When I started HomeWorkingClub in 2017, I knew my idea wasn’t especially original. After all, there are already thousands of websites about freelancing, home working and making money online.
I did, however, have a clear vision. I wanted to make a home working website that was BETTER. Most of all, I wanted to make one that was HONEST.
To be clear, I’m not criticising every other site in this industry – but I am criticising a lot of them. The home working world is a minefield of scams, hidden agendas and unrealistic promises. The victims are the people who are trying to make a living, and to establish a better working lifestyle.
Two years on, HomeWorkingClub has served over half a million people, many of whom return repeatedly to read our new content.
This article sets out the principles the site continues to live by, and hopefully demonstrates why you can trust in what we say, recommend, and suggest.
1. We focus on people who actually want to WORK
There are plenty of people in the online working world who spend their time looking for short cuts and “cheat codes.” This has created a huge industry – packed with websites dedicated to convincing those people that the short cuts exist. They don’t.
If you are one of those “short cut hunters,” you’ll probably find that HomeWorkingClub isn’t for you.
Anything is possible in the online world. There are hundreds of genuine companies that employ home workers; There are millions of people who make a living freelancing and doing what they love, whether that means writing, designing fashion items, or even making cupcakes; There are plenty of legitimate side gigs and ways to top up your income.
“I receive so many useful ideas and opportunities from this website I visit it weekly.” Jamie Chambers, October 2018.
This is the world that HomeWorkingClub is here to help you navigate. But it’s a world where the people who find success are the ones who work hard, do their research, pay their dues and don’t give up.
It’s not a world where any specific course, membership scheme or “secret system” will change the path of your working life because you threw 50 bucks at it.
There’s a LOT of that kind of honesty on HomeWorkingClub.
2. We don’t do lofty promises
If you’ve spent any amount of time browsing home working websites, you’ll be very familiar with claims of “six figure incomes” and “no experience required.”
We don’t do that here.
But this doesn’t mean we can’t be positive. There’s actually a huge amount of cross-over between what we talk about on HomeWorkingClub and the topics on the, ahem, less realistic “make money online” websites.
“A lot of “how to” information online is full of promises that seem a bit too good to be true. Your perspective is refreshing and honest. HomeWorkingClub has become my first go to resource.” Nicole, January 2019.
For example, there’s plenty of material here about starting a blog. Great blogs can make great money – and I can personally vouch for that. However, they also take a huge amount of work, plenty of skills and expertise, a small amount of up-front investment, and – most crucially – bags of persistence and patience. It usually takes 6-12 months before a new blog makes ANY money.
Similarly, you CAN make a reasonable side income from side gigs like testing websites and taking surveys. This earnings report shows that such activities can easily pay for a family holiday or a great Christmas.
The key point here is that the majority of things you do online – as in the real world – reward you in proportion to the effort you put in. Unfortunately, the level of effort required to make a success of most of these things is beyond many people.
And that’s why so many sites have a business model built entirely around convincing people there’s an easier way. You could easily spend months bouncing around them all. Or, you could spend that time putting some solid effort into building something real.
We don’t do lofty promises.
3. We don’t do “hard sell”
Obviously HomeWorkingClub still has to make money, and it does so with a combination of adverts, affiliate commissions and other streams of income.
However, I decided right at the start to never put income before integrity. This means that the financial growth of the site is slower than it could be – but I’m OK with that.
The alternative is to relentlessly shove adverts in readers’ faces and make inappropriate recommendations. One that’s particularly prevalent in this industry is bloggers telling people browsing for small side gigs that they should be starting an affiliate site (read this for more on that!) and then shamelessly trying to “funnel” people towards courses and products.
It’s incredibly easy to find sites using these tactics, and I know from numerous conversations with readers that it’s off-putting. It’s a shame it’s more the rule than the exception.
“To be honest I’m still a bit baffled and waiting for you to charge my credit card! But you never asked for it. Thank you for being one of the few left that still hold their word high.” Jonathan Loppnow, March 2019.
My hope is that – in the long term – this focus on honesty and integrity will pay off with traffic, trust and reputation. Only time will tell whether this “disrupt with integrity” approach works out, but it’s going OK so far 🙂
So – yes – I promote affiliate products, have ad-network ads on my site, and sometimes promote offers in my newsletters. If I didn’t, there wouldn’t be a site at all. But we try to keep it low key.
4. We value integrity above all else
Integrity is a word that keeps coming up, but it is the cornerstone of what HomeWorkingClub tries to do.
There are three specific principles here:
- We only recommend products and services we have some belief in, providing enough information to allow readers to make their own informed decision.
- Where something could work for some groups of people, but not others, we make a point of explaining that.
- When new information comes to light, we don’t hesitate to revise and update reviews, even if it means withdrawing a recommendation and cutting off a stream of our affiliate income!
As an example, I would highlight our review of Vindale Research, where we went back, revisited the review and withdrew our recommendation after looking into some reader comments. Our feature on Writers.Work is another example of where a review has morphed into an investigative piece as more information has come to light.
“Lots of details, lots of useful advice and tips. Best website/blog I’ve found for this by far.” Alex, October 2018.
As the site has such a focus on integrity, it does annoy me when it’s questioned (as this rant proves!) The important thing to remember is that when I say anything negative about a product, the most likely impact is a reduction in my income!
Please try to keep this in mind, both when browsing HomeWorkingClub, and when looking at other similar sites. There are often hidden agendas at work, a common one being people criticising a product and then using that negative review as a platform to sell something else...
5. We are (brutally!) honest with our readers
I get annoyed when companies trick people with unrealistic marketing promises, and I’m saddened when I discover services paying exploitative rates to people desperate for work.
But honesty cuts both ways.
I also get annoyed when people don’t put the necessary work into things and blame everyone else. I get irritated by those with a sense of entitlement who aren’t willing to pay their dues. I get especially wound up when people expect work to fall in their lap but don’t bother to proof-read their emails or say “please” and “thank you!”
If HomeWorkingClub is going to “call out” the companies who aren’t doing the right thing, it’s only fair that we apply the same level of honesty to readers.
“I love the various topics and reviews you conduct. Thanks to your website I am actually making a little bit of money!” Anthony Steanthat, October 2018.
So, we have little patience with people who blame the course they didn’t complete, the job board they didn’t stick with, or the companies they sent half-hearted applications to. In short, we have a low tolerance for “shortcut seekers.”
The world of home working and freelancing is a competitive one. It rewards those who work hard to be the best, not those who think they’re owed something, or expect a $50 product to buy them a new career.
6. We provide a supportive environment
After perhaps sounding a little “mean” above(!) the flip-side is that HomeWorkingClub is here to provide genuine support to people who are serious about pursuing their goals.
I’ve also always had a policy of providing the kind of content people specifically ask for. If you want me or one of the other writers to cover a specific topic, all you have to do is ask.
“Wow! Its really great you took the time to send me links to all those sites. Im very excited to have these options! Finally a “real” person that cares!” Robin Hall, March 2019.
7. We ask for nothing in return
HomeWorkingClub was always intended to be a FREE resource for home workers and freelancers. You’ve hopefully noticed that we don’t relentlessly push products, pricey courses and membership schemes.
We’re not a “not for profit” business, but the theory is that by becoming a large, trusted resource, we gain enough traffic for the site to pay for itself with advertising and affiliate revenue.
I do personally offer mentorship, coaching, and other supplementary services, but they’re intentionally sold through a separate site, so as not to pollute the original vision of HomeWorkingClub. The services are there for those who seek them out, and I love working directly with readers. However, there’s no obligation, and there will always be loads of fresh, detailed content on this site, for which there is no charge.
Obviously we’re delighted when anyone chooses to “pay it forward” after benefitting from the content on the site. It’s always great to see people share articles, tell their friends, and mention us on social media. So please do that!
“I felt like I hit the jackpot with HomeWorkingClub and was blown away at the free content. I spent hours reading over the articles.” Kristine Lutzo, April 2019.
The biggest principle of all is that HomeWorkingClub is a free resource, created by home workers, and for home workers. And so it shall remain.