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How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise, Alpine Access, VIPdesk, LiveOps, and Convergys, all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you're a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
Become a social media virtual assistant. Do you love Pinterest or Instagram? Many brands and bloggers do not know how to correctly use these social media platforms. Offer your expertise to coach or act as a social media manager. It’s a win-win: the brand gets the right type of social media exposure and you can make money doing something you enjoy.
As you likely know, Airbnb is a popular website where people can rent out a room or apartment from ordinary folks and bypass a hotel. So, if you’re comfortable with strangers and you live in fairly well visited place — a large city, college town, or tourist area, for example — you could make some money renting out a room in your home while you’re there, or renting out the entire place while you’re gone. You can expect to make less than whatever nearby hotels charge, but that can still top $100 a night pretty easily. In fact, Airbnb is the most lucrative of all the sharing economy gigs, according to one study.
How to Get It: You can apply directly through the companies, such as Stella & Dot, a jewelry company that had over $100 million in sales in 2010. A few other good ones include Avon (household and personal care), The Cocoa Exchange (chocolates and more), and Alice's Table (flowers). You can also visit the Direct Selling Association website—all the companies listed there agree to abide by a code of ethics, so they only offer legitimate opportunities. Typically reps make a small investment to get started (this is a legitimate and standard practice), and sometimes pay a fee for the merchandise being sold. After that you can work as much or as little as you want, and see profit based on how much you sell.
Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't working as a Business News Daily and Business.com staff writer, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. The only time Sammi doesn't play it safe is when she's writing. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.
Many business owners either do not understand the intricacies of using social media to build a brand and cultivate a loyal online following, or don’t even know how to use social media at all. By offering your skills as a social media consultant, you can either help businesses craft a social media game plan, or take control of their social accounts directly and post updates to various platforms.
The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.
For new entrepreneurs, deciding to start an online business is an exciting journey, but it’s also new terrain that can be intimidating and difficult to navigate. Maybe you’ve tried starting your own business before, or maybe you're planning your very first one. Regardless, every new business will present its own unique opportunities and challenges.
Sell blood or donate plasma. Plasma is a component of blood, and the process of extracting it is similar to donating blood: your blood is drawn, the plasma is separated, and the red blood cells are returned to your body. Laws may not technically permit you to sell your plasma, but you can be compensated for your time spent donating. In the United States, you can make about $200 a month by registering with a plasma center near you.
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