So, you want to work from home. You’ve got your laptop, your jumbo cup of coffee, and your favourite pair of slippers… all you need is a gig (or two) and you can officially call yourself a remote worker.
Your dreams of working from home might be closer to reality than you think. Remote work and gigs are becoming more common and easier to come across. In fact, a recent poll showed that 43% of working Americans have spent at least some time working remotely (source: nytimes). And of course, technology is making it all easier to do, with video chat, file sharing, and plenty of ways to collaborate from nearly anywhere in the world.
The benefits of remote work
Working from home comes with benefits for both staff and businesses.
More and more companies are starting to realise the incredible talent they can access globally. And remote workers are often happier, less stressed, and more productive, which is great for business (source: remote.co).
It’s not just great for companies, though. Staff love the freedom and flexibility that comes with working from home. They can choose their hours, balance family and work, and decide where they want to work, what they want to learn, and how they want to structure their lives.
So, how do you get started working from home?
As with most things, the hardest part about working from home is getting started. If you’ve only ever been employed or worked in an office, working from home, finding work, and (in many cases), being your own boss can be overwhelming.
As someone who’s hired hundreds of remote staff (and been one myself), I thought I’d share some tips (and platforms) to help you get started.
You need experience
First, you need experience to get a good remote role. For instance, you might really want to apply for a role with Grow My Team, but if you’re not experienced with remote work or you haven’t got a portfolio to demonstrate your skills, you’re probably not ready to join our ranks just yet.
This is where so many people get frustrated. It can feel like catch-22… how do you get experience without a job? How do you get a job without experience?
It’s probably not the answer you’re hoping to hear, but to be perfectly honest, you’ll need to start at the bottom and work your way up. In the beginning, you’ll probably need to take on some less-than-ideal clients and lower pay rates as you build up your experience and portfolio. Look at it as an investment in your education that will pay off - soon things will get better. Many of our top candidates started working from home using at least one of the following platforms:
1. Interning and volunteering
You might choose to start out working for free (yes, really!) to build your experience. If you need to make money straight away, this might not be the right option for you. But if you’ve got at least a few hours spare each week and want to do it as a hide-hustle, it could really pay off. As a volunteer, you could get the chance to build your portfolio with some cool projects, make industry contacts, and even work on some fairly big jobs. Plus, volunteering for a good cause is a rewarding thing to do.
Yes, I know. Fiverr has a pretty bad reputation among freelancers. Reality check: you’re probably not going to make a lot of money or pick up amazing clients through Fiverr. But you will gain experience and build your portfolio quickly. You might offer to create 5 graphics for social media, or write a 300 word article, depending on your skills. Once you’ve completed, say, 20 successful gigs, leverage your experience and portfolio to get onto another platform and attract higher paying gigs.
Upwork doesn’t have a great reputation either - although some freelancers have built very lucrative businesses through it. Most of the time, you’ll end up charging less than what you’re worth just to get the gig. But it can be another great place to pick up clients, gain experience, and build your portfolio.
Freelancer is also really similar to Upwork. It’s a great alternative if, for example, you find yourself locked out of Upwork (this is a really common issue for freelancers with common skill sets). Once again, use Freelancer as long as it’s working for you to build your confidence, skills, experience, and portfolio. Then use it to go on to bigger and better things!
This is another freelancing platform, but a little different to the others. This one is aimed at consultants who are more experienced, and generally command higher rates. You’ll get to work with clients at a higher level, probably with bigger budgets. But you’ll still need to put yourself out there regularly and apply for projects as they come up.
Skills and experience you’ll pick up while gigging
Gigging and using the websites listed above can be frustrating at times. So, it’s important to keep a bit of perspective. Your goal is to pick up skills and experience that’ll help you get into bigger and better opportunities. Here’s what you’ll learn through gigging:
- How to manage clients - understanding client expectations, client onboarding, and feedback
- Communication - how to talk to clients and colleagues, especially when they’re not in the same room as you
- Professionalism - how to present yourself
- How to use tools/programs - like email, digital calendars, scheduling tools, design software, project management, and more
All of these areas are essential skills if you want to apply for and gain remote work that’s more long-term and lucrative than, say, gigging on Fiverr. They’ll make you easy to work with, extremely valuable to clients, and able to charge more for your time.
Are you ready for Grow My Team?
We’re quite different to the other remote work platforms out there. Instead of looking for gig after gig, when you work with us, you get either full-time or part-time work with a client. You get fair pay, work in your area of expertise, and you become part of your client’s team (and ours!). It’s most people’s ideal remote job… but that’s why we limit our candidates to only the best. So, if you’ve got some experience and built up your portfolio and you’re one of the best at what you do, then come and contact us and become a candidate.