Secondary Income for the Unemployment,
Under-employment, and Under-staffed
The current state of the economy has really impacted many of my family and friends. From unemployment to under-employment, people are experiencing the paycheck-to-paycheck way of life. Additionally, those who are employed full-time are often working for companies that are under-staffed and utilize skeletal crews. The message these folks hear from family, friends, and employers is that they should just be grateful to have a job, regardless of the heavy workload and long, grueling hours. These people are indeed grateful for the employment (and the benefits) but they are also overworked and exhausted.
Our workforce is stressed. Unemployment and under-employment are stressful states of existence because people are struggling to just survive. Mortgage/rent, utilities, transportation, medical/dental needs, food, clothing, etc. are basic essentials to survive in our society. Many have to choose between these basic needs each month – Do I pay my rent on time or do I put gas in my car?
People who are currently employed in an under-staffed environment experience a high level of stress, too. Heavy workloads, long work hours, and limited vacation time are the apparent stress-inducers. Add into the mix the creation of snarly interpersonal relationships when employees compete to maintain employment; an unhealthy, tense work situation can quickly develop.
Many of my family and friends are pursuing alternative, work-from-home options to either support themselves or to provide a secondary income. They find they need this alternative financial source to survive in this economy. As a freelance writer, I actually work from my home. The main reason I am currently freelancing is for more flexibility in my schedule due to family obligations. It works well – at least for now – and I am able to earn money and work on my craft.
Pursuing Secondary/Work-from-Home Positions
I currently work from home for a business blogging company. When I accept clients on my own as a freelancer, I can set my own fees. With the company, I accept their terms of payment per blog. The main reason I enjoy writing for a blogging company, though, is because they do all the marketing. They find the clients and provide a submission platform that includes keywords, client expectations, etc. I have to balance the fact that the time and money I would spend to scrounge up clients is offset by the lower fee per blog than I normally charge. Honestly, I am a writer (some may even suggest that I am a somewhat decent writer) but I kind of suck at marketing. I am an outgoing, friendly sort of person but I just lack that marketing gene. Marketing is a skill set that I am trying to improve so while I am in this learning process, I find writing for a blogging company an acceptable form of employment.
I write for a company called BlogMutt. You can find them online at http://www.blogmutt.com. They are always looking for freelance writers. If you enjoy blogging, this can be a great way to earn some extra cash.
Another writing opportunity is for an online service called About.com. If you enjoy writing articles and are considered an authority on a subject, About.com may be a good platform for your writing. Visit beaguide.about.com to find out the requirements to begin the freelancing process.
Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
– Numerous companies
Wikipedia provides an excellent definition of MLM:
“A marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant’s downline, and can provide multiple levels of compensation.”
I have many friends who earn extra income as MLM business consultants. The following are just a few examples of MLM businesses:
Beauty/Skincare: Arbonne, Avon, Mary Kay, Nerium
Health/Wellness: ForeverGreen, JuicePlus, Nature’s Sunshine, Protandim
Jewelry/Accessories: Miche Bags, Park Lane Jewelry, Silpada Jewelry
Home: Amway, Pampered Chef, Scentsy Oil Warmers, Tupperware
Craft/Cards: Creative Memories, Send Out Cards, Stampin’ Up
There are many MLM companies. If you enjoy one-on-one sales, a MLM business may be the perfect opportunity for you. Personally, I would thoroughly investigate any company you may wish to represent. There have been some sketchy, fly-by-night MLM companies that have been investigated and convicted of everything from false advertising to money laundering. I would consider sticking with the more well-known MLM companies – companies that have good reputations and sound business practices.
Do you knit, sew, crochet, sculpt, paint, or tole? Do you create craft items that would be perfect to sell to customers? Etsy.com is an online arts & crafts sale site for artists to sell their work to the public. Whether you make handmade jewelry or hand crafted children’s toys, Etsy gives you the platform to easily post and sell your wares. According to the Etsy website mission statement:
“Etsy is the world’s handmade marketplace. Our mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. We see a world in which very-very small businesses have much-much more sway in shaping the economy, local living economies are thriving everywhere, and people value authorship and provenance as much as price and convenience. We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.”
Do you have a degree? Are you a current grad student looking for extra income? You can earn money by tutoring students online through Tutor.com. Apply at http://www.tutor.com/apply.
Call Agents/Customer Service
Appointment Setting/Lead Generation/ Marketing Research
If you have a pleasant phone voice, good customer service skills, and the ability to work well on computers, being a home-based call center agent may be a good choice to earn or supplement your income. I considered employment with Alpine Access to supplement my own income. I quickly realized I did not have the appropriate setting within my home to meet the requirements. These companies require a desktop computer, an approved microphone headset, high speed internet, and a home office setting – free of distractions and noises. I could meet all the requirements except the quiet work space. Without a designated room to work, where I could close a door and silence my world, the sound of kids and dogs made it impossible for me to look further into these home-based business options. If you have the space and the money to set up a workplace within your home, this is a great opportunity to work as a professional and still wear your pajamas.
If you are a programmer, writer, designer, admin support, marketer, consultant, accountant, web developer, etc. online recruitment (aka headhunters) may be a great route to take to gain freelance employment. I have never used these services but my suggestion would be to carefully read their contracts before signing up with these agencies. Still, many reputable news agencies have reported on the two companies above and found them to be credible businesses. Do some research and see if these companies provide a good alternative to supplement your income.
In conclusion, take time to fully understand the requirements of any of these options. Ask the pertinent questions. What are my set-up costs? Do I need to have stock on hand? How much does the recruitment company charge per job tendered? What hours will I need to be available? For each specific option you may choose to take, it is helpful to take due diligence to understand any financial costs and responsibilities that may be required of you.
Good luck! May you find success in your endeavors!
Laura L. Roberts