Whether you want to work online as a freelancer or work remotely for a larger organization, you will have challenges to overcome that just won’t crop up in a regular office space. You’ll have to fight distractions, manage multiple contracts, and pull together packaged presentations with clarity.
1) Use a Timer
Part of working remotely is building the skills to avoid distractions, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to use a timer. If you use the timer on your phone and place the phone upside down on your desk, you won’t be tempted to pick it up. Set the timer for short chunks of time and plow through the tough stuff. You can search remotely for jobs you can do from anywhere, plow through some data entry or find an online course to build your skillset.
While the timer is running, do nothing but the designated project. Then take a break when the beeper goes off, stretch, and come back for another burst of time.
2) Be the Answer Person
Hiring an online employee can be a stretch for some employers, so do your best to be the answer person. Be as prepared as possible for meetings, and always get there five minutes before the leader opens the meeting. Take classes to help you over your weakest points. If you write well but lack confidence in layout and design, study up. Should you know another online worker with terrific design skills, offer to make that connection. You don’t have to be able to do everything, but you’ll want to come to the virtual table with solutions, not problems.
3) Share and Take Notes
If you’re one of many contributors to a project, make sure that you take a lot of notes and share your ideas on any shared projects. Don’t make changes that aren’t traceable. Contribute, but respect what’s there and make sure you add value. If you’re prone to coming up with big ideas and a portion of that may add to a project you’re currently involved in, take the time to pare down your idea into a manageable bit of data so you don’t overwhelm people.
4) Get Your Info Out Front
Make sure that your professional online footprint is up to date. Build a solid online profile across all appropriate platforms. You may not need a Pinterest page, but everyone needs a LinkedIn page. Set up a professional Facebook page, and keep it updated with all necessary additions. Twitter with care; if you are a deep thinker, the text limitation may be a challenge. Not everyone can think in a soundbite and trying to shorten a complicated concept may limit your ability to express what you’re thinking.
5) Learn the Tech
Learn the techniques you need to know to successfully lead an online meeting, share your screen, or launch your presentation. Practice your events. Make videos of yourself so you know that the angle, lighting, and everything else that will show up on screen will look professional and polished.
Working online isn’t easy; often, it takes more discipline than going into the office. However, if you can master what it takes to build an online career, you can work from anywhere and take inspiration from any location. This form of work is worth the effort, so learn what you need to know to build your brand.