With the holiday season gearing up and many families having their incomes drop down due to layoffs and rough economic times, I’m seeing a lot more people looking for quick answers for ways to work from home and bring in extra money. Sometimes they don’t care what it takes; they’ll take any shot they can find.

Often this leads to being in a worse financial position than when they started.

There are a few legitimate ways you can earn money from home quickly, however. If you can write, you can write a bunch of articles for sites such as Associated Content. You can sell on eBay or at a garage sale. You can take on freelance assignments from sites such as SheLancers, Freelance Work Exchange, eLance or Craigslist.

You do have to be careful, especially on Craigslist, of scams. If they’re promising you thousands of dollars for practically no work at all, just skip it. It’s probably either a scam or illegal. You don’t need either one.

The freelancing route can be challenging if you have no portfolio, but we aren’t talking here about making a lot of money right off. We’re looking at earning just a little something extra to keep things going for the holidays.

Starting right now, however, means that you can build up as you like after the holidays are through. Get the quick work now that maybe doesn’t pay so well, and start really ramping things up later if you find the business suits you.

You may note that I’m not suggesting blogging, affiliate marketing, network marketing, pay per click and so forth. These can all be great home businesses. Some people make a lot. Others struggle for years and hardly earn anything. And that’s why I’m not saying to start out with them.

Especially pay per click marketing. You do well with that, you can do very, very well indeed! But the learning curve is tough and often expensive. Not what you need if you need money right now. Also, the money may not come in until after the holidays anyhow, depending on what you choose to promote.

If you’re looking for shortcuts, just remember there is no substitute for hard work. The 4-hour workweek
is a nice dream, but most of us won’t be able to start out that way. Your most reliable shortcuts to earning anything at home may not earn you much, but they’re a start and a great way to find out if working at home is really for you.