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According to a Gallup study in 2016, at least 43% of Americans reported they were working remotely. This percentage has likely risen in the 2 years since the study was presented because, even then, it was at a 4% increase from 2012.
Remote work opportunities and the demand for remote workers is only going to increase as we move into the future and more companies begin to realize the importance of job freedom and flexibility. Learning how to find remote work now will put you steps ahead of the curve!
I started my personal location-independent journey in 2016 because I had a desire to travel and see everything I can. I had a sort of spiritual awakening, I realized life is short and I couldn’t imagine waiting until retirement to see the places of my dreams.
Who knows if we’ll be here tomorrow? Why wait for a retirement and hope I’d get there alive instead of seizing the opportunities available and traveling while I’m still able to climb mountains? Not that I want to climb mountains, let’s be real here… but I could!
Since that realization in early 2016, I have visited over 15 states in the Continental US earning my income 100% remotely using methods and resources you’ll learn about in this post. I have been able to support myself and completely fund my travels while working online.
What I’ve learned is that learning how to find remote work is not that much different than finding a stationary job, it’s actually easier. All you need is a computer and a wifi connection and the world of remote work is at your fingertips!
The opportunity to earn money location-independent is more real and more accessible now than it has EVER been.
In this post you’ll learn what it takes to work remotely, how to determine what remote work path is best for you, and how to find unlimited remote work jobs.
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REMOTE EMPLOYEE OR FREELANCER?
The first thing you need to determine when learning how to find remote work is whether you want to work as an employee of a company or as a freelancer.
Each of these choices comes with their own sets of pros and cons. It’s up to you and your personal preferences to decide which would be best! Don’t worry, if your first choice ends up not suiting you, you can always pursue the other.
As a remote employee, you will likely have a very similar working structure as you would at any kind of office job. You’ll have a job description, a set of tasks, a schedule to adhere to, and a hierarchy of individuals that you report to.
This kind of remote work arrangement will usually require you to work on certain days between certain hours. This means that if you’re traveling and you have a M-F 9-5 remote job, you’ll need to be certain you’re in a place that is quiet with a stable wifi connection between those hours so that you can get your work done.
Remote Employee Pros:
- Predictable work schedule
- Stable, predictable paycheck
- Benefits (usually) like health insurance
Remote Employee Cons:
- Rigid Schedule
- Some remote jobs require a wired internet connection for security
- Your schedule will likely be a typical 40 hour work-week as determined by your employer
- Longer, more rigorous application and interview process (previous skills and experience come into play here)
As a Freelancer, the world is your oyster! Okay, not totally, but I’ve always wanted to say that. Freelancing opens you up to a more flexible schedule than a remote employee, but it is not without its difficulties.
Freelancing is great for people who want to make their own schedules, set their own prices, and generally work less hours. It’s the ideal working situation for someone who wants to combine work and travel! You can work in the wee hours of the morning or late at night and save the daylight for adventuring.
- Set your own schedule
- Set your own prices
- You choose who you work with – if you’re not vibing with a potential client, you can say no
- Easier application and interview process, generally it’s very quick. As you gain more results for clients it is easier to get new clients
- Little job stability. Unless you have a contractual work agreement, a client can cancel at a moments notice leaving you scrambling to replace that income
- Overworking yourself is a real possibility – especially if you are undercharging. This results in you taking on too many client projects so you can cover your bottom line, and you have no free time
- Freelance jobs usually aren’t long-term, unless you form a great working relationship with a client and they’re have permanent work
- You’re the boss of you – this takes massive amounts of self-discipline
- You’re self-employed – this means you’re responsible for your health insurance and taxes. (It’s really not as complicated as it seems so don’t let this hold you back)
ANALYZING YOUR SKILLS
You got mad skills, yo. Even if you don’t think you do! Even someone with little or ZERO corporate experience has skills that they can use and expand upon to start working remotely.
When analyzing your skills, it’s best to start with your current and previous jobs. What duties were (or are) you in charge of at any of those jobs, and what skills did you possess in order to get them done?
Let’s use bartending as an example. I happened to work as a bartender for many years before my remote work pursuit. As a bartender, you are in charge of memorizing and making many different kinds of drinks in a very fast paced environment with a few coworkers. You also take orders, make customers feel welcome, as well as diffuse any complaints that come up.
The skills possessed in this role would be customer service, communication skills, the ability to work well on a team, excellent memory recall, problem-solving, organization, calmness under pressure and physical stamina.
The skills that could be used in a remote work situation from this list include customer service, teamwork, communication skills, excellent memory recall, problem-solving, organization and calmness under pressure.
This wasn’t my only form of prior work experience, and it’s likely you have more than 1 type of job experience too. Make a list of jobs you’ve worked and determine your skills, and don’t forget to include any hobbies! All of these skills will help you determine what kind of work you’re looking for, or what you would like to expand upon.
As well as hobbies and previous job experiences, what kind of stuff do you do in your free time? There are plenty of things we do in our free time that we wouldn’t particularly call a “hobby”, yet it may be something we can expand upon in our remote work pursuit.
I was surprised when I learned I could get paid to be on Instagram and Facebook all day… And if you’re reading this I’m willing to bet you spend a part of your day on one or both of those platforms, too 😉
how to find REMOTE WORK
Now that you know whether you’ll work best as a remote employee or freelancer and you have a good idea of what skills you possess, it’s time to get your first remote job! The places you’ll go to look for work will vary depending on what type of path you’ve chosen.
how to Find Work as a Remote Employee
Flexjobs is at the top of the list for finding work as a remote employee. They offer remote jobs in over 50 categories, so you are sure to find something here to fit your skill set and needs, from entry-level to executive! You can also find freelancing jobs here, so this is a good website for both types of work arrangements.
Flexjobs does charge a subscription fee, but it is very affordable and for good reason. Flexjobs provides reputable jobs from employers they’ve personally screened, so there is no chance of you getting scammed or suckered into a too good to be true job listing.
Their prices range anywhere from around $15/mo to $50/year, a pretty big saving for paying yearly. With the subscription, you get access to free skills testing to demonstrate and market your skills to potential employers, job search tips, a personalized portfolio to upload your resume and experience, and more.
Flexjobs allows you to search for jobs for free, so you can go and have a look around before deciding whether or not Flexjobs is right for you.
Remote.co is actually a part of Flexjobs, but they do list additional remote jobs and have a blog as well, and are a great place to learn more about working remotely. Since they’re a part of Flexjobs, Remote.co hand curates their job listings and you’ll only find high-quality, no BS jobs here.
Hubstaff Talent has thousands of remote startups, software companies, agencies, and e-commerce businesses that are looking for talent. Also, IT’S FREE. They have a mixture of full-time remote work, freelance jobs and even one-off projects.
We Work Remotely is a job board, a pretty basic one at that. But it is updated very frequently with new jobs being added all the time, has a variety of different types of remote work jobs ranging from entry level and up, and has a search feature. You can sign up for their email list to get notifications of new jobs added in any industry that you’re interested in.
It is totally free to search for and apply to jobs on We Work Remotely, and you can rest assured that the jobs you find there are legit because they charge $299/mo just to post job listings.
WHERE TO FIND WORK AS A FREELANCER
Upwork is my favorite resource and my personal ultimate go-to when looking for new freelance gigs online, you never know what you’re going to find there!
Anything from Data Entry, Proofreading and Telemarketing to Social Media Management, Virtual Assistants, Copywriting and Web Development (and everything in-between) can be found on Upwork. Seriously, no matter what skills you have, you can find something on Upwork for you.
Upwork is free to use, you make a profile and you get so many “connects” per month to apply to Upwork Jobs. You can buy more “connects”, but it isn’t required and you get enough each month to keep a steady flow of work coming in.
Upwork has over 1.5 million clients and new jobs being posted literally every second. It is quickly becoming (if not already) the internet’s #1 resource for freelancing jobs.
If you join, be sure you read the rules thoroughly and adhere to them, as Upwork is very strict about enforcing their policies and once you’ve been banned, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to use Upwork again.
Freelancer.com is similar to Upwork but they do have their differences. This platform is free to sign up and free to apply to jobs using a bid system, and you get about 8 bids per month. You can purchase more, similar to Upwork, but no purchase is required.
Freelancer has a wide variety of jobs listed and freelancers can choose to compete in contests against each other in an attempt to prove their skills.
Guru.com has freelancing jobs in many different industries including web programming and development, graphic design, sales and marketing, business, finance, and writing.
Guru has over 3 million members all over the world, but you can search by any skill or location you choose.
Guru is also free to signup and look for work.
Jobspresso is an excellent platform to go find remote work for freelancers and remote employees alike. There are many different categories for all skill sets and levels and new jobs are posted very frequently.
Jobspresso, like Upwork, is definitely a platform to check daily and often for new postings because they are updated so frequently.
A WORD OF CAUTION
When looking for remote work, especially when you are just starting out, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Research any employer or company before agreeing to do work for them.
If a job seems way too good to be true, it probably is. If someone reaches out to you out of the blue with an incredible offer, it’s also probably too good to be true.
Just keep this in mind as a general rule when looking for remote work: if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Don’t give out too much personal information, don’t give people access to your account numbers unless they’re legitimate companies and you’ve done your research. Ask for payments through the platform directly (Upwork only allows you to be paid through them), or through Paypal, Venmo, Stripe etc.
This is the internet, after all! While it is ripe with scammers and people looking to get work done and skip out on payment, there are SO MANY good jobs to be found being offered by good people who want to give you ALL THE MONEY. Stay vigilant, do your research, and you will be fine.
NOW GET TO WORK!
You have a blueprint to hit the ground running, and now the question is: What are you going to do about it? Are you going to research some more or are you going to put what you’ve learned into action?
In the end, it’s ultimately up to you. You can read a million blog posts and take a ton of notes but until you get out there and dive in, you won’t know what’s possible.
By this point you should have a good idea about whether you prefer to be an employee or freelancer, you know what skills you have that you can use and expand on, and you know exactly where to go to start earning money remotely.
Don’t be scared of rejection! People are going to tell you no or ignore you, and it’s going to be just fine. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been turned down for remote jobs, but I never stopped trying. If you’re having trouble finding work that you feel comfortable going for, try expanding on your skill sets!
Expanding on your existing skill sets is a crucial next step for every remote worker, freelancer and entrepreneur at some point, but I’ll save that for another post. For now you can check out Udemy to get your learnin’ on and expand those skill sets to offer more to potential employers or clients.