What is the difference between a work at home job and a home business?

A work at home job is a job you perform from your home office. You may be telecommuting from a job that you previously did from an office. You may work 100% from home or have to drive to an office occasionally or to client sites at times.

You may work as a contract employee or a regular employee.

A home business is a business you run from your home office. You pay all the expenses associated with your home business. Sometimes your home business involves working as an independent contractor for another business but you may also have a network marketing business, website design business, affiliate marketing business, etc.

When should you pay for a work at home job?

Never is awfully close to the truth, but it can depend on how you’re defining paying for a job. It is acceptable to pay for a service such as Home Job Stop that helps you to find out about new work at home jobs, but you have to be careful that you pick a legitimate service. There are similar companies out there that do not provide current information.

A very few legitimate employers, such as Arise, have expenses associated with getting a job with them. Some expect you to pay for your own background check.

Never, ever pay to prove that you’re serious or anything like that. If a work at home job is suggesting that you pay anything, check them out extremely carefully before sending in any money, even just a few dollars.

How do you spot work at home scams?

Work at home scams can be easy to spot, but the can also be quite devious. I go into many of the more typical work at home scams on this site sometimes.

Some basic rules of thumb:

Don’t pay for a job, see above.

If it seems too good to be true it probably is.

No one is going to pay you $3000-5000 per month for part time, easy work. You earn that kind of money part time, it’s probably a home business and you’re risking some of your own money. And if they promise you that kind of money even for a home business they may not be trustworthy.

Understand what you’re getting paid to do.

Do not give out your bank account information until you know for certain you have a trustworthy employer.

Do not agree to cash cashier’s checks or reship products.

When in doubt, ask someone else, whether it be a spouse or the people on a work at home forum.

Are the jobs full time or part time?

Many work at home jobs can be either part time or full time. However, it can be hard to get work for all of the hours you sign up for in some jobs. It can take more than one job to get all of the hours you would like to work.

Customer service jobs, for example, typically pay on talk time, not scheduled time. That’s a big difference if it’s a quiet day on the job.

Many pay on production rather than hours worked anyhow. Be more productive and you earn more in less time.

Do I have to work a set schedule?

This depends on the job. When I worked in medical transcription I had to set a schedule for myself. If I couldn’t work it I needed to let them know. But I could change it around quite easily.

What kind of work can be done from home?

Just about any job that can be done on a computer that does not require face to face interaction can be done online. Data entry (real data entry, not the scams), customer service, computer programming, general, legal or medical transcription, administrative work, writing, accounting and more are all possibilities.

Will they train me?

Depends on what you mean by train you. Will they take someone with no job experience and train them to a highly difficult job? No.

Will they teach you what you need to know for the particular job you’ve been accepted for when you already have the background and experience? Yes.

Will they provide the equipment I need to work from home?

This varies. In many cases you are expected to provide your own computer, phone and internet connection. Some employers will provide equipment to you or have it available for rent.

Do I really need daycare for the kids?

That depends on what you’re doing, the age of your kids, when you want to work and other factors. Consider my recent post on using daycare when you work at home.

Some jobs require absolutely silent backgrounds. Customer service jobs, for example. If your kids are too noisy you can lose you job. Think carefully on the childcare issue.