When you’re looking for your first work-at-home job — or you’re looking for something different than the venture you’ve already tried — you’ve probably hit the job boards. It’s what we all do, isn’t it?
Job boards are a great place to find work-at-home jobs, but they’re also a great place to find scams. One of the commonly posted work-at-home job scams has something to do with getting paid to post ads online. Sometimes these job ads tell you that you can make money from home by posting ads. Sometimes it’s by typing. Sometimes it’s by data entry.
While there are ways to make legitimate money online with gigs that involve things like typing, data entry, and even posting ads (more on this soon), many of the ads you’ll see on the job boards for this type of work aren’t going to get you very far.
How “Get Paid to Post Ads” Scams Work
Read every section of every job description carefully. You want to look for things like a company name, required skills, etc. You know — a typical job description. You’re often provided with instructions to apply. When there are any links provided, they take you to a website that looks like it belongs to a company or an agency of some sort.
If you click through any links and you get to what looks like a sales page with a fee or payment button, you’re most likely dealing with a scam. Not always, but almost always.
Here’s how it works:
You click on the ad. You get to the landing page, which is essentially a sales page. You have to pay a fee (anywhere from $20 to $150 or more!) to access the materials/start your membership/get your starter kit. However they put it, you have to pay to get it.
Here’s what happens when you sign up for one of these programs: You receive a packet of information telling you how to post the same ad on various job boards and websites. You make money by posting the same ad you clicked on, and you get paid every time someone pays using your ad. However, you don’t get paid anything if they don’t. Congratulations! You’ve just joined a pyramid scheme.
Now, don’t get me wrong — paying for things like memberships and starter kits can be entirely legitimate. But you have to be extremely careful when looking at any company that wants you to do so. More often than not, a membership or training program should be something that supports you in your work — and not actual the source of your work.
Same with starter kits — many direct sales organizations require you to buy a starter kit to get started with the company. I love direct sales and I think they’re a legitimate way to work for yourself. I see a big difference between a “pay to play” job with a company you can’t find much information about… and getting a starter kit of inventory with the intent to use that kit as collateral to build your branch of an established direct sales organization.
“Easy Money” Isn’t Real
Let’s face it: if there were really a legitimate way to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars every month simply by doing simple data entry or copying and pasting some stuff, everyone would be doing it. The top companies that operated at the high of this particular scam’s era would still be in business. You’d be able to find tons of positive reviews that looked and felt legitimate and weren’t just hype.
If anyone is promising you “easy money” — where you get paid tons of money for doing basically nothing, right out of the gate — you need to think twice about taking them up on your offer. There are work-at-home jobs that are certainly fun and don’t necessarily require significant skills, but anything that promises you a major payoff for doing simple data entry will not go well for you.
Ultimately you need to trust your gut when you see anything like this, and if you’re in any doubt about how legitimate the job is, then either close it out and look for something else… or sign up if you’re willing to lose the money you’ll pay “just in case” it actually turns into something legitimate.
The Real Deal: Ads and Affiliate Marketing
While many of the jobs out there saying you can get paid to post ads aren’t going to be legitimate ways to earn money from home, there actually are a few ways you can harness the power of ads to make some money for yourself.
The primary thing I’m talking about is called affiliate marketing. When you go into affiliate marketing, what you do is sign up as an affiliate with a business that’s offering some sort of product for sale — like a course or a program. A popular example of this would be the Amazon Affiliate program.
So you sign up as an affiliate, and then your “job” is to sell that company’s product(s) using your personal affiliate link. You can do this via emails, a blog or website, and you can certainly do it by running ads to your affiliate link. You can even sell your affiliate products on Pinterest!
There are all kinds of marketing strategies revolving around affiliate marketing, and these are far and away the most legitimate way to make money by posting ads. You’ll need to study up on the ad platforms you’re using, though — it’s not just something you can sit down and start doing in 10 minutes and then turn around and start making tons of money. (You can get ads set up pretty quickly — they just won’t convert very well if you don’t know what you’re doing.)
A bonus: if you get really good at affiliate marketing and setting up ads on one or several platforms, you have a new, wide-open opportunity to start offering that as a service. This is called digital marketing, and there are people who will pay lots of money for someone to set up ads on websites like Facebook and Pinterest.
You can also find work as a virtual assistant or remote admin that involves posting and monitoring ads for the person or company hiring you. This will look a lot more like a typical gig, though, and not like a scammy-feeling ad posted on a job board. You’ll need some experience with digital marketing, but once you learn the key benchmarks and factors that go into setting up a digital ad, offering an “ad monitoring” service would be a fairly easy but very valuable service for you to offer your clients.
If working with ads sounds exciting to you, there are a few ways you can learn more. First, you can always search on Google for free information on relevant topics like affiliate marketing, digital advertising, and Facebook ads. If you’re willing to pay for training, you can look for courses offered by bloggers (like the Pinterest one here), digital marketing experts (my favorites are the ones over at Create Your Laptop Life), or on course platforms like Udemy.
It’s What You Make of It
Getting paid to post ads seems too good to be true — and in the vast majority of cases, it is too good to be true. There may be the occasional legitimate opportunity out there, but in my opinion, it’s not worth buying into everything to see which one works and which one doesn’t. There’s no such thing as “easy money” and if you’re going into this work-at-home job situation looking for that, you’re not going to get very far.
If, however, you want to find something that is interesting and uncomplicated — but does require actual work — there are definitely legitimate ways to make money by posting ads. It really comes down to what your intent is and how much effort you’re willing to put into learning the ropes and doing it the right way.