How to Get It: Customer service is the biggest work-at-home field, with companies including Spiegel, Hilton, Best Western, HSN, 1-800-FLOWERS and many others using at-home reps. Fill out an application with staffing companies such as Arise, Alpine Access, VIPdesk, LiveOps, and Convergys, all of which vet the companies who are hiring through them. If you need benefits, search through a staffing company that will hire you as an employee (Alpine Access, VIPdesk and Convergys do this) rather than an independent contractor. If you're a contractor, you may be asked to pay a small fee (between $15 and $35) for a background check. While a fee can be a sign of a scam, independent contractors are responsible for their own expenses.
Outsourcing is the new and dominant wave of the business world. As businesses shed employees, they increasingly turn to independent contractors to supply what in-house staff used to do. One of the ways they do this is through virtual assistants. These are people who provide certain tasks online. Businesses can use virtual assistants as much or as little as they need to. If you can make yourself available to multiple businesses, you might have plenty of work without ever leaving your house.