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Want to Work at Home? Weed Out the Scams: 10 Legitimate Opportunties

Want to Work at Home? Weed Out the Scams: 10 Legitimate Opportunties

When it comes to finding an opportunity to work at home, the fear of getting scammed can be overwhelming–but you shouldn’t let it deter you. A simple rule of thumb is to never sign up with a company that asks you to pay for ANYTHING related to the business. If you start your online career by shelling out, whether it’s for materials or more information, the only group making any money is going to be the scammers–from out of your pocket.

By contrast, if a business provides any of the following in their ad, they’re probably a legitimate company:

  • The name of the company (which you should research to learn more about its credentials)
  • An email address that is linked to the company’s website (not a blind address)
  • Mention of benefits or other policies associated with traditional commuter jobs
  • Details on the application and interview process
  • Mention of a human resources staff member to whom questions can be directed

Of course, providing the above information is not always enough proof that is a business is legitimate. The following 10 home-based online business offers are usually scam-free and have the potential to net you reliable money without your ever changing out of your pajamas.

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Call Center Representative

In the past, calling a company’s customer service line usually connected you to employee of a huge call center that might even have been outside the country. But businesses are increasingly routing calls to representatives who work from home. If you’re hired as an employee rather than a contractor, you may be eligible for benefits. Convergys, Alpine Access, and West Corporation are all reliable sources of work.

Web Search Evaluator

Search engine results don’t rely on algorithms alone. The major search sites all hire real live humans to analyze search results and make recommendations. You’ll need to pass a test before getting web search evaluator work, but Appen Butler Hill, Lionbridge, and Leapforce all hire reliably once you’ve passed.

Medical Transcriptionist

Though you’ll need a certification or associate’s degree, working from home as a medical transcriptionist can net you up to $50,000 per year with the possibility of benefits. If you’ve got the necessary skills, check out Amphion Medical Solutions, M*Modal, and Precyse for job listings.

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Web Developer

If you’ve got web design skills or knowledge of code and computer programming, you may be qualified to freelance as a web designer and consultant. If starting your own business isn’t an option, you can choose from the thousands of short-term jobs available on sites like ODesk.com or RatRaceRebellion.com.

Translator

Fluent in another language? Make your linguistic skills work for you. Translation is one of the fastest-growing fields of at-home work, so if you’re capable of translating audio files or documents than you could quickly set up a robust online business. SDL, Argos Translations, and We Localize are three top companies that hire freelance translators.

Virtual Assistant

More and more businesses are hiring virtual assistants rather than in-house staff members. This is great news for you, if you’ve got experience in scheduling, event planning, bookkeeping, preparing memos, or other office-type work. The International Virtual Assistants Association provides a job board through which you can find these at-home positions.

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Tech Support Representative

Companies are now increasingly routing tech support calls to at-home representatives instead of large call centers, so if you’ve got relevant experience and the necessary certification, a stay-home tech support business could be perfect for you. Large companies tend to hire directly, but you can also find work through independent agencies like PlumChoice.

Survey Taker

There’s a robust market out there for those willing to spend their time giving opinions online. Though survey taker jobs don’t pay as much as some of the opportunities on the list, they can be one of the most fun and engaging opportunities for those who work from home. Check out RatRaceRebellion.com for reliable survey taker resources.

Tutor

Depending on your level of education and expertise, you could make a very comfortable wage sharing your knowledge in online classrooms and live chats with students. Tutor.com and GetEducated.com are good resources for finding work.

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Freelance Writer/Editor

Though it can be hard to break into, freelance writing and blogging can be a very rewarding way to make money from home. Proofreaders and editors can also make significant cash by plying their trades online. ODesk.com is an excellent resource for all types of online freelance opportunities, while companies like Cactus Communications and FirstEditing are geared more toward proofreaders.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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