The New York Times reports that in the year 2017 close to 43% of Americans have spent at least some time working remotely or working-from-home. While this job option is a smart choice that can help you make good money with a bunch of other positives, you might need to watch out for the pitfalls. And, well, scams! If you weren’t aware that there could be any frauds, let’s walk you through the most viable remote job options available today, and the ones to avoid.
- Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
- Transcribing Legal Documents
- Being a Virtual Assistant
- Web Search Evaluator
- Virtual Call Center Worker
- You May Want to Approach Work-From-Home Jobs with Caution
- Protecting Yourself from Ponzi Schemes that Offer Jobs
Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
Should you choose to teach English as a Second Language or the ESL course as it is also called, here’s what you can expect:
- You will be tutoring global learners looking to sign up with American universities for higher education. Or, you could assist businessmen and frequent travelers interested in improving their skills in the English language and learning to speak it fluently.
- You can expect to earn anywhere between $20 to $40 per hour.
- You will have a flexible schedule and the freedom to devote the number of hours you have available.
- Typically, you need not know how to speak additional languages as long as you’re only checking documents for errors, like, for example, college applications.
- Should you sign up at websites like TutorTutors.com, Wyzant, and Italki.com, you will be added to their directory of tutors so learners can find you easily. However, you may have to pay a membership fee, or a percentage of your earnings as commission.
- If you would prefer to avoid paying the fee, consider signing up on sites like Monster or Craigslist. Other sites like GoFluent and I Speak U Speak specifically cater to business users while Human English needs you to have the necessary certification in the language.
Transcribing Legal Documents
This job is fairly easy to do and only requires you to listen to audio files of documents and type what you hear. You probably won’t need any special certification like the kind needed to work on medical documents, but you will need to be fluent in the English Language. Of course, excellent typing skills are an added plus. Here’s what you can expect:
- You may receive one-time transcription gigs, or depending on the client’s requirements, you can get hired for long-term projects also. Upwork is a great site where you can look for such jobs.
- You can expect to earn about $20 per hour according to the duration of the audio tape.
- You will have the freedom to choose the number of hours you can work and the schedule that suits you best.
Being a Virtual Assistant
The job of a Virtual Assistant (VA) is similar to a real assistant, except that you will be providing your services from a remote location. Here are the other factors you can expect:
- You could earn a pay scale ranging from $5 to $20 depending on the tasks you’ll perform.
- Unlike most other remote jobs, you may have to plan your work schedule and the number of hours you wish to devote to the task according to the requirements of your client.
- You may have to choose jobs that match the skills and expertise you have. For instance, VAs may perform a range of tasks such as:
- Social communication like writing and sending casual messages including Thank you and Holiday cards. Or, follow-up emails after a business conference or meeting
- Arranging schedules like making travel bookings and setting up meetings
- Organizing data like into a Spreadsheets or PowerPoints in preparation for business conferences so laypersons can understand the numbers more clearly
- Proofreading emails and documents for grammatical errors and language
- Website maintenance tasks
- Compiling data after conducting market research
- Websites like VirtualAssistants.com and Zirtual can help you find such gigs.
Web Search Evaluator
As the name suggests, the web search evaluator conducts the necessary research and informs businesses if the outcomes match the estimates. It will interest you to know that although giants like Google and Bing work with a range of sophisticated data-crunching systems and algorithms, they often employ the services of human evaluators to verify search rankings. That’s where you come in.
You can expect to earn between $13 to $15 per hour for such tasks and typically, companies permit you to choose your working hours. Though, they might have expectations of the number of hours you can commit. Read ahead for the examples of companies that hire such experts:
- Leapforce: To work in this company, you’ll be required to pass a qualification exam with two sections. You’re allowed just one attempt, and if you pass, you can work at your own pace.
- Lionsbridge: Like Leapforce, you’ll have to pass an examination with 2 sections. Once you pass, you’ll get hired for the task where you must devote a minimum 10 hours to a maximum of 20 hours each week.
- Appen Butler Hill: You can get hired after clearing the qualification exam. And, the company expects you to deliver a workload of 4 hours each day from Monday through Friday.
Previous candidates have reported that the qualification exams are lengthy and extremely challenging to pass. Candidates may have to devote 10 to 15 hours of unpaid study time.
Virtual Call Center Worker
If you have a fixed schedule and the confidence that you can delegate a fixed number of uninterrupted hours to your job, working as a Virtual Call Center Worker could be a viable proposition. Here’s what you want to know:
- You can earn between $9 to $12 per hour
- The required number of hours can depend according to your client. Like. for instance, 2 to 40 hours a week.
- You may have to follow a fixed schedule for the job. But, if you cannot allocate fixed hours, chose a job that needs you to work per project.
- Among the skills you’ll need are the patience to listen to people’s problems and the presence of mind to solve them.
Here are a few examples of the companies you can approach.
- Xerox: You can find jobs here that earn you $10 an hour. Add keywords like “home” and “virtual,” and you can find all the job options you want.
- Sykes Home (Alpine Access): While you can earn $9 an hour by working on their jobs, you will have to deposit a charge of $45 for the credentials verification.
- Accolade Support: Has opportunities for earning $9 per hour.
- Websites like Indeed.com and Monster also offer listings of virtual call center jobs that you can apply for in your area.
Virtual call center jobs may have certain criteria such as having a DSL or broadband, and a computer with Windows. They may not accept you if you have a wireless connection or may have other technical conditions.
You May Want to Approach Work-From-Home Jobs with Caution
On the surface, many work-from-home jobs seem like great avenues for making good money. However, you may want to approach them with caution. Look out for schemes that are not technically illegal, but not exactly ethical either. Here are the warning signs to look out for:
- Jobs that require you to pay an upfront training fees. The organizers may promise you tasks that help you earn thousands of dollars each month. But, once the fee is paid, you’ll find that the jobs don’t materialize or need you to do menial tasks like filling envelopes or processing rebate discounts for customers.
- Jobs that require you to buy certain equipment from the company before you can work. Be wary if the company insists on selling you software, hardware tools, and any other machinery so you can work for them. Refuse right away if the company stands to gain from the sale. Medical billing jobs are one example of such schemes where you’ll spend thousands of dollars, but not make any money.
- Companies like Herbalife, Amway, and Avon run Multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes where you must buy their products and sell them to your friends and family for a profit. Research has shown that the only real way to make any money is to convince friends to invest in the scheme. Selling these products isn’t all that easy and you could get stuck with products that don’t move.
Protecting Yourself from Ponzi Schemes that Offer Jobs
There are various Ponzi schemes out there that you might need to watch out for. If you find that you’ve been cheated, file a complaint with the FTC, state attorney general, or the Better Business Bureau. And, when considering any home-based job, do a little homework before you sign up:
- Check the Better Business Bureau for the company’s listing
- Read the company’s terms and conditions for employees carefully.
- Understand the payment structure and schedule
- Membership fees or any other charges levied by the company on employees
- Profit sources of the company
- Commission-based or hourly payments
- Promotion criteria
- Company’s conditions for canceling your contract or withholding payment
Your best bet is to check with Google. Type,”[company name] work from home scam” in the search bar. If other people have reported that the company is a fraud, you’ll find the necessary information.