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Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

 SOHO'er Barbara Lesch recently asked me about work at home offers that involve taking online surveys and researching and why SOHOjobs.com does not post more of these opportunities. 

Simply put, most of these offers are not what I would consider a work at home "job". Instead, think of them more as incentive programs that allow you to earn points for merchandise or services, provide you with the chance to win and, in a few cases, help you to earn a little extra cash.  This is not to say that I am AGAINST these offers. I just do not think they should be considered a job.

With that said, there are some programs out there that might be worth a look. 

NPD Online Research has been around for about 40 years and people really do win cash and merchandise from completely surveys. Full disclosure... even I myself won $100 cash and airline miles from them years ago. The surveys are quick and easy and they will not sell you out to the spammers. Click here to visit NPD Online Research to learn more

IpSOS is another rewards program that I consider to be legitmate. Again, while this should not be considered a work at home job, it is possible to win decent cash and rewards from the progam, plus you will accumulate points which can be redeemed for products. (I have accumulated gift cards, a spa treatment, a paypal cash over the years). For more information, visit the Ipsos Survey Panel website

Panda Research is more of a cash payout program than a rewards based system. They actually pay $5.00 to $75.00 per survey. These surveys are more detailed and will require more of your time, but the cash earnings are real. The downside is that surveys are few and far between. The best thing to do is sign up for an account (it's free) so that you can start being notified of new surveys as they come available. Visit Panda Research to sign up.

Swagbucks is best if you are interested in earning Paypal, Amazon, and Department Store gift cards. I know people who have paid for all of their Christmas shopping thanks to the program. Besides taking surveys, you can also earn points and gift cards for playing and evaluating online games, sampling products, watching videos, and searching the web. I have used the program to purchase items from Amazon but it does take some time to accumulate the points. Visit Swagbucks for more information.

Permission Research is one of the Internet's largest research firms. This program works a bit differnetly than the others in that you are required to download and install free software that monitors your Web usage. This data is then used to create research reports for major news outlets such as Fox and MSNBC, amoung others. As the program runs on your computer you accumulate points which are redeemable for cash, gift cards, electronics and more. Join PermissionResearch Here

Survey4Profit is operated Vindale Research and pays real cash, not just points or prizes. You'll earn up to $5 for each survey and up to $75 for evaluations. You can also earn cash for watching videos, reading emails, and referring others. The program is free to join. You will answer some questions during the sign up process so you can be matched up with appropriate surveys and other cash earning opportunities. Learn More Here.

While there are other programs out there, these - in my opinion - are the most dependable, legitimate and offer the best payouts or rewards. I suggest that you stay away from any survey or similiar offer that asks you to pay a fee or forward a money order. Beware of sensational claims too. If the program claims that their members earn "Thousands of dollars" each week don't believe it. The best programs are those that have a list of real users (usually via a "Winners" page) and offer realistic testimonials about earnings. 

 

If you have found success with one of these or another program, let me know!

 

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

  By Michele Peterson on February 21, 2012

A fellow "Soho'er" Kathy Keating just provided a great insight to one of my previous Sohojobs.com blog post. I hope she won't mind if I replicate it and discuss it here. Kathy's comment was:

“I think telecommuting is now officially a part of my life. I'm even telecommuting when I'm *in* the office because I have meetings with people all over the world and I honestly don't care if they're at home or in an office as long as they're getting their work done.

We discussed this at length, because Kathy's insight is into the very nature of telecommuting itself: telecommuting or telework means "a work arrangement in which employees enjoy flexibility in working location and hours.", not just "working at home". Home is not the centre of the universe, rather there is no center, just lots of locations, all some distance from each other. So your work organization could consist entirely of one-person home offices, or like Princess Cruise Lines, the offices could be cubes in one of many floors in one of several buildings on a campus, as part of a large multinational. Most companies are somewhere in between. But the crucial point is the shift in the basic, underlying assumption, from:

The business world is basically centralised, and anything that's elsewhere is a special case

to:

The world is basically distributed, with co-location of entities being a happy convenience.

Translating this into practical terms, organizations that wish to fully embrace teleworking should ensure that all their staff are as fully equipped as the homeworker with phone, computer, webcam and headset, so they don't end up with the situation where our teleworker can't use the power of the communications at her disposal because her co-workers back at the ranch don't have the same kit.

I hope this doesn't sound like a rant but the difference in thinking is huge.

What's your opinion?

 

 

Posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

If you think you have a pretty sweet deal because you're allowed to work from home one or two days a week, consider the arrangement SOHOjobs subscriber Natalie Swanson managed to make with her employer.

She worked for 13 months telecommuting from Spain— yeah that's right, the site of glorious architecture, canals and delicious pasta.

Swanson says her was a work at home arrangement that many SOHOers can emulate.

She argues that if you can telecommute five or 25 miles from your office, why can't you telecommute from another part of the world? "When I returned to the U.S., I had a renewed sense of vitality toward my job and my life," he says. "When you experience life outside the U.S., you get to look at life from a different lens. You then realize that you can look at everything differently. I even came back and looked at problems at work differently."

So at a time when many Americans feel overworked and stressed, could telecommuting from Spain — or another desired location — be possible?

First you have to do a little planning. Swanson's advice:

Start slowly. Swanson has been working for a communications company she found on sohojobs.com part time where she is still employed for over 3 years. She began working from home one day a week, found a way to send large files then eventually increased that to full time. This tactic helped convince her bosses that a full-time telecommuting arrangement wouldn't hurt her work.

Natalie's advice: Don't discount the part time positions found on sohojobs.com “Of course I wanted a full time position but I wanted to work at home immediately”. She told her employer her intentions immediately, “He couldn't promise a full time position but was open to the idea” she said.

There have been many part time telecommuting jobs that sohojobs.com subscribers have not applied for simply because they are “part time”. Natalie is a prime example of working your way into a full time gig.

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

 

People who have worked from home for any length of time know that past performance it what allowed them to be home based, and steady performance while in their telecommuting role is what allows them to stay at home. perform well at it, must be appalled by survey data showing that a top management objection to the arrangement is the inability to know if any work is actually being done.

If a company's top sales force was out shopping instead of calling on clients, they won’t be top performers very long. And if they’re getting the job done, who really cares anyway? Yet the perception of work-at-homers as pajama wearing lazy bones persists. .

Recent data shows:

45% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is suitable for part-time or full-time telecommuting.

50 million U.S. employees who want to work from home hold jobs that can be done from home, though only 2.9 million say home is their primary place of work.

The 2.9 million U.S. telecommuters save 390 million gallons of gas and prevent the release of 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.

If those with compatible jobs worked at home 2.4 days a week, the reduction in greenhouse gases would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York workforce off the roads.

There is no question that working from home makes sense in many cases. It can be good for the environment. It can save companies money on real estate. It can afford a better work/life balance. If you’d like to give it a try, but your employer has reservations, here are some tips from SOHOjobs to make the transition.

Easy does it — Your request to work at home will raise questions about your motives and ability to be productive. Suggest a trial period of one day a week, and then bowl them over with results.

Show the positive — Your manager should know that when you work at home you start your day earlier and end later simply by subtracting commuting time.

Constant contact— Given a chance, make sure you stay in close contact with the office. If your co-workers can’t find you when they need you, it’s over.

Keep the company in mind — Urgent matters will arise that may be best handled right away by someone in the office. Make sure to designate someone to assume your role when you are unavailable.

One thing you can do right now to get the Telecommuting train rolling is to make it part of the conversation. Talk openly about your desires and be forthright with you superiors. Good Luck

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 8 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

 

Once again I find myself reading emails inquiring about about a particular company's commitment to telecommuting. This nameless company made a broad announcement offering telework options for its 1200 employees. Then unexpectedly revoked the option. The concept of working from home has taken a beating during the last few years, many executives question their companies’ ability to take advantage of the wired world. This setback also throws a bit of cold water on the hopes of older workers hoping to phase into retirement.

Overall, the number of folks working from home at least one day a month was 26.2 million at the end of last year, down from 33.7 million two years earlier, according to a WorldatWork report.

Some of this decline stems from overall job losses during the economic downturn. However, a more striking result of the report was the suggestion that psychological barriers are playing a much larger role. Working at home once in a while may be seen as slacking, but few are willing to chance being viewed in that light in the tight labor market. Three-in-four employers say they embrace some form of remote workplace, which cuts their real estate costs and has other benefits. But you have to wonder if some companies aren’t just paying lip service to the value of flexible schedules. Less than 20% of employers have an established training plan for home based workers. That’s not much of an embrace.

I hear it all the time from federal workers who are growing frustrated by the lack of motivation in their supervisors to embrace flexible work options. Even though 80% of U.S. Government employees fall under the telework requirements.

One of the most striking finding was the dramatic shift in those employee who are taking advantage of home based situations. The typical telecommuter is 40 years old and has a college degree, and more likely than not is a man. Which pretty much dispels the stereotype telecommuter as a working mom juggling family and a job from home.

I am sure this will hit a note with some of you. Don't be shy, let the rest of the SOHO community hear your experiences.

Posted: Monday, September 5, 2011 - 6 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

 

Reading some SOHOjobs members' walls today I noticed that one of my fellow SOHOers, mentioned about working on Labor Day. Obviously I'll be working a little bit this Labor Day but I am sure that we at SOHOjobs won't be the only home-based professionals spending at least some of the day working. I personally do not mind working on Labor Day because yesterday my father and brother broke in a new smoker and I overdosed on smoked ribs and pork roast. I NEED today to recover.

The main reason reason that I will be working on Monday is that I have two week worth of projects overdue. Answering emails today from hundreds of people looking to work at home, I am once again reminded how fortunate I am to have a home-based job. All day, I review jobs, answer emails and deal with customers. Sometimes late at night, with all the family asleep, I curse under my breath wishing for something different. However, today is labor day and thoughts across the country not only involve barbeque sauce but their jobs. I say thank you to the whole SOHOjobs.com community and feel a sense of optimism for my SOHO members.

Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Working at home has its benefits but also requires a flexible mindset. As Hurricane Irene roared up the East Coast, my first thought after my family's safety was how I was going to work without power or internet. Those of us with home office jobs can get sidetracked by a hurricane. The constant updates in the background are more than a mild distraction. My solution: Run to the mountains. Hopefully hurricane Katia will be different, my car's transmission is still crying.

Even when you work at home all the time and are used to distractions, natural disasters can keep you from working. Traditional workers can take a few days off and hunker down at home then wait till the office is safe to return to. Home based workers don't have that luxury, all we can do is wait and see what happens, and ponder more than a few questions about what the coming event will bring.

My proven solution is to run away! Live in Florida? Go to Disney. Mid Alantic? Run to the mountains! Most people do not realize that many traditional tourist areas offer discounts for those in the path of a storm. Disney World discounts its rooms for Florida residents. Most Appalachian resorts will give those fleeing a storm a discount as well. Give me a 49$ Disney hotel room with internet any day.

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2011 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

I have written about telecommuting jobs for over 15 years. These days telecommuting is such a common option that most people don’t think twice when you say you work from home. But with any great story there are plenty of horror stories, too.

As an employer, you can do plenty to make telecommuting work for your company. If you are thinking about jumping into this territory, consider these factors:

Benefits

For the company, having an employee work from home can reduce costs by lowering the amount of resources used in the office, as well as reducing overhead costs. Employees may become more loyal, and having the ability to work from home is a great selling point for new recruits. In many cases, employees will be far more productive without the distractions of the office and will be happy with a lower salary, which results in increased productivity for less money.

[See Are you the ready for a home-based business.]

The employee makes out pretty well, too. Being able to set one’s own hours is a big productivity boost, since some people have different hours when they’re most productive. Working from home affords us a certain freedom, allowing parents to stay home with their children when they are ill, or simply to run errands during normal work hours. The zero-commute cost and time gain gives the employee more hours in the day, and the subsequent lower stress level is also better for health.

Downsides

While this all sounds wonderful, there are some downsides to having your employees work at home. Not all employees work well alone; some require the work atmosphere or interactions that occur with co-workers. Others will simply lag behind in work because they get distracted by other things around the house, or work on their own projects.

Best Practices

So how can you ensure that your employees are working hard while at home? First, consider having the employee log their hours and work progress. This will help hold them accountable. Most importantly, establish expectations up front. Will you require your employee to have a separate work space in his home or off-site child care for any small children? These are important issues to discuss and plan out up front to make sure the arrangement works well for both parties.

It’s also a good idea to decide where your priorities lie. Does the job require eight focused hours per day? Or do you want a specific number of projects completed in a certain amount of time? For some, allowing employees to log however many hours they like while completing a certain number of tasks is the best way to go. If you go the performance route, the employee should send status reports on a daily basis with a proper meeting at least once a week to ensure that he or she is on schedule.

The presence option simply requires the employee to log in at a certain hour and to log out at a certain hour, usually regular business hours. You may not see a drastic increase in productivity with this method. Which you choose will depend on the business and the employee.

To run a successful work-at-home program, you will need to communicate effectively the priorities and expectations, and have the proper consequences in place should there be a case of abuse. If the employee does not complete the required work, then their telecommuting privileges will be revoked. Some companies run successful part-time telecommuting programs where each employee has the option to work from home 2-3 days a week. You’ll want to stagger the employees at home so that you have a good mix of people in the office at all times.

Telecommuting can be very beneficial for everyone if there are rules in place and expectations are made known before beginning. Remember, if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to the regular schedule in the office.

Michelle Peterson Career counselor, Writer, marketing specialist and SENIOR EDITOR EXTRAORDINAIRE of SOHOjobs.com Recognized as a leader in work at home research and services. Entrepreneurial Spirit award. She blogs at SOHOjobs.com Blog, work at home jobs, where she discusses home-based employment, telecommuting and job search issues.

 

Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011 - 2 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

 

You must treat virtual interviews just like in-person interviews. Just because you’re not sitting across the desk from an interviewer, you can’t be any less professional. Work at home applicants need to ensure there is no background noise — like crying babies, barking dogs or TV.

The interviewer is judging your phone and typing manner, because your voice will be the virtual face of the company.

Script Preparation. Being in the home based employment sector for over 25 years has given me great insight into the minds of hiring managers. These mangers tell me that one place where people stumble during the application process is the voice test. Applicants are required to read a script with enthusiasm, which can be very difficult.

If they can’t do it effectively, they’re often rejected. Here are two sample scripts used during the application process, so try them — and perfect them — on your own before applying:

Thank you for calling the Firestone Auto Center. How may I help you? You are locked out of your car? Oh, I am sorry to hear that. May I ask for your membership number? Thank you, Mr. Jones. May I have the year, make and model of your vehicle, and where you are located? A dispatcher will contact you within 15 minutes with an estimated time of arrival. Is there anything else I can help you with, Mr. Jones? Thank you for calling the Firestone Auto Center.” (Courtesy of Arise Virtual Solutions)

Flexible Schedule is a must. Express a willingness to work at least 20 hours a week, and be willing to start on nights and weekends. Offering to take the less popular shifts makes you more attractive to a prospective employer. Once you’ve proven your abilities, you should be able to improve your schedule. But first, get your foot in the door.

Demonstrate your comfort level with technology. If you’re great on the phone, and you’ve got exceptional sales or customer service experience, but you’re not so hot on the computer, fix that before applying. If you get flustered when too many programs are open at once, consider taking a computer course at a local community college so you can improve your online comfort level and confidence. This is computer-based work, so you can’t overlook this step.

Summary. Check out a few of the companies in this industry to see which might offer the best fit for you. Don’t be discouraged by companies that require you to have your own business, versus those that don’t. Since 2010 we have seen an uptick in companies looking to 1099 their Virtual Assistants. Think long term about where you as an home based worker will have the most opportunity for success. 

Posted: Friday, May 6, 2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


When Donald Trump came up in a discussion here at SOHOjobs.com last week, it led to a discussion about how long people have been working home based jobs. Way back in the summer of 1998 Donald Trump made an appearance on the David Letterman show. Dave asked him what he would do if he lost everything and had to start over from scratch. Without hesitating, Trump said he would find a good network marketing company and get to work. The audience started to hoot and boo him. He looked out at the audience and dead-panned his response – “That’s why I’m sitting up here and you are all sitting out there!”

That is what we have attempted to create at SOHOjobs. A great marketing company to help home based workers prosper.
With the economy in turmoil, home based programs are on the rise. Of course, that leads to an increase in scams as well. There are millions of people every month looking for new ways to make some extra cash. The Internet, infomercials and money making magazines are the most common places to find new ways to make money from home.

What most people do not know is, 97% of people fail at these types of work at home programs. The reason why most fail is because they lack the effort and knowledge required to be successful.

An individual joins a program, puts about a week or two into it and then they do not see any results so they quit. Most of the time they ask some family and friends and they might get one to join, but in the end it is not enough to keep them motivated to keep going.

Most lack the knowledge required to generate enough leads to get the business off the ground. There are two ways to go about marketing, warm market or traditional advertising routes, like post cards, Internet marketing, magazines, etc… Not only does marketing cost money, which most do not have, it also requires a lot of time to promote the business.

If you want to join a home based business, you have to realize this is like starting any business. If you opened a restaurant, would you put a week or two into it? You need to make sure you have enough funds to get it off the ground. You would want to put every waking moment into the business to make it work. Most do not understand this industry to make sure they have the right mindset to be successful.

The new SOHOjobs site will help you network amongst other like minded people. Don't hesitate to message each other. Get involved in your new SOHO community.

Michelle Peterson

Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]


Denver is the No. 4 U.S. medium- or large-sized city for telecommuting, according to a survey of 3,600 workers in 36 markets.
The survey, commissioned by Microsoft Corp. but performed by an outside market research company, examined urban areas based on factors including: the percentage of workers who say their jobs can be done from outside the office; the percentage of companies with formal work-from-home policies; the extent of support from bosses for working from home, as gauged by workers; and the extent of technological support provided by employers to enable working from home.
Among the report’s findings:
    •    Most respondents said they were more productive when working from home.
    •    The top complaint listed was the lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues.
    •    Fewer than half of the companies surveyed had telecommuting policies.
    •    Within those companies that did have such policies, a little more than a third of workers took advantage of the opportunity. Those workers listed achieving work/home balance, saving on gasoline and avoiding long commutes as their top reasons for telecommuting.

As for where they did work outside the office, many employees listed family vacation spots as a top choice. About a quarter of telecommuting workers said they set up operation in coffee shops. Some 10 percent worked from doctors’ offices. And most comical, 9 percent worked from bathrooms.
The increase in telecommuting is being driven by the economy and by technology, Marty Cassidy, a Microsoft executive, said in an interview.
Workers and companies have cooled on relocating staff due to the cost, he said.
And while telecommuters used to be hampered by the inability to just drop into colleagues' offices, that's less and less of a problem, he added. "Collaboration, when you're remote, is much more as if you were physically present," he said. For instance, staffers logged into some systems from home can easily see who is at available for a instant message chat and who is not.
Boston was named as the top telecommuting city, followed by:
    •    Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
    •    Atlanta
    •    Denver
    •    Kansas City, Mo.
    •    Richmond, Va.
    •    Austin, Texas
    •    New York
    •    Sacramento, Calif.
    •    Portland, Ore.

The survey, which was done by 7th Sense Research, targeted people who work full-time for employers other than themselves.
 

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