In recent months, we’ve been speaking a lot about working from home due to the current pandemic. However, a lot of companies either don’t have the structures in place for this to work or they simply don’t have the option such as bars and shops. Unfortunately because of this not only have businesses suffered and had to shut down but it means a lot of staff are now jobless.
We’ve decided to pull some resources and ideas together to help you either start your own online business or work for an online company from the comfort of your own home.
Building an Online Presence
Working online is not easy. It’s everyone's dream, right? Whether you want to work from the beaches of Thailand or the comfort of your bed you need to start building an online presence. This is how you’ll get noticed whether it’s your own business your promoting or essentially, yourself.
Building an online presence isn’t easy and it takes a long time but there is no better time to start than now. But what do we mean by building an online presence? Building an online presence is essentially making yourself seen online.
Everyone has a Facebook, right? But do you have a Page on Facebook? A LinkedIn? Your own website? These are all channels that we can build our online presence on. But before you go smashing away at your keyboard and buying domain names, start with your ‘why’. In other words, what are you trying to achieve here? Below we will go through some different ways to make money online but it will all start with building an online presence.
Once you’ve read through some of our recommendations then come back to this section and build your brand around whichever path you choose.
This seems like an obvious one right? Whether you’re running a multi-billion pound business or making a little extra money on the side freelancing you’ll need to be active on social media.
We recommend being active on all social platforms, however, if you’re just starting on your own and are starting a business, for example, you’re going to have a lot of work on your hands so this may not be possible. So whichever way you decide you want to make money online, think about which platforms you target ‘audience’ will most likely be using and focus on that first.
For example, you decide to start a cosmetics company aimed toward early to mid-20-year-old girls, your best bet would be to focus on a Facebook and Instagram page as this is the main platform they will be using according to Business Insider.
What if you’re a new freelancer trying to reach business owners to get work? LinkedIn will be your best bet to start with, although if you put in the work and research the owners of business Instagram can also work very well as an outreach tool.
Ok, so you’ve chosen the social media platform you want to use, now you’re probably thinking… well what content do I post? Again this is going to depend on which path you choose to make money online, however, the key to any content is value. You want to brainstorm ideas and think of ways in which you can bring value to your followers. You don’t want to just constantly sell to them in every post.
Whichever way you want to start making money online you’re going to need a website, especially if you want to start building your personal brand and online presence. It can act as your online store, your brand's page explaining the services you offer, it can be your blog which can then be turned into pieces of social media (pro tip there) or it can simply be a way for people to contact you.
Websites can be very simple or a very complex way for you to make money online so we’ll just go through the basics of it for now.
Firstly you’ll need a domain name, we recommend this being the name of your brand or if you’re not starting a brand you could use your name for example. We recommend heading over to GoDaddy and taking a look through at what domain names are available and within your budget.
Now you need to create and build your website. If you decide you want to start a business that sells physical products then we recommend using Shopify as they offer hosting and a very wide range of other services, you can even build your website here as well so it’s a one-stop-shop for all of your needs.
If you have some money to spend then hiring a freelancer or agency to host and build your website is probably the best and quickest way to have a well-built complex site up and running. You can find agencies by simply doing a Google search for ‘web design agencies’ or if you’re looking for a freelancer you can take a look at UpWork.com.
If you’re looking for a site that is very basic to act as a way of contacting you and want to save on money, you can take a look at Wix which provides hosting and website design services you can easily navigate yourself.
Ok, so now you understand how to build an online presence, now it’s time to look at ways you can start making some money online.
Starting Your Own Business
Now before you start dreaming of the millions you can make online you need to set up your business legally. There are many ways to do this, however, the two most popular ways in the UK are to either register as a Sole Trader or start a Limited Company.
We highly recommend starting as a Sole Trader unless you plan on hiring staff right away or are starting a business with another person. Registering as a Sole Trader has very little paperwork you need to fill out and you can use software such as Quickbooks to take away hard parts for you.
If you decide to or need to register as a Limited Company then we highly recommend speaking to an accountant first.
To register your business in the UK simply head over to Gov.uk and follow the steps in which they explain.
Ok so now you understand how to build your online presence and set up a business, let’s take a look at a few of the ways we recommend making money online.
Starting an Online Store
Starting an online store using Shopify which we mention above is a great way to start making money without even leaving your front door. However, it’s not easy. It takes time, start-up fees and some creative thinking.
You may already have an amazing idea to start selling hand-painted mugs but have you done your market research and looked at other companies doing the same thing? You will need to get creative if you decide this option otherwise it can be very costly.
You’ll need to turn your idea into a physical product that people want whilst also making a profit on each sale.
Running an online store will also mean you’ll be spending a lot more on marketing than our other two options below. You may need to hire freelancers along the way to help you with tasks you simply don’t have the time or skills for and there is risk involved as of course, you will need to spend money on the stock.
These are just some considerations to keep in mind if you decide to choose this business model. Perhaps you could take a crash course on how to start an online store using sites such as Udemy.
Freelancing is one of the cheapest and in our opinion the best way to make money online. You may already possess the skills to start right away but if not then we recommend you take the time and a small amount of money and invest in building skills that are in demand.
There is a whole range of skills that you can use to freelance online, however, we recommend the following (and most in-demand in our opinion):
- Website design
- Graphic design
- Online marketing
- Online advertising
- Virtual assistant
Now it is really going to depend on YOU which skill you choose to spend time learning. Skills such as web design and online marketing may sound easy to learn but people spend years developing these skills so you must make your decision based on what you’re passionate about. The reason this is key is that in a digital world things move fast and you will need to continue to spend time and money to upskill which can be very hard when you’re not happy with what you’re doing.
You’ll also want to take into consideration: do you want to freelance as a career path or as a side gig to a job you already have? Being a virtual assistant in the western world can pay well but it isn’t scalable. You’ll reach a point where you will hit a pay ceiling. On the flip side if you choose to get into online marketing or web design you can grow and develop your skills and eventually start an agency and hire employees, which will bring you to a point where the sky's the limit.
To get started learning your chosen skillset we recommend browsing Udemy or simply doing a Google search for courses you want to learn.
You may get slightly confused by this when you see ‘online teaching’ you might be thinking ‘well I’ve never been a teacher before how can I do that?’. When we refer to online teaching we’re talking about teaching English to children in countries such as China.
This way of making money online gives you flexibility in your life and the ability to work pretty much anywhere in the world (as long as you have good WiFi).
You will be working for a company (which we will provide a list of below) and each one has their own requirements so it’s important to speak with them and read through these carefully as a lot of these companies require you to have a native American accent. However, not all of them.
You will need to invest money to start with. You need to get what is called a TEFL certificate. To get your TEFL certificate we highly recommend doing a Google search as you can pay anywhere between £30-£400 for one as there are different tiers of the certificate.
Once you’ve researched the companies below and chosen where you will get your certificate from you will then need to go through a basic hiring process with the company of your choice.
The companies we recommend are:
Choosing the Right Path for You
Whichever path you choose to take in your online working journey it’s important to think deeply on it first. Working online isn’t easy and it’s becoming more and more competitive as time goes on, especially with what is happening in the world right now.
Our last piece of advice is to continue to upskill and follow the leaders in your selected fields on social media as they will provide a lot of value to you.