Work-at-home jobs have become increasingly popular over the past decade.
There are a number of motives that drive people to hang up the keys and
begin working from home.  Reasons can range from the business
professional who wants more flexibility in maximizing work time rather than
spending hours commuting to and from the job site, or the stay at home mom
that wants to bring in some additional income for her family.

Even though working at home is an appealing thought to the vast majority
of people, making it a reality is not as easy.  Work at home jobs can
range from personal blogs, to freelance jobs, virtual assistants, or
starting your own business.  As with any job, the success rate is
higher among those who love what they do.  Passion can feed a person
for much longer than simply money alone.

There are a few simple tips that can increase your odds of success when
venturing into the realm of entrepreneurship.

  • Make a plan

The key to success is being prepared.  As with any job
search you want to arm yourself with as much information as possible
before beginning the search.  If your plan is to shoot from the
hip, you will most likely get lost in flashy internet ads and get
rich quick schemes which really do little more than make the person
who created them money.  Rarely is there even a real person
behind these offers and after you pay your money you will hit a dead
end.  Most legitimate work at home businesses will have a
number you can call to talk to a real person with any questions or
concerns you may have.  A detailed plan will help not only keep
you on track, but pinpoint exactly the kind of work you are looking
for.

  • Stay focused

The internet is very powerful and with a few simple clicks you
can be miles away from what you intended to find.  “Internet
ADD” is likely one of the reasons people who are searching for stay
at home jobs fail.  When typing in “work at home”, Google
yields 301,000,000 choices.  Lacking focus, a lot of time can
be wasted clicking through each link, not to mention the other links
found inside each of those pages. Structured time is mandatory for
success.  If necessary, write up an outline to help guide you
or set an audible alarm to keep your time perspective in check.

  • Do your homework

Once you have decided which area you would like to pursue, invest
some time researching the industry, success rates, competition as
well as demand.  You may have a great idea, but if
1,000,000,000 other people already have had the same idea the demand
will not be very high. The time you will spend just to be noticed
probably won’t be worth the payoff in the end. Do your homework, but
don’t believe everything you read.  People are very clever and
have no shame capitalizing on the fact that everyone hopes to wake
up tomorrow with an unusually large deposit to their bank account.
The reality is that these jobs do not exist.  Hard work and
passion always pay better than quick flash in the pan businesses.

  • Join a forum

There are many great work-at-home forums to join that bring
together a community of people with common goals and ideas.
This is a great place to bounce ideas off of others.  If your
initial idea does not elicit a positive reaction, there is usually
very little repercussion and the loss of money or time is virtually
none.  Similarly, because the people in the forum are all
searching for the same thing, this is a great place to weed out
scams and network in regards to which work-at-home opportunities are
the most successful.  If your plan is to start your own
business, these forums provide a great place for free advertising by
word of mouth.

  • Be flexible and have a backup plan

You may start off thinking you want to sell gift baskets on your
very own website.  However after doing your homework, you
realize that there are a number of already existing sites exactly
like the one you had envisioned.  In addition, you realize that
your knowledge of HTML is minimal at best.  You might find that
selling these items on Ebay or an already existing site will suffice
while you take the necessary steps to polish your web building
skills and revise your business plan.  Another good rule of
thumb is to make sure you have some stream of income as you are
searching for a work at home job.  A quick way to end up back
in a job you hate is to run out of money with no backup plan.

  • Do not pay any startup fees

This is one of the biggest mistake people make when searching for
work at home.  It is hard to find a page anywhere on the
internet that does not advertise some get rich quick scheme.
Legitimate work at home companies do not charge startup fees, nor do
they promise that you will be able to buy a summer home in Europe
next month.  The only time you should have to pay for a work at
home job is if you are paying for equipment to perform the job.
This would include things such as a faster internet connection, or a
headset to take calls.  A good general rule is if it sounds too
good to be true, it probably is.

  • Prepare a resume

As with any job, a legitimate work at home business will want to
know that the person they are hiring has depth and the skills
necessary to complete the job.  Make sure your resume details
your work experience as well as what you can bring to the table.
Don’t assume just because you will be working from home that you can
take shortcuts when it comes to applying for or maintaining a job.

  • Use your intuition and personality

In a world of corporate robots personality and emotion has become
a liability.  People are often encouraged to run on the hamster
wheel rather than use their brain.  One of the benefits about
working for yourself is that it allows you the freedom to cut the
binding chains of corporate rules and regulations.  You know
yourself better than anyone else.  If it does not feel right to
you then you are probably correct in making that assumption.
You are your boss; don’t be afraid to pass on an opportunity if it
raises red flags.  Likewise, just because someone tells you it
will never work, does not mean that you should pack up the box and
head back to the office.

  • Be positive and maintain balance

Finding a legitimate work at home job can be grueling and take
some time.  Remember that they do exist and you will certainly
be able to find one that works for you if you are patient and stay
positive.  As with anything, make sure to maintain balance in
all areas of your life.  Working from home can become a virtual
nightmare to yourself as well as those around you if you never take
a day off.  Use the flexibility in time to do things you enjoy.
You will be much more productive and happy if you are living a
balanced life that includes both work and play.  If you work
smarter, not harder you might be able to turn those activities you
love into your work. Your life can become a marriage of getting paid
for what you love to do.