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Online jobs offer wide variety

Need a job but don’t want to leave the comfort of your home?Coin a phrase, rate the quality of an audio clip, get paid for doingonline surveys, judge the sentiment of Twitter posts or just sellT-shirts.<br />

Need a job but don’t want to leave the comfort of your home?

Coin a phrase, rate the quality of an audio clip, get paid for doing online surveys, judge the sentiment of Twitter posts or just sell T-shirts.

There’s no need to see the boss with websites that want you to sell a host of products, perform tasks or help you set up your own online business.

Take CoinThat Phrase.com, which gives folks the chance to put some coin in their jeans by putting their favourite, original sayings and slogans on coffee mugs, T-shirts or even dog tags.

“Ask not what tired phrases to say, but what new phrases you can coin,” says the U.S.-based website.

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk lets people select thousands of tasks that computers are unable to do and work whenever it’s convenient. It pairs “Requesters,” those who want the work done and are willing to pay for it, with “Workers,” those willing to do the work for a fee. Amazon gets a slice as well.

The work includes such things as rating the sentiment of Twitter posts, looking at the quality of an image chosen to represent a TV show, clicking on search results that are relevant for search terms — all work apparently best done by human eyes and brains.

Sound great? Well, before you tell your boss to take a hike and decide working in your pyjamas is the way to go, the experts offer a word of caution.

Prof. Tim Richardson of the University of Toronto says it’s not as easy as it appears to start an online business. And lots of these online schemes at best offer a way to make a few bucks and aren’t considered “real jobs.”

“Great ideas have no value. What you need is the money to go with them,” he said. “I could come up with edible baseball caps, right? But if you don’t have anybody that’s interested in buying that, then it’s of no consequence.”

Online businesses are perhaps a little more traditional in their approach and they have appeal for those with less time for a regular job. Ottawa-based Shopify.com says students are ideal candidates to start online businesses.

They must first find a product they want to sell, line up a supplier and then hand it off to Shopify to set up their online business for a monthly fee.

“You can still focus on your studies and everything else and basically just earn a recurring income,” said Dimitri Onistsuk, the firm’s vice-president of marketing.

It can require as little time as two to three hours a week, if the product is appealing, he said, citing students selling T-shirts.

“They have their finger on the pulse of what’s cool.”

And it needn’t be small potatoes. He says one of their student business operators has monthly revenues (not profits) of around $10,000.

Richardson, with the Division of Management at the university’s Scarborough campus, agrees online businesses are well-suited to students and stay-at-home moms.

He also suggests that anyone who does want to start an online business, as opposed to doing paid online work, should find a theme.

That’s what Calgary mom Britt Raposo has done. She owns and maintains 55 websites all geared toward mothers and mothers who stay at home and have businesses.

She says she never wanted to work for someone else.

“When I started out I was told by several people, of course not my husband who is all for it, to get a ‘real’ job,” said Raposo, who operates the resource website CanadianMoms
Online.com, among others.

Her work accommodates taking care of her young children and there’s really only one downside.

“I don’t have a boss if something goes wrong. I have to fix it.”

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