How To Become An Online Professional: 5 Things You Should Know

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the brands or companies I have mentioned in this post.

Hi! You’re probably here because you’re considering leaving your job and striking out on your own from the comfort of your home OR you’re already working online but haven’t really gotten a firm foothold on the whole work from home thing. Whatever the reason, WELCOME! I hope you learn something from this post.

First off, working from home can be a lonely journey. There will be no company parties, anniversaries, or spontaneous birthday/event celebrations that usually occur in a company set-up. You’ll need to find other ways to socialize and keep in the loop. I’ve found that social media like Facebook helps a lot in keeping in touch with friends UNTIL you all find the time to meet-up.

Physical meet-ups or eyeballs are still very important and you need to be careful to not fall into the trap of thinking that “facebooking” is enough, because it really isn’t.

Second, you need to keep enhancing your skill sets. If you work as a, for example, a graphics artist, you need to be open to the possibility that there are more ways than one to skin a cat, that what you know may not be the best, quickest, or most efficient way of doing something. I have been an online professional for 20 years and most of the skills I have now were learned gradually through the years.

You need to be continuously learning, especially in an online set-up where technology changes everyday. For example, there are so many apps now that help with communicating with your clients like Skype, Whatsapp, etc. There are also several apps for workflow like Trello, Basecamp, etc.

Third, you need to be flexible with what you can do. In a regular company set-up, if you’re a secretary, that’s all you do. That’s your role in the organization. As an online professional, you may be asked about other things that you can do like “Do you have any experience with building a website?”, or “Do you have any experience with SEO?”.

When you’re an online professional, any way you can earn a buck is important. Of course, you need to be honest when you reply but NEVER say “NO” to a question. Say instead, “I have no experience with website design, but I’m willing to learn”. You may or may not be chosen for that task but that reply sends out the signal that you’re a hard worker and open to anything.

Fourth, set your boundaries. I know I said to keep your mind open to possibilities but there are certain things you need to say “NO” to. In my case, I am not open to doing “adult” graphics simply because I have kids at home and I would never expose them to such things. But that’s just me. If, for example, you don’t like voice calls and feel uncomfortable doing it, don’t get a job that entails it. Know your limits. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a job you hate and dread and that’s never good for you or your client.

Fifth, never apply for a job online that’s really not within your realm of expertise. If even just the title of the job opening confuses you and makes you say, “what’s that??”, don’t apply for it. You’ll be wasting the employer’s time as well as yours.

NOW, if the job description says, “no experience necessary, we’re willing to train” and it looks like something you might want to explore, then go for it. But if, for example, the job says “must speak French” and you don’t have that language skill, then obviously the job is not for you.

Being an online professional is not a walk in the park. It’s just as difficult as any regular job. You still need to apply, go through an interview (sometimes several), be on probation, get along with whoever is the person supervising the project, communicate constantly regarding progress, etc.

It has it’s own particular challenges but with hard work and dedication, YOU CAN SUCCEED!!! So, good luck!

If there’s anything you’d like to clarify or if there’s anything you’d like to ask about today’s article, please post it below and I’ll be more than happy to respond.

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