Recently, more than a few of my career counseling clients have mentioned that they had looked into some of these "work-at-home opportunities" you often hear about. They told me that they found some of these opportunities to be very attractive, but they felt something was wrong. They were just asking what I thought.
This article shows you why most work-at-home opportunities are scams that will waste both your time and your money. I'll also show you what to look for to determine if a work-at-home opportunity is a real job that you can count on.
Is it a Well Known Company You've Heard of Before?
This is the first test to determine if your work-at-home opportunity is a scam or legit.
The people I know who have legitimate work-at-home jobs are in fact employees or contractors to real companies that have real buildings, or they are professional "Freelancers," which are people who have built up their own unique skills that are in demand.
Let me give you some examples:
The wife of a friend of mine is a "Technical Writer" who is a full time employee of Cisco, the high tech networking equipment giant. She works from home but goes into the office once a month or so. She also has video conferences with her teammates around the world, especially in India.
Her writing skills allow her to do this work from home.
Cisco, her employer, has over 30 huge buildings in San Jose. They are well established and reputable. They make and sell products other companies really need.
Another friend of mine is a freelance "Web Copy Writer." He basically works out of his home, while taking care of his two daughters. His wife has a full time job outside the home.
In this case, this writer built up his own business, by finding companies that need his unique copy writing and marketing services.
Another person I know, works both from home and at an office for a large international semiconductor firm. She is a full time employee there. She does what's called "circuit layout" which is computer aided design (CAD) where they layout new electronic circuits.
She can work from home part of the time because she has a laptop at home that connects to the CAD software at the firm. She still goes into the office twice a week, for technical advice, direction, team meetings etc.
Her unique skill is that she is trained and experienced in integrated circuit layout, which is something that is in high demand with semiconductor firms.
I've also heard that travel and booking agents for Jet Blue and other airlines are allowed to work remotely i.e. work-at-home.
So, working from home means you either are an employee of a legitimate brick and mortar company, or you are a freelancer with a unique set of skills that allow you to work- from-home.
Money Up Front and Recruit More People?
These are two sure signs that your work-at-home opportunity is a multi-level-marketing (MLM) scam. They either want you to spend your own money up front, or they want you to recruit more members or both.
When you see either of these two clues, run away as fast as possible and don't look back.
MLM companies are typically pyramid schemes where the first people into the company earn money whenever other people sigh up and join. When asked most MLM's will deny they are a pyramid scheme.
Legitimate employers will never ask for your money up front. That's simply backwards. If you take a job with a company, and put your time in, they should pay you. Not the other way around.
Whether the company wants your money to pay for your new web site, or to buy inventory for you to sell, it's a scam. There are a lot of people whose garages and closets are full of expired miracle weight loss heath drinks they tried to sell.
I know a guy who has gotten sucked into two different work-at-home schemes that turned out to be multi-level-marketing scams.
One scam was even endorsed by Donald Trump.
This gentleman had been a professional recruiter / headhunter before he got laid off. Now he sits at home, calling people to convince them to join his "big fast growing" company. He promises them work-at-home opportunities.
To find the people he runs free ads in Craig's List. Maybe you've seen his ads.
Look at some of the Google ads on this page. Some are work-at-home scams.
When people respond to his ads, he invites them to a local pep rally, where very persuasive, high energy presenters will convince you to sign up on the spot.
This is high pressure, push all of your emotional hot buttons, until you sign up and swipe your credit card.
If you do sign up, then everyone in the chain above you get a percentage of your sign up fee. That's how the first people in make all the money. That's why it's called a pyramid scheme. The guys at the top get rich and you just waste your time and money.
I watched this guy spend almost two years promoting this one MLM company. He put his whole heart into it. He was very convincing and very persuasive.
The more people he recruited, the more money he made. But once the house of cards came down, the money stopped flowing. He had nothing to show for it. Then he joined a second multi level marketing company.
But he does work from home, except when he has to attend the pep rallies.
Any High Energy Group Meetings?
Many of these multi-level-marketing companies use local recruiting meetings to get the crowd all revved up so that the participants will sign on the dotted line and write a check on the spot.
While there, they will show you how a couple of their team members made millions doing this. That is probably true. The first few people into these multi-level-marketing companies can make a lot of money because if you join, they will get a part of your sign up fee.
If you feel real excited and very attracted to their promises of working at home and making additional money and being able to quit your day job, trust me. It is too good to be true.
I won't even attend these pep rallies, because I don't trust myself to have the self control to not sign up.
Which of Your Unique Skills Do They Need?
All of the people I know who have legitimate work-at-home jobs, have a unique skill or ability that other people will pay for.
Also, the type of work is something that can be done remotely.
Examples: graphic artists, web developers, writers, software programmers etc.
So when you find yourself interested in a work-at-home opportunity, ask yourself, what unique skill do you have that they want.
If the skill is not all that unique, turn around and run away.
Be honest with yourself.
For example, if all they want you to do is to network and persuade people to join your team, then stop right there. Just about anyone can do that. So how much can it really be worth?
If all you have to do is run ads in Craig's List, or call people on the phone, or go door to door selling shampoo and miracle weight loss drinks then stop, turn around and run away as fast as you can.
These are not unique skills that are hard to find. Just about anybody can do these things. Thus the value of doing this work is not very high.
The true value of your skills is determined by how unique they are and what the demand is for them.
Let's be honest. There is not a lot of real demand for people to recruit other low paid or unemployed people who are desperate for a real good jobs.
So if you do have a unique skill, figure out what to do with it. Don't waste it on an MLM company.
Any Medical or Retirement Benefits?
When you work for a real legitimate company, they usually offer some form of medical and retirement programs, and they usually contribute company money towards them.
Not all legit companies do this, and it's getting to be fewer and fewer. However, If you work for a good, legitimate company, they will provide these benefits. Multi-level-marketing firms will usually not provide benefits, and if they do, they will never help pay for them.
One MLM that I looked into did offer health insurance for everyone, regardless of your medical condition. This was one of their recruiting tactics. They did provide you access to a health plan, which you had to pay for. I suspect they also took a percentage of the premiums you paid.
But they did tell me that a lot of people would join their team, just to get access to the medical coverage.
New York Stock Exchange Does Not Mean Reputable
Being listed on one of the major stock exchanges does not make a company reputable.
One MLM I looked into was indeed listed. I think their share price was 20 cents.
Compare that to reputable companies whose share prices are typically $10 per share or like Apple at $280, or Google at $600.
Being listed on the stock exchange does not mean they are reputable or a good place to work.
What are the Legitimate Work-From-Home Jobs?
The people who I've seen "successfully" work from home fit into one of these categories:
Most work-at-home opportunities are scams. Most are with multi-level-marketing (MLM) firms that are also pyramid schemes.
Even if these MLM's are backed by well known celebrities like Donald Trump, or Deepak Chopra, they are most likely not the best career move you can make now.
If they demand money up front, for any reason, you know it's a scam. Real legitimate employers never ask for money up front.
If they ask you to buy inventory or samples - run away as fast as you can.
If they promise to set you up with a web site and put you in business today, run away and thank me later.
The best work at-home-jobs require some unique skill or ability that you have, that is also in high demand.
If you are tempted to join a company that is promising that you can work-at-home, and maybe make a lot of money like the first few people who joined them, give me a call. Maybe I can help you make sense of it all.
Maybe I can save you a lot of money and wasted time.
I am always interested in hearing about these things. 1-800-890-2591
Michael T. Robinson