vary from "write a review of my product" to "read my blog and tell me what you think".
posted by nakedsushi at 4:20 PM on May 21, 2007

Don't bother with the turk, it's mostly spam like things these days. Only during it's first two months was it possible to make anything worthwhile doing that (and only because Amazon completely underestimated the size of the wrench greasemonkey would throw into the works).
posted by IronLizard at 4:36 PM on May 21, 2007

Ok, so I have a pretty good 9-5 type job. ... I generally have a few hours in the evening

You could spend those extra hours in the evening ... attempting to get a better 9-to-5 job. Or with self-education to improve your prospects at your current or future jobs. Spend your extra hours "sharpening the saw" as they say.

Done right, you will likely end up making far more than your target of an extra $100 bucks a week.
posted by frogan at 4:42 PM on May 21, 2007

Can you do yard work or housecleaning and take your child? If you are a great typist and/or proofreader, you can put up flyers at a college or university. Sewing - if you can hem pants and do minor alterations, you could make some cash.

A traditional way to make money while at home with kids i sto take care of other people's kids, too.
posted by theora55 at 5:14 PM on May 21, 2007

I'm a guide for About.com in addition to my day job. Being a guide basically means I write articles, blog, send out a newsletter, monitor a forum, etc, about a specific topic. We're paid by the pageview but for the first two years there's a guarantee of a minimum of $725/mo while the site builds viewers. It's maybe more work than you're looking for--they say guides average 15-20 hrs a week, my site is new and I'm spending significantly more than that--but it's more interesting and has more long-term potential than some data entry jobs. You can browse the list of available topics here.

Alternately: I've seen Craigslist ads looking for at-home typists or transcribers. There are also ads for telecommuting bloggers, but you might need several of these jobs to get your desired pay.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 10:22 PM on May 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

There are an increasing number of customer service/call centers that allow you to work out of your home. The only one I have any familiarity with is Arise (www.arise.com), formerly Willow. That was the one that was featured on Good Morning America. They do, however, require some up front expenses. For example, you have to incorporate in order to function as a "Virtual Agent" and you have to pay to get trained - about $100. They have some pretty big name clients - Staples, Disney, Apple, Home Depot, etc. and you can certainly pull in a regular income if you put the time in. Most agents only make in the $9-12 an hour range but it depends on the client and the application. There are others like Arise - one called West, I think, and this is a growing trend. No way you'll get rich on it though.
posted by Prestocran at 4:07 PM on May 22, 2007

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