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2. Online Juror

The nitty-gritty: Online companies such as eJury, OnlineVerdict and JuryTest will pay you to sit on mock juries to give attorneys and other jury consultants feedback on cases. Think of these as virtual focus groups. To sign up with online jury companies, you fill out an online questionnaire. When a lawyer needs an online juror that matches your demographics, you're contacted via email.

An attorney posts a case on a secure website for you to log on and review. You may listen to audio, view video presentations, or read material and answer questions. Then you submit a verdict. Once the minimum number of verdicts has been rendered (usually 50), the case concludes. A summary is posted later if you want to see the results.

The number of cases you may be asked to review will vary depending on the number of attorneys in your area who are using this service. Most companies will only have occasional work for you, so sign up for a few. Be sure to read all the disclaimers and details.

The hours: From 20 minutes to more than an hour, depending on the details of the case.

Median pay range: Payments usually start at $10 per case and can go up to $100 per case, depending on the length of the case and trial.

Qualifications: Essentially the same requirements as you would have for actual jury duty. In general, you can't be a lawyer, paralegal or legal assistant, or an insurance company representative. Nor can you be associated with liability claims adjustments. You must be a U.S. citizen, be of sound mind and good moral character, be able to read and write, have never been convicted of a felony, and not be under indictment or other legal accusation of misdemeanor theft, felony theft or any felony charge.

3. Virtual Assistant

The nitty-gritty: With shrinking payrolls, there's been a jump in demand — from small-business operators to executive-level professionals — to hire virtual personal assistants to do various administrative tasks. Duties range from making travel arrangements to sending out letters and other support services that can easily be handled remotely via email and phone.

The job can involve sitting for long periods, so take precautions to prevent eyestrain, stress and repetitive motion ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Look for openings and information at the International Virtual Assistants Association, Virtual Office Temps and Team Double-Click.

The hours: Flexible, including split shifts and part-time.

Median pay range: $15 to more than $30 an hour.

Qualifications: Employers increasingly demand knowledge of computer software applications, such as desktop publishing, project management, spreadsheets and database management. You should be skilled in both Microsoft Word and Excel (for financial statements). Two years of work experience in an office administrative function is helpful.

Virtual assistant training programs are available at many community colleges. At Portland Community College in Oregon, for example, courses required to earn a virtual assistant certificate can be completed in two terms. All of them may be taken online, although traditional in-person classes are available for most. There is currently no national standard of certification for virtual assistants.

Next page: Nurture educational advantage as an online tutor. »

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