For many, the idea of working from home represents a dream scenario. Whether you’re a parent or a globetrotter, the freedom and flexibility offered by working from your laptop is rather enticing.
However, these images of sitting by a beach working a few hours a day are just part of the remote work world. There are many things people don’t know about this lifestyle, including the fact that it can be difficult to find good people to work for.
Just like anywhere else, remote work is filled with good and bad people. If you’re not careful, you can get yourself into a sticky situation. For example, you could end up doing lots of work for someone who doesn’t end up paying you, which not only wastes your time, but it could put you in a difficult financial situation. So to prevent this from happening to you, look for the following things when trying to work from home.
A lot of the people offering work-from-home opportunities are going to be involved in SEO. It’s a critical part of any online business, so whether it’s marketing strategy, content writing, or web development, there’s almost always going to be an SEO angle.
However, always keep in mind that there is a right and a wrong way to do SEO. There are lots of people out there who are going to try and game the system to their advantage. And although this is harder than it used to be, it’s still a common practice. These individuals are going to be far more concerned with making money than providing real value to their customers. And if they take this approach with their customers, we can only expect them to do the same to their employees.
People who engage in shady SEO tactics are known as “black hatters,” and their more morale counterparts are known as “white hatters.” To make sure you’re working with good people, spend some time determining your potential employer’s strategy before agreeing to work with them. What are they planning to do with your work? And is this something you can get behind? Plus, speaking with someone over the phone or on a video call will give you the chance to evaluate their character, making it easier to decide whether or not you want to work with them.
Legitimate BusinessesDo some research in the beginning to make sure the people you’re working for are upstanding people. #remotework Click To Tweet
Building off this, it’s important to work for legitimate businesses and companies. People trying to game the system, hide from regulatory bodies or just make a quick buck aren’t going to be reliable employers. As a result, try to do some research in the beginning to make sure the people you’re working for are upstanding people.
Here are some signs the company you’re considering working for is legitimate:
- They have good reviews and are verified on gig economy sites such as UpWork
- They are easy to reach and are open about the work and the terms of the condition
- They ask you to sign a contract
- They use professional HR or payroll services to onboard you. This isn’t a requirement, but it’s a sign the business is serious about doing things right, which is a good sign for you.
One of the things you’ll find out rather quickly when trying to work from home is that you’re operating in a global marketplace. In general, this is going to drive down prices. Think about it. The cost of living in the Philippines is much lower than in the US or Canada, and this means people living there can charge less and still live relatively the same.
This can make it tempting to drop your own prices to land hobs and stay competitive. But all this really does is put downward pressure on the market. Those looking for online work will know that they can always find someone cheaper, and if you give into this, you’re going to end up charging a lot less than you should be.
The response to this is to be stern when making proposals. Those who have experience working in the online world know that it’s worth it to pay a bit extra for high-quality work, and they may even be skeptical if someone is offering too low of a rate. And those who are looking for essentially free work aren’t the type of people you want to work with anyway. So stay persistent when looking for clients. It’s okay to negotiate a bit, especially when you’re first starting out and looking for work, but don’t stray too far from the market price, as you’re only going to hurt yourself, and other freelancers, looking to make a living by working online.
One of the more frustrating things about working from home is that you end up spending a lot of time finding work. Things start to become less profitable when half your time is billable, and the other half is spent tracking down your next projects.
As a result, give priority to people who are offering long-term work. Even if it’s just for a few months, these types of projects are going to give you more financial stability, and they also allow you to truly enjoy the benefits of working from home. You’ll be able to predict your workload, and this means you can plan your life better around work, creating better balance.
It might take some time to find these types of jobs, which is why patience is so important when trying to work from home. But they are out there, and if you spend the time looking for them, then you’ll be rewarded with consistent work and steady pay.
Remember Your RightsIf you feel as though something is wrong, stop working for them right away. Don’t wait until you spend hours on a project and don’t get paid. Click To Tweet
It’s important to remember you’re obligated to no one. If you feel as though something is wrong, stop working for them right away. Don’t wait until you spend hours on a project and don’t get paid. Instead, be patient and diligent in your search for work. There are lots of great opportunities out there, and when you find them, you’ll be able to safely and comfortably enjoy all the benefits of working from home.
About the Author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service that specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. This is his third successful online business, and he’s a big proponent of working remotely and online. However, he’s had some bad experiences throughout his career, and he likes to share them to help other digital nomads make the most of their time and abilities.