How to check for bad freelance and work-at-home offers

The other day I was speaking to a Rotary club about how to start making money quickly as a freelancer or consultant when an audience member asked how to determine if the offers you find online are legitimate.

Good question.

Not quite my area of expertise—I recommend that you proactively contact the best companies, but I took a stab at it anyway.

The advice I shared has been modeled by husband Wayne’s example. A few people were nodding appreciatively so I’m presenting it here.

First, investigate the opportunity. Read everything you can find about it. Keep reading.

Ask the difficult questions and keep asking till you find the answers! Our natural tendency is to believe what we want to believe, but we can’t let this blind us to the truth.

Look for bad news. Welcome it.

Talk to people. Talk to lots of people. The more people the better, commensurate with your expected time and financial investment.

Go ahead and ask for references you can call.

Or post to online groups and ask for people to email you directly in the expectation they’ll be more open to you.

Finally, here is a technique I’ve seen Wayne use over and over and it works: Take the name of the product or company and type it in Google. Then add another word such as “scam,” “rip-off,” “fraud,” “consumer,” “evaluation” or “complaint.”

If you don’t add one on these terms, the in-favor fluff will take up so many pages of links that you’ll exhaust yourself long before you find anything useful.

By the way, as you watch late night offers on TV that sound too good to be true, try the same thing.

Always revealing.

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