We’ve all seen the amazing “work from home” opportunities stapled to telephone poles. Most seem too good to be true. We've looked at the options and come of with 19 alternative ways to earn dollars - most come down to playing to your own strengths.

1. Freelance writer: If you like to write and have knowledge about a particular field (for instance – medical, finance or technology), then freelancing in your evenings could be a lucrative way to earn extra cash. Several websites such as Elance (elance.com), Writerfind (writerfind.com) or Freelancer (www.freelancer.com.au) match writers with global markets.

2. Web design: Similar to freelance writers, web designers can bid for jobs on a number of websites designed to match up solo operators with clients. Again list your services with Elance (elance.com), or try other job services such as E-Web Design (ewebdesign.com.au).

3. Catering: If you have a passion and talent for cooking then consider offering your services to friends, family or neighbours that are looking for that extra touch for their next big event. That’s how Martha Stewart started!

4. Home salon: Being a beauty therapist requires training and it can be costly to set up a full service salon. But you could start small and just focus on waxing. It’s an easy skill to learn, the products are cheap and profit margins high.

5. Teach a course: You don’t have to be a professor to teach. Maybe you’re good at building balcony gardens, making Morroccan food, playing the harmonica, or photography. Lots of people are looking for short weekly classes to enrich their lives. Find out about registering your services at a local college or community centre.

6. Teach a language: You don’t necessarily need to know a second-language, some people will pay to practice English with you.

7. Tutor kids: Offer your services to help kids after school with their homework.

8. Errands: If you’re working part-time hours and have time during the regular business day, consider offering your services as a personal assistant. You could pick up drycleaning, do specialty grocery shopping, run to the post office, wait for home deliveries or be on hand to let plumbers, carpet cleaners, or electricians in for home repairs.

9. House-watch: Many people need someone to water the plants and garden while they’re away on vacation. You could also offer to regularly visit the house, turning on lights and staying for an hour twice a week, picking up mail and just generally keep an eye on things.

10. Cleaning: You could clean offices at night, or homes during the day.

11. Ironing: Offer to pick up and drop off ironing for busy professionals.

12. Online business: set up your own online business, either through eBay or your own website.

13. Technical help: Many seniors need help setting up basic computer services, such as wireless Internet, Skype or even Facebook. You could offer to come to their homes and help them get started.

14. Research: If you’re keen on genealogy, you could help clients learn about their family history.

15. Local market: Lemon-infused olive oils, homemade jams and jellies and other delectable treats can be made at home and sold at local weekend markets.

16. Folkart: If you’re crafty, then consider offering your unique art at local markets.

17. Babysit: If you work during the day, considering offering your services for shift workers in the evening or overnight.

18. Petsitter: People are often looking for someone to walk their dog during the day and depending on their hours, keep their pets company in the evenings.

19. Market research: If you love surveys, then market research is for you. Depending on the organization and client, market researchers generally earn $30-$250 an hour. The work is infrequent, but can be a good way