During the Coronavirus Lockdown you may be at home, distressed & worrying about how you’re going to pay your mortgage, rent or bills. Maybe you can work from home?
Working from home is great, but it isn’t for everyone. A lot of people have lost their jobs & livelihoods which is heartbreaking. So, as someone who has worked at home for 4 years as a self-employed graphic designer, I want to offer some tips on how to work from home. If you’re currently out of work, I want to explore how you can use your skills to earn yourself some money online during these tough times. Potentially starting up your own business and changing your life forever.
What you’ll need:
If you want to work online it is essential that you have access to a laptop or computer. Depending on what you will be doing, you probably won’t need anything too fancy to get started. I know it’s obvious, but you’ll also need an internet connection. The majority of households these days will have access to the internet but if you don’t you can always use your phone’s hot-spot. Bear in mind, if working at home becomes permanent for you, it’ll be worth investing in an internet connection, as downloading and uploading will eat away your data!
Get out of home mode:
Having a routine is key. Whether you’re working from home because of the social-distancing measures or you’re looking for freelance work online, always act as if you’re going to work! This means setting an alarm and sticking to your normal, morning routine. Just make sure you get out of those pyjamas! Believe me, this will boost your productivity and will help switching from home mode to work mode.
Find a dedicated area:
Now you’re ready to begin the day but where will you work? You may not have an office but it doesn’t mean you can’t create your own. Rather than sitting on the sofa, try and find a suitable table or surface but just make sure it’s somewhere with few distractions. Having this separate working space will allow you to stay focused throughout the day and divide work from play.
Schedule your day:
You’re now in control of your daily schedule & routine! It sounds great, but to get any work done, you need to plan your productive day ahead. I like to write myself a to-do list each morning so I have something to look at and stick to. I usually use a notepad but there are apps & websites out there such as Asana or Todoist which may help you.
Don’t forget to schedule breaks. Take a lunch break at the same time everyday but also remember to set some time aside to stretch your legs, get a snack and make some tea (or coffee)! These little breaks will allow you to stay productive throughout the day.
What services can you offer?
If you’re interested in working online, you need to find an area that will suit you. I have seen thousands of job opportunities online. You quickly realise you won’t be able to do everything. This is where you need to figure out what skills you can potentially learn or have to offer. To help determine what opportunities would be best for you, here is a list of some freelance areas to get you started:
Once you’ve decided on what you can offer, you will then need to create a portfolio. If you have work already created then that’s great. But if you don’t, you may want to spend some time on personal projects to expand your portfolio. This will also allow you practice or learn something new as you work!
For some of these specialised areas you will need specific software. For example, I wouldn’t be able to survive without the Adobe Creative Suite! Other freelancer areas such as a writer will need an office suite or a developer will need programming software. Make sure to do your research so you can find suitable software for your chosen area.
Your ultimate goal is to have clients find you but to begin, you will need to find the work. I suggest signing yourself up to freelance job websites. On these sites, you will ‘bid’ for work and the client will choose a suitable freelancer by reading through proposals and looking through portfolios. These sites require patience as a lot of people are applying for the projects but they are an excellent way to get your foot in the door.
Some of the sites I have used are:
After trying out different websites, you’ll discover the freelance site that will suit you the most. In the end I stuck to People Per Hour. If you dedicate your efforts into the one site you will find the more reviews you get the easier it is to win your next job. It’s not just that though, the more reputation you build, the more likely potential clients will come to you.
Other ways to gain potential clients is through social media. Not only will sharing your services allow clients to find you but a lot of companies use social media to find freelancers. There are Facebook groups and Twitter pages that allow people to find freelancers.
Another way to build up your client list is word of mouth. You’d be amazed at how many clients you will potentially get through word of mouth!
Keep at it!
My main advice would be to stay positive and keep at it! Believe me, the more projects you complete and reviews you get, the easier it all becomes! You’ll eventually reach a point where you have a continuous line of work from regular clients and you will find the clients will be coming to you!
Who knows, working from home might be something you enjoy and wish to continue when we are out of this Coronavirus Lockdown. If so, I wish you all the luck. But if not, I hope these tips will allow you to earn a bit of extra money through these tough times.
Also, don’t be afraid to contact me for advice should you need it.
Stay safe everyone!