Most of us love the idea of earning extra income or quitting our full-time jobs altogether and working from home. If you thought work-from-home companies were just running scams, it turns out there are plenty of authentic and reliable ways to make money by working from home. No matter what your area of interest or expertise, if you have the desire to work from home, someone, somewhere, has work for you that can use your skills and natural talents. If you remain diligent and flexible, you’ll find it. And you won’t have to spend money on gas or transportation to get to work.

Martin from thanksforthehelp, a call-service supplier, says, “be sure you have a quiet, distraction-free designated work space. Decorate your home office in a style that is appealing and inspirational to you.” Most women do better if they treat their at home job more like an occupation. Let everyone know you are working. Get dressed in the morning, stick to a routine that works for you and those around you and you’ll be on your way to earning substantially more than you thought you could.

Most of the jobs in this article require an up-to-date computer, a high-speed Internet connection, a phone with a dedicated land line and a quiet place to work.

  1. Customer-service rep. Many companies outsource customer-service operations to third-party companies who then hire home-based workers or “agents” to take calls and orders.  While the typical hourly rate is about $15, Alpine Access agents who work more than 20 hours a week are eligible for benefits plus a 401k program when they have worked for over 1,000 hours. Other companies that hire virtual call agents:
  1. Telemarketer. To do this job, you need a pleasant voice and personality, and really thick skin—you’re bound to encounter some hostility. Still, it’s a good way to earn income. Many large companies now outsource their cold-calling campaigns to third parties who hire home-based workers to place the calls. Telemarketers are typically paid by the hour, and they may earn incentives and commission based on performance.

Companies hiring home-based workers include Telereach.com and Intrep.com. Apply on their websites. Keep in mind that a legitimate company will typically not require you to pay a fee to get information or leads, and will explain how to apply, exactly what is required and what to expect.

  1. Online juror. Companies will pay you to sit on mock juries to give attorneys and other jury consultants feedback on cases they are currently handling. Think of these as focus groups. The cases are real, but your verdict will do little more than give those involved a prediction of how things might go.
  2. Survey Taking

I’d pretty much ruled out survey taking as a legitimate way to earn money from home, but then I heard from Bonnie Alcala. She and her daughter Andrea Spain, an elementary-school substitute teacher, take surveys online for fun and a little profit. They are careful to avoid any scams by refusing to pay an upfront fee or other charge.

  1. Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader. Everyone says you’re a fantastic writer, so isn’t it about time you got paid? Good writing is still in demand says Durst, especially for online content.  If you have experience as a freelance copy editor, writer or proofreader, go to onlineassignmentwriting and essaywriter4u.
  2. Online guide, expert. Do your friends look to you for advice on things you’re passionate about, such as which car to buy, how to repair appliances or how to make a killer cheesecake? Whatever your area of expertise, if you are also a seasoned writer with an infectious enthusiasm for a particular topic, consider becoming an online expert guide. Guides are freelancers with an ability to communicate well and good grammar and spelling skills. Go to paperdoers, where you’ll find which areas of expertise are still open. (There are many!)
  3. Online tutor, English as a second language instructor. If you have a college degree and the skills to tutor students online in math, science, English or social studies, this job may fit you perfectly. Go to  onlineassignmentwriting—tutors who work for the company and have passed their probationary period earn $10 to $14 an hour. According to Durst, “Skype and other web interface tools are bringing English language instructors face-to-face with students from around the world.”

Tips on how to avoid work-at-home-scams. It’s not always easy to figure out if a company is legitimate. Check with the Better Business Bureau in your area and the area in which the company is located.

  1. Ask questions, including: what specific tasks you’ll have to perform; whether you will be paid by salary or commission; and who will pay you. Also, ask about the total cost to you, including supplies and equipment.
  2. Be wary of overstated claims of product effectiveness, exaggerated claims of potential earnings, and demands that you pay for something before instructions or products are provided.
  3. Be wary of personal testimonials that never actually identify the person so you can’t investigate further.