Avoid These 5 Work-From-Home Jobs — And Try These 5 Instead

Work from home jobs
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You brew a fresh pot of coffee, pour yourself a cup, flip on your favorite morning talk show and sit down at the kitchen table with your laptop. You’re still in your bathrobe, cozy after a hot shower. Your dog wags her tail happily at your feet.

You’re ready to start your work day.

Too Good to Be True?

Working from home is a dream for many of us: You save time, money and stress on your commute, and the dress code includes your favorite pajamas. Yes, the Spongebob ones.

But not all work-from-home jobs are created equal.

CBS News worked with FlexJobs and the Federal Trade Commission to put together a list of the five worst work-from-home jobs — the most tedious, most draining and least profitable.

The jobs, which include envelope stuffing, assembly work and multi-level marketing, mostly had one thing in common: The companies ask you to invest upfront. Hopefuls find out there’s little work available only after spending hundreds of dollars.

Jobs promising high earnings to those without specific skills are most likely bogus, noted FlexJobs founder Sara Sutton Fell.

It’s the same old story: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

However, there are legitimate work-from-home jobs — though many require training, time and effort, just like any other position.

Legit Work-From-Home Jobs to Try

Here are five suggestions for legitimate work-from-home jobs to try instead of the ones CBS recommends you avoid:

1. Instead of Stuffing Envelopes, Try Earning Passive Income

Companies often advertise earnings of up to $1,200 per week for envelope stuffing, CBS reports — a number worthy of enduring the tedious task.

But hopefuls are asked to pay an upfront fee, and often discover afterwards that there are few envelopes to stuff — so they won’t actually make any money.

Skip the papercuts and set up a passive income stream online. The money won’t be immediate and it’ll take some effort, but truck driver Matthew Allen of Dumb Passive Income makes thousands of dollars a month — and he hasn’t even quit his day job.

If you took it full time, you could do even better.

2. Instead of Assembly Work, Try Crafting or Freelance Writing

Don’t fall for this one: after being asked to pay the price of parts, the creations you assemble might still be rejected as substandard.

If you’re creative, try making your own original handmade items and selling them on Etsy. This mom’s project took off and now makes her $70,000 per month.

If you have a way with words, try your hand at freelance writing. Lots of blogs pay for submissions — including The Penny Hoarder!

3. Instead of Processing Rebates, Try Being a Call Center Representative

Did you know you could be an AppleCare representative from your couch?

In the digital age, there’s no need to crowd telephone-based workers into costly offices, so lots of companies are moving toward hiring remote customer service reps.

And assisting with a variety of individual problems is bound to be more interesting than processing rebates, even if 70% of your job is asking callers, “Did you try a reboot?”

You’ll receive technical training, but some experience in technology troubleshooting would probably be helpful.

4. Instead of Medical Billing, Try Transcription

If you’re willing to codify treatments and add up medical bills, would you listen to a TV show or phone call on repeat and type what you hear?

You could make up to $25 per hour, and no less than an hourly $15 — a far cry from paying $6,000 for absolutely nothing in return.

If you’re familiar with medical terminology, you’ll be the perfect medical transcriptionist — a subcategory of the job on the higher end of the pay scale.

5. Instead of Multi-level Marketing, Try Udemy

It’s a real bummer to get an unexpected, excited phone call from a friend — only to discover she’s just trying to get you to sit in on her Arbonne webinar.

Selling Avon or Beachbody products might work for some, but it can distance you from the friends and family you need to recruit to make substantial earnings. And if you’re unsuccessful in your efforts at recruitment and sales, you’ll be stuck with a bunch of makeup or vitamins — and none of your investment cash.

If you like working with people and want to improve their lives, teach one of your skills to others on Udemy. You’ll be selling people a viable skill instead of lip gloss — and there’s no fee to get started.

Check out these great blogs for more information and inspiration on earning an income from the comfort of your home — and don’t forget to check with your boss to see if you could take your current job to your kitchen table!

Jamie Cattanach is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.