Aug. 6, 2008 — -- Thousands of "Good Morning America" viewers have said our reports helped them reach their goals of making extra money while working at home. If you're one of the success stories, I invite you to visit my Web site to tell me your story.
For those of you who haven't yet made the leap, I've co-authored a new book, "Will Work From Home: Earn the Cash Without the Commute," which is filled with resources and ideas to help you get going on this path too.
Click here to read an excerpt from the book.
Turn your crafts into cash. Many people get rave reviews for their handmade wares from family and friends, but most have no idea how to make money from their stuff. If you specialize in jewelry, pottery, clothing, illustrations, bath products, edibles and more, you should be selling today on Etsy.
In July alone, the company says 487,000 items were sold, totaling $7 million. Etsy charges just 20 cents to list an item and takes 3.5 percent of each sale. For that, your wares reach a global audience.
Answer the call. Virtual customer service -- answering in-bound customer calls for big brands from your own home -- has proven to be one of the most popular segments I've reported on GMA. Agents earn an average of $8 to $15 an hour and many also receive incentives and commission, too.
The field is growing: Four companies: Arise, Alpine Access, Working Solutions and LiveOps say they'll add more 7,000 new agents to their rosters by the end of this year.
To fill those positions, they'll receive a combined total of 90,000 applications, which means the competition is super steep. This work isn't for everyone, but if you want to give it a shot click here for advice on how to excel during that interview process.
Connect with a global marketplace. Businesses are increasingly hiring home-based freelancers to perform tasks ranging from software development to writing press materials.
Two sites, Elance and oDesk, serve as middlemen between job seekers and businesses eager to contract with them. They handle the whole process from hiring to payment. Together the sites have 20,000 open projects -- ranging from $20 to $80,000 -- at any one time. Post your profile and take optional assessment tests to measure your skill level. Then search the job postings and place bids on the opportunities that work for you. Many people start low -- very low -- with their rates to get their foot in the door to build a following. Your rate is determined by you.
Tutor students. Now is a good time to start thinking about tutoring both online and off. The Web site Tutor.com operates an online classroom allowing each student to connect with a tutor for one-to-one help using instant messaging, file sharing -- even an interactive whiteboard.
The site pays $10-$15 an hour and is looking to bring on 900 new tutors through the fall as students head back to school. Math and science tutors are in great demand. You don't need a teaching certificate, but you do need a college degree to get through the thorough application process.
Guide Web users online. If you've ever tried to find the answer to a question online, you've probably found yourself on About.com, which hires guides to create regular content based on a proven expertise in a specific topic. Find the current recruitment categories and an online application process on the site.
Guides are paid monthly and are compensated based on page views and section growth. The average rate is $1,500 a month for about 15 hours a week, which means the average annual compensation for a guide is $18,000. (The company says some guides rake in more than $100,000.) Great money for sharing information on something you love.
Beyond these resources, I have many others, along with some of the challenges and triumphs, on a specially created section of my Web site on working from home.
There are hundreds of legitimate companies that use home-based workers -- some as employees, others as independent contractors -- so explore what's available before settling on something specific. You must be able to articulate what specific skills you offer and how you want to put them to work. Just saying "I want to work from home" won't land you the opportunities you likely seek.
Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on Good Morning America and the CEO of Women For Hire. Visit her Web site at www.womenforhire.com.