Take a look online and you’ll find a huge variety of homeworking schemes on offer. The problem is many of these are completely unregulated and homeworking scams are notorious. So what exactly does homeworking involve… and how can you protect yourself?

First of all, what is homeworking?

Homeworking schemes are essentially small self-employment schemes or micro-business opportunities that are half way between running a business and having a job.

With most homework schemes, a promoter gives you work to do at home and pays you, normally on a piece work rate rather than an hourly rate as you might get with a regular job.

For this reason homeworking schemes are particularly attractive to stay-at-home mums and also those with other full or part time employment looking for an extra income.

You’ll often see homeworking schemes promoted using newspaper classified ads., shop window notice boards, on the Internet and even on lampposts!

Unfortunately, over the years, homeworking schemes have gained a very bad reputation for being scams. The only people who make money out of some of these schemes are the people who promote the scheme.

Here are four kinds of homeworking offer that frequently turn out to be scams:

* Envelope stuffing schemes. Your job is to fill and mail envelopes with advertising material. What the scheme promoters usually don’t tell you is that you have to pay for the mailings and only get paid commission on anything you sell as a result.

* Catalogue delivery schemes. Your job is to deliver catalogues and collect any orders. Again, you only get paid a commission on anything that you sell.

(Envelope stuffing and catalogue delivery scams often involve products which are hard to sell, so the chances of getting many or even any orders are low.)

* Product assembly schemes. You have to buy a kit of parts, assemble them into a product, and then the scheme promoter buys the finished product back from you. Usually with these schemes most if not all of the products you try to sell back are rejected on quality grounds.

* Paid survey schemes. You’re asked to complete surveys, usually on the Internet. Perhaps giving your opinions on popular consumer goods and services. Sometimes these schemes promise ‘up to £75’ for completing a survey. But in most cases you’re only paid a few pence for something that can take 30 minutes or more.

I’ve put together this report for you, which tells you more about paid survey schemes.

Warning. Be especially wary of homeworking schemes that charge an upfront fee for a ‘starter kit’ and so on. Especially if there is a promise that the fee will be refunded once you reach a certain level of income. These schemes frequently turn out to be scams – with the scheme promoter being the only person who makes any money from them.

We’re not saying that all homeworking opportunities are scams. It’s just that you need to be especially careful when looking for these kinds of money making opportunities. For the latest news on genuine homeworking opportunities keep checking back with What Biz Opp.