Working online is the dream of many geeks. You can set your own hours, or you can work as much or as little as you’d like, you don’t have to commute and you don’t have to deal with pesky co-workers. Sounds too good to be true, right?
To a degree. There’s no online job that lets you shrug off all the above annoyances, but you can make a living with paid Internet jobs working for companies online. Let’s see how.
Blogging (For Companies)
If you’ve ever given the slightest thought to making money online you’ve already learned that you can make money with a blog.
What many people forget, however, is that you can also make money writing blog posts for others. In fact, unless you’re a good web designer with excellent SEO skills and a lot of free time, you’ll probably make more money writing blog posts for companies than you would writing blog posts for yourself.
The type of work varies greatly. One potential client might be a manufacturer of fishing equipment that wants to have a company blog that can promote their product and attractive fans of the sport. Another client might be a publication (like MakeUseOf) that needs reviews and how-to guides.
To start you’ll need some solid writing samples and a resume. Surf Google for websites that cover topics you can write about and look for “about” or “contact” sections. Also keep an eye on the usual online job boards. Finding your first few jobs is always difficult, and you should be willing to accept some not-so-hot rates when you start out. After you have a few projects under your belt you’ll be able to impress companies with larger budgets.
This old-school job is thriving in today’s media-rich world. Think about it. There’s a lot of audio and video on the web, and some of it needs to be transcribed to print. Until the perfect speech-to-text software is invented, a transcriptionist is the only choice.
This job sounds easy, but it’s not. It is typical for a transcriptionist to record every cough, mumble and significant pause. You can’t sleepwalk through a recording. In return for your attention, you receive something close to the perfect online career – (almost) no coworkers, no commute and the ability to control your hours.
You will need to buy a transcription foot pedal if you’re serious about the work. This lets you pause and resume a recording without moving your hands away from the optimal typing position. You might also need some transcription software. Expect to pay about $50.
Once you have that you should start trawling online job boards for transcription work. You should also visit Focus Forward and Daily Transcripts and see if they have openings. These companies sell bulk transcription services and often need new transcriptionists to fill their ranks.
Search Engine Evaluation
Google is not just an algorithm. Yes, they do use mathematic wizardry to determine where pages initially place, but they don’t implement their formulas and call it a day. Results must be checked for quality.
Search engine evaluation isn’t a particularly invigorating job. You receive materials that tell you how results should be ranked and then are given tasks – web searches – to rate. This means you’ll be spending hours on your computer browsing and ranking results that, more often than not, aren’t that interesting.
The pay isn’t great and the hours can be wonky (sometimes there’s a lot to do, and sometimes nothing) but the barrier to entry is low. There are three major online companies that offer these jobs - Butler Hill, Leapforce and Lionbridge. All you need to do is apply online if there are openings available.
Most customer service jobs still take place in giant call centers, but about five years ago some companies came up with a bright idea. Why even bother with the call center? Now that people can use VOIP for phone calls it’s feasible for an employee or contractor to take calls from a home office.
Online customer service is not that much different from normal customer service. You take calls, you answer questions and you direct people higher up the proverbial food chain if required. Performance is usually evaluated using metrics like average call time and calls handled per hour.
In other words, this isn’t exciting stuff, but it’s relatively easy to get into. All you need is a smidgen of previous customer service experience and access to online job boards. Start searching for customer service jobs that allow telecommuting. Some jobs are direct contracts with companies while others are with a third-party that hires customer service agents for multiple companies.
There’s nothing that says you have to do only one of these paid Internet jobs. If you want to do search engine evaluation and transcription work and writing, more power to you! In fact, variety is a forgotten benefit of working for companies online. You usually work for several companies, doing different things, which means you’re not stuck with the same-ol same-ol every day of your life.
Do you know of any online companies that are hiring, or do you have experience in any line of work above and have tips to share? Let us know in the comments.