In an age of computers, and a time that most of us are getting more experienced with technology, is it any wonder there are a myriad of new opportunities available to us? There are many reasons and motivations why people may want to take advantage of this “ripe” environment by saying “I want to work online.” I’m doing it, and I know there are thousands of others doing it, so why not you? There are a few things to think about, such as your motivation for wanting to do so and how you would go about it, so let’s take a closer look at what’s available to you.
How will you work online? What are the options?
There are several main avenues available for working online
- Looking at what you currently do and moving it online
- Studying and getting qualified in an online discipline
- Starting with a brand new venture
If we delve into both avenues in a bit more detail, perhaps you can identify with a particular direction.
Transferring your skills to online work
If you work in an office for a company at the moment, perhaps there is the possibility to ask for a more flexible arrangement where you can perform some or all of your tasks online. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities, for once you are working online, you can work from anywhere that has a computer and an internet connection. In a world where many families have more than one working parent, there is a greater demand than ever before for flexible working arrangements and working online can help working families achieve a better family-work life balance.
It does however depend on your employer, and how willing they are to accommodate you, and how invaluable you are to the organization. My advice here is only ask if you think it’s a realistic option for the type of work you do, and the company you work for. Try and give practical examples of how you could be more productive or add value to the company by working online.
Perhaps you are already a business owner, with a brick and mortar shop. However, you feel like you’re missing out on the valuable online audience, so you want to take the plunge and either add an online portion to your business, or move online completely.
This will depend on the product or service you want to offer, and who you want to target. Great for large geographic target markets (for example, an international reach), but might be a lot of work and little return for a very local business. if you do decide this is you, then the first step will be a website.
Whether it’s to profile your service, or whether it’s to sell your products online, a website is a necessary starting point to give you online presence. Some will use social media only, but most serious businesses will begin with a website – effectively your “brick and mortar store in cyberspace”.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry, there is help and advice at hand, plus a way to create a website for free. A great option if you want to see what you’re getting yourself in for before forking out mega-dollars for a bespoke website from an expensive design agency.
There are also lots of directories available that advertise online working opportunities. Use Google – it can be one of your best friends when looking for work online. Just make sure that you also google for reviews on any opportunities, and ensure any companies are legitimate ones before you start sending contact details and resumes!
Studying and Getting Qualified to Work Online
If you have a love of all things computers, an online career may be what you will find most satisfying. The possibilities are almost endless, and while I’ve been writing this, I’m sure something new has happened in the online world. For that reason, it’s a pretty exciting world to be involved in. Some of the careers that spring to mind are:
- computer engineering
- software and game design
- computer programming
- help desk support
- IT consultant
- app designer
- computer modelling
- digital marketing
- affiliate marketing
If you are a self-confessed computer “geek”, which these days is code for “seriously talented IT individual” then why not check out your local colleges and educational facilities. There are also plenty of online courses available, or “open universities” that allow you to complete qualifications from home in your own time.
My advice is to research thoroughly before committing to a course of study – what’s involved, how much does it cost, what reputation does the course have within the IT community, what sort of job is it likely to lead to. Perhaps try and contact an experienced professional who already works in your preferred field to see what they studied and what they would recommend.
Some of the financial investment can be quite hefty, so make sure you know what you’re signing up for and what your prospects are after completing any qualification.
Starting with a brand new online venture
The adventure of an online venture! Here I’m thinking of people who want a completely new direction in their working life. There are a number of reasons why people find themselves here, such as
- feeling there’s more to life than they currently have
- wanting to take advantage of the vast array of online opportunity out there
- wanting to work from home on their own terms
Whatever your reasons for wanting to work online, I would urge you to really assess if it’s right for you. Thinking the “grass is greener” doesn’t make it so. If you are unhappy with your lot just now and wanting to work online, it’s a good idea to make sure you are not jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire – taking all your worries and difficulties with you. It does help to ask yourself some questions before you decide to take the leap, really asking yourself why.
What will you do online?
Whatever you decide to do, you can do certain things to maximize your chances of success. Speaking from my own experience, the best thing you can do is speak to and learn from others. There are some great online forms and communities available, where you can learn from others. Finding support online to help you learn and develop is also a great way to help your success. There are places that you can get a lot out of, whether you are a complete online beginner or a more experienced “on-liner”.
In my professional career of more than 20 years, one thing I can definitely say is there will always be someone who knows more than you, and there will always be someone who knows less than you. So where better to “hang out” online than a place where people are willing to share their experiences, and through that process there is always something to be learnt or to teach someone else. If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, then take a look at the Wealthy Affiliate University.
Where will you work online?
Again this depends – is it a place of business (your own or someone else’s) or do you want to work from home. I do a combination, working for a company as an employee part time, and working from home online part time.
So for example, for me it’s not about a huge desire to escape a rat race or commute, but more about how to maximize the portion of my time when I was at home. I decided to set up my own online business, which I can work flexibly at around my other work and family commitments.
However, you need to have self-motivation – there is always something else to do at home, and there is no one looking over your shoulder and cracking a whip. It’s up to you to make it work for you – no-one else.
Time management at home is a key factor to succeeding with an online business on your own terms.
How long will it take to make a living from working online?
That’s the million dollar question and one I can’t give a definitive answer for. I wish I could! It will depend on whether you are an online professional with a career, or whether you are setting up an online business at home.
It will also depend on how hard you work, the time and effort you put in, and your determination to keep learning as you go along. As I said when I started this article, the online landscape is an ever-changing one, shifting and developing almost constantly.
So it’s all about carving out your own little niche of the online pie, and then making a success of it. It’s worth taking the time to create a business plan, so you know exactly what you want to achieve.
In summary, there are plenty of opportunities available if you want to work online. With a little bit of time and thought, it’s very possible you can find something that suits you personally and that can become your full time work.
If you have any questions, please do ask them below. Or alternatively, feel free to share any of your own thoughts. It’s always good to see things from other people’s perspectives and if there’s anything I can help you with, I will definitely try to get you the answers you seek.If you like this, why not share it?