Work at Home Mom

Work at Home?

I am a full-time student with a soon to be eight-year-old son. My husband is also a full time student. He is working full time on campus, but he doesn't make much. I need to find someway to earn money that I can do at home at odd hours (between Cub Scouts, gymnastics, soccer, my homework and my son's homework).

I have checked out several work at home classified ads. But I just can't get over the suspicion that they are all scams. If I could just add $100 a week to our income, it would make all the difference in the world. Any ideas and suggestions would be welcome.
Kim P

Consolidate Debts and Freeze Your Credit Cards!

Get a single low interest loan, preferably a second mortgage, so the interest will be tax deductible, and payoff all the debts with it. The new loan may take a long time to pay off, but it will have a "closed end." Unlike revolving debt that lasts forever. It may even give you a lower payment and free up money in the budget. Then cut up the credit cards! Or better, put them in a bowl of water and freeze them. Then if some emergency arose, they could be thawed, but otherwise they are extremely unhandy for impulses that way. When we went to one income, I took a hard look at our expenses. We quit cable, the gym, and the diaper service. We aren't watching much TV, we're exercising the old fashioned way, and washing our own cloth diapers. The diaper service sold us some of their "retired" diapers (worn a little thin) for about 50 cents each. They have been great.

Telemarket from Home

Call your favorite charity and ask if they need telemarketers. You call people to ask for donations of clothing or household items and you get paid for each pickup that is successful. You can make $100+ per week by calling from home.

Planning Makes It Possible

Plan, plan and plan some more! I was the primary breadwinner in our family when some health challenges made me consider a change. Becoming self-employed and learning to live on one income requires planning. Some things I learned the hard way were:

  • Things are going to happen no matter what. Even if it means not putting the extra on a credit card this month, put some liquid cash in the bank. you will most likely need it.
  • De-clutter your life. Living on one income requires alot of patience and compromise. To help in this, plan on what will be eliminated (eating out is a biggie). Have a garage sale and sock away the extra money until you will plan on where it goes. Review your eating habits and see if you can cut from your grocery allowance. Decide if you can live without extra vehicles (eliminates maintenance, insurance, registration fees).
  • Figure out what equipment you will need to buy to make money with (stupid, but often ignored by entrepreneurial types). Remain cost effective. Perhaps you can team up with a like-minded person and trade skills or such. You can't save money quitting a 40 hour week job to do computer type business work if you aren't computer literate. People try it every day.


I've Done It

I used to work as a resp therapist, but now I no longer work. Here is some of the advise I have. If you are considering this idea, you MUST realise that you can't live the same lifestyle. You will be giving up things. This is serious because it is too easy to fund the same lifestyle via credit cards!

I was considering not working and had set a goal toward this but was layed off before I was ready financially and mentally. So i started to fund my lifestyle through credit cards. I can not stress this point enough.

Second, take a real good look at your finances. I have the Quicken program and it helps considerably. A very good idea to do before quiting is to set up a saving program for all future expenses. For example, save for taxes that will need to be paid, insurances, bills that will become due thoughout the year. Then start contributing and set goals. If you do this before you quit, you will not have to come up with large sums of money for paying them and you will be will be aware of them.

Also take a look around the house. Do you have anything old that will need replacing such as a TV? Start a savings program for them. You don't want to be caught off guard and have something breakdown and need to come up with this money.

Set a goal! Go through the process of writing it down, visualize what it will be like, and think of things that you will need to do in order to accomplish this goal. Go through the whole goal making process. This will help considerably.

This piece of advise came as a surprise to me. I actually decided that I wanted to work part time (not quit), and when I requested this, my boss took this as I was not a serious worker. One of the reasons I wanted to go part time is that I felt exausted all the time because my job was so demanding. I felt that I would do a better job if I did not feel so tired. Therefore, make sure your boss realizes that this decision in no way reflect any lack of dedication. I was literally unable to take care of home responsiblilties because all I did was sleep. Home life is important to me and I feel that it is important to have a balance of the two.

How to Filter Out
Scam Ads

You asked about all the "Work at Home" ads in the magazines. Here is something I did. I called every 1-800 # in a magazine that offered "Free Information." I usually got a message talking about the "NEWEST, LATEST, Greatest opportunity in the world." I fearlessly gave my address and phone number for the information packs. From more than 20 phone calls I placed, I got a few callbacks and a few information packets. I looked over most of the information I got and passed it off as either a scam, would cost to much to start, company didn't interest me, etc. Eventually I received a phone call from a very nice lady who was part of an MLM company. I asked her to send me some information on the company. After reading the literature, listening to four audio cassettes, I found that this was a company I liked. I joined up for the money and have since used their products, and I KNOW that they are the best on the market. Here is some things I try to keep in mind when filtering scam ads from real opportunities.

  1. If the person tries to use high pressure sales on you to get you to give them your credit card number right now, don't do it!
  2. Often ads will offer to send you information on "Cruise Jobs" or "Work at home as a _____". Often the company you are contacting will ask you to purchase a "KIT" which is Fully Guaranteed for a period of 1 year, and if you don't get the job, you get your money back. I once ordered a kit for Cruise Jobs. Now don't get me wrong, this kit has all the info a person would need to get the Job, but reading through the literature makes it sound like it's impossible to get a job.
  3. When looking at ads in a magazine, don't be afraid to try for every piece of FREE information you can get your hands on. (Often when you leave your name, address, and phone number, you are actually just getting put on a mailing list, and may recieve some other junk mail, but even this may be laced with more free info that you could find useful.)
  4. Take a good look at the literature. Is it proffesional? Call the company's customer service line. If it doesn't feel right, then step back.
  5. Contact the BBB and see if there have been any complaints about the company and their business practices.
  6. Remember that there is no such thing as get rich quick. This is especially true in the Network Marketing, or MLM industry. Often in this industry, advertisers will say that you don't need to do any work. This is actually counter productive to their business because they will often sign up new distributors under the guise of easy money. The new distributor will fail and will give the company a bad name. No matter what you do, it will require some work. If you do get involved with a company, and eventually leave them not having made a penny, then look back and evaluate your efforts. Who was to blame for your failure? Maybe you wrote an ad, but was it a GOOD ad? Later if someone asks you for advice about the opportunity, be honest and fair. If you didn't try all that hard, tell them your experiences. Or if the failure was on part of the company, then mention that too.
  7. Be fearless. Don't be afraid to say no. Don't be afraid to look a little deeper. If someone shows you something you like, don't be afraid to go for it! If your shy, it's time to change. Now I am a mascot for a local movie theatre and I am the lead actor in a local theatre production of "No Sex Please We're British."

Jason S.
Red Deer, AB

Electronic Piecework

I have a very good part-time job that I do at home. It's done at odd hours, in between soccer practice, homework, etc. I prayed for a job like this for a long time. I build electronic components for an electronic design company, and am paid by the piece. A very close friend's husband works at this company (very small company), and had some work he'd brought home on the weekend, as they were very busy. I just mentioned that if he needed help with any of this assembly, I'd be interested. By the grace of God, they got very busy, and before I knew it, I was on the payroll! You may try calling around to small and large electronic companies in your area to see if they have any kind of homeworkers division. Another friend of mine worked for a company that processes rebates for manufacturers. She would pick up bundles of mail from the office and then take them home. The mail was opened, and verified for proofs of purchase, receipts, etc. and then she would enter the info on a disk in her computer. This didn't pay that well, but it filled in until another job came up.

How to Identify

A Reputable BusinessCongratulations for being suspicious of the work at home classified ads you checked out. Fortunately all are not scams. There are some good and reputable home businesses to be found. But dishonesty and deceit abound. Claims are made that hundreds of people are going to send you $2 for a report or just because! There are even a disgusting few that claim to help the disabled, quote scriptures or give something to the church! The only ones getting rich here are the mailing list companies and the Postal Service. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a good home business.

  1. A reputable company to backup their products and services.
  2. An address and phone number you can contact for information.
  3. Will give free information. NEVER pay for info.
  4. Be affiliated with their local chamber of commerce.
  5. 100% money back if not satisfied.

calculator iconCalculate: What's My Net Worth?

I have been working three businesses from my home for about ten months. They take about ten hours a week and very little in actual expenses. They require no personal selling and have the potential for a large income.

Financial Independence Network Limited - Helps people become debt free, including their mortgage, usually in 5 to 7 years with the money they already earn. Startup cost about $100.

Secure Independence/Partners For Life - It's kind of like the home shopping channel, Sears, and Wal-Mart rolled into a shopping club. You buy mail order at a large discount and get paid a commission. Startup cost $30.

NetOpp - Where network marketing meets the internet. You refer people and businesses to NetOpp who sells web pages and advertising on the Internet. You get paid for sales made on your referrals. No startup cost!

Piecework Warning

In theory, doing piece work at home is a wonderful idea. You can do it at your own pace, any hour of the day or night, with no boss looking over your shoulder.

In practice, however, things can be quite different. Workers (usually women) stay up all night and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning trying to make that extra dollar. Unfortunately, these workers are seldom, if ever, covered by any benefits, including payments into their Social Security account. If they're injured doing this work, they're generally "on their own."

Many labor unions have argued that piece-workers are entitled to the same pay and benefits as regular employees. These arguments have fallen on the deaf ears of corporate managers because it costs money to cover these folks.

Don't Forget Zoning Laws

Before people start taking in piecework, they might want to check the local zoning laws regarding at-home work. Where I live (in Charlotte NC), the laws are very anti-cottage industry. One cannot take any raw materials and convert them to another product in the home with the intent of sale. One cannot do any type of assemly or manufacturing in the home. I called the business license office about this because I wanted to start a home-based soapmaking business, and was quite disgusted to learn that the laws are so strict. If you want to be "legal," you can write or paint pictures in your home, so long as you don't mass produce or frame those pictures in your home (that's assembly). You can't store any materials beyond books (i.e. ledgers, etc) for your home business in your home. This includes stock and/or merchandise.

Vending Machines

My husband and I run our own gumball/bulk vending business. We're just getting started up, but it looks promising. My husband has over 20 years of experience in coin operated amusements and he is increasingly concerned about the mis-information floating around out there as a alternative second income. After reading the article about the woman who wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but ran into all sorts of scams, I was prompted to write. Because currently this is one of the biggest floating around out there.

Getting into the gumball/bulk vending business sounds easy, and for the most part it is. You buy a machine, fill it, and find a place for it. But there are so many scam artists on the web, TV and radio. They ask for exorbitant amounts of money for a "free machine" and "instructions" on how to place your machines. And the sad part is that it is almost impossible to make as much as these scam artists say. And you end up losing more money than you ever made.

For further information, you should contact the Bulk Vending Association in Chicago, as well as read several issues of the Vending Times before you commit to anything.

As if that were not enough, you have to be careful because there are alot of people out there who will sell you a machine "at a very good price" because the equipment has been stolen. It is a risk you run with this type of business. It's very easy to have someone walk into a business and walk out with your machine.

If you get all the background information and take the time to do some research, it can be a great second income.

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