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Start a Work-From-Home Career

Mammoth Sniper Challenge
Mammoth Sniper Challenge
May 1, 2017
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I fell in love with working remotely while I lived in Italy volunteering as an English teacher. As the gig was unpaid, I needed a side hustle to help fund my daily Cioccolata Caldas and my weekend trips with as minimal drain of my savings as possible. During college, I had worked part-time for a local marketing firm. My boss graciously allowed me to continue working for her from Europe, where I quickly realized I could never go back to the corporate grind.Working from home is an incredible lifestyle. No soul-sucking commute to endure daily. I work when I want, which allows me to manage my energy and not my time. I never force myself to sit at my desk, pushing through mental exhaustion and cranking out mediocre work. I can proactively take breaks, going for runs or doing yoga whenever I want, without being met with glares of coworkers for laying on the floor or leaving the office outside of a lunch break. The work I complete is of a higher quality and I am much more efficient. Since I get paid by project and not by hour, I'm actually making more money while working less!When I came back to the United States, I knew I found my calling as a remote freelance writer. Taking that bold step to pursue a non-traditional career path changed my life and I'm passionate about helping others realize it's possible for them too!

work from home

Taking the Plunge

Remote working is not a new concept. In fact, 43% of employed Americans spend at least part of their work day working from home (and many of these work entirely from home). But to most people, working from home is a foreign concept. Few people actually know someone who works remotely full-time. Our high school and college career service centers don't bring it up as a viable career path. To many of us, remote work sits in our imagination as "that dream I'd love to accomplish in the perfect world, but obviously cannot make into a reality".False. You can make it happen. Thousands of people do every year.

Two Approaches to Remote Work

The first method is to take your current job and make it remote (like I did when I left for Europe). In his book The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris offers solid advice on approaching your boss to negotiate working from home. This approach is great if you love your job or love the benefits your job provides.For some people, though, this is not an option. Maybe your job cannot feasibly be done from home. Maybe your boss refuses to give it a try. Maybe you hate your job and are looking for a career change anyway. If you're in this boat, you will face rougher seas as you need to get a new job (or jobs) but you can still make it work.Most work from home gurus recommend working your current job for as long as possible while looking for remote work on the side since it does take time to find gigs. The first month after deciding to pursue freelancing as a career, for example, I only had a few hours of paid work each week and the rest of my time was applying for jobs. Depending on your financial situation, you likely will need to keep working your 9-5 while seeking out other employment.

customer service work

Types of Remote Work

There are many types of jobs in the work from home realm. A virtual assistant works as a sort of secretary for companies, handling tasks from data entry to managing a company's social media. Higher up virtual assistants can be more of a right-hand man to the boss, completing more hands-on work and handling more situations on the boss' behalf. A transcriptionist listens to audio files and types up a script or captions on anything from television shows to court reports. A tutor or English teacher gives online lessons to students around the world. A freelance writer (like me) creates articles and website copy for websites.Each job type comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. You can Google these different jobs to find out more about qualifications and the quality of your work life, but the point here is that there are many ways to make a living online.

How to Find Jobs

You can get jobs in two main ways. You can apply for a job posting. Or you can market your services to potential customers who then seek out and hire your services.Unless you have years of industry experience, are highly qualified, and have a bursting portfolio, the best bet is to start off applying with job postings. This takes less time than marketing and running your own business and allows you to gain the experience necessary to launch your own business down the road if you so choose.The different job niches have different job posting websites you can check often for opportunities. To find writing gigs, for example, I check Upwork, Blogging Pro, and ProBlogger. Using credible job posting websites decreases the chances of you falling for a scam since these sites will weed out questionable postings (some of these even require for the company to pay to list their job).

work apply

Creating a Job Applying Strategy

Some lucky few land one remote job offering full-time hours (Amazon for example is often hiring full-time work). Most people (like myself) piece together their income from a dozen or so clients. When you are applying for many different positions, and hoping to get more than one, organization is key. The best advice I can give is to make a spreadsheet. For every job application, record the company name, the job posting link, the date you applied for every gig, and the date you sent a follow-up email.Since you are applying to so many jobs, it can be hard to keep them straight. You may hear back from a position a few weeks later and have already forgotten what they are looking for and what their pay rate is. You can go back to your spreadsheet, pull up the job posting, and use the information to help you decide if the job is still worth pursuing. By this point, you may have gotten a few other gigs and can turn down a low paying offer. You can also refer back to the job posting for information on what the company is looking for so you can better write sample articles or fill out their supplemental application.Aim for spending 30 minutes a day on your job hunt. Look through job board posting websites and apply to a few relevant jobs. Read through advice articles on crafting good applications. See if your university's career services will still edit your resume (I know mine does). Take an online class developing the skills you need to be more marketable. Chip away at finding work a little every day. Over time, you can build up a steady source of income. It's impossible to predict how long before you can be working from home full-time, since it depends on factors like your previous experience in the industry and how well you can pitch yourself to potential employees. Keep at it though and you can make your dream of working remote a reality.

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