Amid perhaps the worst healthcare situation in decades, one aspect that has caused serious anxiety in people is the current and future states of work. There is no clarity about what the future holds for several professions in India and elsewhere in the world. Professions have turned into remote jobs that are not bound by a ‘work time’, adding to the stress, low productivity, panic, and even paranoia.
If you feel you are affected by this situation, it is time to explore the world of remote jobs. It can be as a backup to your current job (that may be in peril), helps in your business management functions or to secure your future in case of a layoff. If not anything, you can at least prepare yourself for the future when your current job also transforms permanently into a virtual activity.
Whatever may be your needs, this 11-step guide to finding the perfect remote job will always come in handy. Read on…
Step-By-Step Guide to Finding Remote Jobs
This has been prepared with help from established workers who have flourished in their specific professions while working remotely for decades.
Step 1 – Assess Your Situation
Much like how to finance pundits ask you to invest money with certain goals in mind, looking for remote jobs online should also be based on aspiration, a goal, an aim.
Are you currently unemployed and thus looking for a freelance job where you can work from home? Were you laid off recently and are now looking for a quick alternative? Are you looking to generate a secondary income?
Answers to these questions will help you measure the required intensity in your remote job hunt. Higher the intensity (and desperation), more religiously you should follow the next steps.
According to a report published (pdf) by Outlook India, over 1,000 lakh jobs are going to be at risk because of the Covid-19 situation in India. So, even if it feels like your job is secure today, you should start looking for remote work options.
Step 2 – Assess Yourself and Your Interests
Before you get down to the assessment of your skills, you should take this opportunity to think of things that you have always wanted to do.
You may have worked as a logistics controller for ten years but deep down you have always wanted to be a photographer. Why not hit two birds with one stone and pursue a remote job in something that you are passionate about?
Take a few days to think about such interests and note them down. Then you can move to the next step: your employment assessment.
Step 3 – Jot Down Your Professional Abilities
If you were laid off, the best way to jump back to employment is to convert your day job into a remote one. All by yourself. But how?
Take the example of Beena from Raipur who was one of a dozen employees who were given furlough in March 2020 by their company in the small savings bank sector. The 32-year-old mother of two was devastated to learn that her salary would stop being credited after two months. However, she refused to be bogged down by the situation. After all, she had bills and EMIs to pay. More than that, a growing family to feed and nurture with her partner.
Within a week, she set up her own small finance consultation business. She now works out of her home while following social distancing measures with her two kids and partner.
If you are in the same position as Beena, the first thing you need to do here is to list down your professional capabilities. Is your profession remote work-friendly? If yes, it’s time to assess your skills and experiences and start your own little office at home.
If you feel you were in the line of fire as a direct impact of the novel coronavirus, you should not lose heart. The fact that you are still employable should give you the confidence to tread forward.
But what if you are looking at a remote job as a side hustle?
Step 4 – Collect Bankable Skills
A smart professional will take advantage of the lockdown situation in India to amass new skills that she can later sell to earn money on the side. If you already have a job, you should think from that angle.
Find a remote job that you are comfortable with and then learn the skills required to be eligible to carry out that job. For instance, if you are interested in cooking, you can think of starting online cookery courses. The skills that you will then need are video production, YouTube, and online video publishing basics, digital marketing, and social media marketing.
It may look complex at the start but all you need is to start with the basic concepts of this skill set to at least enter the remote work scene of that field. In case you’re following the step 2 idea, look out for skills required for that specific job.
Once you have a hold on what services you will offer or what skills you will sell, the next step is to start looking for appropriate remote jobs online.
Step 5 – Start Looking for Remote Jobs
Sites like Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, and Fiverr.com are great global platforms to start looking for relevant remote jobs. However, due to the sheer volume of jobs and a sudden spike in competition these days, it is recommended that you scout for remote jobs locally first. That will give you better and faster results.
Having said that, there are certain jobs that will be easier to find during this harrowing time. Some of them are listed below:
- Freelance writer or editor
- Social media manager
- Web or software developer
- Video development
- Podcast maker
- Remote IT jobs (network engineer)
- YouTube management
- Tableau expert
Even in these broad remote work-friendly professions, there are niches that you can focus on. For example, healthcare writing is a hugely lucrative skill right now. But then, writers with healthcare qualifications will be preferred (or even hired) by those who need it.
If you feel you have to tweak your designation (for example, from digital marketing manager to website manager), do it.
Step 6 – Search Deeper and Smartly
Caught the point about searching for remote jobs in your local area? It’s the best piece of advice you will ever read on this topic because of the current static condition of the entire country or world. Earlier, online remote jobs were preferred for their convenience and talent quality. Right now, it is more of a mandate. An American startup (like Tuxler) which has always had a remote workforce now has similar requirements as an Indian startup based in Bengaluru.
In that vein, it is not enough to search for remote jobs online. You should go deeper and farther.
Here are some tips:
- Talk to professionals in and out of your sector and spread the word about your service offerings
- Put yourself out there on LinkedIn
- Connect with your past colleagues
- Follow message boards on Facebook, Reddit, and other India-based forums
Only when you spread your wings wide will you find a handful of leads. And once you find them, hold on to them.
Step 7 – Set Up Your Process
Working from home may sound easy but only for the first few days. When you have to do it for weeks and months, it can be challenging. So, before you even take up assignments, you should build a rough process first.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Setting up a makeshift office in your house
- Taking care of the essentials like laptop, power, internet, accessories
- Any remote job-specific requirements (e.g.: electronic drawing board for designers)
This is important because just laying a blueprint will give you a fair idea about its feasibility. You don’t want to spend loads of money just to set up an online remote job. In an ideal scenario, it should cost you nothing.
Step 8 – Bring in Your First Customer
Even the smallest request for your service should be seen as an opportunity. Your goal here should be to gain your first customer. It can be in the form of a company looking to get some posters designed, a businessman looking to manage his social media, or a businesswoman looking for assistance in online tutoring her kids.
Your focus should be more on converting the incoming user and less on the finances. A lot of beginner remote workers make the mistake of focusing only on money. That’s a bad move, especially in this pandemic situation.
Step 9 – Focus on Retention
Another mistake that beginners make while remote working from home is to focus on new leads rather than servicing their existing customers.
Client retention is important in remote working because gaining a lead is perhaps the most difficult part. It is a lot easier to lose a client than to gain one. Auxiliary activities like contract creation and legal matters can wait.
Step 10 – Start Another Side Hustle
There is a high chance that your first remote job idea does not take off. And that is where the secondary side hustle comes in.
If you are unable to gain any leads on your chosen remote job even after months, it is time to move to another idea. This is where the lists you made in steps 2 to 4 will help you. Go back and see how else you can put your skills to good use.
Step 11 – What If Nothing Works?
Repeat the steps again. If the perfect remote job seems elusive at the first attempt, try a dozen more times. After all, you still have that spark to do something and succeed in life even during a global crisis such as this. Right?
The situation calls for introspection. But what it also calls for is an exploration of the idea of remote working. Experts have been calling it the future of work for years, and now even the naysayers have joined them with affirmation. This truly is a golden opportunity to start a remote job.