by Jenn Jarvis
WATERLOO (KWWL) -- With budgets getting tighter, many families are looking for some extra income. Some parents are looking for something part-time to do in the evenings, while stay-at-home parents are looking for a way to take care of their kids and still earn some money.
If you have a computer and Internet access, there are plenty of options online.
When looking for at home work, remember to read through all of the material carefully. Many jobs require a certain number of hours per week. Also, be wary of any job that requires you to pay an application fee. And make sure you have the equipment and space to do the work you're applying for.
Here's some ideas to get you started.
Many companies are outsourcing their customer service agents, but not always overseas. There are several companies that hire customer service agents for well-known companies like J. Crew, Dell and Office Depot.
You need a computer with high-speed Internet access, a landline phone and a quiet space. The hours are more structured and often require you to work at least 20 hours per week. Depending on the volume of calls you can earn up to $15 an hour.
Sometimes lawyers want to test a case before they accept it. There are Web sites that work like a virtual courtroom where lawyers can do research. You can sign up to be an online juror for these test cases. Read the guidelines carefully before you sign up. Depending on how long the case lasts you can make $10-$60.
Many things like speeches and television programs need to be transcribed from audio into text. If you can type at least 75 words per minute and have a computer, this could be a good fit. The schedule is flexible because most of the work is freelance based and there's not a set amount of work.
If you like to write, have an area of expertise and a computer with Internet access, blogging might be a good choice. Anyone can sign up to have a blog for free through a Web site like Blogger. But to make money you need to build a following by writing often and offering useful or entertaining information. Some of the most successful blogs revolve around celebrity gossip, technology and cooking. But, many people are making money by blogging about everything from scrapbooking to raising twins.
If you sign up for an account with Blogger, make sure to add their AdSense. It places ads on your blog and you get paid every time the ads are viewed. If you can develop a steady stream of traffic, it probably won't be enough to pay the bills, but it can help buy some groceries.
If you're looking for variety, VIPdesk.com can supply it. It offers online concierge services for a fee. One day you may be booking plane tickets, the next you might be hunting for a dragon costume. The tasks vary in length, but all can be done from a distance using the phone and Internet.
Whether it's combatting fraud or ensuring customer satisfaction, many companies are looking for someone to listen to customer calls. This requires listening to calls either on the phone or online. Some are pre-recorded and some companies have you listen live.
Whether you love them or hate them, you can make money as a telemarketer. The pay can be more than $10 per hour and requires you to have a landline.
If you enjoy teaching and have a good grasp of the major subjects, sites like Tutor.com will let you help students online. You can work 5-30 hours per week and earn around $10 per hour.
You can make money for knowing another language. Sometimes it just requires translating over the phone, but if your grammar is good you can also make money for translating text.
Direct sales have moved beyond just Mary Kay, Avon and Tupperware. Now you can find a product that you're passionate about. You can become a wine expert through TheTravelingVineyard.com, or even sell toys through DiscoveryToysInc.com. There is a cost up front for these ventures because you have to buy a certain amount of the product to sell, but the return is normally higher than other at home options.
For a steady stream of tips and ideas on stay at home work, work-from-home mom Amanda Compton started a blog where she shares her experiences. She also posts job openings that she partially screens and has an e-mail newsletter.
Online Reporter: Jenn Jarvis