By Lesley Spencer, MSc.
Founder & Director of HomeBasedWorkingMoms.com
Starting a home business has become a wonderful and attractive alternative for parents across the country. With the advent of the Internet, email and cell phones, working at home has been a very viable option. No other alternative allows parents the opportunity to create their own hours and work aroudn their children’s schedules while earning an income. But before investing in any home business opportunity, it is wise to take the appropriate steps to research the opportunity and the company. Unfortunately, there are deceitful businesses ready to take advantage of parent’s deep desire to be at home with their children.
- Research the company and always check them out with the Better Business Buread located in their city.
- Ask for at least 3 references of people they have worked with. Call each person and ask about his or her experiences with the company.
- Be cautious of any company that asks for money for a work-at-home job (such as money for registration, applications, or instructions).
- Don’t be fooled by ads claiming you can make large amounts of money in short periods of time. And be cautious of companies that require you to sign up immediately. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- Get specific information in writing from the company such as how long they have been in business, where they are located (and not just a P.O. Box), how many customers they have, what their refund policy is (read it thoroughly), how long it takes to get paid and if there are any restrictions on payments, etc.
- If you do invest in a business opportunity, use your credit card instead of cash. It may be easier to dispute the charges with your credit card cmpany rather than trying to get your money back from a fraudulent company.
- Research current scams on web sites such as ScamBusters.
- Call the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060 for information or visit their web site.
- Report any scams or fraudulent companies to the companies to the Federal Trade Commission, your state’s Attorney General, and the National Fraud Information Center at P.O. Box 65868, Washington, DC 20035, (800) 876-7060.
- Don’t invest in any opportunity that you are not sure about. Instead, find something that you are interested in and will enjoy doing. (Do what you love, and the money will follow.)
About the Author
Lesley Spencer is founder and director of the HBWM.com, Inc. Network which includes: the national association of Home-Based Working Moms, Mom’s Work-at-Home Kit, the eDirectory of Home Based Careers, Mom’s Work-at-Home Site and HBWM Canada. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Relations and has been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Home Office Computing, Parenting, Business Start-Ups, Family PC and many others. She has been working from home for over 10 years and has two children ages 10 and 8.