Work from home can come in all shapes and colours. Whatever it is you are good at, your skills and expertise can be put to full use from the comfort of your own room. Recently more and more young professionals opt to utilise the Internet to start, enhance, or farther their career.
The options are plenty, and they come with the added bonus of flexibility and possibly avoiding traffic. In the following, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know when looking for work from home jobs.
Choosing Your Path
You know the drill. You graduate school and you start looking for a job. Regardless of your degree of education, whether it’s high school or higher education, at some point you’re ready (and expected) to join the workforce, be able to support yourself and give back to your community. Most people easily slip into the universal model of 9 to 5. You work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. Your commute to and from work. You’ll probably have breakfast at work, lunch too. You spend 1/3 of your day in the office. Your work colleagues become your friends; there’s a framed photo of your loved ones on your desk; you’ve already customised your workspace with items that mean something to you. You spend so much time in there you might as well make it personal. That’s great and all too familiar, but it also isn’t for everyone. If you have ever wondered if there’s another way, a diversion from the path everyone is a (and should) walkthrough to make a living, you probably find the prospect of work from home interesting.
This will be a long read, so here’s an easier way to navigate through the information and find exactly what you’re looking for:
- Are Work from Home Jobs Real Jobs?
- Are They for You?
- What You Need to Be.
- Types of Work from Home Jobs.
- The Pros.
- The Cons.
- How to Start Working from Home?
- How to Maintain Success in Work from Home Jobs?
- How to Set and Negotiate Your Rate?
But Are Work from Home Jobs Real Jobs?
It’s understandable to be sceptical. When you think “work,” your first thought isn’t sitting in your pyjamas with a cup of tea and your laptop. That sounds more like studying. “Work” is associated with commuting, wearing a suit (smart casual, if it’s a laid back work environment), sitting through meetings, staying overtime at your desk and missing your friend’s birthday because you have to deliver this and that before the deadline. Sure, “I can finish some work from home, but only so I can present it tomorrow in the office, right?” Not necessarily. Work from home jobs come with this very special trait: you don’t need to be physically present in an office to get it done.
Think about it. We live in an age where you can finish your task, hand it over, get it reviewed, discuss it with your supervisor, edit it, research it, modify it, deliver it and then get paid for it, all through a computer. A huge part of getting any job done is communicating with a client. They demand and you supply. And while some jobs require this communication to be face to face, others are perfectly good with email. But why do with just emails? You have phones, you have conference calls, video calls. you and your client can still discuss it all face to face, and they’d still be in the Netherlands, and you’d still be in your room in Japan. It’s easy and just as effective.
Work from Home Jobs for You?
Are work from home jobs a good fit for you? This is probably the most important question. People are different and what’s optimal for someone is a complete nightmare for another. To answer this question you should first be aware of what exactly is it that you need from your work life to be happy and successful. Some people are workaholics; having something to do, to contribute is enough of a motivation to keep them going.
They want to be busy and they want to be hands-on with every project. They enjoy socialising at work: learning from others and teaching them. Others are team players and would require the social aspect in a work environment to thrive. Others appreciate a work-life balance, want to be their own boss and would go extra lengths to acquire the creative freedom to execute a task exactly as they see fit. Which one are you?
Working from home is a major change in lifestyle, and it’s definitely not for everyone. We’ll discuss what work from home jobs require on your part in detail in a little bit, but for now, let’s first discuss whether it’s something that you can adapt to and would fulfil you and help you reach the full potential of your career and skill set.
You Need to Be:
Work from home jobs are numerous and as such, there is no one size fit all advice for every job there is. But here are some general guidelines on the kind of person you need to be to actually make it in the field:
On-site jobs enforce a sense of commitment that you might not have with work from home jobs. Knowing that once you’re in the office you have an agreed-upon period of time where you’re supposed to finish the day’s workload helps you stay focused on your target. If you’re going to work from home, you’ll need to provide that sense of discipline for yourself. You’ll have to set rules for yourself and commit to them. You’ll need to be fully responsible for your work hours and how much you can do with them.
- Time Management
Being at home is distracting. No one is watching over you and it’s so easy to check your phone for a minute and end up wasting hours watching YouTube videos or texting your friends. It can be overwhelming especially if you live with flatmates or family. You’re there and they have access to you. You’ll be dragged into conversations, house chores, cooking a meal for dinner. It’ll be up to you to decide when it strictly works and when you can be flexible and engage others and join in social or entertaining activities.
It’s a beautiful day outside. Your spouse/flatmate is playing a video game or listening to music. You are not motivated to work because the environment doesn’t encourage work. There is no coworker sitting nearby focused on the task at hand to motivate you to do the same. You’ll need to be your own source of motivation. Be it delivering a top-notch product days before the deadline, or learning a new skill to impress a client, you’ll have to find encouragement and reward within yourself to keep yourself on the right track.
Most of your communication with clients will be done through emails. You’ll have to learn how to effectively deliver your message, how to clearly explain a problem or negotiate a payment. Some jobs will never warrant a video chat and you’ll never see your client face to face. You don’t know them. You’ll need to work on your presentation, on how to achieve a clear line of communication so everyone is happy.
These are skills you’ll most probably end up needing in any workspace anyway. But when you’re working from home, adjustment is key. You are your own boss after all and the only way to do it is to manage yourself, motivate yourself, bring the best out of yourself. It’s your chance to be the boss. Be the best boss you can be.
Types of Work from Home Jobs
Depending on your set of skills, there are different approaches you can take when looking for work from home jobs. Let’s first establish that while freelance work is the most common type, there are other ways you can get the benefits of working from home. We’ll start with the basics.
You’re probably familiar with the term. Freelance is the ultimate form of being your own boss. You set a profile on one of the many freelance websites: you layout your skills, what you can do, what you can offer, and examples of your work. Your portfolio speaks for you and serves as the first impression when a client checks you out for potential business.
You have the freedom of choosing the kind of work you can do. You get to choose the client and the job, and you negotiate the time and the payment. Most freelance websites allow you to rate the client and allows the client to also rate or recommend you, so a job well done with one client can get you more jobs with others. This is a huge community and is not always very easy to get into. But once you’ve done a few jobs and the quality of your work is recognised and guaranteed, you’re off to go. You’ll get jobs without looking, and you’ll have more freedom setting your price and establishing terms.
Freelance work is great because it’s very very flexible. You can choose to work with 3 clients for one month, and then the next, you can choose to work with none and go on that vacation you’ve been planning with your friends. You work from home, a coffee shop, a library, when you have extra time at school. You set your schedule according to your needs and if you have enough skills to pull it off, you can also work in different fields.
Say you’re a data analyst but you can also draw. You can do both. You’re a writer with an interest in video editing? You can do one job professionally for the price you think suitable for your skill level and continue working on your hobby, doing small jobs for less money as you learn and grow. You can fit freelance work into a busy life as you finish school. You get real-life experience working with real clients in your field, understanding what the market needs, developing your skills. You have a test coming that you need to prepare for? Well, you can take this month off and come back once your schedule clears.
If you have the discipline and can organise your time well, freelance work can be enough to support you and could serve as your full-time job. You get to make money on your own terms and have the flexibility to also work on yourself, develop, and grow.
This could be a full or a part-time job with a local or a foreign company that seeks your skills but doesn’t require your physical presence to get the job done. This kind of work offers the sense of commitment you might need to stay focused and motivated. You’re working for a company with a fixed salary or a fixed rate, but you do it from home.
Remote work facilitates the exchange of skills and expertise across borders. You don’t need to relocate; they don’t need to fly you to their home office to get the job done. You can attend meetings, share insight, be a valuable member of the team and still be thousands of kilometres away.
Remote work comes with a certain sense of stability. You’re not always on the lookout for a new job and a new client. You’ve established a professional relationship with your company where you’re needed and relied on. You’ll have a contract, might have a target, or need to be available at certain hours to sync your work with their home office workflow. There’s a level of freedom and a level of commitment. If you’re someone who prefers stability and needs to feel valued and motivated to deliver the best results, remote work is a great option for you.
Commissions are different from freelance in the sense that you don’t need to seek a client or apply for an online job. Your art already speaks for itself. Your “clients” have seen your work and appreciate it enough to pay for their own piece. It could be digital or printable art. As an artist, you use an online shop or popular social media to showcase your talent. You might need to do some subtle marketing, use word of mouth, or seek the help of friends and connections. The secret is to reach the kind of audience who would value your kind of art.
From there it’s easy to establish a business. You get to decide which commission to work on, your price and if the costs of delivery would be on you or on the buyer. The best part is you get to do something you enjoy and would otherwise do for free. You could use the commissions or art requests for inspiration, and you can gradually make a name for yourself in the art community.
If you’re an artist and you’re good at what you do enough to make a career of it, it helps to have a portfolio of your work on one of the many social networking platforms especially popular in this regard like Deviant Art, Behance, and Pinterest. Establishing an online presence on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr would do the marketing part of the job for you.
If the written word is your primary skill, there are several venues in which you can share your work and find jobs suitable for what you enjoy doing. There’s already a huge market for content creators on all the regular freelancing websites. Be it academic writing, literary writing, or short blogs and social media posts, you’ll find the kind of work that keeps you interested.
You can even find opportunities for scriptwriting, or to contribute in the writing/editing/ proof-reading of a soon to be published book. You’ll have to decide if you want your writing to be marketable (search engine optimized, designed to rank high on search engines) or informative and entertaining (for an already established platform with a wide audience) or both.
If you want to go the social media marketing route, you’ll be dealing with brands and businesses on a regular basis, creating the kind of content they need to shine in the market and remain relevant. A big part of the latter is entirely dependent on keeping up with what is currently trending, utilizing every chance to make a customer laugh, empathise, or relate.
Creating content can be done on freelancing basis, can be a remote part/full-time job, and can also be done entirely independently, working on commissions, supplying a magazine or a blogging website with unique materials or first-person experiences that only you can provide. Articles on tourism sites that you have visited, the political/economic status quo of your homeland or of a region you’re familiar with, insights into lifestyles or personal stories can all be published on the right medium.
Alternatively, you can have your own website or a blog with an interesting relatable theme, address your target audience, get their support, subscriptions, or space for ads bringing about enough revenue.
Consultancy and Problem Solving
This is not exactly an entry-level job. You’ll need to have established experience in your field of choice, have a name of yourself, or at the very least successful precedence. Clients will seek you out to solve a problem holding their business back.
As an expert, you can offer your service and consultancy to give their business the push it needs to thrive. Problem-solving can also be done on a freelance basis. Your client’s company has no online presence? That’s a problem, and it needs an expert with a marketing strategy and a plan of action to get it fixed. Your website is no longer functional? Technical problem-solving! If you have the expertise and a successful resume to show it, your clients would pay you for advice, ideas, and solutions.
Managing your YouTube channel is probably the ultimate work from home job. It sounds easy, but like any job really, it requires effort, creativity, and commitment. Apart from having to know (or learn) the basics of video editing, this will be a business you run entirely by yourself. You’ll create your own content, edit it, review it, research the market, follow up with your viewers, cater to their requests and handle their occasional outrage.
The fun part is, you don’t need to be an expert at anything; you don’t need to know more than the next guy or provide something unique no one has presented before. All you need is to be charismatic, engaging and committed. It’s a lot of work, especially when the only guarantee to establish your presence and gain followers/subscribers are often to maintain a strict schedule of daily posts.
It could be a game you enjoy streaming, could be make-up tutorials, informative content, fun personal stories, reviews on popular products, reviews on movies/TV shows/music. Whatever it is you’re passionate about and involved enough to attract similar-minded audience has the potential to work. The key is to work on your relationship with your viewers, be their friend, listen to their criticism and their praise and use it to improve your content.
YouTubers start small and do their own thing, having fun with their material, but once they have a large enough fan base, there comes the good and the bad. The good is, you can be sponsored by a brand or a business, ads bring in money, your viewers would be willing to pay for extra content.
You can start your own line of merchandise, t-shirts, mugs, notebooks, etc.. This is a job you can do from home and can cover itself financially and then some. You can get invited to conventions. You’ll make a lot of online friends. The bad is that it’s just as easy to lose your audience if you say the wrong thing or slack and stop posting regularly.
You can become irrelevant, or make your online community angry. You’ll have to be careful and tactful. It’s an amazing way to do what you love and make good money in the process. But remember: it’s not easy to start, and it’s very easy to lose the support of your audience if at any point your content becomes outdated or offensive.
Social Media Influencing
This is not a job that you walk into intentionally. The concept of a job that finds you instead of the other way around might be a little strange. But this is exactly the situation here. This path doesn’t really start as a career; you just create a social media profile and have fun with it. You are funny, intelligent, beautiful and fashionable, or you take amazing photos.
Other social media users start following you because you provide something interesting, you make them laugh or you make them feel, or your lifestyle is just so inspiring and intriguing that everyone wants to keep up with you. So far, there’s nothing in it but internet fame, but once your followers are in the ten thousand (or millions) you actually have market value.
You have an influence on the online community and that makes your words (your recommendations, your promotions, or just your experience) valuable. Corporations are willing to pay you money to advertise for their products, or to appear in a video ad enjoying their service, or alternatively, just create a simple Instagram story casually snacking on their brand of chocolate while you go on with your business as usual.
This is a marketing approach that works, and it can turn your hobby into easy money. Social media influencing can be done from home, from your phone, while taking a trip or driving your car. It comes with the same risk as having a successful YouTube channel. The public support and interest can be fragile and prone to sudden loss. But it’s also a low maintenance job. You don’t need equipment or a particular skill; your wits and charisma are all you need and they are your primary marketable merit.
We have discussed in detail so many works from home jobs, some that require commitment and career development, and some that utilise your preexisting skills and/or online presence. There are a lot more things that you can do online for money: translation, voice-over, data entry, music, and the list goes on. You just need to find your place in this world and work on it.
Work from Home Jobs: The Pros
There’s so much benefit to be gained from a nontraditional approach at earning your keep. Here are the main reasons more and more people are actively seeking work from home job opportunities:
While a lot of people appreciate order and commitment, everyone loves a flexible work environment. Work from home jobs is perfect for those of us who like to do things at their own pace, fit their work hours into their life, not the other way around. Work from home jobs allows you to schedule your time as you please. You can start working on your needed task at 3 am, get it done in 3 days before the deadline and have all the guilt-free freedom you deserve to join your family on their trip abroad. Or you can just travel with your friends with your laptop onboard, edit your last task to your client’s approval while enjoying a beautiful day on the beach. You get more time for family, more time for a social life, and more time for your other hobbies and interests.
Most importantly, work from home jobs does not constrict you from working on yourself. You don’t have to spend a couple of hours commuting every day to and from work, only to return home exhausted and delay your plan for self-improvement to the weekend. You have time to hit the gym, finish a book, learn a new language or even work another side job for extra money. Because you have almost complete freedom over choosing your hours, your day may feel longer and more productive. You’re not stuck in the office done with today’s workload waiting for the clock to strike 5 to be on your way home. Every hour you spend working is spent on work, every other hour is spent doing whatever you please. Time is wasted only on your own terms.
- Skill Growth
A lot of people spend years doing the same job. They already know the ins and outs of it and there’s nothing new to learn. They wait years for a promotion or they just convince themselves that while this career path has a dead end, it’s enough to bring home the bacon, so why go anywhere else? Freelance jobs allow you to choose the kind of work you want to do. And as you continue learning, you can basically promote yourself. Start looking for more challenging tasks offering better money, or up your rate because your skills are now developed enough to deliver superior quality in less time. As mentioned before, you can be involved in more than one job. Your career development isn’t linear. You’re moving in several directions and learning something new with every project you finish.
- Choosing Your Coworkers
You get to choose the clients you work with. You no longer need to put up with an annoying or rude coworker just because they happen to sit 2 meters to your right. You don’t need to keep sweet-talking a manager who doesn’t show you the respect or the appreciation you deserve. If the client you’ve been doing business with is difficult to deal with and is making your life harder, you can simply refuse to continue working with them in future projects.
Because you’re always doing many different jobs for many different businesses/clients, you end up establishing a professional relationship with a lot of relevant people in your field. Word of mouth is important, and those satisfied clients can open a lot of doors for you in the future. they can recommend you to other businesses, or give you professional help/advice if you ever need it in a future job with another client. You’ll always have someone to call if you have a question or need guidance in a field they’re involved in and you’re just getting to know. Connections are a huge asset in the overall development of your career. You can never have too many professional friendships.
While getting recognised in your field is achievable in any job (you just need to show initiative and quality), it’s a lot more personal when your work speaks just for you. You don’t represent a business and your project didn’t involve an entire team that will share the recognition and the praise with you. There’s no boss to try to overshadow you and take credit for your work. If you deliver amazing quality, the praise is yours and yours alone to claim. Additionally, working with several businesses and on different projects means your name and your brand cross the borders of one company and are recognised and admired on many platforms, with a lot of wider audiences. With great quality and commitment to agreed-upon time frames, you can establish a name for yourself in your field, and be the go-to guy for the kind of service you provide. This is especially relevant if your service is unique and/or of artistic or creative nature. You want to be your own brand and work independently to fulfil your vision. This goal can be challenging if you’re part of a team in a corporate environment that prioritises its own image over giving credit to its most valuable employees.
- Creative Expression
You’re not bound by the vision of your company’s CEO. You don’t have to fill in the colours in someone else’s painting. You have the complete freedom to take risks and be authentic to yourself and your personal brand and style. Your clients have already seen samples of your work and your previous projects; they trust you to deliver something that would work well for them. You can negotiate their demands or reach middle grounds for an outcome that pleases both of you. And if their needs clash with your vision, or they’re asking you for something that wouldn’t be you, would feel foreign or fake to your style, you can choose to no longer do business with them.
- Choose Your Price
Pricing your work is always a tricky issue and only you are fully informed on what it exactly takes to get the job done. Your corporate boss pays you for full time, regardless of what you do with your hours. This could mean months of overloading you with work that either doesn’t feel very relevant to your skills or deserves extra payment because it’s a lot more effort. This is less of a problem when working from home with a client of your choosing. You get to study the task and its requirements and estimate how much time and effort go into getting it done within the time frame the client proposes. And then you get to estimate how much that should cost them. The hours, the skill, the revision, the research. Every part of the job that requires time and effort is valuable, and you have the right to price it accordingly. Negotiating your price or setting a fixed rate for the task with the potential for extra costs if more work is needed is completely up to you.
Keep in mind that these benefits may vary based on the kind of job, industry, and the project you’re working on. The more you develop your skills and establish a reputation for excellent work, the better your chances to entirely set your rules and decide your prices, and the more flexible your clients are with you. At some point, with maintained quality and commitment, you become the rare gem most businesses are seeking and willing to compromise on their demands and budget to land.
Work from Home Jobs: The Cons
Despite the many advantages, work from home jobs neither is an easy field to access nor are they the kind of choice that works for everyone. Here’s why:
- Difficulty Starting
Be it freelance websites or landing a remote job (or any of the different types of work from home jobs), finding that precious first opportunity is the most difficult part. A lot of people lose motivation and resolve to keep going after a few failed attempts at launching their career. To be fair, it can be difficult to be noticed among many others who offer the exact same service for the same cheap prices. The field is very compatible, but that stops being a problem once you’ve already proved yourself to a few clients. The trick is to get there. You’ll have to push through the first wave of rejections, significantly lower your prices, and try to accommodate the client’s every need. Getting accepted for the first job, and then getting a good review or a good rating will set you up for success. Like any other job, it takes time to prove your value, but the free nature of work from home jobs might easily discourage the average person from pursuing this career option.
- Lack of Accountability
A lot of people need order, schedule, and accountability to a boss or a team leader to develop healthy work habits. Without that sense of commitment, they feel lost and lose motivation easily. The freedom to organise their time and choose projects to work on feels like a burden, and they fall into procrastination. If you’re someone who’s easily distracted and who struggles to enforce self-discipline, working from home might be a poor choice for you. You’ll keep putting off finding a suitable client to work with, won’t have the energy to apply to several projects, and may just give up on the entire ordeal from the very beginning. Those who push themselves into freelancing and then lose motivation mid-way might still make money out of it, but it’ll not be enough to cover their expenses, and it’ll never be regarded with the same seriousness and commitment as a “real” office job.
You do not have fixed hours, but you also do not have fixed tasks or a fixed salary. The different tasks are not a problem, but not knowing how much money you’ll end up with at the end of every month can be stressful. Most people plan their financial responsibilities according to their salary: how much money goes into rent, how much money for pleasure, groceries, courses you’re attending. Some of these monthly payments are obligations you cannot evade, and knowing that some months you’ll be able to afford rent for that beautiful house up the hill plus regular dinners at your favourite restaurant while other months you can barely pay rent for a shared apartment and the accompanying bills doesn’t exactly offer the greatest sense of security. But it is true, some months you’ll be lucky and other months you won’t, and the only way to achieve financial security is to save a portion of your payments on the good months and rationalise your resources on the bad months.
If you’re the kind of person who needs the social aspect of the job to thrive in a work environment, working from home will probably leave you dissatisfied. Many people enjoy socialising with coworkers, and may only stay in a job because the social environment is fun and they’ve made friends there. Many others’ social lives revolve around their job: their work events, trips, outings are the highlight of their month. This is not something that works from home jobs provide. You may make professional friends and have a lot of connections; but no one is sitting next to you for 8 hours, 5 days a week, casually ranting about their life and sharing jokes or funny videos to make your workday easier. Work from home jobs can feel isolating if you don’t already have a strong network of friends. Having other friends who also work in freelance may solve this problem, but this is not an option everyone has.
- Being Always on the Lookout
Part of the job is actually finding the job. And as we discussed before, this might be difficult when you first start. But once you have done the first few jobs, your chances are a lot higher to find your place and your rhythm. But that doesn’t mean you stop looking. Your previous clients might recommend you to new jobs, but that’s not a stable prospect to rely on. You’ll have to browse the platform(s) of your choice regularly. If you’re doing this on a full time basis, it’ll be your sole responsibility to fill your months with enough jobs to guarantee the payment you need to sustain your living. That also means that browsing, searching, and applying for a new job is now part of the job that you don’t get paid for.
This is not something to worry about if you’re working on a credible website that guarantees your rights and those of the client, but it’s something that happens often when you do freelance jobs off trusted platforms. Clients may reach out to you on LinkedIn or via email, negotiate your terms and agree on everything. You finish the job and send it, and they disappear. This is also common with art commissions, and in those cases, it helps to always ask for references and/or a deposit. If it’s artwork that you’re sending and you need to send it for reviewing before demanding payment, make sure to always watermark it to protect your rights.
- No Benefits
This one is obvious. Not being affiliated with a certain company means you don’t get social insurance, medical, or paid leaves. You only get paid for what you do, no extras, no overtime or compensations or profit share. Most of these are services you can get independently, and if you do then this should not be a problem for you. But it’s one more thing that you’ll have to handle for yourself instead of having it come to you as part of a job package.
- No Technical or Professional Support
No one trains you to do this job; there’s no one to hand you over the project or show you the ins and outs of the client’s business. If you run into a problem, you’ll most likely have to find the solution yourself, and you’ll have to communicate your issues with the clients with no middle man. There’s no human resources section to call if the client is inappropriate. You’re responsible for every part of your assigned task and might need to learn one thing or two to make it work without seeking outside help. If you have friends in the industry, you might seek their guidance and that would not be a problem for you.
- No Set Career Path
Most types of work from home jobs have no concrete hierarchy. There’s only you and your client. And as said before, you can manage your own career growth as your skills and reputation develop. You can increase your rates and be more picky about your clients. But the traditional path of career development is nonexistent. You get no promotions, and you don’t move to a higher position. If you’re the kind of person who thinks of climbing the career ladder as the only true portrayal of success and can’t otherwise feel rewarded or accomplished, then freelancing will quickly grow frustrating for you. You won’t have a clear goal in mind to move towards, and you’ll not feel fulfilled with where you are professionally regardless of how much money you make.
Similarly to the benefits of work from home jobs, the disadvantages rely on the type of job, where you are in your career, and the kind of person you are and your natural ability to deal with the occasional challenges. The secret to excelling in this career option is to be a high functioning person with a great ability to manage yourself. You’ll be able to make the best of the free time and still commit to a strict schedule you set for yourself to establish a stable flow of jobs and regular payment. This is entirely doable, and we’ll walk you through how to start, but you must first be sure you’re the right person for such a drastic and fundamental transformation in your professional life.
How to Start Working from Home?
Here we are. This is the point at which you’ve already established a good enough understanding of your work personality and are certain and positive that working from home is in fact for you and would add to your life, fulfil you professionally, and earn you enough money and experience to be worth it. Here is how to launch your career from the comfort of your home.
- Create a Portfolio
This is the part where you showcase your skills, your quality, and what you can offer. This is actually an essential step in every type of work from home jobs. Freelance websites sometimes provide you with the platform to do just that, but it’s better to have a dedicated website/page of your accomplishments. Your writing, your art, your code, the projects you did for fun while learning, or those you did for small clients previously. If you’re starting from zero and have nothing to show off, you may want to work on that first. The client wants to see examples of your hard work or samples of what your skills can produce to assess if your style and level are suitable for them. The better and the more unique your projects are, the easier it is to land clients with decent payment plans. Link your portfolio to your work profile, or upload samples of your projects to the website. You may also want to send them directly to the client if they show interest but are still hesitant. Show them what you can do.
- Create a Detailed Profile
Your profile, whether it is on a freelance website or on a professional platform like LinkedIn, is the first impressions clients get of who you are as a potential business associate. That means spelling mistakes and casual unprofessional language are firmly looked down on. Your profile should be detailed and comprehensive, should be able to showcase everything you can do in an organised easy to read manner. The languages you’re proficient at, the skills you can do on an intermediate or advanced level, the industries you’re familiar with. This is how you represent yourself and it’s crucial to not take it lightly. Use a professional picture and show enthusiasm and passion for the field in your summary or objective section. Most importantly, do not lie! Stuffing your profile with skills you can’t really do (or can’t do that well) gets you the wrong job, which consequently gets you bad reviews. Be honest and genuine about your abilities and your interests and don’t make promises you cannot deliver on.
- Know Your Industry
Knowing your industry is important for all the obvious reasons. But the two most relevant here are the following. First, you need to know your target audience. Depending on the industry, your skills, and your level, you’ll know which projects to approach and which businesses to offer your service to. Knowing the ins and outs of your industry also means you can define the market need and pinpoint common issues. That makes you valuable because unlike others who will just wait around for the client to tell them exactly what to do, you can actually have a productive conversation with your client, explain to them how you can help them address a need or solve an issue. Your knowledge makes you credible and trusted. And that goes a long way. The second reason is more spot-on. Your professional profile needs to reflect what your client is looking for. The client will be scanning your profile for particular keywords that indicate you’re a good fit for their need. You should know these keywords and place them strategically in your profile to attract the right kind of audience. You need to use common industry terminology in your profile and later in discussions with clients. The confidence that comes with this knowledge facilitates negotiations and paints you in a favourable light in the eyes of all potential clients.
- Apply to Jobs. A lot.
We’ve already discussed how the most difficult part is getting that first job. Your profile is new, you have no reviews or references, no one is recommending you to others yet. Most clients will not give your profile a second look because there are so many other profiles with experience, great rating, and recommendations. There are two solutions to this problem and you should do them simultaneously. The first is to give your profile an edge. We’ve already talked about how to represent yourself well and showcase your knowledge and credibility (plus impressive samples/previous projects), as well as starting with competitive prices (we will get to this part later). The second is to not give up quickly. Keep applying. It’s a numbers game and eventually what you’re offering will be the perfect fit for a client or two. Apply to smaller jobs, apply to bigger projects, apply to difficult assignments with perhaps not the greatest pay. Do it frequently. Browse through the most recent jobs and apply to those. Check older jobs that haven’t been snatched yet. Always attach an enthusiastic message to your application request. Let them know what you can do for them and the period of time it’ll take you to complete the task. You’ve just started so dedicate the time and the energy to make that job a priority. If the choice is between you and a much older and more experienced profile but your bid is “cheaper” and you’re offering to do it in less time while still showcasing proper knowledge of the task and the industry, your chance to get the job is very high.
- Set Competitive Prices
You already know why you need to do this. There will be time where you get to set your prices to accurately reflect the value of your skill and effort. But for now, starting with a lower rate gives you the opportunity to land projects an older profile would have otherwise easily taken. Most clients will set an average of how much they are willing to pay: there will be a minimum and a maximum. Make your bid, but do not go for the absolute minimum (it might indicate desperation or that you are not really sure of your skills). Go for something below the average; steer away from the maximum. Try casually mentioning in your attached message that you’ll do the job for a lower price because you’re just starting on the website and would value the experience and the professional relationship more than the money that comes out of it. This should show the client that you’re confident in your ability to deliver great results and are fully aware your skills merit better money but that you would make the compromise on pricing because you’re launching your career and need the networking and the experiential aspects of the job more.
- Market Yourself on Other Platforms
Don’t stick to just the one website. Be everywhere and try everywhere. Some platforms are better than others in different industries; why not have a profile on them all? This means more visibility and more options, which translates into more opportunities for success. If at some point you’ve already established a client base and a good rating on one website and the others seem no longer worth it, it’s OK to focus on that platform. But it really doesn’t hurt to keep your options open. Apart from freelancing websites, you should also leave a link to your portfolio wherever possible. Your Facebook, your Twitter, your LinkedIn, etc. You never know when someone will come across your profile and check you out and want to do some business with you. This is not to say you should spam your followers/social media friends with your business. That usually backfires. But adding important links to your biography and letting others know when the opportunity presents itself that you’re available to help can make a huge difference for you. Try being helpful and courteous: offering help on forums related to your skill, answering a question on why this code doesn’t work or helping a beginner out with a translation or a painting technique. This is the exposure that you don’t pay for. Additionally, establishing yourself as someone who is willing to help and solve problems in relevant forums allows you to make connections, get to know others in the industry, and be viewed as someone with the experience and work ethics to be a valuable addition to any project. This online presence could later get you job opportunities, freelance or otherwise. And it also builds you a strong network of professional friends in your industry, who could later help you with a project and/or guidance. It pays off to pay it forward.
There are several other ways to start if you’ll not strictly go the freelance route. Starting an online business with your art, for example, requires a strong marketing plan. You might want to pay for online ads on social media or have a business deal with an influencer who would promote your content. Making money off YouTube or social media needs time and commitment on your part. You’ll have to deliver interesting content and remain engaged with your audience. Depending on the type of work you’ll do from home, there will be steps to take and effort to exert. Think of it as an investment, because once you’re there and money is coming your way, you get to start enjoying all the perks of working from home and being your own boss.
How to Maintain Success in Work from Home Jobs
Let’s say you’ve already gotten your first job. The complexities of starting is behind you and you’re on the path to success. What should you do to maintain that? How do you not fall into a pit too familiar to those who work from home, that of lack of motivation and procrastination? How do you utilise your time and make as much money as potentially possible? Here’s what you should do to achieve the success and then maintain it and build on it.
- Schedules, Schedules, Schedules
Working from home, you have no set schedule, no working hours. That’s great and it makes your life so much easier, but it also makes it so easy for you to put off today’s work to tomorrow. You wake up at noon and there’s a new episode of your favourite show, so you watch that, because work can be done at any time, right? You decide to start working on your freelance project right after the episode. But then your friend calls and they want to go out for lunch. No problem, you have complete freedom. You finish lunch and come back home. There’s a bit of cleaning to do, and then your spouse is back from work and you should spend some time together. It’s already the evening, but no problem because you can stay up all night working. It’s not like you have working hours. All that matters is to deliver the project before the deadline. So you ready your laptop and settle in to start working. It’s 11 pm and there’s no boss watching over your back, so you check your phone and play some music. It feels kind of futile to start now. You’re already sleepy and there’s always tomorrow. Why work today at all? It’s extremely easy to lose yourself to distractions, be it those from the outside environment or those coming straight from you. Procrastination is a pitfall almost everyone has to deal with, but especially you now that you have no enforced discipline or urgency to finish a job now, even when there’s time for it later.
Procrastination means instead of finishing the job in a week, an entire week before the deadline, and having the time to find another client or work on another project, you end up finalizing your work the morning of the deadline. You’re stressed and short on time when you don’t need to be, and you’re doing one job when you could have done two. It’s less money and a weakening worth ethic. It works, and you still get your money, but your quality isn’t top bar because you didn’t have time to finesse your work to deliver a true representation of your skills and capabilities. It works but you feel guilty and unmotivated. The client is alright with it but isn’t singing your praises. It works but finding the next job is harder and harder. It’s essential that you enforce a time schedule for every job you get. The schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone, and you’re still allowed flexibility when there’s the need to be flexible. Now let’s explore a better scenario. You wake up at noon; you have a set schedule where you have to work from 1 pm to 5 pm every day. You finish breakfast and you start right away. Your friend still wants to go out for lunch. You tell them you can do late lunch once you’re done. You finish your portion of work for the day and you have the rest of your day to do whatever you want. Tomorrow your spouse is off and they want to go on a hike. That’s fine. Your schedule for Saturday is just two hours. You’ll have a quick nap after the hike and then work from 8 pm to 10 pm. You feel productive and accomplished and your project is done days before the deadline. You have time to give the client an extra feature or refine what you’ve already done. There’s no place for stress, you have all the time in the world!
- Know Your Client
Some clients don’t share much about the job’s specifics until you actually start talking. But for those who do, consider trying to get to know them before the first conversation. Try checking their profile if that’s an option. If they have their name and the name of their business in their profile, check them on LinkedIn. Check their company website. What kind of business do they specialise into? Are they recruiters or business owners? Are they credible? What is their style, their quality, their vision? Knowing all of this helps you filter out unsuitable jobs without wasting a lot of time on a back and forth exchange with a client that you won’t be comfortable working with. It also paves the way to a successful first conversation if you actually find them suitable. If you know their career history and their company’s business model, you can better cater to their needs. Your suggestions during the project discussion would be more valuable and focused. You could also check their recommendations/ratings of other freelancers. You can then infer a lot about their personality and how they deal with business associates. If they seem aggressive or very hard to please, you might want to steer away. But most importantly, make sure you’re dealing with a respectful entity who doesn’t scam profiles.
- Keep It Fresh
If you find success doing one job, it’s so easy to slip into the routine of doing that same job over and over again. It’ll grow very stale very quickly, and you won’t have any space for self-growth or skill development. Remember that this is an opportunity to expand your horizons and learn new things. Be adventurous; try different business propositions. Start working on strengthening a skill you’re lacking so you can confidently apply for more complex projects. Don’t stand in your own way. You can quickly lose motivation and drive if you just stick to small simple jobs. Venture into the wilds. If it’s been months since the last time you learnt something new finishing a job for a client, then you’re constricting yourself and your growth.
- Create an Encouraging Work Space
You probably understand by now that one of your biggest challenges is yourself. It’s very difficult for a regular person to enforce the needed discipline and provide the required motivation to make work from home jobs a fruitious endeavour. You’ll have to reprogram your brain to take the job seriously and to afford it the same respect and commitment it would an office job. You’ll need to train yourself to be the sole supplier of rewards and punishments for yourself. Just as well you’ll need to provide yourself with a work environment that cements these concepts. Working from your bed is an option, of course. You have worked so hard to get that freelancing job going and you might as well take full advantage of its perks, right? Not really.
Some behaviours, while not exactly catastrophic, are very harmful to your career in the long term. Working from your bed reaffirms the belief in your brain that you’re not really working. This means less productivity and less motivation. You’ll find yourself more easily distracted, unenergised, maybe even a little down and purposeless. More than a few times you’ll end up putting your laptop aside and going to sleep. Setting a space in your home dedicated to work allows your brain to separate between time for work and time for play. It doesn’t have to be a full-on home office. You can just dedicate a corner for a desk, a comfortable chair, and good lighting. This setting counts as a work environment, and the more you do your work there, the more your brain associates it with productivity and work discipline. The goal is that once you sit there, your brain automatically switches to work mood, and you can effectively let every other distraction fade in the background. Have those who live with you, including children, respect your space whenever you’re there. If you’re in your work corner, you should not be contacted unless it’s important. This creates an environment where you can feel focused and committed to the job at hand.
- Make Connections
We’ve already discussed how making professional relationships can help you in various ways. Let’s also add that the way you handle your clients and their issues as the project you’re working on together progresses makes a huge difference. Being flexible, understanding, and easy to communicate with means that one job you finished with the client doesn’t have to be the last. Establishing yourself as a reliable go-to person in your skill makes it a simple decision for your previous clients to choose you for their next project. Demonstrate your problem-solving capacity and listen to your client well. It never hurts to be nice and offer them something they didn’t ask for without the extra charge. Think of it as regular socialising. Everyone prefers to work in a pleasant environment where your work associates are not a struggle to communicate with. Be that person for your client. Give them a smooth straightforward experience and they’ll most probably contact you again for another job. Join online groups for your industry; join online groups for freelancers; go on local meetups for freelancers in your industry and/or relevant industries. This keeps you up to date with the current goings in your field as well as allows you to network with others in similar positions. Exchange experiences, offer help, leave your contact info with several people. Most connections you make will prove useful in the future.
- Manage Your Money
One of the shortfalls of work from home jobs is the lack of financial stability. If you make a lot of money this month and end up spending them all, you’re likely to struggle the month that follows. Consider having a savings account where you keep excess money to carry you through the bad months. Saving also gives you the freedom to take a month off whenever you need or want the time off. Remember, paid leaves are not an option and sick leaves are nonexistent. You’ll have to account for these days when working for yourself or else you’ll find yourself borrowing money from friends and family often. Go on private medical/social insurance. It’s always smart to think of the future and to remain realistic and prepare for everything. This is an aspect that is easy to ignore once the money starts flowing. If you’re making good enough money to cover your monthly expenses plus leisure, you might just completely forget to set some money aside for any unexpected circumstances. But living month to month (even if comfortably) is scary. Everyone gets sick; there are taxes to be paid; loved ones often need time and support; sometimes the market is just slow and challenging; sometimes the supply is a lot more than the demand. Keep the future in mind and manage your finances responsibly. Seek the help of a finance consultant if needed. You’ll thank yourself for this later.
- Consider Getting Sponsored
A lot of freelance websites offer to help you market your profile for extra fees. It will all be on the same website, and they’ll basically just give your profile more exposure, keep it among the first profiles to show up when a client is searching for the keyword of your skill. This could help you if you’re having a hard time getting enough jobs. It also saves you some time because it increases the possibility of employers reaching out to you instead of you looking for them. Get to know the website(s) you’re working on and whether it has other features that could help you along the way for small affordable fees.
- Improve Your Profile as You Go
It’s normal to apply to jobs and not get accepted. Someone probably proposed a better rate or their skill set is more suitable for the client’s needs. But sometimes it’s not just that. Sometimes one freelancer gets the job and the other doesn’t because the former presented their qualifications and abilities a lot better. This is a skill that you can learn by doing: with trial and error and what works and what doesn’t. Or you could save yourself some time and learn by imitation. So you applied for a job and didn’t get accepted. Well, who did then? Keep track of the job posting and check the profile that made the cut. What do they have that you don’t? Is it a very important skill in your industry that you only have beginner knowledge of? Is it their presentation? Is their portfolio bigger, more organised, more impressive? Does their language reflect passion and enthusiasm that your profile doesn’t? All these factors make a difference in the selection process, and it would help you tremendously to learn from others and improve your profile accordingly.
Finally, similar to more jobs, the freelancing isn’t just the project you finish for the client. It’s the effort you put into developing yourself and the time you invest in researching your client’s business. It’s the hours you spend selecting a job and preparing your proposal. It’s the discipline and the commitment you have to work on every day to keep this job profitable: the networking, the time management, the negotiations. But, when it comes to payment, and unlike an office job, you’re only getting paid for the project. Well that doesn’t sound fair, does it?
How to Set and Negotiate Your Rate?
A huge part of any job’s satisfaction level is in feeling you’re getting paid what you deserve. Your hard work is appreciated and you’re making enough money to feel financially stable and secure. How much you get paid for a freelance project varies and is dependent on many different factors: how big is the project, how much time it’ll take you, whether it requires extra expenses, your skill level, the type of industry, whether your skill is in high demand, and many more. We’ve agreed that it’s reasonable to lower your price when first starting to get your profile going and gain credibility; we also talked about how going for too low a price would be underselling your skills and time. How do you balance it out? What is too much and what is too little?
Hourly Rate vs. Word Rate vs. Pricing Your Product
- There are many options when it comes to how your payment is calculated (and how the quantity of your work is estimated). If you’re in the writing, translation, or social media field, a rate per world can work for you. This payment calculation method accounts for the exact number of words you produce. Many projects require articles, research papers, or social media posts with a recommended number of words for SEO purposes or otherwise. If you’ll be editing, proof-reading, or translating, the number of words is also a good estimation of your work. The problem with this system is that it doesn’t factor in the possible research you need to do, or whether you’ll be applying any SEO techniques to your final product. If you choose to be paid per word, set your rate with that in mind. Your word rate should cover any other requirements that come with the job.
- Hourly rates, on the other hand, do account for the time you put into the main project plus any extra needed tasks. If the project takes you a total of 10 hours, including research or troubleshooting, you’re getting paid for the 10 hours. That sounds pleasant, but there’s also a problem. Hourly rates are almost unrewarding for the highly-skilled, fast, and efficient folks. If you’ve been doing a job for years, you probably know it by heart and can finish the 10-hour project in 7 hours. You don’t need to do as much research and your project works on the first go. All the time spent on refinement, revision, or problem-solving is eliminated. But that means you’re getting less money than the other person who is, clearly, less crafty and knowledgeable than you are. If you choose to be paid per hour, set your rate with that in mind. Your hourly rate should reflect your skill level and should cover not only the number of hours spent working on the project but also the experience and efficiency you bring into the project as well as the time you’ll save your client delivering outstanding results in a shorter period of time.
- Pricing your product works best when what your client needs is a fully self-sustained project that you’ll be working on from A to Z all on your own. Say your client wants the full content of a website, or even better, a fully finished website, your client wants a functional app for their service, or they need an entire book translated. It’s difficult to account for small units of such a big project to calculate a fair payment. The number of words a fully translated book contains is not a fair estimation of how much work, research, readings, and time have been invested in making it happen. Similarly, the time spent developing an app, testing it, fixing the bugs, refining its user-friendliness, and then making it look presentable and eye-catching might be too long and the hours are divided into several tasks with various ranks of importance and urgency. It comes down to you and the quality of the final product you can offer. You should set your price keeping in mind the hours, effort, and the potential need of outside assistance/expenses as well as the market value of your finished project and the possibilities arising need of regular maintenance.
Setting Your Rate
Choosing your payment calculation method is very important for your profile, and if you already have the clients’ attention and are getting regular job offers, you’ll have the freedom to set the rate you fancy. But say you’re the one applying for the job? Most of the time the payment calculation method does in fact come in the job posting. The client will pay you per hour or per word or has assigned a certain budget for their project. It is now your turn to make your bidding and propose a rate within their range. Clearly, the two situations are different and would render different results.
- If the client is the one approaching you, you already have an advantage. The client has either read through your profile and found your skill and your rate suitable for their project, or they have seen your previous work somewhere, checked your portfolio, or had your name referred to them by a previous client of yours. In all cases, they already like your quality and your style. They need your service and are open to negotiating a deal to get the work done. Ask them for the details of their project before you discuss pricing. Have them explain their vision and what they’d like to see when you’re done. Ask about the deadline and the requirements. Mentally assembling a list of requirements for a to-do project is important because you might come across extra expenses or realise mid-discussion that the client expects delivery, registration, phone calls, all of which are costs you shouldn’t be the one paying for. As you hash out the details with the client, give yourself a moment to calculate how long each task will take and how much experience and skill it will need. The next step is to research the market and find out how much your peers (those with the same skill level and experience) would charge for that. Consider reaching out to your connections in the industry for more insight. Finally, you should set a rate that makes sense for the market, makes sense for the project and all tasks it will include, and also makes sense for you and your financial needs.
- If you’re the one approaching the client, you’ll have to stick to the range they’re proposing, or go only slightly higher. How much you make out of a job that you apply for yourself depends mainly on how you present your application. If your bidding is on the higher end on their range, you should know that they’re most probably receiving cheaper offers. Why should they choose you? Give the client something worth the extra pay and you’ll easily get the extra pay. Show experience, innovation and visionary thinking. Show them commitment and an ability to solve problems. Showcase your skills in your proposal. Be smart, strategic, and accommodating. The client needs to trust that they’ll be putting their money to good use and that the final outcome of your work will be far more superior than that of others who will charge less. If you’ll ask for more, offer more.
Here are a few more points to keep in mind when assessing the financial reward of work from home jobs:
- You will (and you should) be making more money doing a freelance task than an office employee will make for the exact same task. This is not unreasonable considering an office employee gets benefits you don’t. The client will not be paying for your taxes, your insurance, or your leaves. These are expenses you’ll have to handle yourself. The client will not pay for your internet connection, your phone bill, or the cost of transportation/gas if their project requires moving or driving. It is absolutely alright to keep all these costs in mind when deciding on a suitable rate for a task.
- You should have a general monthly/yearly salary in mind when negotiating to price. If the job will take you a month to finish, the pay should cover your monthly expenses or else you are in for a lot of financial struggle. It is also reasonable to let the client know if their project will consume the entirety of your work hours for the month. That means you can’t finish other jobs alongside it. And it means the one job should pay enough to be worth your while.
- If a job will require you only 4 hours to finish, but only because you’ve spent years developing and refining your skills to be able to work that quickly and that efficiently, do not be afraid to demand a higher rate per hour. The client is not actually paying for your hours. They are paying for the product of years of hard work, experience, and skill. Let the client know that someone else can finish the same job in 15 hours and deliver inferior results. Let them know that what you offer are time-efficiency and quality.
- Keep in mind that client satisfaction can make your freelance career or break it. Client satisfaction means better rates, referrals, recommendations, and the opportunity to confidently demand a higher rate for the next job. On the other hand, it is not advisable to demand an increase in the agreed-on rate before showing the client impressive results first. Choose your timing wisely. A second (or third, or fourth, …) job with the same client means you’ve developed a professional connection that can open many doors for you. It means you’re reliable and your quality is guaranteed. This is a great goal to aim for.
- If you’re working on a big project that spans over a month or a few months, you can request your payment to be weekly or bi-weekly. Discuss an outline for the project with your client and divide it into tasks. Deliver the finished tasks and get paid for them, and then keep going. This is a good option to not end up struggling for money for 3 months until a big payment is due.
In today’s fast, busy, and, most importantly, tightly connected world, more people are looking for a way out of the traditional 9 to 5 life. Work from home jobs serve as an interesting, yet challenging, option. The internet has eradicated borders and eliminated the need for physical presence to get the job done. Now, whatever your skill is, you can utilise it and make money out of it, and you can do it all from home.
A committed, disciplined person will easily find themselves a spot in the online market. If you’re good enough at your skill of choice and are willing to take the responsibility of managing your own work-life, your professional image, and your finances, you’re good to go. Large businesses need you and are willing to pay money for your time and effort. If you’re up to the challenge and have the dedication and perseverance to overcome a few roadblocks on your way to that first job, your path is a lot easier from thereon.
Organise your time well, plan your tasks ahead, and keep applying. Give your client a unique experience worth repeating. Make professional connections. Work on yourself, your skills, and your network. Negotiate your payment rate so that it keeps the client happy as well as yourself. Do not oversell yourself. Do not undersell yourself. Recognise your market value and always work on increasing it.
Finally, work from home jobs affords you the free time and the flexibility you’ve always desired. Use that time well. Learn a new skill; develop older skills. Invest time in your social life, your family, and your circle of friends. Don’t let working from home be an excuse for slacking, procrastination, or laziness.
Get out of bed. Do things. Travel places and take your laptop with you. Manage your money well and prepare for the bad before the good. Deliver the best possible quality and promise to deliver more next time. Make the kind of connections that will help you on both the professional and the personal fronts. Be professional, be knowledgeable, always stay up to date with your industry’s ins and outs. You are your own boss and you are your most valuable project.
See also: How to Become a Freelancer in 5 Steps?