How and where we work is changing rapidly. Gone are the days where we are tied to our desks in a 9 to 5 job. Gone are the days where we have to meet face-to-face in order to make a business decision. We now have plenty of opportunities to work online. Working online has many benefits – no commute, no transportation expenses, a comfortable work environment (working in pajamas, yes please!), increased productivity and more.
We agree that this all sounds great, but how do you actually find work online? If you are just starting your online work journey, you may have been told to search for jobs on Upwork. Upwork is an online platform where people connect with businesses and independent professionals to find freelance work. The company boasts that it will give you the freedom to work anytime, from anywhere, allowing you to easily grow your freelance business. While this may be true for some, we NEVER recommend using Upwork. Here’s why:
You don’t get paid until you have $100 in your Upwork account
If you are hired for a big project, this may not be an issue. However, if you take on small projects (which is common on Upwork), you won’t be paid until you have at least $100 in your Upwork account. Depending on the projects you have, it could take several months for you to receive any of your money.
Upwork keeps 20% (yes, 20%!) of your money!
As the “middleman,” Upwork charges freelancers a service fee, which is taken as a percentage of your earnings on the platform. Upwork keeps 20% for the first $500 you bill for each client. For example, if you earn $100 on a project, Upwork would keep $20, leaving you with only $80. That is a huge sum, and it happens for EACH client you bill! The service fee decreases to 10% once you bill a client over $500 in total, and 5% once you bill a client over $10,000 in total, but it is difficult to even get to that point.
Upwork helps resolve a payment dispute only once
Upwork says that all projects include “Upwork Payment Protection” to make sure you get paid for all work successfully completed through the freelancing website. What they don’t tell you is that they will only help you resolve a payment dispute once. Just once! If you find yourself in multiple situations where the client refuses to pay, you are on your own. Upwork protects the employer, not the freelancer.
There are some shady businesses on Upwork
There are shady business owners on this platform who prey on unsuspecting freelancers. We have heard countless stories of freelancers who have connected with a business, agreed to take the work off of Upwork (in order to avoid the service fee), only for the freelancer never to get paid after they complete the work.
Let’s get real here. Upwork does not attract large, high-paying employers. This platform is geared towards small businesses and startups who want to pay you as little as possible for your services. Does that sound like the type of work and clients you want to attract? No, we didn’t think so.
Remote Job Resources
The good news is that there are plenty of legitimate, well-paying clients out there that are looking for your services! Here are some resources to find them:
We spend countless hours finding the best jobs across the Internet for your skill set. Visit our website, join our Facebook group, and sign up for our weekly emails to get these job postings for free!
Remote Like Me, a website founded by Taylor Lane, is another great resource for those of us looking to find online work. The Remote Like Me team posts legitimate jobs in its Facebook group and sends out weekly emails with job postings.
The Remote Work Hub is a website that provides a listing of remote jobs all around the world. You will need to create a profile in order to search for jobs and membership comes with a fee. The Basic account, which is free, gives you access to 25 new job postings each week. For $9 per month, you get full access to the job board and additional features.
Working Nomads is another great website that provides a curated list of remote jobs worldwide. You have to create a profile in order to see job postings, but it is free to do so.
Other Facebook Groups
There are tons of other Facebook groups with remote job postings. Log into Facebook, search “Remote Jobs” or “Digital Nomad” groups, and you’ll get a host of groups to explore.
Happy hunting, and see you online!
This post was written by 90 Day VA graduate Sara Rosenblit.
Sara is a marketing professional and Virtual Assistant currently based in Los Angeles, CA. She provides services in digital marketing, social media management, content creation, copywriting, corporate blogging, email management, and general administrative tasks. She is an avid traveler, yoga practitioner and teacher, and a former lawyer.
To work with Sara headed HERE and let us know!
We get asked this question ALL the time. So we decided to tackle it head on with Taylor, the founder of Remote Like Me (she a total girlboss). In case you didn’t know, Taylor helps ladies from all over the world go remote like her! She is a powerhouse of great information about how you can stand out amongst the competition and that is why Esther and Taylor got together to do an extra special Facebook Live where they answered everyone’s questions!
If you missed the Facebook Live, it’s never too late to watch the recording. Or just check out the highlights here!
So how can you stand out from the competition when you are applying for remote jobs?
The tricky thing about online jobs is that you don’t get the opportunity to WOW people in person. A lot of times, when applying for jobs before I went remote, I would just hope that people loved my personality and worried more about me as a person, vs. my resume. That almost ALWAYS worked for me. I would take in my resume in person, be super charming and even set up and interview right then. Then I would go home, prepare for the interview and totally land the job. However, online jobs, you don’t get that chance to wow them with your great personality and people skills. And just starting out… my resume said a lot of “Worked as a Nursing Assistant”. How was that going to help me? Like you, I had a lot of questions for Taylor and Esther.
Enough about me – here I am going to share with you a few of the valuable tips. If you want to know even more, just check out the facebook live!
The first thing that you should always always do is follow the employer’s directions. The reason that people will list a job with several steps to apply is that they are tired of weeding through thousands of applications and this is a way for them to say, alright, no to all of you who can’t follow directions. Don’t be one of those people. Just follow directions. That’s the best way that you can show someone that you would be a great employee!
The next thing that you should do when you are applying for an online job is to make sure that you are reading the job description and then creating a custom resume for each job. This is going to show that you aren’t just mass sending your resume to every job out there. This shows that you are taking the time to apply for jobs that you really want and think that you would be good at!
Lastly, you need to make sure that you are organizing and keeping track of all the jobs that you apply to. This is really important so you know what you sent to people, when you applied, if you heard back, what they want from you. Nothing is worse than not getting a job because you were unorganized. It happens, believe me. So start now, with ORGANIZATION in mind. Get in that google drive of yours and create the folders, spreadsheets and docs that you are going to need to stay organized and kick ass at remote work!
We believe in you, we know you can do it and if you want even more help and support, make sure that you join our Facebook Group where we send out virtual hugs and support to everyone on their work from home journey! (We also post tons of LEGIT work from home opportunities…)
To help you rock your remote resume, one of our 90 Day VA program participants and intern, Evina, made this awesome infographic for you based on everything we went over! Pin now so you can refer to it when you get to work on creating a resume that can’t be ignored!
Pin this for later inspiration!
Traveling full time seems impossible if you cannot fathom how to make legit money working online. In this video, our founder that was a sad single Mom but now lives in Bali interviews Travel Blogger + Virtual Worker Justyn Jen on how she’s funded her full time travels for the last TWO YEARS.
She has lots of inspiration and practical tips and tricks for anyone with a little wanderlust.
Get instant access to this exclusive interview here:
We get asked this question all the time! How much money can you actually make when you are working from home? The reason so many people want to ask us this question is because you often see jobs posted online for around $2 an hour. The reason that people are paying so low for these jobs is generally that they need help but have no budget and the people who do these jobs are generally those living in developing countries. This is not what we do.
What can you expect to make online?
We start by breaking this down into different categories because of course, not everyone is going to make the same amount of money. There are a lot of factors that go into how much money you can charge and in turn how much you are going to make.
We call you beginners because you might just be starting out in the Virtual Industry. Everyone has to start somewhere. When you are starting out you might find yourself doing a wide variety of tasks. That’s OK. This is the best way for you to figure out what you are good at and what you want to do long term. This is also the best way to build your portfolio.
These are basic admin tasks and you are going to find that a good rate to charge for these things is around $7-15 an hour.
Intermediate is when you may have been working in the Industry for 1-5 years. You know what you are good at and you have a well-built portfolio really showing clients what you can do. Make sure that you have an awesome resume and professional social media accounts. Around this time you can start charging people $15-25 an hour.
We call the next section mastery because this is when you really niche down and start doing what you are really good at! During this time you are going to be making anywhere from $30-60 an hour. The more mastery you are, however, the more you are going to make. This is for people who have educated themselves further in what they want to do. They have done the coding boot camp, gotten the teaching certificate or anything like that to really make themselves an expert.
Once you are an expert you can start charging $100-200 an hour and be outsourcing most of your work to an amazing team that you have built up to help you get to this point.
What can you do now to start generating an income online?
PASSIVE INCOME! If you haven’t heard this term before, then let me explain it to you. Passive income means you are making money by doing nothing. They say it’s making money in your sleep. However, it takes time and often money to set up, but if you do it right, it can be all automated.
The other thing that I recommend that you do is NEVER say no to work. The reason being, you should ALWAYS outsource. Instead of saying no to anything (unless it’s out of your field) you should say yes and then outsource to someone else. Build up a team around you so that you can have time off, work less and earn more!
Now, this is just a snippet of the information that we gave you in the video on our Facebook! To get all the rest of the information you can get in the group! See you there!!
How does one stand out amongst your competition?
The world of virtual assisting is almost to the point where you really do need to start specializing in things, otherwise, you’ll just be more white noise. Make a list of all your skills that you have and what kind of people you would like to be working with. This is kind of hard when you’re just starting out because you don’t really know what’s out there or what’s going on and that’s okay!
What are the most in-demand skills?
The hottest things right now are basic Infusionsoft skills and social media content creation. There are courses you can take on Infusionsoft and you can charge a great deal for experience with it. You can create social media packages and schedule them for your clients with tools like Coschedule – there is a lot you can learn for free! There are also paid resources that will teach you how to put together a social media package, even courses on how to write a great blog. You don’t need a fancy software and the rest is just basic assistance.
How do I gain more clients?
I recommend starting off by offering some packages for free. That’s how you’re going to get your first client testimonials! Free 5 hours of admin support, free 10 minutes of transcription, buy three months worth of social media packages and get one free, basically offering your services for free. I would even do a contract with them that says I’m doing X for free in exchange for a testimonial. From there you can charge more!
Is it better to have one client or lots of clients?
Never put all your eggs in one basket! Make sure you have a few consistent clients every month and then have another few projects that you can shuffle around if stuff comes up. You can even teach English online a little bit each week to bring in supplemental income. I call it diversifying my portfolio! This is just in case your client that was 30 hours a week decides to drop off the map – that way you’re not entirely screwed.
How do I not overcomplicate my business?
As you begin your career there’s so much pressure to brand yourself through something like a slogan or something like short and snappy so potential clients know what you’re doing and who you are serving. There’s no need for that! You can’t be the frontwoman of 10 different businesses, you just need to be known for some really specific things. If you’re the face of too many different things it will be confusing for your audience and it’s confusing to you as well. If you’re stretching yourself too thin you’re not able to actually make something really go all the way.
And finally! Make sure to take a few minutes to listen to my podcast interview with Anca from the Audacious Explorer podcast! I talk about all these points and more! You can find it here!
Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter so you can get tons of legit work from home jobs every week! Handpicked just for us!
Traveling with kids is hard enough, try adding in full-time online work as well as school, accommodation and balancing activities into the mix? Here I am answering some of my most asked questions about how I do it with my 7-year-old son and full-time life on the road!
How about school?
The world is his classroom! We get to discover different things that are exciting and educational and it forces me to get up, move my butt, and get out of the house. As for curriculum, it’s actually really amazing how they now have completely online school for children as little as kindergarten and preschool! Eventually, I’ll enroll him in school somewhere so he gets the chance to make friends all over the world. It’s not impossible to travel with kids, in fact, it’s fun and really amazing and he has a great life. Traveling with him proves to him that he can go and do fun stuff and have an awesome life and allows him to realize that there’s no wrong way to do things.
How do you balance your schedules?
Well in the beginning when I wasn’t making a ton of money I had to work my schedule around when he was sleeping or could chill and watch TV. I couldn’t take meetings while he was awake but at least I could get some stuff done. When we had we caught up on bills more, I could enroll him in preschool or daycare which I was able to afford – that opened me up to be able to do more work. You have to look at childcare as a business expense.
Do you have any helpful hints for other parents?
Teach your kids that certain things (headphones in, door shut, etc) mean you are not to be disturbed, and if there’s a chance your kid might not follow those rules, give your client a heads up that this is an odd time for us to meet so he might poke in, sorry. If all else fails, use my secret weapon – the TV or the iPad. I save them for emergencies like last-minute meetings or anything important. Previously I’d have either on in the background – stop that! If they have to ask for it or are only given it on special occasions, it becomes a treat and it will hold their attention.
What are you supposed to do with all your belongings?
I started by putting everything that was precious to me and everything that was going to be very expensive to replace in a tiny storage unit. After that, you stop being attached to so many things and just get rid of stuff. We have our lives in suitcases!
How are you supposed to manage expenses?
I suggest looking at the work that you’re doing and the income that you are making and then calculate your basic expenses. You don’t have rent, internet, electrical, or your car to pay for anymore. You can do house-sitting, stay with family, Airbnb or VRBO, etc. Keep in mind that long-term rentals sometimes give discounts based on the length of your stay!
Travel with your kids and your job is all about balance! If you have any other questions, make sure to send them my way! I will be answering all questions in this series.