How to make money from home legitimately without being scammed

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Praying for Time by Carrie Underwood

Lots of people want to make money working at home, and if you're reading this, you probably do too. You know that many people make extra money that way and some of them make a real bundle of cash. You love being online and feel it's the type of pursuit that fits your personality. So why is it so hard to get started?

For many it's the fear of falling for a scam. There's certainly no shortage of them, and thousands upon thousands of people have been taken in by their wild promises, even people you think would never be duped. Overwhelmed by choices, a person researching the field can have an extremely difficult time sorting the legitimate opportunities from the greedy schemes. They often give up before they even get started.

Laptop with cash

It's like launching yourself from the top of a mountain strapped into a hang-glider. You know the ride will probably be awesome. But there's also apprehension, if not outright panic; you could crash. Which would certainly be a downer, if you'll pardon the pun.

Fear of failure is something most of us deal with on a regular basis, and it definitely applies in Internet marketing. What if you get scammed? What if you do it wrong? What if it's harder than you thought? What if...?

Well, what if you don't try it?

Well then, you won't crash, that's true. But you won't soar, either. And unlike our hang-gliding friend, your mistakes as you learn to make money at home won't land you in the hospital. (If it does, maybe you should reexamine your methods!) But of course you need to take precautions, whether you're flying over a valley or out in cyberspace. Once you have those precautions in place, you'll be able to move forward without fear that a fraudulent scheme will rob you of your hard-earned money.

So let's put on our scam-detection glasses and see how we can identify the work-at-home scams that are so plentiful. These criteria can apply whether you're considering a work-at-home job, where you're an actual employee of a company, or are thinking of starting your own online business, such as affiliate marketing. There are many other scam-spotting "tests" you can apply to the opportunities you encounter, but these are some of the most pertinent ones.

1) You've heard this one before--say it with me: "If it sounds too good to be true..." We all know how that sentence ends. Think about it: If making money online were fast and easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it? Who would choose a frantic commute, slacker co-workers, and a demanding boss if they could pull in hundreds of dollars a day in their bathrobe? That's right. Nobody.

2) No legitimate company will ask you to pay them in order to get the job or to even learn what the job involves. Desperation makes people justify to themselves that it's reasonable to pay a fee to work. Did you have to include a check with your resume when you got your first real job? I sure hope not.

3) If the opportunity comes to you unsolicited, through any channel, it's a bad sign. Real companies or business ventures have no need to spam in order to recruit employees or affiliates. Use your head, and your gut, to determine whether an opportunity you've received was from a spammer or a real person you can trust.

4) Watch out for pyramid schemes or multi-level marketing programs that are more about recruiting people to work under you than they are about an actual product or service. That should be a huge red flag.

5) Research the program or company. If people just took 30 seconds to google for more information about whatever they're considering, far fewer would get caught up in scams. Various blogs and forums are a huge help in finding out what others have to say about it. Keep in mind, though, that a negative review or two doesn't necessarily mean something isn't legit; there are always those who don't put in the required effort and therefore conclude that the program was a scam. But what's the ratio of bad reviews to good? Does it seem reasonable?

Affiliate Marketing--A Real Online Business With Huge Potential

If you want to work for yourself, there are lots of legitimate ways to do it. Unfortunately, they're hard to pick out because of all the scammers and spammers, and therefore Internet marketing in general is sometimes viewed quite negatively. But that doesn't mean there aren't real people, just like yourself, who are making a good living online in an ethical, legal, and enjoyable way.

Affiliate marketing is one way to do that. What does an affiliate marketer do? Usually, they create web sites about subjects they like or have experience with. They promote related products from online merchants on those sites. When a visitor clicks on one of those products, it brings them to the merchant's site. When they buy something, the affiliate gets the commission. It's pretty cool.

• You don't have to handle money
• You don't have to stock inventory
• You don't have to ship anything
• You don't have to provide customer service

All you do is drive web traffic to these merchants' sites. It's a very lucrative way to earn an income online. But it doesn't happen overnight. And it does take effort. But isn't the effort worth it to give your family's bank account a serious makeover? You might be an affiliate marketing superstar and not even know it!

So go on, fly!

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