Working online is hit or miss. Sometimes, you really succeed in the business and it becomes your main source of income, while some try it out for a few months and decide to go back to working a 9-5 job. What makes the difference and what should you do to become the former rather than the latter?
There are a lot of common mistakes and pitfalls that online workers commit. I am guilty of committing a few of them myself. In order for you to succeed as an online worker, you should be careful to avoid these mistakes now that you are already aware of them.
- Not knowing the going rates of other online workers in the same field of expertise – One of the first things you should do when starting to do online work is to research on the going rates of other online workers. Say, you want to offer SEO services, go to freelancing sites and look at the rates posted by other freelancers that do SEO. Look for the rates of workers in the same geographical location as you. That way, you can charge a competitive rate and you up your chances of being hired for a job.
- Not having a clear agreement with your employer – Before you commit to work for an employer, make sure that you iron out all the important details first – the scope of work, deadlines, reports required from you, number of hours you need to spend on the project, rate, payment schedule, etc. If you can, get all of these details in writing. If it is in an email, then this would suffice. If you chatted about it, get a transcript of your chat and save if for future reference. Take of note of reports that the employer may require from you. I have encountered a lot of workers complaining of non-payment from their employers only to find out that they didn’t get paid because they failed to send in daily reports required from them.
- Over-committing – Before you commit with an employer, make sure that you can deliver. Check that you can do everything that the project entails and that you can submit it within the deadline stipulated. If you just commit mindlessly without thinking about these things, you run the risk of not being able to deliver what the employer expects.
- Missing deadlines – In online work, as with any other work, meeting deadlines is very important. Before you commit to a deadline, make sure you can meet it. If you committed to a deadline and are unable to make it because of some unforeseen circumstances, make sure you let your employer know.
- Not showing up for work – In the Philippines, there are a lot of power and service interruptions. If you are a victim of one or the other and are unable to work certain days, make sure that you inform your employers instead of leaving them to wonder about what happened with you. No power or no connection? You can always go to an internet cafe. While you cannot do work in a cafe, you can always send an email to your employer informing them about the situation. You can also take advantage of the GPRS capabilities of your cellphone. You can either send an email if your cellphone has this feature or use it as a modem and connect it to your laptop using a usb.
All the mistakes mentioned above have been committed by online workers at one time or another in their careers. If you try and avoid these common mistakes, you increase your chances of succeeding as an online worker.