First Forays into Web Development – Tackling the BEAST

Okay, the title of this post is a lie.

I’ve been messing around/working with websites for years. I learned HTML back in the pre-Broadband era on Neopets of all places (I was 11 or 12 – don’t judge me). I learned I could use it to make my messages on the forums “prettier”. It was a lot of fun.

When I started writing for money, I learned about SEO (accidentally first, then on purpose).

I even tried my hand at blogging a few times. I set up basic websites with the likes of WordPress and other tools (good old Weebly… what a heap of shite).

Then, I got my first digital marketing job (online dating comparison – I’ve had a damn weird career). I had to deal with an ancient, outdated CMS (ironically called “CMS Made Simple”). So naturally, you can imagine how happy I was when I set up this blog with WordPress.

Thanks to digital marketing, my knowledge of HTML and CSS grew exponentially.

cms made simple
YUCK. Admittedly, the “made simple” part was probably aimed at developers, not humble content managers.

Beyond markup languages, I learned how to use File Transfer Protocol. In my last job, I was even tasked with building and landing pages (content, code, EVERYTHING) despite being a “Media Analyst” (whatever that title meant…).

In my spare time, I did courses with Codecademy. I tried to learn programming (JavaScript & Python) but got bored (in retrospect, it was the way they did it and not the languages themselves).

It wasn’t until a few months ago (after I became unemployed – again) that I began my real education in web development (thanks, CareerFoundry).

To my surprise, I learned that I already have a huge tonne of frontend knowledge. I’m still doing the course and let me tell you – frontend is the easy part. It’s still a challenge, but there’s something very satisfying about writing code, tweaking it, changing it and then sitting back to see what you’ve created.

PSST! If you want to see my gloriously bad first attempt at my very first website, check out http://liam-hennessy-test.000webhostapp.com/. It will definitely improve as time goes on, but for now feel free to laugh at the horror that is the first site I built from scratch.

I’m pretty confident in the basics of frontend now more than I ever was.

Now I’m REALLY digging into JavaScript and moving to the backend.

I won’t lie: programming is fucking HARD. It’s fun, too: but if you’ve never worked with logic before, it’s a massive learning curve. I’ve only just gotten the basics of JS – namely, learned what the data types are and what functions and conditionals are (a piece of piss in comparison to for loops – good Jesus…).

As hard as it is, I plan on sticking with JavaScript until I know it. Do I want to be a developer? The honest answer is – I don’t know. I love tech and I love open source software. I’ve still got a few months left on the course, so I’ve still got time to determine whether this really is a career path I want to follow.

That being said, I’m really glad I chose to put my head down for a few months and learn web dev properly. The thing is, even if you don’t want to be a developer…

…having a strong technical background opens up many, many more doors.

This is something that’s been playing on my mind in recent months.

Being unemployed, I still have to apply for jobs. I’m taking this as a learning experience and have changed up my resume here and there to see what sort of responses I get (I have about 10+ versions of it, depending on the job I’m applying for).

I’m not ready to apply for junior dev/tech jobs yet – so I’m still sticking with digital marketing positions. Since I wax lyrical about my strong frontend knowledge, responses to my applications have been overwhelmingly positive. Even in digital marketing, strong tech skills are a massive plus. Digital marketers are in even more demand if they know their way around websites and understand how developers think.

But what about you? Not sure if web development is right for you? Well, I’ve learned a couple of things that may ease your mind. If becoming a developer is what you always wanted, read on!

Want to be a web developer? Some surprising things I’ve learned (so far)

Web development (and software engineering in general) takes time. You won’t pick up the skills you need in a couple of days (or even weeks, or months). There is a LOT of information to absorb: especially if you’re like me and you come from a more creative/artsy-fartsy background. That being said, it is entirely possible. It just involves a lot of hard work.

I think many of us have a lot of misconceptions about what web dev entails. Time to dispel them!

Web dev isn’t just about building websites

Shockingly, the actual process of building a website is the easy part. Wireframing, design, figuring out site structure, coding in HTML, creating lovely buttons in CSS, adding JavaScript for interactivity. Once you know how to do that, it’s not just easy. It’s a hell of a lot of fun!

The thing is, though…

…a significant portion of a web developer’s job is problem solving.

You may have the design and structure down, but you’ve also got to think about the code. Indent it properly, so that when you return to the project in a few months you can pick up where you left off and not be scratching your head about what something means.

Web developers end up spending a lot of their time on small, annoying problems. You can spend hours trying to figure out why a particular piece of code isn’t working only to realize that the problem was staring you in the face the whole time.

Web developers aren’t just builders. They’re problem solvers. Things shouldn’t be done quickly – they should be done properly. And that takes time.

No web developer (or programmer) knows everything

Crazy, right?

Not really. Obviously, the longer you do it the better you get. The more code you know off the top of your head. Even the most senior developers, however, have to turn to the search engines for their answers. That’s why there are so many communities based around different languages. If you’re experiencing a problem, it’s highly likely someone else has encountered it before.

That’s where you can go onto sites like StackOverflow and see if someone’s come up with a solution. As a developer, you’re also allowed to ask for help.

The two last points really put my mind at ease. You’re not just paid to create sites and apps – you’re paid to solve problems. While it’s early days for me yet, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t mind web dev as a career. We’ll just wait and see.

PS: Well, you can wait. I’ve still got a lot of work to do on my site…

How Much? Some Top-Paying Location Independent Careers

A long time ago, I began my online career as a freelance writer (aka: in my case, “I’ll write anything for money!”).

My first jobs came from awful content mills. Later, I got my own clients – some of whom paid a pittance. Others were more generous. Eventually, I learned to ask for what I was worth.

counting money
And then I was loaded… LOADED, I tell you! (Not really.)

During this time, every project and assignment had one thing in common: I could do my work from anywhere. Admittedly, my take-home pay wasn’t huge. It didn’t matter. In those days, I was happy to cover my rent and my bar tab. Oh, and food. I also had to pay for food.

Everything I did was via email or Skype (Slack didn’t exist in those days – well, not to me anyway). Communication, corrections, outreach and client acquisition were all handled over the Internet. Okay, so you can bet that I also placed my Internet bill as equally high in importance!

old lady welcome to the internet
My first day on the job was weird, but that’s the Internet!

Fast forward several years later and I see countless blogs and news articles talking about the benefits of working remotely. There are studies proving its effectiveness and even big companies like Stripe have openly talked about implementing a remote work policy.

There’s also a lot of press around digital nomads, those devil-may-care go-getters who live wherever they want and maintain a career. Well, okay, digital nomadism takes a lot of planning so “devil-may-care” probably isn’t the right description for these individuals.

But what’s the state of location independence these days? If you want to live and work anywhere, do you have to resign yourself to freelancing and financial insecurity? It simply begs the question…

Can you really have a location independent career that commands a high salary?

Way back when, many employers used “remote” as a reason to pay their employees less. It is still a phenomenon that sadly occurs today when talking about remote work and salary.

With more and more highly skilled and specialized work from home jobs appearing, this should no longer be the case. Anyone with a unique set of skills and years of experience can command a better pay packet and still work from wherever they please.

After doing a bit of research, I uncovered quite a few pretty surprising, high-paid (and often senior) roles that don’t require you to be in the office.

Note: While these high-paying, location independent careers can be found, it may take a bit of work to convince bosses to allow for any degree of remote work. But keep in mind that it is possible. In addition, your level of seniority may give you an advantage.

 

Let’s Dive in: Location Independent Careers That Pay a Bomb

Recruiter

Wait… That’s not a tech job. Nope, but not every remote job has to be in tech (despite what telecommute boards will have you believe). Even so, this job may seem like an odd choice to slap the label “telecommute” onto, but let’s hold up for a minute…

Have you ever been approached by a recruiter? If so, where did they approach you? It probably wasn’t on your way to work, or when you were at home feeding the cats/children. Most recruiters contact candidates via phone, email or (more commonly these days), social media (LinkedIn being the favorite).

So, you can bet your ass most recruiters spend a lot of their time behind a desk. They can recruit from literally anywhere… Making this a very viable remote job. Of course, it also depends on the specifics. Some recruiters work within specific areas. Others are more international in their scope (I was approached by a recruiter from Malaysia).

How much do recruiters earn? According to Workable, the average salary is US$ 45,360 per year. That’s average – it can go up to $70,000. Depending on your success level, it can be even more.

Project Manager

Project Managers work in a wealth of different industries. Yes many are in tech, but this is a job that quite literally pays people to make sure shit gets done. So, when it comes to being remote-friendly, it may not immediately seem that most suited. After all, shouldn’t a Project Manager be checking up on their colleagues, ensuring that targets and deadlines are met?

Well, think about it. How many Project Managers do you know who actually go out into the field to check if things are being done? I’m sure it happens in some industries, but for many others… It’s just not necessary. Even if the project isn’t specifically technical, Project Management is simply a title for those who run projects and coordinate workflows. They are in charge of workflows, task management, prioritization, cost proposals and ensuring execution. They should also be highly organized.

The bottom line is that most of a Project Manager’s job is based on organization and communication. There is also a lot of PM software house there which was created specifically for this role – which lends itself very well to remote work.

How much do Project Managers earn? According to FlexJobs, US$65,000-US$105,000 a year. I wouldn’t sniff at that.

Senior Business Analyst

Now we’re diving into more technical jobs. Probably one of the more droll-sounding yet highly-paid careers out there. I’m willing to bet a lot of people in this profession often have the right (or the need) to work remotely. Basically, a Senior Business Analyst makes sure that processes run smoothly: they test for bugs in software, troubleshoot technical issues and ensure that things are maintained to a specific standard.

So, as you can see, it involves a high level of technical knowledge. At the same time, you don’t need to be a full-on developer. Technical skills aside, a healthy dose of business acumen is also necessary.

Well, what about the money? FlexJobs states that the average salary for a Senior Business Analyst is $57,000 – $90,000.

UX (User Experience) Researcher

One of the “newer” tech jobs. UX Design and Research are EXPLODING at the moment. What’s handy about this profession is that it requires a lot of skills that are transferrable from other professions (such as aspects of digital and performance marketing). Specifically, UX Research analyse websites and sales processes before recommending solutions to increase customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Actually, it even goes beyond revenue – UX isn’t just for websites, it’s for just about every piece of technology handled by humans.

This job can be “fully digital”, but plenty of researchers also get together in person. Since that’s not always possible, it’s also a very viable “remote” career.

What’s the compensation? Payscale.com says EUR 46,000 per year (if you’re American, convert it yourself – I’m too lazy).

Teleradiologist

A what?

Basically, a radiologist who works remotely. Traditionally, the majority of health care jobs could only be done in a specific location. Doctors, nurses, medical specialists etc… Teleradiology is that little bit different. Their input is needed on X-rays which are normally sent to them, making it a very viable remote career.

Of course, this particular role is quite rare at the moment.

What’s the compensation? US$100,000 – $400,000 per year, apparently (thanks, FlexJobs).

DevOps Engineer

Probably the least surprising job when it comes to telecommute-friendliness. It’s an IT job. As a highly skilled profession, they work closely with software developers and other tech staff to oversee code releases. This is a role where you have to break the barriers between development, testing and operations. Basically, you hold the digital presence of a company together.

And of course, since it’s all on a computer there’s really very little need to work in an actual office.

How much $$? According to FlexJobs, the average salary is US$80,000-US$100,000.

What Can Digital Nomad Communities Do for Me?

For the introverts among us, the following is unfortunately true: people need people.

Human beings are social animals. Even those of us who prefer limited social contact need it sometimes. That’s why online communities have always been popular and will always remain popular.

That’s also why online communities based on specific niches and interests do well (if that niche is big enough).

For the working globetrotters among us, online digital nomad communities serve to fulfill that need. These platforms let you chat with other nomads, exchange ideas and can even be used to network (important even if you have a permanent remote job – even more so if you’re a freelancer). On top of that, they’re a handy place to make new friends.

bloody hands dark background
Don’t let the above picture alarm you – meeting strangers off the Internet is less risky these days (though a hint of caution is ALWAYS advised).

Believe me, as a digital nomad you’ll need to learn how to make friends. Not everyone can just wander into a bar and start chatting to people. Starting friendships online offers a way of easing you into the process (not very different from online dating – just with fewer dick pics… we hope).

With all of that said, probably one of the biggest advantages of digital nomad communities is…

…the ability to contact other nomads already living in your new destination.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of this particular type of community and see how exactly they can benefit you as a nomad. Maybe you already had an idea – but now its time to execute it.

Networking: Speak to other nomads in your industry

With the rise of remote work, it’s easier than ever to network without having to go to boring business meetups. Social media allows for a fluid exchange between people in the same industry – and that’s truly a blessing. Especially as a freelancing nomad, you should always be on the lookout for new gigs and opportunities. This means cultivating relationships.

The likes of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can help you network with professionals in your industry who may or may not be nomadic. However, digital nomad communities will get you in touch with those who are not only in your industry, but who also know the nomadic life. Your unique experiences may very well help you land a new gig, part-time job or full-time remote position.

Get the lowdown on your new home, before you travel there

Are you currently living in Strasbourg, France but looking to move further east – like Berlin, or even Kiev? Sure, there are a lot of ways you can find out about your new prospective home before your plane even touches down. Plenty of travel sites and blogs are available – you can look at cost-of-living stats and even connect with expat and international groups in the major cities of that region (which I would highly recommend).

Online digital nomad communities can offer you that – and more. If there are a few nomads living (or who have lived) in your next chosen destination, you can strike up a conversation and ask them what it was like. They can give you insight specifically unique to nomads (such as how easy it is to find affordable, low-cost accommodation) and how much coworking spaces cost.

Make friends before you arrive

Okay, I wouldn’t call complete strangers “friends” just yet – but digital nomad communities can give you the opportunity to connect with people in real life. If there are any nomads living in your destination city, simply hit them up and see if they’d like to go for a drink, show you around etc. It can be a good way of combating the loneliness that often creeps up when you arrive in a new place for the first time.

And of course, meeting a new person can cause a chain reaction and get you introduced to others.

So then, what are some good digital nomad communities?

You can find a good list of them digital nomad communities here. However, the following are what I’d consider my “favorites”.

Nomad List

You could say that Nomad List is more than just an online community for digital nomads. It’s also a tool – a database of 2000+ cities from all over the world. In addition, it offers to connect users with 100,000+ digital nomads who live in these cities. Additionally, Nomad List offers a remote job board. There’s a basic, Slack-style chat room that you can openly see and sign up to. Topics are segregated by a hashtag (#) under names like “#Toronto”, “#Crypto”, “#United-States” and “#Startups” (there’s obviously FAR more than that).

To actually participate and chat, you have to create an account and login. Luckily, you also get access to their other features. This can be great for scoping out new places to live.

Global Digital Nomad Network

There are also quite a few not-so-great digital nomad communities out there… Often what makes them bad is simply the fact that there aren’t many active members. That’s what’s great about the Global Digital Nomad Network (from WebWorkTravel). What’s more, they’re on Facebook. Yes, Facebook is still relevant in a lot of cases!

Flylancer

The focus with Flylancer is on meeting people “offline”. So of course, you can create an account, login and chat to people. Not everyone on Flylancer is a digital nomad: but many of them are freelancers and remote workers. What does this mean for globetrotters? It’s means that there are some excellent options when it comes to networking.

Meetup.com

Meetup.com has been going for quite a while. Unlike other communities on this short list, it’s not specifically geared towards digital nomads. However, you’ll find interest groups of almost every type here. Looking for friends? See if there are any social activities happening in the city you’re currently living in.

And… if there’s a demand for something, you can create your own group as well!

Conclusion

If you just want to meet new people, it’s important to pull out all the stops. Networking and gathering new contacts for job and business opportunities may require you to join a different type of community whereas expat groups may be good for just meeting friends. Whatever the case may be, you need

 

Can You Make Money Freelance Writing? – Well…

The broad term “freelance writer” applied to me way back when I began my career. I had just moved to a new country. I survived off odd jobs and savings. One of those odd jobs was writing articles online. Although the dollar I got in return (especially when converted to euro) wasn’t much… it upped my income significantly.

peanuts
I was still earning peanuts… but enough to get by.

As I wrote more and got paid more, I slowly started to appreciate the situation I found myself in. The feeling of freedom and independence was intoxicating. So, I made freelance writing my full-time pursuit for the next few years. Like a lot of writers these days, I started at the bottom with low-paying clients (read: horrible content mills).

The desire to earn more money pushed me to market myself and find new opportunities (all online). I thankfully landed myself a handful of well-paying clients. Being treated like an actual person (what!?) was… refreshing.

london brokers content mill
My first “content mill”… Not as fancy as its name.

“Can you make money freelance writing?” comes up a lot on Google, forums and social media. Successful freelance writers and bloggers have already answered this with a resounding Yes!

Those (successful) bloggers and freelance writers are right. You can make money as a freelance writer. The thing is… That’s not the question you should be asking. In fact, forget that question entirely. It would be more relevant to ask…

Can I make enough money as a freelance writer to fund the lifestyle I want?

By “lifestyle” I’m not referring to yachts, chauffeurs, multiple residences and 35+ servants. I mean a good standard of living: the ability to comfortably pay your rent/mortgage, cover basic expenses (healthcare etc.), save money and occasionally travel/go on holiday. I’ve seen many freelance writing projects advertised that wouldn’t cover the cost of a Happy Meal.

pikachu squirtle happy meal
All that work and not even a toy…

The answer to this question is trickier. You see, there’s something many budding freelance writers forget and it’s this: freelance writing is a business like any other. Don’t have business aptitude? Well, you’d better acquire some.

DON’T quit your day job – What to do instead

Forget the cliché of quitting your job to do the thing you love. Unless you’re independently wealthy or have another source of income, that kind of bullshit doesn’t fly in the real world. The first thing you need to do is know your expenses.

Back when I was starting out, I’d bring in US$1,200.00/month on average (that was a bit less in euro). I had luck on my side: I lived in a “cheap” city and in general, Germany’s cost of living (groceries, going out, etc.) is relatively low. On an hourly basis, I could earn between US$10.00-20.00. It seemed like a good wage at the time – until I factored in how much I worked. Some days, it was 10+ hours. Others, I barely worked three.

If you aim to be a proper professional (as you should), the standard fee a freelance copywriter should charge is around US$50.00 or more.

For anyone starting out (especially if you don’t have much experience), that can seem like a lot. Almost too much, in fact.

Well – get over it.

You’ve got costs to pay. Just like any other business. Even though you’re mainly running it from your laptop, you should consider…

  • The cost of equipment: This includes your smartphone, laptop and other add-ons such as a comfortable place to work (desk & chair – if that’s how you roll) as well as Internet and phone bill (mobile data if you work on the go a lot), hosting for your blog/website etc.
  • Health insurance: Varies by country – but for most people, you’ll have put some money away. One of the few exceptions I know of is the UK – unless you opt for private insurance.
  • Income protection: Again, some countries may have sufficient social welfare to fall back on making this not so much of an issue.
  • Contributions to social welfare/security: Even in countries with good social welfare, you’re required to pay contributions to social welfare.
  • Pension scheme: Even if your country has a state pension, it’s still good to put some money away for retirement.
  • Taxes: Obviously!
  • Other business expenses: Meetings with clients (if they insist on physically meeting in person), etc.
  • And of course, your own wage: How much can you comfortably live on once you’ve subtracted everything else?

Once again, the exact amount you should be charging also depends on where you live. If you’re in Scandinavia, it would cost you a lot more than it would in Thailand. Either way however, US$50.00 per hour is the minimum you should charge.

Will Clients Really Pay Me That Amount?

Any client who tries to stiff you for the lowest amount isn’t a client worth having. There is of course nothing wrong with your client negotiating a slightly lower rate. There’s also nothing wrong with being a little bit flexible, but don’t go too low. Not only does this ruin things for other writers, but it also means lowering your own expectations.

Good clients will pay good rates. The real challenge is finding those clients. That’s where the “business” part of freelance writing comes into play. You are a business and you are selling a service. Get out there and do your marketing!

megaphone
Feel free to yell at people with a megaphone if you think that works. Personally, I’d recommend networking, blogging and getting creative online.

It’s easy for me to say that any client who tries to stiff you isn’t a client worth having. I mean, it is true – but there are certainly times when you’ll feel desperate. However, that’s where having a business plan comes in. That’s why you shouldn’t quit your day job: you may very well need that job to help you get your freelance business up and running.

Making a living as a freelance writer is far from impossible. Many writers consider it a rewarding career. Yet the takeaway here is to never stop thinking of yourself as a business. The job of a writer is more than just typing and sending documents. Work won’t fall into your lap, at least not in the beginning.

Finding Remote Jobs on Indeed.com (It’s Surprisingly Easy)

Did you know there are probably more remote jobs on Indeed.com (and its variations) than even all remote job boards combined?

Like many job seekers across the world, the platform has always been my go-to for finding new jobs. That wasn’t the case when I decided I specifically wanted a work at home position. In fact, I threw it on the backburner and forgot about it. I focused only on platforms like Remotive, RemoteOK and Working Nomads.

That was a mistake.

While I got an interview here and there, I quickly realized that I was at a disadvantage. First, I’m not based in the United States: unfortunately, the majority of roles on work at home sites prefer those based in either the US or Canada. Secondly, with so much competition your chances of actually getting an interview are slim.

That’s when I decided to pull out more stops. I tried Stepstone, Monster and Indeed… The latter turned out to be a useful resource. As one of the world’s most well-known job portals, this platform gets 250 million unique visitors per month. On average, 9.8 jobs are added to the site per second. Even if you’re not a fan of online job sites, it is still a good tool to have in your arsenal.

Of course, you have to know how to use it correctly.

There are just as many, if not more, remote job openings on Indeed.com than other platforms.

Before we go further, keep the following in mind: the keyword “Remote” is frequently used to advertise work from home jobs on “traditional” job search engines… but not always. In fact, thousands of companies on Indeed that offer telecommute positions don’t actively advertise it. That’s where getting an interview is key – once you speak to a hiring manager, you can start asking about their remote policies.

Before we get there, let’s focus on the task at hand. You want to find a bunch of remote jobs on Indeed.com that you can apply to. Depending on where you’re looking, it can be simple or a little more complicated…

The First Method: Search remote jobs on Indeed.com through filtering

This is probably the most straightforward and pain-free way of filtering out non-remote positions on platform. You just have to type keywords related to your role under the “What” section of the search engine. Then, under “Where”, simply type “Remote” (or “Work at Home”…).

That’s it.

remote job indeed com canada search
Tip: Try this a bunch of times, using different keyword variations for both “What” and “Where”.

There’s a catch, though: As far as I can tell, this method only works in on the UK, USA, Australian and Canadian versions of the site. I’ve tried it out on the German, Dutch and Irish versions – but none of these sites offer “Remote” as an alternative to location. When testing it out with the Irish platform, I got the following:

remote job indeed com ireland search

It sucks if you’re not physically located in the Greater Anglophone Area.

Don’t give up, though. If you live somewhere awkward like I do (Germany), try searching for work at home (or “home based”) positions in the UK, USA and Australia. A company that advertises a telecommute position in one country may still be open to candidates from abroad. In my experience, remote positions in the US tend to be the most “restrictive”. However, if you’re located in Europe, UK companies hiring remotely may be open to candidates working from the rest of the EU. It can’t hurt to send an application anyway. Well, maybe a letter bomb… but that’s unlikely.

Still no luck? Don’t give up hope…

Perhaps you don’t live in any of the aforementioned countries. Maybe you’ve sent out a couple of applications anyway, only to be rejected simply based on your location. While other country versions of Indeed.com don’t seem to have a dedicated “Remote” filter, you can still find them. You’ve just gotta get a little creative.

A quick note: “Remote” does not always mean “work anywhere”. As I have pointed out before, there may be location restrictions. Which is understandable to a degree. A company may, for legal reasons, want a remote worker who is at least legally eligible to work in the country they are based in. Or perhaps they may simply want that person to at least be an hour’s flight away to occasionally attend meetings in the flesh.

 

This method simply involves typing your job role and “Remote” (or related keywords) into the “What” section.

remote job indeed com canada search 2

Under “Where”, simply type the country you’re searching in. Or the city, if you want to explore options in your locality. Even as a remote worker, you may prefer to commute some of the time so it’s still useful to be able to filter out geographical location.

Don’t forget to try this using all variations of remote or their equivalents in your own language. For example, I usually perform separate searches in German and English as they both bring up lots of results. In German I might use the variations “Home Office”, “Heimarbeit” and “Telearbeit”. In English, variations can include “Remote”, “Remote Work”, “Home-Based” etc…

Last but not least… Just ask

If you see a job that doesn’t explicitly state whether remote work is allowed (they may wax lyrical about their “lovely office”, which always puts me off…), send an application anyway, should the role seem like a perfect fit otherwise. In this stage of the process, you’re not trying to get a job. You’re trying to start a conversation. You want to find out more about the role and whether it will interest you. “Remote” is, for all intents and purposes, just a detail (but one that many employers seem to be rather precious about…) it’s no different to asking about perks, vacation time and salary.

 

Working Remotely? Don’t Let Your Employer Skimp on Salary

Remote work and telecommuting offer huge benefits to everyone. In fact, there are more perks for employers than there are for employees.

Firstly, overheads (heat, lighting, subsidized food/coffee/drinks) are significantly reduced. Greater flexibility means happier, more motivated and ultimately more productive employees. This has the knock-on effect of reducing employee turnover (yet another reduced cost for the company).

As an employee who works remotely, you may however feel like the company is doing you a favor by letting you work from home. Many of us have heard the phrase “be grateful you have a job” ad nauseum. Even if the job sucks a little. While a full-time remote work arrangement is fantastic (especially for digital nomads) – there is a slightly negative side-effect.

Quite a few telecommuters may think…

Well, they’re already giving me a lot of freedom… Maybe I shouldn’t be too pushy about asking for a raise/more money.

After all, you can also save a lot of cash. Location independence means fewer transport costs, a home outside of an expensive city center. It’s a pretty neat deal. Hell, you can even move to that cheap, creepy cabin in the woods if your little heart desires.

cabin working remotely
…just make sure you have Internet!

Some employers may (knowingly or even unknowingly) capitalize on this attitude and use “remote” as an excuse to pay less. A lot of us don’t feel compelled to complain about this unfair treatment, mainly because working from home is such a huge benefit.

Well, that’s nonsense. Costs or no costs, you deserve to be paid what you’re worth.

You’re still doing the same job. Producing the same (or sometimes better, according to the data) results. Maybe you’re a web developer working on code, a social media manager improving engagement, brand awareness and ultimately profit. Maybe you’re a wizard VA who just gets shit done – in time.

The only real difference is that your in-office counterparts are… Well, sitting in a different building.

That’s not a good reason to feel like you shouldn’t ask for more. Oftentimes, the salary we draw is also equated to time spent in the office. For office workers, perceived productivity begins the moment they sit at their desks. Or when they turn on the computer.

For remote workers, it’s trickier: that’s why so many of us overwork. There’s still the misconception that if you’re not in the office, you’re not really working (or, you’re slacking off completely).

Salary negotiations when you work from home

The good news here is that asking for a raise isn’t a telecommute-specific problem. Even in-office workers may not see their boss/supervisor every day (depending on how big the company is). It’s still something you have to “prep” yourself for. When working remotely, you need to contact them directly.

So, what should you do if you want a raise? Before asking, keep the following in mind:

  • Avoid text. Don’t ask for a raise directly via emails or Slack messages. Important issues like this shouldn’t be conveyed over text. Simply write a message and request a phone call/video chat (or in-person meeting, if it’s possible to comfortably travel to the office).
  • Make a list of your accomplishments. You need to show concrete proof of why you should get more money. If your job directly affects profit (you’re a media buyer who makes $1,000 a extra a week since, for example), show them the number. If your job doesn’t directly impact profits, point out your strengths and how they’re ultimately helping the company and workflow. You don’t have to actually read this list out during the conversation but make sure you keep the points in your head and work them into the conversation.
  • Practice pitching. Sit in front of the mirror, imagine the situation and run through it a few times. You can never truly predict how a conversation will go, but practicing can help to ease your nerves on the day.

It’s very easy to have a slight inferiority complex when it comes to work (especially for women). Remote workers in particular may feel they don’t deserve as much, despite often doing a lot more. However, times are changing and for many professions it is no longer viewed as a perk or a privilege – but a right.

Are Online Side Hustles Worth It?

Online side hustles are tempting, especially if you could do with an extra couple hundred bucks a month and want to fill up a few extra hours. What’s more, there are plenty of ways you can (theoretically) make money online.

However, before moving on I would really like to get one thing straight:

There’s no such thing as ‘quick’ money.

The Internet is full of promises and most of them are bogus. Generating cash isn’t impossible but having a plan is still paramount. Even as a fulltime worker, you’ve got to think of yourself as a business. Naturally, that means having a business plan.

Sounds boring, doesn’t it?

Or maybe it’s a lot more effort than it’s worth…

Well, tough luck. That’s business.

Not to discourage you, of course. Having an online side hustle can mean exercising your abilities in a totally different area. If you’re particularly talented at something, it could mean making “easy” money (to an extent) just for doing something you love.

Anything is possible, but where to begin?

Online Side Hustles: Finding one that suits you

What are you good at? If you’re only so-so at coding/programming, even intermediate coding tasks/jobs won’t bring in much profit. Sure, you’ll learn and practice (not at all a bad thing – in fact, I’d encourage it if you want to perfect your skill) but you won’t see much financial return on your time investment.

On the flipside, if you’re a whizz at Photoshop there may be quite a few lucrative side gigs for you.

Can you throw together a couple of images to a high standard within a short space of time? That’s an online side hustle that can prove to be very profitable. Are you great at creating snappy headlines or writing killer blog posts within minutes?

What about explainer videos: can you shoot/edit one in less than hour – a well-made one, that is?

In short, the best online side hustles are those that can net you a reasonable sum of money in a short amount of time.

If you are stuck for ideas, maybe consider the following (online) roles:

  • Writing advertising copy for small companies and businesses who need it. Since people need copy that converts, this will always be in demand.
  • Social media management is great if you’re good at planning, strategizing and implementation. You may also have to engage with customers. You can do it for prolific bloggers, companies, start-ups…etc.
  • Creating simple websites can definitely be lucrative if you’re able for it and can do it in accordance with a customers’ needs.
  • Basic or advanced video & image editing work is always in demand. Creating/editing a video here and there can land you a few dollars in your account.

What about paid online surveys and other sources of side income?

Now I have to be blunt. The vast majority of these online side hustles are shit. The likes of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Paid Online Surveys and “micro tasks” (whatever…) pay an absolute pittance. You are better off investing time setting up a more specialized and in-demand side hustle and doing some basic marketing (go on Upwork, Fiverr etc.). It won’t bring you money straight away, but then again “get cash quick” will always remain a pipe dream.

Conclusion

With online side hustles, you become a mini-freelancer. You’re setting up a small side business and you need to let people know about it. You should also consider your network. If you’re on social media, ask around and say that you’re offering your skills in a certain area. You may be surprised by the response.

So are they worth it? Absolutely: if you play your cards right and know when and where to hustle.