Work from Home series by Joan Narciso @ pagesfromtheinsideout.com

[Series] So you want to work from home…

Hello! Last month, I started a series on my personal path to working from home as a freelancer. I meant to finish this series in four consecutive weeks but I got sick.

Anyway, I’ve talked about the personal reasons that led me to explore online jobs + the deeper reasons behind this booming field which I processed along the way. Today, I want to share with you how I started. I’m no expert but I hope this list could give ideas to people interested in exploring this field. 

FIRST THINGS FIRST

If you have a full time job right now, you DO NOT have to quit it while looking for opportunities online. Again, my circumstances then were kind of a unique mixture of super stress + a real need to get back home. Also, I have been blessed with the kindest brother who helped me see to it that if I don’t find a new job right away, our family would still survive. Hehe.

DETERMINE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, HOW YOU WANT TO DO IT

I already told you that when it became clear I’m quitting my last job, I really didn’t know where to go next, what to do next. Short version was I just knew I didn’t want the hassle of Cavite-Metro Manila commute. So I considered looking for remote jobs.

I knew friends and colleagues who teach English as a second language online, some do freelance writing, some video editing, and a few virtual assistants. I also heard of former contact center employees who used their BPO experience as a pathway to finding their own client and working from home. 

At first, I considered teaching English to Asian students. I even applied at BizMates but eventually decided against it. I know people who excel at it and earn a lot, but I know myself–I would either just have a few classes and do other stuff + rest, or get myself caught up in 16 hours/day of tutorial sessions in my drive to quickly pay off loans and save money.

That’s when I decided to google online jobs. On the results page alone, I found plenty of sites that advertise remote jobs. The challenge, as with almost everything on the internet, is to determine the legitimate sites and job ads. 

Household names include Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, OnlineJobsPH, and more. Time Doctor’s blog site listed down ‘38 Legit Filipino Work From Home Job Sites That Will Not Scam You.‘ The list was comprehensive enough but you have to do the work and go through those sites and read and browse and read and read. It might seem like a lot of work but I simply treated it the way I researched on companies when I was job hunting for non-virtual work. 

Those sites offer different types of jobs so it’s important I determined:

  • What I can do
  • What I want to do
  • How much of my schedule am I willing to allot for work
  • How much, how often and how I want to get paid

Answering those questions and jotting down any relevant experience gave me a quick reference/reviewer for the interviews I would soon have.

Get this list  here. Or a downloadable, ready to be edited PDF for you here

Notice that on the last column, I asked myself if I want to do this type of job. See, I’m switching careers because I don’t want to be too stressed by work anymore; I might as well make sure that I won’t be diving into something I already know to be too stressful for me. So even though I like to write and know that I can push myself to produce content when I get paid to do it (haha), I know that I have other skills I can tap that will equally generate income.

THE OTHER TWO QUESTIONS

  • How much of my schedule am I willing to allot for work
  • How much, how often and how do I want to get paid

Reading up stories of those who have already struggled and thrived in this field, I quickly realized that I have to market my skills in a way that is competitive and yet not too ambitious.

Many experts in the field know the way around negotiating higher rates but I’m not there yet so I set my expected pay at a rate that I know my skills+experience deserve. BUT! I added two more facts to the equation: 

  • I’m a newbie in the field. I have no actual experience as a virtual employee without a company (i.e. BPOs, call centers) representing me to a client.
  • I want a flexible schedule. As much as possible, I looked for jobs that don’t require me to man the desk for eight straight hours regardless if I’d already finished my tasks. 

EMPLOYMENT TYPE

Remember those websites where you can legit find online jobs? They vary in the types of jobs they offer, and it’s not just the positions/job responsibilities but the type of employment/client relationship you’d have. Some offer full-time positions, part-time, project-based positions. Again, ask yourself if you want to do several part-time jobs, or work on 1-2 projects every 3-6 months, or get hired by one client for a full-time position. 

EXPECTATION SETTING, DEBUNKING MYTHS

People say I got hired quicker than usual. Partly, I know that writing down that list helped me focus in looking for the right job ads. But also, I think, that’s because I kept submitting applications all day in those two weeks. So if you don’t get hired right away, or you don’t see as many opportunities that fit your short list, don’t give up just yet. Finding jobs – virtually or not – was never that easy anyway.

I might have kept saying I wanted a stress-free life which made me switch careers and that might have you thinking remote jobs are all breeze and fun. THAT IS NOT TRUE. As with any other job that pays money, this would entail hard work. The list I just shared? It’s meant to determine the job I wouldn’t be lazy doing in the long run. No one will be looking over my shoulder on a daily basis so I have to make sure I can oversee my work performance. I also remind myself that the job I have right now is a blessing from the Lord and His gifts deserve my utmost respect and gratitude. A grateful heart gives back. 

READY TO APPLY? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO PREPARE

If you’re still reading (wow, thanks ♥), and you keep thinking, “okay, I want to explore this further,” here are the things I prepared before sending out those applications:

  • An updated CV/résumé
    • focused on my previous responsibilities and professional highlights/achievements 
  • Internet connection
    • we had Globe LTE back then and it was pretty fast at 15mbps but most clients prefer cable(?)/line-based connection so we switched to Globe’s version of fiber technology (they call it BDSL)
    • note that it’s highly advisable that you have good internet speeds before you apply as most job ads require that you send your speedtest results;also, if you get set up for a Skype interview, it would be a shame if your connection is slow
  • Laptop computer
  • An over-ear headset with noise-cancelling features for when you have Skype team meetings, or especially if you’re going to do some voice calls as part of the job
  • A PayPal account
    • This is usually how overseas clients pay their virtual consultants, but there are some who use similar sites. Still, PayPal would be a good way to get yourself familiar with moving money in the web
    • You can connect this to your bank account, or to GCash for when you need the money to be transferred real-time

And those are the basics. I will try to write another post or two about this when the holidays are over. If you’re a friend with some questions, you know how to reach me. Otherwise, leave a comment here or send me a message thru the contact link above.

Happy Monday! ♥

P.S. Please pardon my grammatical errors here as I wrote this all night and I’m gonna sleep first before rereading and editing this. 

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Joan Narciso

Joan is a walking set of ironies who likes to look at the sky no matter its mood and color. She has no exceptional talent unless you consider talent the skill to read a book in one seating, predict plot twists in stories, know what singing contest judges have to say before they say it, and reset her body clock whenever necessary.

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