Finishing college for many people is bittersweet. You’re now finally free of the constant tests, deadlines and project assignments but are no longer being guided by a system that’s all you’ve ever known. It’s now time for you to face the “real” world, and ask yourself the big question: “what’s next?”. The reality of it all is probably just starting to sink in and for many, it feel quite overwhelming. The thought of now having to find a job, a job that you like, a job that (hopefully) you’re degree has helped towards is pretty daunting. What’s more, some university graduates really struggle to land themselves a job after finishing university simply due to sheer competition in the job market. Whatever your situation, whether fresh out from uni or a long-term graduate unable to find work in their field, there’s something you can dive into that you won’t regret – learning and maximizing the benefits of online opportunities.

People seriously, and we mean seriously, underestimate the power of online working opportunities. So in this article, we’re going to give you a quick run-down of the types of work available online:

1. Working freelance

Freelance is a term often associated to self-employment and independent work. A freelancer offers their services in exchange for work – just like any normal job – the main difference being that they aren’t tied down to any one company or organisation. Hence, the great thing about freelancing is that you can take on multiple clients at one time, or reduce your workload when needed i.e. you get to make the call since you are your own boss. For those who’ve just left uni? It’s a perfect way to earn an extra income on the side and it’s definitely something you should consider.

Now you’re probably wondering what does freelance work actually involve? Well there are several types of freelance jobs but the most common types include: copy writing, web designer, web developer, photography, video-editing, social media management and graphic design. Have skills in any of these? Then you can do freelance. Don’t think you’re qualified? Think again.

Whilst it’s obviously important to have some skill and technical ability, the great thing about many freelance gigs is that it there’s no ‘minimum’ requirement to be qualified at something i.e. you don’t need three years experience in branding to offer your skills in freelance logo design. Experience obviously helps, as it’s likely to give you more credibility so you can charger higher rates, but if you’re just starting out your main focus should be on providing the best service possible to your client. Having a portfolio of some sort also really helps, and wait before you think “but I have no experience!?”, a portfolio doesn’t necessarily have to be paid work. You could create album art for a friend’s band, offer to edit a free promotional video for a local coffee shop, use your friend’s to showcase portrait photography, submit your writing to major blog sites and so on – this is all super useful stuff to show potential clients what you’re all about.

There are plenty of freelance sites, and we thoroughly recommend you do some research of your own to find what works best for you, but a good starting point is to sign up to a general freelancing directory such as freelancer.com. We’d also suggest you create a website to showcase your work. If you’re proficient in coding then, voila this is your opportunity to show what you’re made of. For those of you who don’t code, there are plenty of easy to use website builders (and we mean easy) out there such as squarespace.com and wix.com

2. Working for an employer

This one’s pretty simple – working for an employer is pretty much the same as a normal job, just without needing to be physically present in a workplace. You will be working for an employer remotely and oftentimes without supervision – so you’ll need pretty good discipline skills.

Why choose an online job to an office job? Well, there’s several reasons. The first being it’s a far shorter application process, you simply send in your CV or email your potential employer and either get the job or don’t. No interviews, and usually no long waits. Secondly, you actually don’t often have to go finding a job, you’ll find that when it comes to online work, it’s more likely your potential employer will come to you to offer work. Third? Your job-market search is no longer restricted by your location, you literally have the entire global network to look for a job or for a job to find you. Fourth? No commute, like ever. If you’ve ever worked a 9 to 5 job you’ll understand how great this is, and it saves you money!

So what types of online jobs are out there? Well actually, a lot of freelance work mentioned above also applies to online jobs – the difference being that instead of being hired once by an employer for a gig e.g. logo design, you could be hired full-time for branding marketing and strategy for that company or instead of writing one blog post for a website, you are hired as a full-time content creator and so on. However, jobs that are more mutually exclusive to full-time work includes virtual assistants, bookkeeping and data entry. If you like helping others and don’t mind a bit of versatility then being a virtual assistant may be for you. Your work could include anything from sending and replying to email to booking their appointments and ordering their weekly shopping.

3. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you sell someone else’s products or services for a % commission off of that sale. You’d be surprised how many companies have affiliate systems, including the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon.com. Affiliate marketers simply promote products they use with a special affiliate link, and anyone who makes a purchase through that link, earns them a commission. So how do affiliate marketers get people to click on their affiliate links? Well to be frank, there are so many techniques but the most easiest option is through blogging. They simply choose a niche they’re passionate about e.g. acoustic guitars, fishing, hair and beauty, yoga and so forth. They then create a personal blog and promote their affiliate links through product reviews, resource and recommended product pages and so forth. So let’s put it into practice:

Say if someone’s looking up a certain beauty product, they will go type in “____ review” and then your blog’s product review is listed as one of the top results. They then read your review, decide it’s for them and proceed to make a purchase via your conveniently placed amazon affiliate link and boom, you’ve earned a commission! It’s really that simple. Now obviously there’s a billion and one ways to optimise your blog – and that’s great news for you, because it means there’s always some way you can improve your site to get even better results. For instance, some affiliate marketers like to include a brief bullet-point list of an overview of the review, with the product affiliate link at the start – for those who just want a quick briefing and purchase. Learning the tricks of the trade is up to you, and be sure to check out our own website for more tips and tricks all on affiliate marketing. Either way, affiliate marketing is something few people know about yet it’s something so accessible for anyone with an internet connection, to learn and do.

4. Starting your own online business

Have a great product or service you want to sell? Maybe you like making cool prints and designs in your spare time? Why not start an ecommerce store via shopify.com? – it’s never been easier. The great thing about online business is that it provides all the potential profits without the stress and hassle of managing employees. What’s more? The initial investment in starting an online business in minuscule in comparison to operating a conventional business – in fact – you don’t even have to hire employees! There are so many great automation services out there from email, to shipping and fulfilment, that let’s you just get on and do what you do best. There’s a lot to cover when it comes to online business and many different paths you can take, depending on the type of business you want to create, so it’s best you do your research.

Christine Katherman

Christine Katherman

Freelancer

Christine has been working in the field of freelance for just over 7 years, specializing in copy-writing, social media and voice-overs.

Describing herself as a "social media bee 24/7", Christine has an undying passion for photography and music.

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