How to distinguish between promises to find the right fit

For millions of American Boomers prospect of working in retirement is all too real. Faced with diminished retirement savings and longer life expectancy, many of them expect to work well past traditional retirement age of 65. Ideally Boomers would like to find some work from home opportunities which will allow them to maintain appropriate work/life balance.

If you are one of these millions of Boomers, working in your later years has its advantages. It allows you to stay active and engaged, fills the day with tasks and activities as well as provides avenues to pursue things that you always wanted to do. Money is not the only reason to seek out some work opportunities.

However, you also need to be aware that not all work opportunities are the same. There is a difference between part time work from home and freelancing. Understanding key differences between the two will help you to avoid disappointments and avoid losing money in the process of your search.

Many Boomers that want to make money working at home start by looking for jobs that promise just that. With internet being full of job sites, ultimately what happens is they become frustrated as they search from website to website looking for the right job. Many leads are dead end or do not result in any meaningful work opportunities. This brings up the question, why are Boomers struggling to find work at home opportunities?

First of all you should learn to differentiate between “work at home” opportunities and promises. Your search likely uncovered websites that present themselves as work at home jobs doing data entry, taking paid surveys, and typing at home. Generally these websites are trying to sell you information on how to get involved in this type of work. Some websites will try to sell you training or some other items in promise that you will get a job. You must be careful and not fall into this trap. You do not need to pay to get a job! If you are asked to pay or sign-up for anything that involves a commitment to pay upfront, it should be a red flag and you should leave that website.

Now not all is lost and there are some companies looking for people to work from home. This phenomenon is known as telecommuting and does provide an opportunity for people with legitimate skills to get paid working from home. This benefits both the company and you because the company does not need to think about space for you to work from, and you do not have to spend your time commuting to and from the office.

Not all jobs lend themselves to telecommuting but it works out very well for people who have skills such as sales, customer service, website design, and other categories. You could even get a job that include an hourly rate and benefits such as paid vacation, retirement plan, and health insurance. Unfortunately these are rather rare. If you realistically think about this, why would someone pay you an hourly rate when they do not know if you are really working or not? Employers do not know you and have no control over the work environment when you do it from the comfort of your own home. Therefore, such work from home opportunities will likely be sourced wither from someone you already know or your prior employer.

There is an alternative that is much more widely available to Boomers and can provide both the financial reward and job satisfaction. These are actually in the form of business opportunities where you work for yourself as a freelancer.

Key difference between being a freelancer and being a part-time employee is the relationship between you and the company that you work for. As a freelancer you will be effectively another business that will become a supplier of services to your client. You do not need to pay them upfront and you negotiate a contract based on specific deliverables that you will produce. You can even ask for money to be posted in an escrow to ensure that you get paid when the work is done and your client accepts product of your labor.

There are many advantages to being a freelancer. If you shift your focus from searching for “part-time work at home” jobs to “building my own small business”, you will likely see a lot more satisfaction and build a more sustainable stream of income. There are virtually no startup costs involved in being a freelancer. Many jobs are available to freelancers as well.

Let’s be honest though – starting your own freelance business will not immediately lead to money and big projects. It may take time to build up your client list and figure out the rules of the game. However we would argue that the time you spend building your business is better spent than time dedicated to searching countless web-sites promising opportunities too good to be true. At least once you have built your freelance business, you will be in a position to manage your work/life balance, deal with people that you trust and earn income that you need.

If this sounds like something that you are prepared to do, then you can start tomorrow. Technology is reshaping the way we work and perhaps in the near future work at home jobs will become a norm. Until that point though you might want to start building your own path. And whatever you do, please be careful and do not fall prey to some websites that offer “dream jobs” in return for your hard earned money.

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