The advent of the internet has brought with it numerous benefits and working online is one of them. In recent years, online jobs have been steadily gaining popularity world-wide. A sizeable percentage of people prefer the flexibility and convenience that is unique to these kind of jobs in comparison to the conventional 8 to 5 office job. If you are an experienced freelancer, you’ve probably heard a few. If you are a newbie, allow me to demystify what working online is all about – and what it’s not.
Myth 1: You Will Get Rich Quick
‘Mayweather money! It’s all about Mayweather money”
Hold up. Not really. Scam sites that are out to increase their site’s traffic and hopefully make a kill from Google ad sense often put up ads like: “How to earn 10,000USD per week”. Granted, there exists numerous stories of people who have made it big however, working online is not as easy as winning a lottery ticket. Truth is, just like any other business venture, you must have a well thought out plan with clear-cut goals achievable through hard work and persistence. It will take quite some time before you earn enough income sufficient to foot all your bills. I’ve discovered that a majority of people who start working online with a get rich quick mentality often quit within the first month.
Myth 2: Anyone Can Work Online.
‘So all I need is a computer, and internet connection and I can start working? Easy peasy ‘
Not really. Working online is not for everyone. It requires a great deal of self discipline. Unlike a physical office setup where the boss is stationed in the same office or building to lead and supervise the team, online workers are in charge of their own work schedules. Distractions in form of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can easily cause failure to beat deadlines, not to mention friends too, since you’re working from home. Did I mention the urge to catch up on the latest episode of Gotham City? Without discipline and self-motivation, you will fail at freelancing.
Myth 3: You Dress in Your Pyjamas
This is a very very common myth. No, I don’t wear pyjamas and neither do the one hundred or so freelancers that I know. While there is no dress code to adhere to and no one is expecting you to wear a suit and tie, what you wear has an impact on how you work. You are more productive and self-confident when you dress for work and that might be as simple as a jeans and smart t-shirt. It goes a long way into helping you transition into your work day.
Myth 4: Most Online Jobs are Scams
Quite a number of people working online have been at one time [or more] been conned. It is a learning process that is not uncommon even in real life or offline jobs. This however should not be a hindrance to aspiring online freelancers. Apart from the existence of online escrow services in popular online work platforms that hold money from your clients’ until you finish the job, there is adequate information online and from other freelancers too on how to avoid scams. Trust is built gradually while working online. For instance, it might take some time to trust new clients offering big jobs. In such a case, it is advisable to ask for say half the money in advance to gauge their authenticity and protect yourself in the process. Popular sites like iwriter.com and upwork.com have found ways of busting myths about online jobs by rating their clients for the freelancers’ benefits. They achieve this by providing rating statistics of approval rates and clients’ payment method verification respectively.
Myth 5: You Have No Boss Therefore No Stress
Your client is your boss – in a way. Clients usually do not give direct and real-time supervision but the decision to pay or not pay, hire or fire freelancers for under-performance squarely lies with the client. In some instances though, especially with escrow, the pay might be forthcoming but the client might still end up giving a very poor rating. Always remember there is a client who is waiting on you to submit their project – accurately done and delivered on time.
Myth 6: If You’re Not Matt Mullenweg, You Can’t Make it Working Online
If you’re wondering who Matt Mullenweg is, he’s the founder of WordPress. Tech-savvy is his middle name. No, you don’t need to be like him to work online. Online jobs are not the preserve of people with advanced computer skills. It takes bare computer usage skills such as email, word processing, typing and internet for one to venture into online jobs. A great deal of freelancers have successfully dispelled this myth by carving themselves niches in the online work domain and created successful online careers and businesses for themselves.
Myth 7: You Will Spend More Time Looking For Work Than Working
Another common myth about online jobs is that one spends a sizeable amount of time seeking work or business than actually working. This might be true when you are starting out but once you establish yourself, repeat and long term clients become the order of the day. More often than not, you’ll get referrals from satisfied clients. Focused and hardworking freelancers often find themselves with more jobs than they can handle that at times drives the enterprising ones to start agencies that employ other freelancers. Secondly, more and more companies are coming about that allow you to log in and pick jobs. No need to bid.
Myth 8: You Have To Bid Lowest To Win Online Jobs
A couple of freelancing sites use bidding systems where clients post jobs with a predefined budget that require freelancers to bid in order to win the contracts. Such sites include Elance, Upwork, Freelancer etc. Some clients do state that they will award the jobs to the lowest bidders, but this is not the only criterion used to award jobs. Profile completeness and a well written cover letters are other factors that client consider. Actually, many clients are wise enough to realize that the freelancer with the lowest bid isn’t necessarily the best. While bidding low might help to get your foot in the door, creating a great proposal that addresses the client’s needs will go a long way in getting you hired. The quality of work and adherence to deadlines and other wow factors to clients is what counts at the end of the day, not low bids.
Working online has its pros and cons. But for the three years I have been working as a freelance transcriber, I have no regrets. And neither will you if you get into this with the right mindset – with the attitude of a winner.
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This is a guest post by Sheeroh Kiarie. Sheeroh is a work at home mom, passionate about online entrepreneurship. She loves to teach people how to make money online. You can get more tips about freelancing on her blog: workonlinekenya.com.