Right now, as this is being written, about half of the world’s population is under lockdown. For many people this means a break in their income stream and, even worse, perhaps no job to go back to when it’s all over. 

If that’s you, now’s the time to turn those idle hours at home into productive ones. You can find online jobs and make a decent living working from home. Here’s the basic set of considerations to help you get there.

Self-Assessing Your Skills For Online Work

You may have studied or trained for a specific profession, but that doesn’t mean the skills you’ve acquired over the years can only be used in that one narrow area. Try not to think of yourself in terms of a job title. Instead, think of the individual skills you have in your arsenal and then identify the ones that can be applied through a digital medium.

If you have good time management skills, you could find online jobs to work from home as a virtual assistant. If you’re good at customer relations, maybe the role of social media manager might work for you. Try to list your skills as keywords, this will come in handy when the actual job hunt begins.

You may also be able to practice some professions in a new way while being stuck at home. For example, if you’re a photographer, you could create and sell photos specifically for stock photography sites. 

The most important point is to think differently. Don’t label yourself, but think of your total skillset as building blocks that can be rearranged to perform different roles.

How To Upskill Yourself

OK, so you’ve got all your skills listed, but it turns out you have some gaps. Sure, you’re a people person, but you don’t actually know the technical aspects of being a social media manager. Maybe you had no issue being a personal assistant to someone in the next office, but you’re not sure how to handle it for someone in another country.

The good news is that you can quickly fill those skills gaps by using online resources to upskill yourself. YouTube is a great resource for free information, although you’ll need to be careful about the accuracy of that information. There are also lots of free online college courses you can take to complete your skill set for online work.

Where To Look For Online Jobs

The world of online work has exploded over the last few years and you can find massive platforms with job listings and tools to manage your work. Some are general in nature and others are more specialized. 

For example, Genero is specifically for film and TV professionals, while ProBlogger has opportunities for writers. It’s always worth checking out if there are sites for your own specialities, but these are the best general online freelancing sites to find online jobs to work from home:

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more sites like this, but stick to reputable sites with good payment security policies.

How To Apply For Online Gigs

These platforms usually list gigs on a global job board, which you should narrow down using the list of keywords you put together earlier. Search for online jobs to work from home using your skills keywords or specific roles such as “tech blogger” or “social media manager”. This helps narrow down the jobs that aren’t relevant to you.

When writing an application for a gig that looks up your alley, keep the following in mind:

  • Read the ENTIRE job posting along with all the requirements.
  • Research what other similar freelancers have charged for this type of work.
  • Follow all of the client’s requested instructions.
  • Be concise.
  • Outline exactly what you’ll do for the client and for how much.
  • Include examples of similar work if possible.
  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Don’t make any excuses, make sure you come across as confident and self-assured.
  • Ask someone else to read the application if you’re not not comfortable yet.
  • Check your spelling and grammar again.

There is no universal recipe for the perfect application. The best you can do is write properly in the language of your choice, be confident, don’t waste the client’s time and tell them exactly what you can do for them.

Expect most of your applications to go nowhere. It’s not personal, just move on to the next one.

How To Ace Interviews Online

When your application gets a response from a client, you’ll enter an interview phase. The client likes your application enough to want more information and now is when you get to seal the deal.

Some people will want a video call, so be prepared for an interview over something like Skype or Facetime. 

Whether by text or in a live call, listen to the client and respond to what they ask. Don’t volunteer information that isn’t relevant and the client doesn’t need to know.

When it comes to negotiating payment, keep your research of what others have charged in mind. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a potential gig if the money isn’t worth it. Clients will pay what they think the work is worth. If that doesn’t align with your needs, there’s a constant flow of new gigs being posted every minute of every day. Just let it go.

One killer trick we’ve picked up over the years is to assure the client that they don’t have to pay you if they aren’t happy with the quality of your work. Offer a paid trial period that lets you show what you can do. If the client feels like there’s no downside to giving you a chance, they are more likely to hire you. Of course, if you actually do good work there’s no downside for you either.

How To Get Paid

So you got the gig, you did the work and the client is ready to pay. Congratulations! Except, how do you actually get the money? The exact answer to this will vary from one country to the next as well as by platform.

In general however services like PayPal are almost universally supported and specialized payment providers such as Payoneer can get the money into your hands very quickly. In some countries the gig platforms can do local bank transfers as well, which may be the cheapest and most convenient way to access funds for many people.

These are the core things you need to know for a bright future as a digital nomad, remote worker and freed ex-corporate slave. Times are hard for everyone, but they don’t have to be harder than necessary.