Many people look for legitimate ways to make money working from their homes, only to fall for scams. Others make a major cash investment in a legitimate work-from-home job, only to discover they never make a single sale. You don't have to lose money on these bad moneymaking schemes. There are plenty of real work-at-home jobs that do not require a single penny of your hard-earned cash. Some are absolutely free, requiring no upfront investment.
Become an online writer. Consider Associated Content, which pays an upfront fee to writers for certain nonfiction works and a performance bonus for traffic to all articles. Check out Helium, which pays revenue share for traffic you generate to the site. On The Helium Marketplace you can compete with other writers for high-paid writing work. Demand Studios pays professional writers to write high-quality articles for eHow. Constant Content helps online writers sell their work, connecting them with publisher clients.
Blog from home. Working as a blogger is a little different than working as an online writer. Instead of writing polished articles, you write quick and casual blogs. Some sites will pay you upfront to blog, while others share part of their ad revenue with you based on performance. Legitimate sites where you can get work as a blogger include ProBlogger, the Authority Blogger forum and the Web Log forum in About.com. These jobs should always be free; never respond to an ad that requiring payment.
Become a mystery shopper. When you work from home as a mystery shopper, you pose as a customer at certain assigned business locations. Then you fill out an evaluation about how well the staff at that location served you. Legitimate mystery shopping jobs are always free; you should never have to pay an enrollment fee. You can find real work as a mystery shopper at websites such as the National Shopping Service, BestMark Mystery and Secret Shopper.
Work for a call center that hires telephone operators to work from home. All you need to get started is a telephone line, computer, high-speed Internet access and excellent customer service skills. Like other freelance work-from-home jobs, this one is absolutely free to start and allows you the flexibility to set your own schedule. Legitimate call centers include LiveOps, Alpine Access and West at Home.
Look for a work-from-home job on craigslist. Craigslist is a classified advertising website that allows you to post free listings. You could post a job wanted ad in the "Services" or "Jobs" sections, saying what type of work you would like to do from home. Also, you could sell merchandise directly on the site. Ask for more information or do some research on the company if you're uncertain whether a job is legitimate. Always meet potential clients and customers in broad daylight in a well-populated, public place.
While all these work-from-home jobs are free, you may still need to make an investment in your business. Get any training, equipment or materials you need; look to legal and tax professionals for advice; and get any required licenses before you start working. You can also try selling items for others on consignment on eBay. When a client gives you items to sell on eBay, you have no upfront expenses and no risk in the sale.