Hey there Sea Changers. Today's post has been inspired by some research I have been doing lately in regards to changes to our daily work lives as a result of current world events. It seems that everything I have been reading is about people who are either working from home instead of in the office, or looking for work home opportunities to shield them from influences outside their control in the future. It also appears from my research that in regards to those looking to earn money online that there are 3 main options that they are looking into. So, on that note, let's check out 3 online work from home opportunities that may work for you in 2020.
1. Affiliate Marketing/blogging
Our first option, Affiliate Marketing, will not make you money immediately but it is a fantastic way to create an ongoing sustainable business that will sustain an income for years to come. Affiliate programs are setup directly by companies or marketplace platforms (Amazon, Ebay etc.) that allow you to join and then refer traffic to them via customised affiliate links. The beauty here is that you can create an affiliate marketing business on just about any subject that you like – as in – you can build a business based on your passion.
Say for example your passion is fishing. You spend your time writing about all of the subjects that solve the fishing problems of your readers such as:
- What hooks are best for different fish
- Compare types of fishing rods
- What fish are best to chase at each time of year
And so on… As you are writing your posts you then refer your readers to a link where they can purchase your recommended hooks, rods etc. directly from the vendors. The vendors then pay you a commission for the sale. This way you can promote and sell items without you having to hold inventory or organise shipping meaning you can also promote the latest and greatest products as well.
How does it work?
Even though as mentioned above, Affiliate Marketing will not make you any money immediately, in general it is not a difficult process to set up. In short, it is a simple four step process:
- Choose your Niche – This is the beauty of it all – What would YOU like to set up your business around?
- Build a Website – Your website is where you will write your posts and solve problems for your readers.
- Attract visitors – This is what takes the time – but in short you do this by solving problems and writing about the things your target audience need to know about.
- Monetize your site – Here we are talking about adding affiliate program links – but there are numerous other ways this can be done as well.
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How do you join affiliate programs?
In most cases, you will need to apply to become an affiliate for that program. Individual companies will usually want to know what your site is about and how you plan to promote their products. Some are quite picky and will reject you if you do not take the time to explain who you are and what you plan to do. Others, such as Amazon, will let you join without any real issues however will reject your application at a later time if you have not driven at least three sales to them in the first three months (you can reapply without any problems though).
Finding affiliate programs is generally not a difficult task either. To locate them, you would normally just type “Affiliate: “niche” into your preferred search engine. An example below is to do with our fishing example above:
As you search through your results, look for programs that:
- Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
- Have quality products – your brand can be severely damaged if you promote poor quality or unsafe products.
- Have solid payment and customer service arrangements.
- Pay decent commissions.
- Have good testimonials covering commission payouts and quality of product.
- Whether they have high ticket items you can promote on the side.
2. Freelance Writing
If you are looking to make money a little faster (or something to keep some income rolling in whilst you set up your affiliate marketing business), then maybe you could try your hand at freelance writing. If you have the skills or experience, then you can apply for freelance writing positions in areas such as:
- Instructional design
- Technical writing
- Academic writing
- Advertising copy
- Company documents (business plans etc.)
- Speech writing
- Book writing
- Language translation
In fact, if it is something that can be written, there is usually someone looking for someone else to write it for them.
How does It work?
As with everything, there are a number of websites available that can get you access to some paid work as a freelance writer (or graphic designer etc. if that is where your skill lies). In general, say I was looking for someone to write some blog posts for this site (reach out if you think it could be you), I would post on one of the sites below and outline:
- What I want done
- What my niche is
- How I want it done – i.e. writing style etc.
- Who my target audience is
- What problem the article needs to solve
- SEO/keyword requirements
- Timeframes for completion
Plus anything else that is pertinent to the task at hand. From there you, as the freelance writer will respond to my post outlining skills and experience as to how you can meet my needs. This process can be vastly different dependent upon the type of post needed and the platform on which the job is being posted. For example, some will set a price per hour or per completion whilst others will allow bidding for the job.
Regardless, if this is something that you are interested in, do your research and put together a portfolio of work and outline any experience you may have. This is a competitive industry and it can take a while to get your name out there and to prove yourself but once you do, good freelance writers can make up to 6 figure incomes annually.
How do you find freelance work?
As mentioned above, there are a few websites out there that can assist you in finding some freelance work. Like most jobs, online or not, preference is often given to those with experience so it can take a while to get your foot in the door – usually via acceptance of low paying jobs (that are below the pay grade of experienced writers) until you get some runs on the board. However, some sites to look out for include:
Upwork – Upwork is probably the biggest and most widely used freelance writing platform there is. It is highly competitive with 1000s of writers on there looking for work. Potential writers need to apply before they are allowed to tender for jobs and Upworks are fairly brutal on who they let in so if you are applying, make sure your application is comprehensive outlining your experience and examples of work.
Fiverr – Fiverr works in a similar vein to Upworks however freelancers offer ‘gigs' starting at $5 per pop (hence the name) – i.e. such as 5 food blog post, post editing or 3 social media posts etc. As you get more gigs you can also up your starting price allowing you to make better money. Alternatively, if you do a good gig for someone they are allowed to re-hire you at a better rate via the payment of tips.
There are numerous others that you can use also that are a little smaller than the likes of Upworks as well so you may do better here as a beginner:
- Craigslist – search freelance writers – in most cases you need to search a particular city however if you look around there are sites that do this work for you and list jobs from multiple areas/countries.
- Seek.com – or any other job search site
- Bloggingpro.com – similar to Upworks
- Mediabistro – TV, PR/marketing, magazine and book publishing and social media
I guess the main thing to be aware of here is that whilst Freelance work might make you some money at a faster rate, you will need to continue to do the work to get paid as it is not something that you can build into a passive income producing business (such as via affiliate marketing). That said, as mentioned above, it may be a good way to keep the bank account ticking over until your affiliate business starts to earn money.
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3. Virtual Assistant
The third option we have here is to become a Virtual Assistant (VA). VAs generally offer administrative type services to anyone from corporate professionals, artists, self-employed small business owners and even affiliate marketers – and that is just a tiny example of the types of people looking for these services.
What services are they? Well to be honest, the list of requirements can be even larger than the type of people employing a VA however common task types include:
- Diary management – scheduling appointments etc.
- Answering emails
- Making phone calls
- Arranging travel
- Proof reading
- Responding to enquiries
- Payroll and bookkeeping
- Website and/or Social Media management
- Email marketing campaign management
The key here is the ‘virtual' part of the equation, meaning tasks are generally anything that can be performed online from anywhere in the world.
How does It work?
Essentially, the process required to become a virtual assistant works in a similar fashion to a physical job. A prospective employer will advertise their requirements via online job or task sites (see below) and you apply as you would for any normal position.
On the other side of the fence, if you are interested in picking up some work within a particular skill set, then you can add your profile to the freelance platforms as mentioned above.
How do you find VA work?
Within the freelance section above, we checked out some platforms that can provide access to VA work as well such as Upwork and Fiverr. However, a simple search for “virtual assistant work” within your favourite search engine can also yield some pretty good results (geographically based):
VA work is particularly good for those looking to establish a longer term online income as like freelance work, jobs can quite often turn into ongoing gigs. Again however you will need to continue to do the work to get paid as it is not something that you can build into a passive income producing business. Again as with freelancing however, it may be a good way to keep the bank account ticking over until your affiliate business starts to earn money.
So there you have it… 3 Online Work From Home Opportunities that you can check out in 2020. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and the options you choose really come down to whether you are after some quick cash, a ‘job’ or to build a solid long term online business. I hope this has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.
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Until next time
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