You’ve been thinking about quitting your job and finding one where you can work from home. After all, it would be SO convenient; no money to spend on gas, tolls, wear and tear of your vehicle, no aggravation being stuck in traffic, and able to take as many breaks as you like. It all sounds very nice; but do you really have what it takes to work from home?
Because not everyone is wired for ‘working from home’ success. You see, working at home is vastly different from being in an office. It’s easy enough to have a new computer and a high-speed Internet connection; but how do you stack up? What kinds of skills do you bring to the table? Skills that will attract those on the other side of the computer screen to trust you with their work?
Rule Number One: Pursue what you know.
What kind of a career will you go after when you want to work from home? If you are a writer, then look for writing opportunities. If you love helping people and have customer service experience, then look for those jobs.
Before you ever quit your job, it’s always best to have a game plan. Know exactly what it is you want to pursue; and you may want to try it out on a part-time basis first to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Rule Number Two: What Skills Do You Have?
Can You Write Well?
It doesn’t matter what type of remote job you apply for; it could be that of researcher, proofreader, copywriter, designer, coder, graphic design, database administration, web development, translator or any other, most people you work for will want to know you have a firm handle on writing. You know, grammar, punctuation, syntax, that kind of thing. Can you put a recognizable sentence together?
No one is looking for you to write a book, (unless you’ve applied for ghostwriting positions) but a firm grasp of your native language is the best plus you can offer anyone.
Are You a Go-Getter on Your Own?
Being a remote worker means you probably won’t have anyone looking over your shoulder while you work. You may think this is the best thing to come along since sliced bread, but understand that if you are not someone who is self-motivated, you may have trouble staying focused on your work. There are just too many other things to do online; SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, et. al. Not to mention checking email all day long.
If you’ve been assigned specific assignments and must get them in by a due date, waiting until the last day or hour isn’t the way to go. There will be jobs that don’t require you to log in to a dashboard where others can track your progress, but there are a lot of jobs which don’t require you to log in until you’re ready to submit your work. Work done in a hurry or last-minute, shows; whereas work you have taken your time with is always a much better choice.
Being a self-motivated person is everything when you work from home. It’s one thing to bring work home from the office and complete it on your laptop; it’s an entirely different thing when you are assigned projects via a work site and they give you the basics only. It’s up to you to figure all the rest out. Can you do it? Or do you need someone to hold your hand? That won’t get you far in the world of remote working.
How Trustworthy Are You?
Recruiters and online managers will only hire you if you’ve proved to them you can be trustworthy. It may be getting your work in on time every time; it may be showing up for virtual meetings or being asked to share what you do. Any one who hires you wants to know you are putting in a good day’s work for them. That’s fair, isn’t it?
Become sloppy in your work, miss deadlines, or have excuses all the time, and you’ll be passed over for more work the next time. If you work through a global freelancing platform such as Upwork or FlexJobs, how you do your work will follow you too; in the form of feedback and evaluations.
Not every job will require you to be in contact with your manager other than to email them or upload files. But there are some online tools to familiarize yourself with so you can make an even better impression.
Hangouts. Everyone is familiar with Skype and hopefully you have access to that, but Google Hangouts is a video and text messenger that makes it super easy to get together with others for quick, remote meetings. Nothing formal, but informative. If you already have a Gmail address, hangouts is there.
Slack. Many remote platforms will use Slack for online chatting. You can register with them ahead of time, to familiarize yourself with all they are. If you are working with a team, chances are they will be here or some other similar place.
Go To Meeting. This is a web-hosted service, perfect for online meetings, sharing, and webinars. Here you can meet up with lots of people and influence the ongoing project. Getting your input is always appreciated by those who have hired you.
Google Docs. This popular platform will save, share and create all manner of documents. Here you can edit and comment on whatever is being worked on. No attachments are needed to send, as everything is already being saved in Google.
DropBox. If you work on very large files, DropBox is the perfect place to save them. Again, you don’t have to send attachments as everything is saved and shared within the platform.
If you are looking to sharpen your online skills, there are places to learn. Bloc.io for web development, Codeacademy.com for coders, Udemy.com and Skillshare.com for all courses are certainly places to check out.
Being a freelancer can be a dream come true. For many people, it means having the best of both worlds; never having to leave home and getting paid for it. See if it’s right for you!