- How to Start Working From Home
- 1. Know your passion and capabilities first in order to identify what kind of services you can offer to others.
- 2. Apply your skill to yourself first before helping others.
- 3. It’s okay to offer your service for free… But, to what extent? Know your worth!
- What You Can Do to Get Some Online Gigs
Recently, out of sudden some of my old friends reached out through Whatsapp and DM across social media to ask me how to start if they also want to work from home. I’m not saying that I’m an expert, but I was happy to give some insights about it. Things that I’ve done that worked, and how they could apply to their daily activity in order to get some remote jobs.
While some were excited to start the journey on their own, I got one of my friends responding with that annoying phrase: “Wow, that sounds like a lot of work.”
I was really hoping to just slap him on his face to get his reality checked. I mean, some people gotta work. And yes, sometimes we need to work hard so that people will see us living in comfort.
It annoyed me so much, but then it gave me some ideas to just compile it in a post to talk about how to start if you want to start working from home, and things you can do to get some gigs online. Here we go!
How to Start Working From Home
The key to comfortably work from home is to never compare what you do and others do. You do you, guys… The best thing for you might not be a good thing for someone else!
This is probably my weakness because I’m happy to share some insights about what worked for me. But man, I can never help you to make things work for you. The mindset to make things work is important, and it can only start from you.
So, what are the first steps you can do if you want to start working from home?
1. Know your passion and capabilities first in order to identify what kind of services you can offer to others.
To be fair, ‘work from home’ journey can be different for everyone.
Some of us have to sacrifice their 24/7 as they have to work a 9-to-5 job, and then do the freelance jobs later to make sure that they’re secured enough before quitting their full-time job. While some others have to take some bitter pill to swallow when they quit their job already and they just forced to find out what they can do to make the ends met.
I’ve done both, so I figure that maybe I should give you some examples of what worked for me and what else that didn’t.
Things That Didn’t Work for Me
I would strongly recommend you to maybe start with the first option if you currently have a full-time job. However, I totally understand that it’s easier to say than done. I mean, I used to do a freelance writing job when I still had my 9-to-5 job, and those two jobs with pressures from each side simply made me suicidal.
I mean, while I did something that I loved (writing) for my freelance job, life itself is never ideal. It could take hours for me to write a piece with deadlines, and sometimes it could take a whole night in order to finish it. There were times when I didn’t have time to sleep, even though I still had to go to work the next day.
With all the pressures from both works, and then the lack of sleep combined with the drained energy you got from commuting around Jakarta… I just couldn’t do it. At the time, I had to run away from my freelance job so that I could focus on my 9-to-5 job instead.
As a result, my last salary didn’t get paid by my employer. It was around $300 AUD or so, as my then-client was Australian based. While the thought that I could have had $300 AUD with me at the time, at least then I understood that maybe having both a full-time and freelance job is not within my capability. I had to choose one of them to stay focused.
But it was just me, since one of my clients could rock both 9-to-5 and her business with minimum problem. The key is to know your workload for both, as well as to excel in your time management.
Things That Worked for Me
Ironically for me, because things turned out fine when I decided to just quit my job with no idea what to do. Initially, I wanted to start my own business only to find out that I’m so sick of selling things because I spent years working in my office job as a salesperson.
But one thing that worked for me is that I always know I have a passion for writing and blogging. I started this blog and my Indonesian one back in 2017. So when I was being a bump with almost no money, I used my time learning things about blogging.
I’ve learned how to manage social media accounts, as well as secured my username across the platforms. I’ve tried to be active in all platforms to grow my blog and social media accounts. I’ve done it to put myself out there. That way, I could find out what method worked for me and what didn’t.
Moreover, I found out what kind of platform that I’m most comfortable with and how I could extend my capabilities there.
2. Apply your skill to yourself first before helping others.
I think this is the mantra of anything in life. Are you familiar with the cliche “you need to love yourself first before you can truly love others?”
Well, guess what? It actually works the same way in your career too. And really, everything else in life. I mean, seriously, how can you change the world if you don’t want to change yourself first?
So for this, it’s always great to have yourself as a guinea pig. Once you do it for yourself, you can see whether it’s useful for you. Do you get any benefits from what you do? If so, how can you make it valuable for others too?
Things That Didn’t Work for Me
As I mentioned previously, I run two blogs. Apart from this blog, I also run my Indonesian blog too. Not so long after I quit my job, I actually focused on my Indonesian blog first because it seems to bring more traffic than this one.
However, there are some reasons why I decided to focus more on this blog instead. I got some gigs for my Indonesian blog in the past, and truth be told… They paid peanuts. Imagine you only got paid around $5 USD for an 600-word article. But I was desperate at the time that $5 USD could mean a little something for me so I had to accept that gig.
That, until I decided to reroute my strategy and grow this blog instead.
While I suppose there are plenty of big bloggers out there who probably charge 4-figure for just a sponsored post on their blog, with this tiny blog of mine I also earn some extra income that is quite decent for living in Indonesia. And I definitely don’t get paid peanuts like if I did it on my Indonesian ones.
Things That Worked for Me
Blogging has worked perfectly for me. I mean, writing and blogging have always been my passion. Like, I run a blog since I just found out about the internet. I remember when I was on the 6th grade, I had a dream about running a website that talks about hot football players with other football fangirls like me as a target market. #fangirlalerts
Once I take blogging seriously, I never really thought that I would actually live out of blogging. But then it took me around a year until I could actually start earning from this blog.
So far, blogging has been the only platform that could do that for me since I’m not really big on Instagram. Besides, I love writing more than taking pics so I guess it’s no surprise that my blogging gigs work better than just being an Instagram influencer.
3. It’s okay to offer your service for free… But, to what extent? Know your worth!
Don’t sell yourself short when your value is higher than that. But then again, as a newbie in something, there’s something to sacrifice to put yourself out there. And sometimes you need to do it for free.
There’s one thing to help people, but there’s another thing to get yourself used by some people. Don’t let the latter happen to you with your valuable skills.
You need to know the border on what you can do for free, and when you need to start charging them. And if so, you also need to know how to negotiate so you can ensure them that they will find values from what you do.
Things That Didn’t Work for Me
When I first started to look for some gigs as a virtual assistant, what I noticed first is how popular Filipino remote workers are in the industry. At first, I really thought it was for their work ethics because I’ve worked with Filipino coworkers before and they’re simply never disappointing.
However, as I found out the work ethics are not just the reason why Filipino virtual assistants are popular. It is also the low rate some of them could offer. It was a bit surprising for me as I found some people actually charge as low as $2 USD per hour.
While I can’t compete with those who charge that low, I suppose I’m quite lucky as I’ve got several local clients already with some extra income for my blog. I definitely don’t want to sell myself short.
Things That Worked for Me
I know some fellow bloggers wouldn’t like the idea of collaborating with brands if you don’t get paid for it. But I personally think that getting free stuff in exchange for a post or two is still acceptable. That, as long as I can get some values from the product.
For example, if I never tried the product before and I wanted to know how that works so I can share my first impression to my readers. Or if I really love the product that I can stock up for me to use later.
I think the best thing about working from home is that you become your own boss. You can always decide which works for you, and what things you can avoid. Again, what’s good for others could probably not work well with you. You need to dig into it to find how it turns out.
What You Can Do to Get Some Online Gigs
Starting out to get yourself some knowledge about what you can do to work from home is relatively easy. The hardest part is to find the platform to actually get some money out of it. Like, how do you find the right clients? Or what can you do to secure yourself some sustainable gigs?!
You’ll be surprised by how beneficial networking could do to you. I mean, I got my first local client through my sister’s friend. And just recently, I got a new gig from someone I randomly met in Vietnam a couple of years ago.
Now that I think about it, I think the reason why I don’t really make it for my Indonesian blog is due to a lack of networking. Attending events is important to get some gigs here in Indonesia, and I kinda suck at it because I’m not really into meeting people. Let alone strangers. 😛
However, I’m quite good at networking online. So that’s what I do. That’s how I got my first international client as well. Facebook groups have become my favorite platform to network with others, and that’s what works best for me.
2. Sign up to some freelance website and apply as many gigs as you can through it.
I personally never had any good luck with those platforms, so I can’t really speak for myself. But I know people who succeed getting their gigs through those platforms. So I guess, why not trying to sign up there to see whether you have better luck than me?! 😉
3. Be professional. Whatever you do, do it the best you can.
For real though. Maintain your service, do what you can do best and stick at that level. If you work with a client and they’re pleased with what you do, it can be a sustainable gig for you. And not just that, knowing that you tend to network with like-minded people, your client can also refer you to their acquaintance that will lead to yet another gig for you to live by.
I mean, sure you probably wear your sweatpants while working from home. And God knows how many days you haven’t washed your hair simply because you’re too lazy to get your hair wet. But don’t let your client know about it when you present your work.
Be presentable when needed, and you’re good to go!
Working from home is obviously not as easy as it seems to be. In fact, it’s probably not for everyone. But if it’s for you, it might have become the gem that you feel lucky to find.