Is An Online Business Or Job A Good Alternative For The Unemployed?
Times have been tough for many families lately. COVID-19 has put many people out of work. Others are fortunate enough to work at home, but have to help their children with remote schooling at the same time. All of the stresses that have come about this year have made being unemployed a big problem. It may even feel as though you have no alternative but to be unemployed. You don’t have to worry only about earning enough money these days – you also have to consider how you will keep your family safe and healthy.
Is an online business a good alternative for the unemployed? What about a remote job?
That depends on how you go about it. For some, it’s going to be a great idea, for others a terrible one. Working at home is great in that you don’t have to worry so much about exposure to COVID. It’s also more stressful in other ways, especially if you have young children to care for at the same time.
What Are The Online Alternatives To Being Unemployed?
Depending on your wants and skills, there will be some excellent online opportunities to earn money from home. If you want a steady income, a remote job is likely your best option. If you don’t mind the risk, an online business can be a great opportunity.
Remote work opportunities have increased tremendously in recent years, and not only due to COVID-19. Collaboration tools such as Slack have made it much easier for remote teams to stay in contact. Many jobs that don’t require face to face interaction or physical labor can now be done remotely.
On the other hand, an online business can give you greater flexibility along with the financial risk. Running your own business means setting your own hours as well as not knowing how much you’ll earn each month, especially at first.
Do A Lot Of Reading… But Not Too Much
If you want to succeed with an online business, you’ll need to know a bit about what you’re doing. It’s not rocket science, but earning a living online takes a lot of work, and much of it will be unfamiliar.
There are a lot of great resources online that will help you learn what you need to know to run an online business. There are paid resources too, but if you don’t have the money, don’t spend it.
If you need to add in some skills, for example, learning sites such as Udemy offer a huge range of courses you can take for reasonable prices. Improving your skills is almost always a good idea, whether you’re starting an online business or seeking out a new job.
Don’t spend an excessive amount of time reading and learning before taking action either. I’ve been working online for more than nearly two decades now and I’m still learning. Just learn enough to get a good start, and continue to learn as you go. Too much information will make it harder to get started.
Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have
This is something I always tell people who want to start an online business. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. A business of any sort is a risk. If you can’t afford the risk, find another way to make things work.
Fortunately, you can start an online business for free, so long as you have internet access. Don’t expect fast results, but it’s certainly something you can work on while looking for a job.
Start a free blog at Blogger, Wix or WordPress. Write interesting posts about a topic you love and know well. Don’t go too broad in your topic. You cannot appeal to everyone. You’re better off appealing to those who share your interest in your niche.
Learn free marketing methods such as writing guest blog posts for other websites with your link in the resource box, posting on social media, and the legitimate uses of blog commenting and forum participation.
Sign up for AdSense and/or affiliate programs associated with your niche. Insert ads as appropriate, but don’t pound your readers with nothing but ads.
You can do a lot for free. The results won’t be as fast as if you pay, but it may be worth the try.
Offer Your Services
Offering your services is another way to earn money online, but depending on what you do, you may need to pay for a domain name and hosting to look professional.
Virtual assistants can work at home. So can website designers, graphic artists, programmers, social media managers, and more.
Whatever your skill is, price it and start looking for clients. Don’t limit yourself to the internet. There may be businesses right in your community that need help with the online side of their business.
You can take payments through PayPal rather than go through the trouble of taking credit cards yourself. Square is another popular option.
Sell Your Own Products
Selling products online may not be all that easy, but it’s possible.
If you’re into crafts, sell your work on eBay or Etsy. There’s competition, of course, but these are places that people go looking for things to buy. You will have some risk in terms of how much inventory you carry, but it’s a great opportunity to indulge your creative side.
You can also create an ebook or video to sell. Provide solid information on a topic people want to know about, and people will pay for it. Just think about the wide range of books in bookstores.
These options won’t usually earn significant money right away, but if you can’t find a job, finding other ways to earn money isn’t a bad idea, right? Especially if you’ve been searching for months or more than a year and nothing has come through yet.
Consider Remote Jobs
You don’t have to start what most people think of as a business to earn money online. Many companies now hire people to work remotely. You may even be able to stay in your current career and find an employer who encourages remote work.
Alternatively, there are many websites that pay people to write for them. If writing is one of your skills, it’s a way to bring in some money. Not necessarily the best pay, but it’s something.
For better pay but a harder time getting articles accepted, write for magazines and other printed publications. Go to your local library and borrow the most recent copy of Writer’s Market to get an idea as to which publications you should be considering and who to contact.
Remote jobs offer great possibilities, but just as with any other kind of work, these jobs are hard to come by. Lots of people want to work at home, and when you find a legitimate opportunity, odds are good that others have too. Still, there are many jobs that can be done remotely if you have the skills.
Beware Of Scams
Don’t think that just because you aren’t spending money you can’t get scammed. You can have your identity stolen if you share personal information such as your Social Security Number. You can participate in a criminal action by cashing fraudulent or stolen checks and forwarding the money. The last thing you need when you’re unemployed is to fall for a scam.
Really think about what you’re going to do and make sure the opportunity is legitimate before spending money, sharing your personal information, or doing just about any kind of work at home. The number of scams out there is scary, and smart people can be taken in.
Beware Of Time Wasters
There are some things you can do from home that aren’t exactly scams, but will use up more of your time than they’re probably worth. These include pay to click emails, most surveys and completing offers. In fact, completing offers often costs money, as it’s easy to forget to cancel the free trials you must join to get paid or earn whatever gadget you’re after.
Some may really payout, but the amount of time you will spend earning that money will result in a pay rate usually well below minimum wage. Find a better use for your time.
Whether or not working online is a good choice for you depends on you. If you aren’t going to take consistent action, it’s probably not a good choice. If you’re willing to work, knowing that it may be some time before you see any money or even website visitors come in, it might work out for you.
Take some time and read up on the options that are interesting to you. There are a lot of opportunities out there for those who are willing to go for it. You may not find the alternative to being unemployed that you’re looking for, but you won’t find anything if you don’t try.
And if none of the online options work out for you, that’s fine. It’s not for everyone. Do what it takes to bring in the money you need for yourself and your family. Even a job that is below your skill level is a better alternative than being unemployed.