It's not easy to find work from home jobs that are legitimate when you first start looking. I know. I was a beginner once. We all start somewhere. And we don't all have guidance when we first start. Because I don't want you to end up feeling disenfranchised or feeling like it's impossible to work from home (because if COVID-19 should have taught you anything, it's that working from home is obviously possible...look at all the companies that had to switch to remote work), I want to tell you about the 4 mistakes people make when looking for work from home jobs.
Not Understanding the Difference Between a Work from Home Job & a Business Opportunity
There is a big difference between a work from home job and a business opportunity. And the issue here is that people who have a business opportunity will style it as a job opportunity to try and trick you into investing. Here's the deal:
If you have to pay something upfront aside from a fee to join a site like flexjobs.com (one of the few work from home job sites I recommend...because they use the fee to cover their expenses to run the site and the costs involved to pay employees to find the jobs...so it's like paying a convenience fee to save you the time and struggle of finding the jobs...and the cost is minimal; and no, I get nothing for mentioning them) to buy a starter kit or for training, it's a business opportunity. And I am not opposed to starting a business. Clearly, I run a business. So, duh, I do not have an issue with business. But not everyone wants to run a business.
However, it's important to understand that even if you get a work from home job where you think you are an employee, you might be an independent contractor even if you are given a schedule to stick with. So, you might end up responsible for your own taxes. Here's a list of companies who routinely hire work from home employees. Whether you'd qualify as a traditionally employee or be an independent contractor, I don't know. And whether the companies are actively hiring, I also don't know.
You Fall for a Classic Work from Home Scam: A "Free" Computer or Cashier's Check
I'm not saying this to make anyone feel bad. Very few companies are going to send someone they don't know a free laptop or desktop computer, software, etc., use. You're a risk. They don't know you from Adam. Why would they do that? Chances are, they say they're from some big name foreign company...but they're contacting you from a Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail account. Why would they do that? They have a giant domain. So, of course, if they are actually with this company, they'd have a company domain email.
Or they tell you that they want to send you a cashier's check for you to put into your bank account so you can go and buy everything you need. Do not cash that check. Do not put it in your bank account. The check is bad. You will overdraw your account. You will be liable for all of the charges. And you could likely be charged in your state with a felony, unless they take mercy on you if you show them you were the victim of a scam.
Do not fall for this. It is a scam.
Giant corporations use their corporate email addresses. They do not send out cashier's checks. When they hire, they expect their employees to have the proper set-up. I work with enterprise-level companies through Upwork. I have the right software or I go out and buy it and write it off.
Not Knowing What You Don't Want to Do
Believe it or not, one of the biggest mistakes you can make when you're looking for a work from home job is not knowing what you don't what to do. For example, I knew that virtual assisting was possible back when I was working on my undergraduate degree over a decade ago (!!). In fact, I did a little bit of virtual assisting for a web dev back then. I didn't mind the work, but I knew that I definitely didn't want to do anything on the phone. To this day, I absolutely hate being on the phone...at least, when it comes to scheduling things for other people. I don't really enjoy being a receptionist. I don't think receptionists are paid enough for the shit they have to put up with, quite frankly. I did it for a long time. So, figure out what you absolutely do not want to do and avoid it.
Thinking You Have to Accept Super Low Wages
I have mixed feelings on what you might think about charging when you first start out. When I started on Upwork, I had two other jobs. I taught college in the morning and then worked in a law firm in the afternoon. So, my starting with a lower hourly wage on Upwork (then known as oDesk), in my mind, was alright because I had money coming in. My thought was that I could charge less than I wanted to charge to gain interest in the hopes that agencies or clients would be more willing to take a chance on someone new to the platform. I didn't know anything about SEO at the time. I advertised myself solely as a content writer with paralegal experience. I charged $10 an hour starting out. Of course, back then, Upwork's connects policy as well as their policy on what they took out of the freelancer's earnings were each different compared to now. That, for the record, was a good seven years ago. However, I did not charge $2 an hour or $5 an hour.
And my per word rate and flat rates back then were more compared to my hourly rate back then, too. Of course, I've come long way since those days. The point I'm making here is that when it comes to determining what you should charge, you must consider what you need to survive. Don't consider the opinions of people who aren't in the industry, who don't run a business, or who simply say no one can make a living working from home. I am told on a regular basis I'm not really a writer...because I make a living as a writer (what?). I know, it's ludicrous.