Are survey companies a scam? No they aren't but there are some misconceptions about which sites are research companies and which are not. Quite often you will come across ads that offer you a free ipod, a 500.00 shopping spree etc, all for just taking a survey!This is not a real survey site. These sites will give you a free ipod or shopping trip but instead of taking surveys you have to complete offers. You typically complete 6-8 offers. These can be things like signing up for AOL and using it for at least two months, or signing up and going with a different insurance company for a couple of months.Real survey sites will give you product trials just because you complete a survey and fit a certain demographic. These trial offers have been known to include expensive products but typically they are for a new shampoo, a new dishwasher detergent, a new makeup, a new type of shoes or jeans.Be very careful when you are joining survey companies that you are truly joining a research company and not a place that wants you to complete offers.A free list of legitimate survey sites can be found at http://www.katieshugs.com
How much can you make working at home? I don't know. I can tell you what it is like for me and that is about it. It took me almost 6 mos before I ever saw a check when I started my website. Thank goodness for the daycare business! If you start something like a daycare business you can expect to see money right away obviously. With the website I remember when I made my first $45, I was so excited I called everyone! It is really up to you to decide how much you will make. If you are in direct sales and do 20 parties a month and push the sales you would probably be able to see a profit the first month even after putting some of it back into your business. If you work in affiliate advertising and spend a good portion of your day (6-8 hrs) promoting it, you might see a profit the first month too. I think realistically, in affiliate advertising though, you are going to spend a lot of time just trying to find a good place to advertise. Once you do though, watch out! It will come in faster than you can imagine. Last month I hit upon a great place to advertise for one of my affiliates and made over $400 over a two day time frame. I was amazed with that one! Keep in mind, the affiliate was running a fantastic special so it worked. This month they have a pretty blah special and I am not seeing nearly that kind of return. If you build your own website to advertise for affiliates and plan to just promote your website, expect to put in 8-12 hours a day and still not see a profit for close to a year. It just takes that long to find good places, build a good reputation, get into all the search engines etc. No matter what you do, if you put in time, energy and research you will be able to make a decent amount of money.
One of the most prolific ways to make money at home is to build a website. Once you have a website you can promote anything, clothes, jewelry, other websites, etc. You don't even need to know a ton of HTML to get started. There are tons of sitebuilder programs you can join, some are very expensive and some are super reasonable. One thing to think about is what do you want in a host? If you know a lot about website building and search engine optimization you might vote for just a basic deal. If you really want a website but don't know much about all this other stuff you might want to spend a little more and get a host that can do a lot of it for you or at least walk you through it. There is a link here about building websites: http://www.katieshugs.com/Webstuff.html
Just like in the outside business world you need to network to make your business happen. Whether you are running a website, working in direct sales or even if you have started your business from scratch. It is important for your business and for your personal wellbeing to get out and talk about it. You can network online and offline. Talk to your family and friends tell them about your business and give them some business cards. If you get them excited they will talk to their friends or inevitably they will have a conversation where whatever you specialize in comes up. People everywhere need or want whatever you are selling. They won't know you have what they need though if you don't tell them. Online, find websites that compliment yours, if you are selling baby rattles you will want to frequent and join message boards at parenting sites. Some places will let you post your link in your signature line and others will not, make sure to check. Just by being there and getting involved in the conversations though will give you opportunities. If someone says, "hey I am trying to find a very special baby rattle for my sisters baby shower" you can always send her a private message or possibly email her with your web address. Don't take this to extremes. If you are sending emails and pm's to every member of the board you will sabotage yourself. Only offer your business if it is asked for.
I never used to keep a schedule and I am still having troubles with keeping one. The thing I like about working at home is the freedom to work when I want and take care of housework and kids around it. I have found that I don't get much done this way though. Last week I sat down to work and then realized my house was just a mess. I couldn't really focus on the work because I kept looking around the house. You have to find a happy medium. I don't feel very qualified to give any advice in this area since I am so bad at practicing it but I think the secret is to have a plan. First you need to know what your goals are and make a plan of what you need to do to reach those goals. Second figure out everything you need to accomplish everyday, laundry, dishes, feeding and dressing kids, playtime, etc. Then you can set up a monthly or weekly schedule of things that get done everyday. For instance I know that everyday I need to feed, bathe and dress kids, I know that I need to take pics for ebay listings and get those listings posted. I know that I need to promote my website and add content to it. I know that I need to take surveys and cook dinner. So for me first thing in the morning is feeding and dressing kids, while they are eating I pick up the house and start the laundry, while they are bathing I can check my email for surveys and get those out of the way. Then we can have playtime. After playtime there is lunch and while they are eating I take pictures. Once lunch is done there is tv time. During that time I can answer emails, post surveys and promote the website. After tv time is preschool, once she is at school I know I have a few hours of uninterrupted time, that is when I get things done that take a lot of focus like writing content for the website and posting ebay listings. After school I don't get much done workwise until after dinner and bedtime. Then I can again work on things that take a lot of focus or just take some time for myself. I usually use this time for more website promotion though. As you can see my schedule needs a lot of work to keep me better focused but the point was to give you some idea of the things that you need to fit into your schedule so hopefully you can do a better job of scheduling than I do!