Online Careers That Work and Scams That Should Be Avoided
Daydreaming about giving up the 9 to 5, and working from your laptop, perhaps on an exotic beach around the world somewhere? We’ve all seen those Instagram posts from friends who’ve shunned real life and have taken off to work online – some more successfully than others.
If you are interested in living the dream, then it’s important to make sure that you’re fully prepared for it, especially before you give up your day job.
Today we take you through online job scams, and how to avoid them, and then take a little look at how you can actually build a legitimate online career – it really is possible!
Sound check incoming offers
Find yourself getting headhunted for online roles via email, LinkedIn, or social media? While some of these opportunities may indeed be real, others are simply scammers. To separate the wheat from the chaff, you need to evaluate carefully.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Does it seem too good to be true? Then it probably is.
- Is the pay more than your location-based job? Then it’s probably a scam.
- Beware of companies that require money from you to set up your own little arm of the business – don’t hand over any cash over the internet to anyone you don’t trust 100%, ever!
- Nobody gets job offers without going through interviews, so if they don’t interview you at least once, there is probably something sinister at hand.
- Anything that sounds like a pyramid scheme is illegal and will not get you ahead.
- Call center or data entry style work from home posted to job boards or Facebook groups are generally either scams or extremely lowly paid.
- Research the company and point of contact online to ensure they are legitimate, and the message has legitimately been sent from within the company. You can do this by copy pasting email addresses, etc. into search bars, as well as looking up scam warning sites.
The majority of legitimate online job offers that will be sent to you that actually pay a wage that you could live off will be negligible. The type of jobs that are legitimate and are posted on job seeking websites will have stiff competition.
The best way to start your online career, is, funnily enough, how you probably started your current career: through hard work and skills building.
Your online career
Do you already have a job, whether it’s full time, part time, or casual? Are you making enough to get by? Have some time up your sleeve every week in which you’re not working / studying / looking after the kids? Brilliant. Then now is the time to start building your online career.
Like any other career, the more that you work at it, the bigger and better that it will become. Starting off small, when you are already doing something else first, is the best way to get off the ground. You want to see whether an online career is a viable life choice. You want to determine whether this could end up being your full time job!
If you launch into an online career without any financial support [read: another job to support yourself, a partner willing to cover your expenses, or savings to live off for a while] then you will probably find yourself floundering and winding up in debt – not a good option!
There are a range of online careers that are easier to get into than others. A great majority of them require no formal training – you can really teach yourself. Have a think about your current skill set – what are you good at? Writing? Math? Communication? Having a close look at your strengths can help to guide you towards the online career that’s best suited to you.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular profitable online career choices, and see whether they’d be a good fit.
What’s a virtual assistant? Well, exactly the same as a personal assistant – except you do all your work online. With many people now going down the online entrepreneur path online, that means that they need someone to manage their busy schedules, set up meetings, reply to emails, etc. This is where the virtual assistant comes in. While you won’t be in the office handing a client over a stack of paperwork to go over before their meeting or fetching a coffee, you’ll be expected to keep on track of incoming and outgoing communications, bookings, timetables, travel arrangements and more. Great communications and an always switched on attitude will work well for this career.
With the explosion of e-commerce and more and more people taking their shopping (and businesses) online, what this means is that someone has to write copy (the sales text) for products and services for these businesses. The owner of a business generally won’t have time to do this, so they’ll outsource their copywriting to freelancers. Could this be you? Do you think you could write compelling text that will make people want to purchase products? If so, then consider a career in copywriting.
Social media manager
If you’re already on social media racking up the likes and comments with your personal posts, then a career in social media management might be a good path to take. As a social media manager you might take care of creating and scheduling posts, responding to messages and interactions, commenting and adding friends, tracking social media campaigns, and more. It will probably involve chasing up potential customers for the business via social media, too. Like the virtual assistant job, this may be a role in which you’ll be required to be switched on most of the day and/or night as people expect instant communications with businesses these days.
An SEO specialist is one role where you can do well in – if you make sure that you keep up with the latest advances in things like the Google search algorithm. To become an SEO specialist will require a little more training than other online professions, for the most part. It is recommended that you complete a short course in SEO and build your own website to start playing around with the settings. SEO stands for search engine optimization and it is the process of making sure that customers find a business when they’re searching online for something – for instance “Philippines travel tips” might uncover your travel blog around the Philippines.
You might note that we’ve left out some online career choices that pop into your head when you are thinking about these things. Jobs like Instagram model / brand influencer, Twitch streaming star, YouTube makeup vlogger and even mummy blogger are difficult jobs to actually do well at and be successful in. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t give them a go if you want to – it’s just that the opportunity to make enough money to live off in one of these professions is slimmer. If you are thinking about giving one of these a go, it’s even more important to ensure you have a financial safety net if things don’t go the way that you’ve planned.
No matter while online career path you choose to head down – and there are a growing number of careers available by the day – it will be something that you really need to work at. These things won’t just happen overnight. With the right attitude, a stable internet connection, hours to dedicate to building up your skills and client base, then who knows just how far you can go…