https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OelOlu6WXcA&t=43s

Whether you want to stay close with your family, seek for a higher income, earn while travelling, or seeking an extra income, this detailed guide is for you.

Remote work is the nature of my career since 2010 (Fresh Grad). I’ve been working remotely at home or at places with my device plus other tools. Sometimes I work from vacation spots, coffee shops, hospitals (while attending the sick), or the beach.

As I look back on the road I’ve traveled, I see so many blessings remote work has done to me. So, I logged them in this post plus did some research.

What is a Remote Job / Online Job?

A remote job or online job is a type of work arrangement where you provide services for a client remote from you. 

It requires that you provide the skills necessary so you can satisfy the job requirements. 

Usually, an online job requires skills that can be “digitalized”, meaning, they can be done via a computer. Other jobs that involve commodities or deal with physical matters cannot be under the scope of a remote job. 

However, there are online jobs that may require you to handle physical goods such as shipping items, documents, and face-to-face meet-ups. 

Delimitations of this STudy

This blog post is mostly delimited by the bounds of my experience as an independent freelancer providing services via online platforms. 

This does not comprehensively cover other areas such as the “work-from-home” policies of your local employer during an imminent crisis, an “independent contractor” set-up of you providing “as-needed” basis to local clients through a tech platform such as Grab, XSend, FoodPanda, TaskRabbit, Uber, etc. 

This post also has less coverage for “freelancers” working on behalf of an agency, most especially providing voice-based services such as customer support, English Tutorials, and other transcription services. 

What are the Requirements for Remote Jobs?

The requirements can be summarized into three: “soft skills”, “hard skills”, and tools. The more you develop these three, the better will be your qualifications and caliber. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Remote Jobs

To succeed in any endeavor, knowledge of pros and cons and how you manage them is crucial. Same principle if you are considering remote-jobs. 

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it.” – The Christ said.

Advantages of Being a Freelancer

DisAdvantages of a Remote Worker

Where to Find Remote Jobs

I have seen many work-from-home platforms out there, but my advice is to pour out your energy in building on a platform that is stable. The last thing we want is to invest so much time only to find that we won’t get clients, or get our profiles deleted. 

Upwork

Upwork – one of the largest marketplaces in the globe. Once called as oDesk, this company merged with Elance last 2013 to form Upwork. This is the platform where I have more than 10 years of experience now.  Here are Tips to Succeed.

Why Upwork?

But I know that many newcomers are having a hard time finding a job or even getting their profiles approved in Upwork. Two advice:

  1. Learn a rising skill
  2. Learn a not-so-saturated skill
  3. Build your profile on other platforms. When you’re stable, devote your extra time on upskilling. Other platforms you could start outside Upwork:
    • Fiverr
    • Onlinejobs.ph
    • ACADSOC / 51Talk
    • Join Facebook groups, search for hiring or reach out to admin / members

Other Platforms

Skills for Remote / Work-From-Home Jobs

The number of skills you can possibly offer as a freelancer is enormous! It’s just a matter of time, training, experience, and the right character to be a successful work-from-home person. 

For beginners, I’d say you should start small. Then there are three paths you could possibly take: (1) “Grow wide”, (2) “Grow deep”, (3) “Grow wide and deep in one” (but takes more time).

https://youtu.be/aD-90C4LuwY

Online Skills Development Path

In this section, I used two sources:
Linkedin – a top professional networking site
Udemy – a top online learning site

For Udemy, here are the Top 10 rising skills of 2020:

Top 10 Tech Skills

  1. Tensorflow
  2. Chatbot
  3. Microsoft Azure
  4. OpenCV
  5. Neural Networks
  6. Linux
  7. Ethereum
  8. Splunk
  9. QGIS
  10. Kotlin

Top 10 Softskills

  1. Growth Mindset
  2. Creativity
  3. Focus Mastery
  4. Innovation
  5. Communication
  6. Storytelling
  7. Culture Awareness
  8. Critical Thinking
  9. Leadership
  10. Emotional Intelligence

United States

  1. React Native
  2. Kotlin
  3. CAPM (Project Management)

India

  1. IT Security
  2. IP Addressing
  3. OrientDB

Japan

  1. Adobe Creative Suite
  2. Business Strategy
  3. AngularJS

Singapore

  1. Django
  2. Hibernate
  3. Tableau

Australia

  1. Microsoft Power BI
  2. Algorithms
  3. ServiceNow

New Zealand

  1. Data Science
  2. Data Analysis
  3. Excel VBA

United Kingdom

  1. Microsoft Azure
  2. Express (Web Framework)
  3. Data Modeling

I got the data below from our recent visit to Linkedin Asia-Pacific headquarters last June 2019. To see the future trajectory of your freelance career, it’s best to consider top rising skills per country so you can also gain support along the way, plus it is what your country is known for, at least to one of the top employment network site. 

According to LinkedIn, here are the top skills of countries:

Philippines

The top rising skills per country, according the Linkedin

Top Rising Skills – Malaysia

Singapore

India

Australia

Thailand

Vietnam

Indonesia

Taiwan

Pre-Assessment: Knowing Your Profile Before Starting as a Home-based Worker

Before you begin freelancing, there are things you must first consider. “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it.” – The Christ said.

Know Yourself Skillset

Know thyself. Assess your strengths, favorite topics, past training, background, achievements. Use psychometric standards such as MAPP Assessments, Myers Briggs, etc. Present them in a document format or a prepared CV. Make sure to make it editable so you can update it. Use Google Docs, then download as PDF if you are applying.

English Proficiency: Indicate you command of the English language: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced or Native. This will help recruiters or clients in adjusting their communication with you. 

Software Proficiency: Include to your profile the software tools that you have a good hold of, as this adds to the “SEO-ness” of your profile. It can make you stand-out on searches.

ASSESS YOUR AVAILABILITY

Determine if you’re up for full-time (30+ hours a week), part-time (less than 30 hours), or as needed. This is needed especially in Upwork. Recruiters will know if you meet their criteria if your available time matches theirs. For example, if they’re looking for a full-time worker, but then you have clearly indicated you’re only up for part-time, it will save the client’s or the recruiter’s time, and your time as well. 

ESTABLISH Your PORTFOLIO

Invest time in posting relevant works you have done in the past. Put vivid images, link them to your client’s website or profile when you have secured permission. If you will name the client, make sure you have asked for their permission first. Build your portfolio on the platform but also update in on your Linkedin and website. Take hold of Your Previous Work/Employment Details, Certifications, Experiences

COMPUTE YOUR RATES

My suggested formula to compute your rate is (Monthly Expenses / 20 days / 8 hours ) * Percentage of your desired margin = Your Hourly Rate. It’s good if you have a log of your previous 3 months of expenses. Note that your desired margin will determine your savings so you can devote money to upgrade your tools, or sustain your needs as you upskill, or support your family. Think long-term. 

If you want to get the job ASAP, place a low rate, telling the client that you’re entry level, and willing to be assessed by him or her. If you feel that your expertise is higher than the value of your low rate, I suggest that you be honest with the employer you’re applying for that you can give a low rate as ‘probationary period’, let’s say in 3 months. This can make them feel at ease with you, because they also don’t want to shell out much money for someone they don’t know yet. Tell them, for example, that your actual rate is X.00 USD/ hour but you’re willing to give it at X.00 USD for a start of your relationship. When you’re hired, do your best, over-deliver. If you use Upwork’s platform, the minimum rate is 3USD per hour.

Research Competitors’ Rates

Do a search of other competitors offering the same skills as you, and see their rates, their experience and rating. Use it as a benchmark. In Upwork, you can upgrade your profile to a ‘Plus’ account, and you’ll see the bid range of other competitors when you apply to a certain job post. 

How to Succeed as a Remote / Home-Based Worker and Win Your CLients Over

Have a Good Understanding of the Job

Read Job Posting Well and Verify and Special Requirements

Create Good Profile Overview, No Grammatical Errors

Use free grammar correction tools such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs or Grammarly to ensure that your works are error-free.

Make Sure You Have Done Similar Work / Samples in the Past

Choose a Professional / Friendly Photo

Make a Good First Impression by having a professional profile photo. If possible, be on a formal attire, look straight to the camera, and let your eyes be clear.

Keep Your Job Title Short but Focused

Before Sending a Proposal, Read the Job Post Thoroughly

Does the job fit your skills? Does it fit your bandwidth? Is the client someone you want to work with? Are their values align with yours?

In Sending an Application / Cover Letter

Tips to Succeed in the Interview

Where to Learn

At the time of this writing, the COVID-19 epidemic and many learning platforms are offering access for free or at a discounted price. You may take advantage of opportunities like these or try to subscribe to newsletters.

Some of the learning platforms below are free, and some are paid. Just like traditional school, better assess first what course is good for you, and what courses you can finish. 

Online Jobs Learning Platforms

Tools for A Remote Worker

A Typical Schedule of a Remote Worker

How to Get Hired on Upwork

I’ve been a freelancer since 2010 and that means I got a fair share of my ups and downs. Thankfully, through the years, I was able to retain a 100% job success as of the moment of this writing. I want to help others that’s why I’m sharing the following tips so you can, Lord-willing, succeed consistently in the freelancer career.

BUILD A STRONG PROFILE

Keep your Title Short and Focused-Clients value freelancers with direct and relevant experience, so your title should reflect your combination of experience and the type of work you’re marketing-Titles give a prospective client a high-level summary of your expertise-Keep it short and impactful From a Recruiter’s Perspective:-

A concise title with the right keywords makes you easily searchable-Most recruiters do Boolean searches. Boolean search is a type of search allowing users to combine keywords with operators (such as AND, NOT, OR) to further produce more relevant results. -For an example of a Boolean search, “hotel” AND “New York”

SHOWCASE YOUR PREVIOUS WORK HISTORY

ON SENDING PROPOSALS

Cover Letter

Pre-screen questions

INTERVIEW TIPS

MAINTAIN A HIGH JOB SUCCESS RATING IN YOUR PROFILE

Just like how we handle our professional careers, business or offline life, so must we also handle our Upwork activities with care. Here are some sub-categories I believe can help:

FOLLOW UPWORK POLICIES

You may face temptations to get paid outside Upwork when the job was posted inside the platform, or create double accounts, etc. These could lead to terrible consequences such as being barred for life. So make sure you are careful and always updated with the laws and policies.

BUILD YOUR PORTFOLIO AND CV

As you go through your career, keep copies of your work and certificates so you can update your portfolio and resume. I recommend having two sets of showcases when you launch into the world of a freelance: Portfolio and CV/Resume.

For Portfolio, develop your Upwork Profile first. Get tests, upload works, update history, certifications, descriptions. You can then copy your statements to secondary portfolio sites like:

MONITOR YOUR APPLICATION LETTERS

Keep a record of your application letters in Upwork. Monitor which ones get client responses. Mark them especially which ones get hired. I recommend Evernote so you can always revisit, edit or share to those in need.

Observe professional formatting. Get feedback or recommendations. Be as specific or detailed as possible when responding to client job posts. Avoid mindless job application letters. Answer specific requests

WHEN APPLYING

Sometimes you will lose your written application Upwork. Tendency is, you type a response letter to an invitation and may accidently click “back” or close your window. Poof! You lose your hardwork in a sec!

I suggest that you type your application in an auto-saving software first such as Evernote or Google Docs. Time to time, copy your content to Upwork.

Aim to Be A Top-Rated Freelancer

If you want to quickly get a freelance job or an increased freelance rate, one of the best strategies is to ensure that you reach and maintain the Top Rated Status in Upwork.

In my previous post, I shared when Upwork surprised me with a Top Rated Badge. As promised, I would like to continue section 2 which is about the steps of becoming a Top-Rated freelancer.

1. PASSION, TRUST AND OPTIMISM

This piece of advice comes from my long-time friend and trusted freelancer, Jan Evan Dominic La Rosa. When I was a newbie, he was a mentor who helped me in a lot of ways. He’s also a Top Rated freelancer with an impressive profile, so I asked him to share his advice. He said:

Well i think its about passion talaga dahil kung wala ka neto, d k tatagal sa freelance world, secondly, trust and optimism about u and ur work. kung wala k neto, mas lalong d k tatagal tlga sa freelance world, dahil ma eexperience mo tlga hirap maghanap ng work, last but not the lease, building great reputation online, pag meron k netong tatlo bilang baguhan na freelancer, i guarantee u, mas lalo mo yayakapin ang pagiging freelancer ? just like me…

Jan Evan.

2. BUILD AN IMPRESSIVE REPUTATION

As stated in Upwork’s page and previous blog, reputation is everything. Whether in the offline and online world, we need to build a good reputation. It takes time, effort, patience and energy- but when you have build a reputation (also known as brand, identity, reputation or authority), your pioneering hardwork will soon pay-off.

Starting out is never easy. After I posted the previous post, I received many inquiries on how to start freelance career. After sharing much of what I know, this point reminds us that it’s the same in all of life. If you want to be a good engineer, a good doctor, a good salesman or a good teacher, it does not come fast and easy- it may take years. Mine took 7 years (2010-2017) before I was able to experience that certain identification- and I believe that’s what all of life is.

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”

Proverbs 12:11

Clients, especially Western Upwork clients, do not like dishonesty. It’s better, to be honest about your inability and unavailability than tampering with truthfulness and reality. More trust leads to the speed of transactions. Less trust leads to a slower speed of transactions.

3. MAINTAIN A JOB SUCCESS SCORE OF 90% AND ABOVE

According to Upwork, “We don’t reveal the exact calculation for your score. Doing so would make it easier for some users to artificially boost their scores. We need to maintain some privacy with this metric to ensure fairness and accuracy.” But here are some checklists to ensure a higher JSS:

4. A 12-MONTH EARNINGS OF $1,000

To compute, $1000 / 12 months = at least $84 per month or $21 per week. This is attainable even to the lowest determined rate of Upwork. It just makes sure that you are generating some freelance service consistently.

5. AN ACCOUNT IN GOOD STANDING WITH NO RECENT ACCOUNT HOLDS.

You must avoid this at all costs. Here are some important things you need to ensure:

Sending well-written Job Application is a way to practice the command “you shall love your neighbor…” and ultimately manifesting the fleshing-in of the principle “love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength….”

6. ACTIVITY ON THE PLATFORM (PROPOSAL, ACCEPTED INVITATION, OR EARNINGS) IN THE PAST 90 DAYS.

For proposal, make sure to apply jobs time to time if you have no current one.
For invitation, make sure you set your availability to part-time or full-time, not no time.
For earnings, make sure you have or at least a minimal one instead of none for a long period.

7. OPTIMIZE YOUR PROFILE BY SEARCHING TOP RATED FREELANCERS IN YOUR NICHE

Look at their strengths, portfolio and styles and see how you can adapt- not plagiarize- some of them to yours.  More of Mandy’s advices here.

ADVANTAGES OF HAVING UPWORK TOP-RATED BADGE AND WHY FREELANCERS SHOULD AIM FOR IT

It was a big surprise when I opened my Upwork account and lo and behold, a big congratulatory banner greeted me- Top Rated Status! Below is the screenshot.

After a short sensation of celebration, I thought of my fellow freelancers who are in the same road… I imagined that by sharing some knowledge, they too can earn this simple joy of a 21st century kind of job.

I’m a freelancer since 2010. Enjoyed working in my pajamas, boxers or household comfy clothing, working 5 steps away from my bed- the freedom to work in flexi-time and regardless of location. Never experienced working on an 8-5 job. Woke up like this- in the adult world- and so far it’s a happy experience- can be with my family, visit a sick lola at the hospital anytime, do ministry and test startup ideas and business labs- all of which can’t be done if I am full-time or abroad- I think.

Recently realizing that you can be in Upwork or Freelance world too whatever profession you may have- even the traditional jobs like Lawyers, Teaching English, Engineering, Architectural Design and Medical Transcriptionists can be absorbed by online too… In any field where you poured out your life, you can offer consulting.

So I decided to do some research and create this page/department (which I will update time to time) to pave the way for our collective success.

According to Upwork, “you earn “Top Rated” status by building an impressive reputation on Upwork. You must have a proven history of success with multiple clients, delight your clients every time with high-quality work, and contribute to a safe and vibrant marketplace by knowing and following the Upwork Terms of Service.”

“Top Rated status helps outstanding freelancers and agencies grow their businesses and become even more successful in the Upwork marketplace. When you earn this status, you’ll be recognized through a badge on your profile and rewarded with exclusive perks, including increased access to client projects.”

What Upwork says is true. In all of life, reputation is everything. Solomon says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”- Proverbs 22:1

So here’s my take:
It’s always important to check your My Stats page time to time so you can work on becoming a Top-Rated Freelancer. Check you job success and strive to maintain long-term work relationships. Upwork has its own way to compute your stats.

Planning to create 2 main sections for this:
I. First, Benefits and reasons why Top Rated status is a big help for your freelancing career…
II. Second, How to earn and maintain Upwork’s Top-Rated status which I’ll post in the next blog.

But this page was only dedicated for the first item.

Please stay tuned or subscribe so you will receive the update once I’m done with the curation.

APPEAR ON TOP OF CLIENTS’ SEARCH

As stated in the congratulatory banner, you will earn a Top-rated badge in your profile.

Since I am also a client, I went to my Upwork client account and see how Top Rated freelancers perform in my search for jobs. Here’s how Top Rated freelancers appear in a client’s account:

Top Rated Ran
So, if you are a Top Rated freelancer, you will appear at the top of job search results and maybe with an index “TOP RATED” or “BEST MATCH”

I also scrolled down, and those freelancers with the “Rising Talent” badges appear with the attention-grabbing blue ribbon.

Rising Talent

ABILITY TO FIND JOBS WITH 10% UPWORK FEE ONLY

When I opened my feed, there’s a new area which offered me 10%-only fees. This is exclusive for Top-Rated freelancers and it leads to higher revenues because normally, new job contracts charge 20% for Upwork fees and they slide down to 10% when they reach a certain threshold, then to 5% to reward long-term work relationships.

ABILITY TO PERIODICALLY REMOVE BAD FEEDBACK

This is a big blessing, giving a big sigh of relief.

Let’s admit it. Sometimes we do our very best, but our best wasn’t appreciated by our clients. Excellence seem to be subjective. We dispute. We exchange heated discussions. I’ve experienced it recently, around July, but thankfully I was able to resolve through peaceful resolution with my client with the mediatorial work of Upwork (that’s why it is better to work within Upwork’s parameters).

I tried to delete a low feedback from a client last year, but I did not see any button for deletion. Will update this item time to time in the future when there’s news. I still need to do my homework by reading this Upwork page.

ACCESS TO THE PRIVATE TOP RATED FORUM, WEBINARS AND ONLINE OFFICE HOURS.

Here’s an exclusive webinar invitation that I received where I can learn more ways to upgrade and scale-up if I want to try an agency.

Benefits of Top Rated Upwork Profile

ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY TO OUR PREMIUM FREELANCER PROGRAM (ONLY FOR SELECT SKILLS)

This is new to me. I thought there’s only Top Rated, but Premium Program is another crown for a freelancer. Here’s a graph page that summarizes the comparison of the three and here’s how to join a Premium Program.

To reflect, earning Top Rated recognition is a combination of honesty, hardwork and persistency. And most of all, whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…- Colossians 3:23