With technology constantly evolving, it's no longer necessary to physically be at work to be a productive member of the team. Technologies like Skype, Facetime and cloud computing are just a few ways employers can keep their employees at home. This may increase job satisfaction while also saving the company money in overhead expenses.
But not all work at home jobs involve first working for a larger company. Many people serve as freelancers, choosing to form their own businesses and work as contractors. If you're looking to work from home, you may want to consider these options.

SEE: Be Your Own Boss By Freelancing

Virtual Assistant
Think of a virtual assistant as an off-site secretary. A traditional secretary comes with many expenses to a company, and if the company is small, they may not need a full-time secretary until the company grows. Virtual assistants work from home, often communicating with the boss via chat, Skype or another real time service. They can do most of what a traditional administrative assistant does, but at a lower cost.

International companies need translators all the time. They may translate files and documents, and transcribe and translate conversations and conference calls. People who speak uncommon languages are even more in demand, and these home-based jobs are plentiful. The median salary is approximately $21 per hour, with much higher wages paid by large corporations.

Call Center Representatives
If you've seen those Capital One credit card commercials with "Peggy," the less-than-hospitable call center representative, you may understand why some companies are trying to find more call center workers from America. Some customers have trouble communicating with offshore call center representatives who speak English as a second language.

However, there are companies that don't want to pay the large expenses associated with U.S. call centers. Instead, they hire work-from-home representatives to get an "American voice" and save on costs such as workspace and equipment. The pay is often by the minute, so don't expect to get a big paycheck while you surf the Internet. If you like customer service, this may be the perfect opportunity for you.

If you thought journalism was dead, then browse the Internet. Traditional newspapers are under pressure, but the online media business is booming and the Internet needs more writers with talent. Like all businesses, be prepared to climb the career ladder. At first, you may have to work for less than you think you deserve, but eventually you could command a much higher wage as your skill and notoriety increases.

Avoid the Scams
For every legitimate work-from-home job, there are 57 scams, according to a study conducted by The Rat Race Rebellion. Anybody looking to earn a living without leaving their home has to be very careful. First, do some research to make sure that the company is established. If you can't find evidence that the company has a physical address and sells a product or service, then it's best to avoid it.

Next, there should be an application and probably an interview process. Anybody who is legitimately looking to hire an employee wants to know that the job will be done at a superior level. Lastly, you shouldn't have to pay anything. If a work-from-home job requires an investment, then it's probably a scam. (For more information, read how to Recognize And Avoid "Work At Home" Scams.)

The Bottom Line
If you have the discipline to work from home, then there are a lot of opportunities for you. However, earning a full-time wage by working from home will still take hours of uninterrupted hard work. You may still need to hire a babysitter. As any home-based employee will tell you, it's not easier to work from home, it's just a different location. (To learn more about work-from-home jobs, check out the Top 4 Financial Jobs You Can Do From Home.)

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