September 28th, 2016

Work at Home for Double Dot Media

work at home job leadsDouble Dot Media is a company based in Christchurch, New Zealand that offers online tools and training for people who want to run online businesses. They also allow most employees to work from home, although locals can work in the Christchurch office.

Their products include Affilorama, SearchHoo and Traffic Travis. They send employees to work related conferences to improve their skills, so you can keep being the best employee possible.

Current job openings include an affiliate manager position and a position for a conversion rate specialist. I have listed these jobs on my job board in the marketing section, but you can find all their job openings on their website.

Expectations are high – most positions want more than just a CV/resume. They want a cover letter video explaining why you’re the best choice. If you want the job, you have to inspire them.

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.

September 21st, 2016

How to Make a Decision About School Volunteering You Feel Good About

How to Make a Decision About School Volunteering You Feel Good About

At this time of year, there’s a lot of pressure for parents to volunteer at their children’s school, especially for moms. It’s easy to feel as though you aren’t doing enough for your child’s school, but at the same time volunteering can take too large chunks out of your time. You need to take a good look at whether volunteering at your child’s school makes sense for you. Then you can make a decision you feel good about.

What Do You Want to Do?

This breaks down into two parts. First, do you even want to volunteer at your child’s school? Second, what would you like to do there if you do volunteer?

Volunteering is so much more fun if you want to be there and you get to do at least some of what you would like to do to help out. You won’t always be able to choose exactly what you do, but you can decide whether you’re volunteering in the classroom, getting active in the PTA, helping out with special events, chaperoning field trips and so forth.

Once you’ve decided to volunteer for a particular thing, you may have to let go of control over what exactly you do. Field trip chaperones, for example, are often assigned to a group of kids and told what they are expected to do for the day.

I have two favorites that I have done through the years with my kids. The first was managing my daughter’s Destination Imagination team. It was stressful at times, but very rewarding. Destination Imagination is a wonderful activity to encourage kids to be more creative and solve problems, and I highly recommend it.

The second is reading with the younger kids. One year I was able to take my then two year old into a room they had set aside for parent who had to volunteer with young siblings along, and then read with first graders who were sent over from their class. It was a big help for the teacher, and really good for my highly social two year old. I usually brought her with a carrot for a snack, which took her a long time to eat. She was known as “the kid with the carrot” for years after.

Does It Fit Into Your Schedule?

Volunteering shouldn’t mess up your routine more than you’re willing to allow it to. If it’s making your life too much more difficult, you may not have found the right fit for you. It may be time to reconsider what you’ve gotten yourself into.

Now, you may not always be able to change your volunteer schedule right away. They need you at the times you have committed to. What you can do is keep in mind which things overwhelmed you or didn’t work with your schedule, and take that into consideration next time.

If a schedule change is all you need, schools are usually quite accommodating to their volunteers, provided you aren’t leaving them in the lurch for an event. They know you’re taking time out of your day, and that it’s not easy to do so.

What Does the School Expect?

Sometimes you don’t have much of a choice as to whether or not you volunteer at your child’s school. My kids’ school, for example, is a charter school and requires a certain amount of volunteering per child enrolled. They have a lot of ways parents can do it, so that even if both parents work outside the home or the child has a single parent, it should not be too hard to get the volunteer hours done.

Many schools have work parents can do at home to complete their volunteer hours – it’s not all done at the school. There may also be hours available after school hours or on weekends. It’s not all in the classroom or working with the kids.

Always remember that unless your children’s school requires it, you do not have to volunteer. It’s a wonderful thing to do for the school, but if it doesn’t work for you, don’t feel too guilty about not volunteering. Keep reading with your kids, helping them with homework as necessary and generally doing what you can to support their academic success the best you can.

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.

September 15th, 2016

Work at Home For Nordstrom – Customer Care

work at home job leadsNordstrom is currently seeking work at home customer care specialists in Florida. You must have at least 6 months experience in retail. This job is to help handle customer demand through the holidays.

There is an online training class and skills assessments before work begins.

Your schedule is set, but may require flexibility or overtime depending on business needs. This may be especially important during peak hours or severe weather. You will be expected to handle a fast paced environment to meet customer needs.

While the job listing doesn’t say so, you can assume that you will need a quiet work space and a headset. Noise cancelling is probably best to minimize any background noise you just can’t avoid. This job involves work over the telephone.

You will need to handle any technical difficulties you have on your own.

This is one of many work at home customer service jobs listed on the Home With the Kids Online Job Board. Even when this particular job is full, you can search there for other opportunities which you might qualify for.

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.

September 14th, 2016

The Work at Home Job Seeker’s Guide to Scams

The Work at Home Job Seeker's Guide to Scams

You don’t hear as much about work at home scams as you used to, but they’re still out there. It’s just that they’re no longer in the FTC’s top 10 complaints. Other type of scams are currently more common. But if you want to work at home, you want to know how to avoid the ones that are likely to be a problem during your search.

FTC complaints

Here are some ways to recognize that someone might be trying to scam you as you look for a work at home job.

They Really Want Your Bank Account Information

It’s reasonable to share your bank account information when you’re signing up for direct deposit of your paycheck with your new job. Direct deposit makes getting paid so much easier, especially when you work at home. Otherwise you have to wait for your check to come through the mail. But an employer who is too interested in your bank account information is more likely to be a problem. If they’re more interested in your bank account information than your qualifications for the job, it’s probably a scam.

Don’t share your bank information until you are confident that the job is the real thing. This isn’t always easy to figure out, but pay attention to what your potential employer is saying and doing to figure out if they’re real.

Email Address Isn’t From the Company Domain

fake work at home job leadsMany popular work at home companies now have warnings on their websites about scammers pretending to be with them. One of the simplest ways to recognize this scam is when they use an email address from someplace other than that company’s domain name. Usually it’s a free email service such as Yahoo or Gmail. Others will register a similar domain and try to fool you with emails from that server.

If you think you’re in contact with a company about a job, but you aren’t certain, check the email address you’re communicating to them with. If it’s not clear that they’re legitimate, contact the company on your own, through a source you know is legitimate. A contact link or form on their website would be a good choice once you know you have the right website. These companies whose names are falsely associated with scams due to these people would rather you contact them and ask, right or wrong. Both of you will be happier knowing that you aren’t going to be scammed and blame the wrong people because the scammers fooled you.

Pay Is Too High For the Work

Being overpaid sounds so nice, but it doesn’t happen for most of us, especially for the kinds of jobs offered in “easy work at home” scams. They’re often oddly simple sounding jobs claiming to pay thousands of dollars a month, or hundreds for a basic task.

It’s just not realistic. No matter how desperate you are to earn money from home, be realistic, especially about earnings. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Any time a job offer or business opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If the work is too easy and/or the pay is too high, be careful. There’s likely a reason you feel that way.

The use of all capital letters or lots of dollar signs or exclamation points are indicators of a scam as well. Real job listings don’t need them.

They Want You to Pay

Be extra careful any time a potential employer wants you to pay for anything as a part of applying for that job. Sometimes it’s legitimate. There are employers who expect you to pay for a background check and are legitimate.

Others are just a scam. They’ll claim to have an application fee or something along those lines. An employer should pay you, and the costs associated with finding new employees should be on them, not on applicants.

Common Types of Work at Home Scams

Work at home scams go beyond fraudulent job listings. These are some common scams you can learn to recognize without contacting them for more information.

High Priced Training for Business Opportunity

Starting a business isn’t always easy, so it sounds nice when they offer training to help you get started. The problem is that sometimes the training is expensive, not that helpful, and the money people earn from referring others to training may be the main way they earn from that business opportunity.

Check Cashing/Money Orders

Check cashing and money order scams prey on your greed. Sometimes the check or money order arrives unsolicited, with instructions to do a “mystery shop” with it, cashing the check, keeping part, and wiring the rest to the company scammer.

The catch here is that the check or money order is fraudulent, and suddenly you are on the hook for the entire amount. You may even be in legal trouble if there is any indication you knew it was fraudulent.

Don’t let greed beat out common sense. There is no place that it makes sense for someone to send you possibly thousands of dollars as a money order to cash, have you keep a couple hundred and wire the rest back to them. If they really needed to mystery shop a place that way, a much smaller amount would do, and they’d work with a standard mystery shopping company.

If you receive one of these checks or money orders, do not cash it. Take it to your bank or the police and explain your concerns. Sometimes even banks will be fooled for a short time, but if you cash it, you’re liable for it. You don’t need that trouble in your life. It’s much better to give it to the professionals who can use it for evidence against those who tried to fool you.

Typing/Data Entry Scamsdata entry scams

Doing data entry from home sounds so easy, and sometimes you’ll see an ad promising great pay for it. The problem is that it’s too easy. Most times I see real data entry jobs, they’re in an office, not at home. After all, if it were already in the computer, they wouldn’t need you to type it in, would they?

If you want to type from home, learn how to do transcription – there are more jobs in that area, although you will be competing with voice recognition software. The software isn’t good enough yet to entirely beat humans out, so there are still jobs out there.

Most often, these opportunities are some sort of ad posting. You don’t have a job; rather, you’re trying to earn affiliate commissions by placing ads on websites. You’ll have to pay to find that part out, of course.

Job Boards With a Fee

Many online job boards, such as the one I run here, are free for job seekers to use. Others charge a fee. There can be very good reasons to pay a fee, but make sure you know what you’re getting into. Some of them don’t give you anything worthwhile. Do your research before paying for any job board. You want to know what their refund policy is in case you aren’t satisfied even if it looked good from the outside.

Reshipping

The reshipping scam has been around for a while. Basically, they tell you that you will receive packages from sellers that need to be repackaged correctly to be shipped elsewhere.

What’s really happening is that they’re paying with stolen credit cards and such. When the fraudulent payments are discovered, it’s your address investigators will come to. That’s not something you want to get mixed up in, as it can mean jail time.

Envelope Stuffing

Here’s a scam that predates the internet. Someone advertises that you can make money stuffing envelopes, just send them a few bucks and they’ll tell you how.

Want to know how? You do the same to the next suckers down the line. No product, just tell people how to advertise this exact same opportunity. It’s not legal.

Email Processing

Email processing is essentially the same as envelope stuffing, just done online. You place ads telling people they can make money online, just buy your system. You send them the instructions on how to do the same thing you’re doing. Just as with envelope stuffing, this is not legal.

At Home Assembly

When you love to do crafts, assembling items at home can sound appealing. 99 times out of 100, it’s a scam. You’d probably be better off taking a chance on starting a business selling things you made yourself than trying to assemble things at home for someone else.

Usually you’re expected to pay for supplies, then get paid when your work is up to their standards. It won’t happen.

Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid schemes have been around for a long time. They come in many forms, and not all of them involve money directly. Most recently, I saw one that was about sending books to each other – each person would send books to those above, and recruit others to send books to them, who would recruit others, on down the line. It doesn’t matter what is being sent through the pyramid; the point is that pyramid schemes are illegal.

Sometimes these are hard to spot, and you will always see participants claiming that their version is legal. If it’s a pyramid scheme, it isn’t legal.

Job Offer Out of the Blue

Some companies will contact people completely out of the blue with an apparent job offer. This one often goes with a check cashing or money order scam, but may be something else as well.

Seriously, unless you have some serious skills for one job or another, companies aren’t likely to seek you out. That’s especially true for jobs such as mystery shopping, where they can find candidates with relative ease because the basic requirements are low. If you aren’t doing the kind of work where companies use headhunters to find new employees, it’s extremely unlikely that a potential employer has picked you out of nowhere. Be wary.

That doesn’t mean you’re immune if you have better skills. It’s easy for scammers to imitate any kind of a job offer. Know who you’re really dealing with when you get a job offer so you have a good chance of getting paid.

Medical Coding and BillingMedical Billing Scams

Medical coding and billing is one of those tricky ones. There are legitimate ways to learn medical coding and billing from home – Career Step (aff) is one of them. It’s not cheap to learn from legitimate sources, which can make scams look appealing.

Medical billing scams will claim to offer you training and resources to help you, and may give you a list of doctors who might need your services. The problem here is that most doctors and hospitals have their billing and coding done through a service. If you’re highly experienced, you might be able to find clients on your own. But training on your own with poor quality resources? No.

Even if you go through a good quality training program, most times you won’t be able to do medical billing and coding at home until you have a least 2-5 years experience in an office. It’s not that easy a job, and you’re usually best off learning it with more experienced people around you so you can ask questions.

Many billing and coding jobs also expect you to have accreditation from AHIMA or AAPC. Anyone who tries to tell you that you can do their course and find clients just like that once you’re done probably isn’t legitimate. AHIMA has a list of coding programs they approve of, and I would suggest you look there. As of this writing, Career Step is on there. I expect them to remain there.

Turnkey Websites

If a business opportunity comes to your attention claiming to offer you a turnkey website, be very aware of the chances of a scam. It’s very difficult to make money off a turnkey website – they’re competing against other identical sites, and so don’t tend to get natural traffic. Income potential is often greatly exaggerated.

There are times when a company website makes sense. It’s not uncommon for network marketing opportunities to include a website, but you’re sending people to it through your own marketing efforts, which are often more local. If they’ve been at all honest with you, you should know what you can and cannot expect from your company website.

They Don’t Care About Your Qualifications

Any job that doesn’t care about your qualifications is likely to be a scam. Even jobs that don’t need experience want to know if you have had other jobs, if you’ve volunteered, what your education is and so forth. They want to know what kind of an employee you might be.

You should also expect an interview where they’re very interested in your answers to some challenging questions. Anyone who has worked an entry level job can tell you that they want to talk to you for a while first. The job offer does not come just based on your resume. Employers want to know something about the person they might hire by interacting with them. It may be only a phone call for a home based job, but there should be some kind of serious interview.

Ask Around

When in doubt about any work at home opportunity, ask around about it. Don’t rely on the people you heard about it from, find other people to talk to. This can be as simple as asking a family member what they think or talking to a friend.

You can also discuss the opportunity on a work at home website. Many are good at spotting scams or at least telling you if it looks a little iffy.

Google can be useful, but it won’t always give useful answers. There are people who promote opportunities by targeting the name of the opportunity plus the word “review” or “scam.” It’s not always easy to sort out legitimate reviews from reviews done by people who have a financial stake in it and no problem with lying. I do not mean that all affiliate reviews or sponsored reviews are bad. It’s just that some people aren’t all that concerned with keeping a reputation for honesty and will be positive about anything.

Even though work at home scams are plentiful, there are real jobs and home business opportunities out there for you to consider. Use caution and don’t share your most important personal information until you are certain it’s safe. This includes your social security number and bank account information. Any other information you can protect is good, but those two are the most important.

Know Your Keywords

The right keywords are vital to any job search. “Work at home” is not an ideal keyword. While many legitimate jobs use it, it’s commonly used by scams as well.

I find “remote” to be an often useful keyword, although it can mean something other than a job you can do at home. Some companies use it to mean you won’t be in their main office, but you may be in a smaller one. I’ve also seen it used for jobs where you would be sent to work in another country. Remote indeed!

“Telecommute” and “telework” are also useful. Sometimes these mean that you will work in the office part of the time, but many are fully at home. Freelance can be good if you don’t mind taking on projects rather than getting a regular job with an employer. With any job search keyword, beware of scams, as they can hide anywhere.

Narrow your results down by including the kind of job title you’re looking for or a skill you have. The more specific you are, the better your search results will be. I have far too many people email me asking how to get a work at home job who have no idea what kind of job they want. It’s hard to give advice to someone who hasn’t thought their search through even that much. It also won’t impress a potential employer if you apply to jobs you aren’t remotely qualified for.

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

September 12th, 2016

TED Talk: How to Build a Business That Lasts 100 Years

This TED Talk by Martin Reeves is about building a business that lasts. He compares it to the human immune system, which responds to changes in your body to keep you healthy.

What I found especially interesting was the comparison between Kodak and Fujifilm. Kodak went bankrupt due to the changes in photography technology. Fujifilm made better business decision, remained more flexible, and took over the lead. Kodak survived its bankruptcy, but was much weakened.

Of course, as a home business, it can be difficult to think about how to make your business last 100 years. You may often have times where it’s a struggle to make it to next year. It’s hard to be flexible when it’s just you in the business sometimes; you don’t always have the resources you need. On the plus side, you’re the only one you have to convince to give it a try when you have a new idea. On the other hand, it’s up to you and only you to come up with that idea in the first place.

When you’re a very small business, a part of flexibility comes from taking the time to learn what’s new in your industry. Keep up with things, and note the trends. If you can spot the important changes while they’re small, you can start adapting before most others in your industry.

You should also consider which parts of your business can be handled by a virtual assistant or maybe even an employee. You’ll have more time to note upcoming changes if you aren’t always swamped by the routine parts of your business that don’t require your personal attention. It’s hard letting go – I’m no good at it myself – but can mean a big boost to your business once you get things going.

Don’t rely on any one thing to keep your business going. Diversity is vital. That means having multiple products, multiple steams of income, multiple marketing channels, and so forth. Sure you may be getting your best marketing results from Pinterest (Facebook, Twitter, ad placements, whatever) now, but what if things change? If something goes wrong with one thing in your business, you need to have other things there to take its place.

Don’t limit yourself or you home business by only thinking about the short term. You have to think about it some – the short term may well be what keeps food on your table. By considering long term plans as well, you can have a better idea as to the direction you would like to go, and use that to help guide your short term plans.

Disclosure: I often review or mention products for which I may receive compensation in the form of affiliate commissions. All opinions are my own.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.