Whether you are looking for a career change or want to flex your entrepreneurial muscles, the internet has done you a massive favor. It’s no longer mandatory to work a typical nine-to-five job; the digital world provides women with a wealth of alternative opportunities without the usual drawbacks of corporate life.
Working from home has become a viable source of income that empowers female entrepreneurs to pursue their own career path without sinking their savings into start-up costs. Take a look at these five flexible digital careers – none of which involve taking surveys!
1. For Ambitious Creatives: Branding Consultant
Always designing cool stuff on your computer? Do people call you with their business ideas? If you are great at problem-solving branding issues, why not become a branding consultant?
Loads of businesses (including sole traders) need logos, social media guidance, copywriting – you can help them create a better business. You begin small and work part-time with a small community of clients, to ensure that their brands are sending out the right messages. Client satisfaction is the key to your success – keep clients happy and on-side with frequent calls and updates, but stay firm with your rates and boundaries too.
The best consultants specialize early. Have experience of the pet industry? Focus on helping pet entrepreneurs and businesses. Don’t be afraid to approach corporate clients too – they often bring in externals and freelancers to troubleshoot branding issues. Branding is about much more than just a logo – you are going to have to dig deep and really get to know your clients.
What you’ll need:
- Good design and business skills. Online courses in art and creative design are available from plenty of organizations – business skills you will have to pick up along the way. (Design work is also you could partially outsource if that’s a model you feel comfortable with).
- A stellar brand yourself! Here are five tips for women looking to brand themselves – project confidence and a sense of belonging.
2. For Dreamy Writers: Blogger & Content Whizz
Writing can be a great way to earn money online – many people start with a blog and then transition into PR/marketing, or focus on growing their blog readership and monetize their blog with affiliate links or tie-in products (online courses, ebooks etc.) Blogging is big business – if you can help others reach their goals – do it.
- Share life experiences that offer value to your readers in order to spark interest in your blog. Focus on connecting with your readers – conduct surveys and ask them plenty of questions so that you can create content that they (not just you) care about. Follow in the footsteps of The Pioneer Woman and make money from the comfort of your own home by building up a distinctive and authentic voice.
- There are many different ways of monetizing a blog. The most popular methods are sponsored posts, advertising, becoming a paid contributor, product reviews, starting online courses/ selling downloadables, and affiliate sales. Make sure that once you monetize, you still stay true to your readers.
- Webinars are another great way to earn money through your blog. Take a look at some how-to guides to find the best ways of offering value to your readers – and boost your income in the process. Find out how to get started hosting your own webinar.
- Vlogging is another option for those who don’t fancy writing, but promoting video is a whole different ballgame. Do plenty of keyword research to make sure your videos are optimized for users and searches. Focus on getting as many video embeds as you can.
What you’ll need:
- Anyone can get started with a blog, but in order to succeed at making money you need proper branding and a content strategy. (If you're not sure how to start your own blog, check out this step-by-step guide to get you started).
- You will need to learn how to sell yourself and your blog to brands and businesses.
- Good social media profiles with plenty of genuine user engagement – your audience is your lifeline as a blogger.
3) For Fearless Female Entrepreneurs: Ecommerce
Many online stores started out as simple ideas pursued in someone's bedroom or garage, and have since grown into popular ecommerce ventures. Sophia Amoruso (founder of Nasty Gal), Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna (founders of Birchbox) all became successful ecommerce sellers after their ideas took off. Now their products are highly sought after and they have paved the way for other online entrepreneurs. The thing that they both have in common – a great idea that’s perfect for their target market and bags of passion.
Don’t buy a lot of stock (or use a dropshipper), and don’t invest in expensive office space or technology. Focus on building solid relationships by finding customer advocates and keeping them happy (tweak your offering if that’s what people are reflecting back to you).
Operating your business fully online means low start-up costs. The risk is minimal, and if your store doesn't work out the way you thought it would, then you can move on.
What you’ll need:
- First off, you will need to come up with an idea of what you will sell. You want something different that’s going to get people to stand up and take notice – innovation and telling a good story with your products is key. Subscription boxes are super popular right now – can you think of a niche that you’d like to move into?
- For the crafty/creative entrepreneur, why not create some awesome products to sell online, like patterned snoods, film art posters, animal print t-shirts, or custom jewelry? Create your own designs to stand out – see what’s hot and trending in the world of design right now and put a clever spin on things. (Anyone can set up an awesome store selling their own designs with the Shopify and Printful integration.)
- If you don’t fancy yourself as the crafty kind then why not consider drop shipping some lucrative products instead? You could always private label stuff on Amazon – but it’s a competitive market out there (despite all the crazy income reports people keep sharing). If you’re interested, check out marketplaces like Alibaba to see what product deals you can find with overseas suppliers.
4) For the Super Organized Mama: Virtual Assistant
Become a virtual online assistant and get paid to work from home so you can work around your lifestyle. Being a VA means you can pick the work that you do – do what suits your lifestyle and make money when you need it.
VA jobs suit people transitioning from more traditional office-based roles, and you can easily work part-time. The work will be varied, but it’s important that you stay super organized and that you can have a quiet space at home to work as you may be answering the phone. VAs often undergo training before they get set up – but mostly that’s just about getting to know the client and the software.
There are loads of virtual assistant agencies out there (many of them franchises). That’s probably a safe place to start until you’ve built up you own clients.
5) For the Adventurer: Fearless Freelancer
As long as you are able to get the work/life balance right, you can become successfully self-employed in a number of different niches. Freelancing has become an increasingly popular way to make money at home and it’s easy to see why – you can leave the corporate or agency life behind in favor of more fulfilling work.
New digital opportunities mean that women are able to work from home and coffee shops with their laptops – before they’ve even had a corporate career. For other women, freelancing is a great way to find new challenges in their industry and strike out on their own.
Here are some popular freelancer careers:
- Copywriting/ content
- Design and artwork
- Data science and analytics
- Online translation
- Business consultancy
- Teaching (especially languages)
- Sales and marketing
- The list goes on... – you could even go freelance as a financial manager!
Freelancing obviously isn’t as easy as quitting your job and ‘hey presto’ – you need to really think about whether you’re ready to take on the responsibility of client management, tax returns and invoicing. The best freelancers start slow – working alongside their day job until you have built enough capital and work to fully cut the cord.
Some freelancers build up a credible online brand, building traffic and custom that way. Others focus more on word of mouth, and may not need to ‘launch’ themselves if client work is keeping them busy. But it’s always a good idea to have a professional website and a promotional strategy ready – you never know when you might need it.
Passionate about writing for the startup and entrepreneurial audience, Kayleigh has recently been part of setting up an exciting project at MicroStartups.org, which donates all of its website profits to charities that help people reach their full potential. Find out more on Twitter (@getmicrostarted).
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