April 29th, 2009

Voiceovers – Weekly Home Business Idea

Voiceovers are the kind of work I keep telling my husband he needs to try to get into. He always gets people commenting on what a great voice he has. He did radio in college. Maybe one of these days he really will check it out and give it a try. It strikes me as a nice potential side income.

Skills Required

The big thing you need is a great voice. Something that people want to listen to. You also need to speak clearly.

You can come from a variety of backgrounds and do well in voiceover work. Your best way to get started may well be to simply try. However, there may also be classes or coaching available in your area to help you get started right. How you get things going can depend on how professional you want to start out. If you’re aiming at television, movie or radio voiceovers, you can expect to be dealing with people who require a higher degree of professionalism than if you do voiceovers for people who are working from their own homes. That doesn’t mean you can sound bad, of course.

You will need to create sample voiceovers for potential employers so that they know if yours is the voice for their project.

Depending on the kind of work you want to do, you may want to consider joining a union. This is not at all a requirement, and many voiceover actors are not members of any union. This type of work is primarily freelance.

Voiceover actors may work on commercials, read for audio books, television, movies, podcasts, video games – anything that requires just your voice. You may have to sound like a particular person, sound cheerful, talk quickly yet clearly, and so forth.

Common Expenses

To get started you may just get some basic equipment to record with at home, such as a voiceover microphone, then improve your home voiceover studio as you go. You may need software to edit the MP3 files you produce or the client may prefer to do that themselves.

Possible Income Streams

Voiceover work at home may be found through sites such as:

Voices.com
Voice123

You will need to consider how you charge for your work. Flat rate or by how widely your work will be used? Would you charge the same to do a television commercial as you would for a multimedia presentation? Will you be doing post production work?

Related Scams

The basic voiceover scam is rather like the standard modeling scam. You find an ad saying that you can get voiceover work without experience. You respond, only to find that you need to buy the equipment they recommend and pay for the production and distribution of demo tapes. They won’t really work with you on practicing before you record a demo, or anything like that.

A good rule of thumb is to not pay up front for anything. A legitimate agent won’t charge you upfront.

Recommended Reading

Voice for Hire: Launch and Maintain a Lucrative Career in Voice-Overs
Step Up to the Mic: A Positive Approach to Succeeding in Voice-Overs
The Art of Voice Acting, Third Edition: The Craft and Business of Performing for Voice-Over

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

April 28th, 2009

Online Surveys – Weekly Work at Home Job Idea

Taking surveys isn’t likely to earn you much at all, but a lot of people like to give it a try. It can be good for just a little extra cash. Generally speaking, the best pay is in focus groups, rather than just answering multiple choice and short answer questions. It’s also not really a job, but it’s so strongly associated with what some people think of for working at home that I felt I should include it.

Qualifications/Training Needed?

You will often have to fill out a questionnaire to see if your demographics match what the survey company is looking for.

Job Duties

Answer questions about the topic honestly. Questions may be about things you’ve done, commercials you’ve seen, your opinion on a product, etc. Note that some companies will pay in points toward a drawing, rather than cash. You will need to sign up with a lot of companies to make much at all.

Equipment Needed

A computer and internet connection. You may also want to have an email address that you use only for surveys and a PayPal account for those that pay that way.

Where to Search for Jobs

Be prepared to not get a lot of work. Online survey taking in many ways is more of a hobby than a job, especially if you’re going for cash rather than points.

To be honest, it’s not one of my favorite work at home ideas, as most won’t pay you enough for your time, but so many people want to try it that I feel it’s worth putting the information out for those who want to try it, and to help them avoid scams.

You have to be quick to respond to survey offers, as they fill up fast with most companies.

Yahoo! User research
American Consumer Opinion
Opinion Outpost
HCD Surveys
Ipsos
Columbia University
Qualitative Insights
Buzzback
Harris Poll Online
Lightspeed
Pinecone Research
and many others. Gets opinions from trusted sources before signing up with unfamiliar companies.

Related Scams

You should first be aware that you do not need to pay for a survey list. You can find legitimate lists for free very easily. Online survey company lists for sale aren’t so much a scam as a bad deal on the whole.

You should also understand the difference between online surveys and “get paid to” (GPT) sites. If you have to finish a bunch of tasks, which often include making online purchases or subscribing to a trial offer, in order to get paid, that’s not a survey. A survey asks questions that you need to answer. You should never have to buy anything or provide information to anyone other than the survey company. Legitimate surveys are about market research. If you have to input your credit card number, it’s not a survey.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

April 20th, 2009

Mystery Shopping – Weekly Work at Home Job Idea

Mystery shopping is a work from home job that has been around for a long time. It takes an eye for detail and a willingness to keep a sharp eye out for shops in your area.

Qualifications/Training Needed?

No training as such is required in advance. You will need to learn how to write up the required reports after each shop.

Job Duties

You will follow the instructions provided for each shop. Sometimes you will have to make a purchase within a certain budget, for which you should later be reimbursed. You may be told to go to the shop location within a particular time frame.

You of course do not want to be identified as a mystery shopper. While you will need to create a report on your experience, you should not be taking notes during the shop.

Shops can be done at all kinds of stores, apartment leasing offices and even on cruise ships… although that last is generally reserved for highly experienced mystery shoppers.

Pay can be fairly low for the time involved when you include travel time, especially in the early days. But you can get the better paying shops as you build experience and a reputation with your employer as someone who hands in detailed and accurate reports.

Equipment Needed

Transportation to get to the shops in your area. A computer and the necessary software to send in your reports. Odds are you won’t need to buy anything new for this job.

Where to Search for Jobs

Mystery Shopping Work at Home Jobs at Home with the Kids
Mom! Mom!
Volition

Related Scams

There are two current mystery shopping scams I know of. The more recent one is where a company sends you a check or money order for a few thousand dollars, and instructions on how to do your mystery shop, cashing the check and sending the money to a designated recipient. You get to keep a few hundred.

The check is fraudulent, and you end up paying the charges.

The other scam happens when sites offer lists of companies that are looking for mystery shoppers. All you have to do is buy it.

However, most of the lists are useless. They may not list legitimate opportunities, or may only list stores that might use a mystery shopper. The above resources are probably better ways to find companies to hire you.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

April 14th, 2009

Insurance – Weekly Work at Home Job Idea

The insurance industry may not be the first one to come to mind when you think about a work at home job. It’s not really on everyone’s radar. That may be because it’s often as much work from home as it is work at home, if you get the difference.

Qualifications/Training Needed?

You will generally need experience or a degree to get a job in insurance. There are a variety of job titles, such as auditor or loss control consultant.

Job Duties

In many cases, you will be driving to the policy holder’s site to collect the information you need. You may be able to schedule this for times when your kids are in school if you want to be there when they get home. Then you can finish off the work in your home office.

You may need to tour the client’s site, interview people, take pictures and assess risks and hazards.

Equipment Needed

You will most likely need a laptop computer to take with you to client sites. If you are doing insurance inspections, you may need a measuring tool and digital camera as well.

Where to Search for Jobs

Overland Solutions, Inc. – the one employer I know of offhand.
Craigslist (beware of many, many scams!)
Hire My Mom

Related Scams

No specific scams that I know of. Use the usual criteria when considering a work at home job in insurance. You should not have to pay to prove that you are interested. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

January 7th, 2009

Looking Over Steam Cleaners

One of my least favorite chores has to be mopping. In part, it’s a pain to do with kids around. Any parent knows how easy it’s not to keep them off damp floors no matter how many reminders you give.

Not to mention the immediate increase in sticky spills once the floor dries. How do kids do that anyhow?

For Christmas, my husband said he was going to get me a steam mop. I’ve been hearing a lot good about them, and even if the floor does stay damp, the job sounds easier. And no chemicals, which is a very nice bonus, although I mostly use homemade cleansers anyhow.

He hasn’t bought one yet. Didn’t get around to researching them in time. But at least he admits he still owes me one.

Late doesn’t bother me that much. It would have been nice if he had found the time, but his work hours suck, and he only has a little computer time in the mornings where I’m not at my computer right next to him.

I finally went to Amazon and emailed my results over to him. Started out with steam mops, but then I discovered more general steam cleaners! And if anything is more of a pain to do than mopping, it has to be scrubbing the bathtub, which these may be able to handle in addition!

They cost a bit more, but really not that much.

I suspect for mopping they will be more difficult than the plain steam mops. That’s just the feeling I get looking them over. But I really like the extra uses.

I have to admit, these first got my attention as housework started to fall behind as this pregnancy got moving and I started having severe hip pains. You try scrubbing and mopping when you don’t even want to walk, and see how quickly you get interested in tools that make it simpler!

I’m pretty much torn between the McCulloch MC-1275 and the Wagner Spray Tech 282004. Both look to be more powerful than I hope to need, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. My husband first thought the Wagner was just for wallpaper removal, until I pointed out the accessories. These things are just plain flexible for cleaning, and I like that.

My one concern is of course durability. They aren’t worth it to me if they don’t last years and years. I hate replacing appliances of any sort.

Have any of you tried any sort of steam cleaner or steam mop? How do you like them?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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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.