Due to the coronavirus, many offices are deserted. It looks like the pandemic will spur the remote-work revolution. Many people will find telecommuting very comfortable. Unwilling to return to their cubicle routine, some of them will go freelance or stay at home. In this article, we will review the most promising work-from-home jobs. Check the list to make sure your skills are in demand.
Work-From-Home Jobs: Overview
Working from home is not a new concept — in fact, it dates back to prehistoric times. Throughout history, most humans worked either from home or very close to it. Now we are coming back to the idea of work-from-home jobs but on a totally new technological level.
New communication tools allow us to earn money without going anywhere. Remote employees can maintain long-distance relationships with clients and colleagues for months. For freelancers, there are global online marketplaces ready to match them with a perfect client.
Work-From-Home Jobs: Past, Present and Future
Thirty years ago working from home meant that you were a writer, accountant, teacher, programmer, scientist, sales representative or lawyer. At a lower level, you could run some ‘penny-blossoms’ business to make ends meet.
In the 2000s, work-from-home jobs were widely associated with scam schemes or sales. Probably, you remember the ads promising ‘unlimited profits’ in return for 3 hours of work per day. ‘No education or special skills needed, just a landline phone’.
For most office specialists, remote working was unavailable because they lacked good internet connection and other tools. Now, over 40% of Americans say they have experience of telecommuting. And in the times of Covid-19 this number may double very soon, all over the world.
And what freelance/remote jobs will be in demand in the nearest future? We’ve made a research, and here is our Top 7 List of work-from-home jobs.
We will also outline the major challenges, mentioned by some seasoned remote specialists. Note that in each specific case these challenges may be different, as they depend on:
- if you are a freelancer or just a remote employee;
- your personal character and preferred ways of communication;
- if you look for projects on a freelance website or work with 2 or 3 permanent clients;
- your ability to prioritize tasks;
- the level of your tolerance to criticism;
- if you operate on a local or global level.
# 1: Personal/Virtual Assistant
A virtual or personal assistant (PA) is an independent contractor who helps with various administrative tasks. Such a person can work for multiple clients and small businesses who don’t really need (or cannot afford) a full-time employee.
A PA’s tasks may vary depending on the industry the client operates in. Most likely, you will be responding to emails, managing business documentation, maintaining the calendar, dealing with the media, and providing basic tech support.
The salary depends on where in the world you are, the amount and complexity of the work you perform, and your level of expertise. To know more, visit Upwork.com or a similar website.
Personal/Virtual Assistant: Main Challenges
- The language barrier, if you work for a foreign client. When you have many clients from different countries, it makes things more difficult.
- Lack of trust. A virtual assistant often deals with sensitive corporate or personal info. But first, you have to convince potential clients they may trust you with it.
- Time difference. As a PA, you will be getting up early or working late at night if your client lives in a different time zone. Having multiple clients living in different time zones is not recommended.
- Payment issues. Cross-border transfers may be costly and slow. Currency exchange means you get less money for your work.
Also, a personal assistant often makes payments on behalf of his or her client. If money doesn’t arrive on time, the task fails.
There is no need for a translator to stay in the office. By now, many of such specialists work from home, and it doesn’t prevent them from meeting deadlines.
To become a freelance translator, you will probably need a Bachelor’s degree. Also, you will have to pass a test, assessing your level of fluency, grammar, vocabulary, etc.
Obviously, the best-selling language is English. But, depending on the context, your client may require Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese, Hebrew or Arabic. A median translator’s wage varies greatly. It depends on the country, source and target languages, topic, urgency, and other factors.
There are special websites to help freelance translators calculate their potential earnings.
Freelance Translator: Main Challenges
- Finding clients. If you work with popular languages, you face intense competition. When trying to sell your perfect Hungarian, you find your clients are few.
- Dealing with different topics. Not to get lost in translation, you need to dig deep into the topic you are working with. It takes time and effort, and the money the client pays you should be worth it.
- Unhappy clients. If you do a technical or business translation for an industry you are not familiar with, it normally leads to mistakes. You think the translation makes sense, but the client doesn’t share this view.
- Payment issues with international clients.
#3: Web Developer/Mobile App Developer
Many individuals and almost all businesses need a website, but few are ready to build it themselves. They don’t care where in the world you are if you can solve this problem. According to reports, in 2016 over 15% of web-developers were already self-employed and worked from home.
Apart from the relevant skills, you will need a speedy internet connection and a suitable laptop. Normally, you don’t need a degree in Computer Science or Design to start in this sector. If you can provide a good portfolio and reviews, you will always find a client on a freelance marketplace or through your friends.
The mobile app developer is another freelance job the demand for which will grow in the foreseeable future. Now, most people depend on their phones for work, shopping, and entertainment. Therefore, every service provider or retailer wants a mobile app to reach more customers. A person who is creative, good at coding and UX designing, and has backend computing skills can monetize this urge.
Freelance Web/App Developer: Main Challenges
- Schedule issues. Even if you have been working for 2 or 3 familiar clients for years, it might still be difficult to manage your time. The dates are often shifted and deadlines are unclear. Sometimes it’s hard to plan long trips and vacations.
- Clients cannot evaluate the amount of work done. Creating a website is a complicated and time-consuming task, but a remote client doesn’t see your coding and testing. Until the developer uploads the code and the client can view the changes, he believes you are doing nothing or little. Especially if the design looks simple and clear.
- Lack of personal connection. Some web-developers say it’s hard to be persuasive when you discuss things by email or even via Skype. A developer who prefers the ‘face-to-face’ approach and is uncomfortable with online communication formats, can lose clients when working remotely.
- Payment issues caused by the factors above.
One of the traditional freelance professions that remain in demand. ‘Writer’ doesn’t mean you will have to write books or academic works. You can choose between copy for blogs, social media, banners, ads, newsletters, landing pages, and more. And yes, there are books, too.
Bachelor’s degree is desirable, but not necessary, especially if you have a killing portfolio. Don’t have anything to wow your potential clients with? Do some free work for your friend’s business and upload the samples to the website like Clippings.me.
Speaking of clients, you can use a specialized marketplace to find a suitable project and negotiate the price.
Freelance Writer: Main Challenges
- Schedule issues. If you are working on several diverse projects at a time (and sometimes you cannot avoid it), your life is getting difficult.
- Boredom and lack of inspiration. Getting fresh ideas is the biggest challenge for any freelance writer. Sometimes you feel like you repeat the same things over and over again, and it’s demotivating.
- Distractions. When you constantly look for information or ideas, it’s easy to get distracted with something interesting you find on the way. It may be a YouTube video, or your Facebook news feed, or another writer’s article, you name it.
- Language barrier. Most freelance writers write in their mother language only. It means they have a limited choice of projects even when using an international platform.
- Payment issues.
#5: Social Media Manager
An SMM manager helps a company or person to promote their brand using social media tools. it allows the client to save money on more expensive ways of promotion, including TV, radio, and print ads.
The job description usually mentions creating a publishing plan, content management, monitoring the comments and analyzing the basic metrics related to the company’s social media presence. The main goal of any SMM manager is to turn visitors into customers and customers into brand advocates.
If you have chosen this path, you should master basic writing skills and have an excellent command of social media tools. It would add credibility if you can demonstrate your own page with high-quality content and many active followers.
SMM Manager: Main Challenges
- Swiss knife approach. A freelance SMM manager normally does many different tasks. They include but are not limited to copywriting, creating infographics, analyzing data, setting up target audiences, following the industry news, making videos, etc.
- Ability to deal with stressful situations. In this role, be ready to respond to any online emergency quickly and professionally. It’s an important skill for any media job.
- Staying online. To make sure everything is ok, you stay connected all the time. If the community is active, you will probably be checking your phone every 5 minutes.
- Generating fresh ideas. To keep the community motivated and entertained, you should be open to new ideas and look for them everywhere. And this is the work your client does not see.
#6: Graphic designer
For a graphic designer, there is no excuse for staying in the office, unless you love the view. Most of your tasks can be made from home or any other place.
You can also work independently. Many clients prefer to hire a freelancer every time they need graphic content, instead of keeping an in-house specialist. It may be anything from a logo to an e-book. Use one of the freelance websites to find a project to work on.
If you are a beginner who considers a graphic designer career, start with mastering Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Corel Draw. It’s good if you have some artistic education, but many excellent specialists have never gone to an art school. What you will need is logical thinking, creative approach, good taste, and some equipment.
Be ready to spend some time following the trends, because design solutions come in and out of fashion rather rapidly.
Freelance Graphic Designer: Main Challenges
- The designer’s work is often undervalued. Just like web-developers, designers complain their clients are often unable to appreciate what they do, especially when the result looks simple and clear.
- Micromanagement. If clients belong to the creative type, they can start suggesting changes. Like “let’s make it brighter” or “it looks poor, add some decor”.
- It may be hard to convince the client your design is worth its price. Especially after many rounds of changes, he insisted upon.
- Uneven workload. Those working with 1 or 2 permanent clients say they never know how much work (and money) they will have next month. Sometimes they earn more than average, sometimes less. It’s not easy to predict the workload and make plans.
- Expensive hard- and software. A designer who goes freelance needs to buy a MacBook Pro, good camera, tablet, Pantone guide, and other things. Besides, all this stuff needs a regular upgrade. Except for a Pantone guide, maybe.
#7: E-commerce Specialist
The commerce is rapidly migrating to the Internet. You can buy any type of goods and services from home. Therefore, one of the most popular work-from-home jobs today is an e-commerce specialists. S/he helps companies increase sales and make bigger profits. Good news: you can do it from home, too.
There are various online platforms for buying and selling goods: Shopify, WooCommerce, AliExpress, etc. A company seeking to offer their goods through such a service needs an in-house or freelance e-commerce expert. This specialist lets the business present the products in the best possible way and reach the target audience.
An e-commerce expert should be passionate about digital marketing and possess analytical skills. Also, you will have to master all the necessary tools, be familiar with the major marketplaces and keep updated on the latest trends of the industry. Your tasks may include adding product images and descriptions, analyzing statistical data, and managing orders.
E-commerce expert: Main Challenges
- You should speak good English. To work with global e-commerce platforms, it’s necessary.
- It’s a young industry. Thus, there are many things to improve on all the platforms. Don’t expect your experience to be seamless.
- You should be a multitasker. They want you to be an expert in online sales, know the pros and cons of different platforms, monitor the activity on the site, ensure positive user experience, etc. You also collect, edit and publish various content, analyze data, improve existing and test new marketing strategies.
- Time difference. If your client operates in another time zone, it means working irregular hours, unless you are a part of an international team of experts.
Work-From-Home Jobs: Conclusion
Our goal was to give you an idea of what the top work-from-home jobs look like, both from inside and outside.
In general, the benefits of working remotely are obvious: you have more time for your family and friends and work as much (or as little) as you need.
As for the challenges, they are different in every case, except for the payment issues many freelancers mention. To know more about how you can get paid as a freelancer, read this article.