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If you have seen all the hype about work at home jobs and you wish it were real, but figure it is too good to be true, you may have jumped the gun. There are several legit work at home jobs if you have the right skill set. However, you are right to be wary about the vast majority of jobs that promise unlimited freedom and, “Income while you sleep!” Learning how to discern between real, income-producing jobs from the home front and scams is the first important step to getting the extra freedom you idealize.

Legit Work at Home Jobs Before you go out looking for legitimate work from home, you need to ask yourself two questions, and answer them honestly (sometimes even being honest with ourselves is hard when we really want something). The first question is Can you successfully motivate yourself to wake up in a timely manner, get to work, and maintain motivation five days a week just as you would if you had a boss—can you self-motivate? If you can truly say yes, ask yourself another question. Ask yourself if you are the kind of person that is willing to meet new people daily, and sell your product (usually your product is you, since the service you provide usually is not a physical product). Very few people truly have the gift to sell themselves to potential clients and if you are not one of them, there is no reason to leave the structure of a nine-to-five job.

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However, if you have identified yourself as a disciplined person who is outgoing and ready to have freedom to create, and maintain your own schedule, do not be afraid to find the coveted, work-at-home-job for which you hunger. At home work includes: sales, writing, editing, proofreading, copy work, affiliate linking, blogging, data entry, and networking. To help you understand where you will best fit, all of these jobs break into three categories. Consider sales, affiliate linking and networking all part of satellite marketing. Consider writing, editing, proofreading and blogging as freelance writing. Data entry and copy work are considered contract jobs.

Most contract jobs can quickly be filed into the legit work at home jobs file. The upside to contract jobs is its financial certainty. Most data entry jobs, for example, are hired out directly from the employer which means (most often) that you will be an offsite employee of the company being paid by an established business. Companies like PayPal, Qwest, ConAgra and even Coke hire remote data entry specialists for some jobs. The two downsides to contract jobs are the pay and the tedium. Data entry is low paying even for fulltime employees and the repetitive nature of the work makes it boring for the majority of those who do it day in and day out.

Because most strictly contract jobs are so low paying, freelance writing jobs are the preferred route of most people looking for work at home jobs. Several well-established “Content Mills” are good places to begin work as a freelancer. These companies pay little more than a data entry job, but guarantee work for their contracted writing employees. Databases for these content mills are always stocked, and while the topical context may not always play to your strengths (because people do better writing about things that they know), you will have work whenever you want it. However, to really make money as a writer, proofreader or editor from the confines of your home, you will have to venture out beyond the safe waters of content mills.

Legitimate opportunities to secure freelance work are more difficult to find. The two major tips to remember when investigating a writing job are contract appropriations and efficacy of communication. You will likely do all of your work, getting the job and preparing it, via e-mails and virtual mediums. Because you rarely talk to a client, even over the phone, you need to understand how to read their cues and how to refuse work when a client is too risky to guarantee payment. The safe employers will send 1099s to any hire. They will sign a contract for the job and provide several ways for their contractor to contact them. If you pick up a client who offers “under the table payment” refuse and keep looking. It is not fun to pay taxes, but at least when you enter into an agreement with an employer through legally binding tax paperwork they will be forced to pay one way or another.

If you have read this far and feel a sense of despair because you did not leave the working world to do data entry in your dining room, and you know your writing skills are not a strong suit, the final route will appeal to you. Satellite marketing is not only the most unsecured of the work at home jobs, but it is also the most lucrative, when you know how to select your jobs. You do not have to be a good writer, or deal well with tedium. You really can work any hours that please you, midnight to five in the morning if you please, so long as you put in enough time to see financial yield. Moreover, if you put in excruciating hours for the first few years, you might even find yourself making the kind of money that most people are suspicious of, and angry about.

You cannot expect to make thousands of dollars a week when you first begin satellite marketing. Immediately disqualify any company that promises such things from your search. Any company that requires you to pay upfront for entry into their ranks is a scam. Any company that does not list a specific product is a scam. To work for an affiliate marketing company, conduct research. Do not pay attention to links on the pages of the affiliate business, but instead, find consumer reports. All public libraries grant access to free consumer report webpages—access for which you would otherwise have to pay. Consumer reports are usually very up to date and provide all the information you will need to evaluate a potential marketing employer.

Once you have found a company that sells product or performs affiliate duties you are comfortable with, the last step is to get the job. Most legit work at home jobs only pay commissions and so they will hire the vast majority of interested parties. Some will provide training; others will throw you out to learn on your own. Either style is acceptable depending on how self-tasking and motivated you are. It is best to keep one foot propping the door when you first start work for a new at-home-job. Though everyone wants to tell that to succeed you must jump in with both feet, if you quickly see that the company is taking you hours of time for meagerly pennies on the hour, find a new job and try again. As long as you do not give out your personal information, you can afford to try many different work-at-home opportunities.

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