Computers and the internet have opened many possibilities for working at home that were previously impractical. Some of these jobs can be fully performed online, others with a combination of phone and computer, and still others partially performed online.
Such jobs can be full time (sometimes with benefits like insurance), regular part time, or freelance.
I. Know what you’re looking for: job or business
So as to avoid confusion, we are distinguishing here between a job with an employer or independent contractor (for freelance work) on the one side and an being an independent business owner working directly for customers and clients on the other.
In the latter case, one is expected to provide whatever money, equipment, resources, inventory, housing, and so on that are necessary or convenient for customers and clients to purchase what you offer. For example in a typical work multi-level marketing business opportunity, there may be fees for joining, housing at least a minimum of company inventory for display purposes, brochures, website extension, training, or whatever. Or if you own a shoe store franchise, you pay to lease space and pay wholesale for shoes that you hope to sell for retail prices.
That is not what we are talking about. If you are being hired as a regular employee or land a contract for a freelance project, why would your employer demand a fee from you as a condition for being hired to do work for which your employer pays you? Does that make sense? No
II. What fees may be for
The reason I mention that is that online there are a lot of work at home opportunities that start by asking for a fee or investment of some kind upfront in order to make money.
Fees make sense for independent business owners, not for employees… unless we are talking about fees for something else.
For example in the case of the reputable Arise.com, fees are charged for a background check on the applicant and for training to become credentialed in online and at-home customer service work. A bit of equipment is needed too, such as a designated landline and headset with microphone.
That way Arise can assure potential employers that their at-home customer service workers meet certain minimum standards and are equipped for the kinds of positions the employers want filled. A bit like paying tuition for a college degree.
You may not want to pay such fees, but at least their purpose is legitimate and understandable.
Among less reputable companies offering work at home opportunities, the purpose of the fees may be hidden… and the promises great. They promise much, take your money, and then deliver less than as promised… and often, good luck getting a refund.
At other times the fees (like on some job boards) may be to advertise your need for a work at home job or for training materials or help making a resume, and these may be helpful or not your cup of tea.
III. Some “no fee” opportunities
In the former case, take Elance.com, oDesk.com, and Guru.com, each for freelance work. These sites (and others like them) are clearing houses that connect people who are willing to pay for whatever project they want done with those ready and able to do the project. There are fees for the ones looking wanting to get paid for work, but there are less attractive “no fee” membership versions.
Check out Fiverr.com for a somewhat similar “no fee” arrangement.
Another idea is to apply for a position advertised for a business site, but request it be moved to a home setting. This will not suit many jobs, so be sure it is feasible. If one already has the position, it would be easier to know if it could be moved to your home.
An employer might be persuaded if he or she could pay a lower salary on account of the absence of commuter costs and possibly office overhead costs. You will need to provide some justification as to why the job could be performed at least as efficiently at home. You employer may need to make special arrangements, such as lending you equipment or granting remote database access or shuttling paperwork, so consider that also.
As examples, writing (website pages, blog posts, textbooks, white papers, etc.), computer coding, language translation, some data entry (beware of scams!) and transcription, sales, and tutoring may become work at home jobs for no fee. But in the end, your creativity and persistence is key to the pay off.