In my last tech article, I tried to present some facts about the possibilities of pursuing career prospects outside of the traditional setting. While the piece did give information, many of you responded by saying that it was outdated and generally uninteresting. After re-reading it, I have to admit that I left something out- the part about me.
I started business school when I was 25. My life had progressed to a point that work experience was counting for nothing and not having a college education was counting for a lot. Since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I picked the most generic degree that I could think of. It took about a year for me to figure out that I absolutely, without a doubt, unequivocally- hated it.
Every time I looked at finance methods or accounting practices or economic theories, I wanted to throw my computer across the room. Then one day, I responded to a Twitter request for writers and, to my surprise, was accepted. NerdyPerv let me say the things that no one wanted to talk about but everyone wanted to know. I got to reveal parts of myself and be educational, at the same time. The positive feedback made me wonder if I could give freelance writing a go.
I responded to a few job boards and contracts started coming my way. Most were for blurbs (small paragraphs detailing a product or service) but there were some substantial blogs too. I found myself with a steady income stream coming from my keyboard. It wasn’t always a lot of money but, to a full time student, even a little bit extra was appreciated.
After a while, I began getting requests from friends and family to help out with their internet and technology issues. I delved into every online tutorial on computer programming languages and codes that I could find. That knowledge came in handy.
Informing potential clients that I could not only write for them but then properly format the HTML or CSS to insert it, well it opened a lot of doors. As graduation neared, I realized that I wanted to apply my work experience, college education, and self taught knowledge. So I bought a domain.
It took a few months for me to figure out where to go with the website. I had a firm plan- back to school for a more focused, technology based degree and then make working via the internet a top priority. I reached out to every freelance website and job board that I knew of (and a few that I didn’t), creating and then updating business profiles.
I won’t lie to you and say that the process was an easy one, there were many fourteen hour work days that made me want to give up. Getting started was tedious and time consuming with bumps and realizations along the way. Like, I needed an actual office in my house and a schedule to stay on top of my projects but the perk was I could do it all in my sweatpants with no makeup!
Now, I get emails numerous times a day with listings for contract jobs that I’m qualified for. I peruse through them to pick and choose but I set limits: only work for American companies and only accept PayPal. I don’t oversell myself either. I’m honest about what I know and what I don’t. Clients appreciate that and it has legitimized my business.
Whether you are a writer, data security analyst or virtual assistant, there is a market for your skills online. Businesses need people to do jobs for them that are outside of their staff’s capabilities. Not every person can make telecommuting or freelancing into a full time career, even me. However, if you want flexibility and have the desire to market yourself- anything is possible.
Picture Source: My workspace at home