Local News

Some turn to self-employment in tight job market

Posted March 25, 2010 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated March 27, 2010 6:53 a.m. EDT

— More than one in 10 North Carolinians are unemployed. Jobs are scarce, and some people are looking for opportunities to work for themselves. But it's not for everyone.

Elaine Matthews, who was laid off from her job about a year ago, said she has found that the job market is “very tight.” She decided to attend a home business expo in Cary, hoping to find ways to work for herself, such as selling cosmetics or clothes.

“I thought that I really couldn't sell, but I love people. If you love people, this is the perfect job,” she said.

Theresa Carter sells an online service that lets businesses send personalized greeting cards and gifts to clients. After about four years of doing the job part-time, she now sells it full-time. Success in sales requires major motivation, she says.

“You have to get up and get out and talk to different people every day, and that's not for everybody,” Carter said.

You also have to be careful. Beverly Baskin heads the local Better Business Bureau and says home-business scams are on the rise.

“If it just sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she said.

Baskin says there are legitimate multi-level marketing opportunities, but look out for red flags, such as ventures that want your personal information upfront or they want you to pay money to get the job.

Also, beware of organizations that place more focus on recruiting people than selling a product.

“Oftentimes, there's a very thin line between legitimate multi-level marketing opportunities and pyramid schemes,” Matthews said, noting that her road back to employment has been a long one. But she hopes her persistence pays off.

“Get out there. Don’t give up hope, because you just never know,” she said.

Baskin says home business opportunities should always be carefully researched and that the BBB’s Web site is a great way to start that search.

On the BBB homepage click on "check on a business or charity," then select "type of business," and write "work at home" to get a list of local businesses that offer work-at-home opportunities.