“What do i need to start online jobs ?”
“i’ve a laptop and a modem. Show me the online jobs!”
These are some of the statements/questions I receive on my inbox.
And I thought I need to answer you comprehensively.
Now, it dawned on me that people think that online jobs are like a mathematical equation:
Laptop/desktop+ internet= Jobs= $$$
It’s not that fast.
There is more.
Let me explain:
Let’s say you are a mechanic.
Do you buy the mechanic toolbox and then report to a garage and then exclaim “I have the tools..show me that car which has defeated you!”
There are some procedures…
It’s the same case with online work..
First, I have to admit I also thought so when the first time.
So, I bought a laptop and a modem then went to the big G(Google) and typed “Online jobs”
Let me tell you:
I found lots of articles it got me scared…I think I got a whopping 862,000,000 results! Yeah. That’s right!
You can see the screenshot below
I remember very well that it was in the wee hours of the morning (around 3.00am)…you see, I had been told that online jobs RAIN at night so I had to make sure I was on at that time to grab one of these jobs that float by at night looking for someone to do them (Hahaha!)
Well, because of the difference in the time zones, it may look as if there are more job posts at night in freelancing websites like upwork at night so that’s somehow true….but again there are jobs being posted there 24/7
So, what do exactly require for you to take jobs online?
Here we go.
a. A computer
Needless to say, a computer is your toolbox as far as internet jobs are concerned.
You can see i’ve said a computer meaning even if you have a desktop, it will still work.
A laptop of course has its advantages for example portability not forgetting that you can still continue working even during a blackout (if it has a healthy battery) but to me, a desktop is just as fine- if your budget doesn’t allow.
And it doesn’t need those very high specifications …Nope!
Provided it can accommodate some of the basic software like Microsoft Office applications and a browser, you are good to go.
Unless of course if you’re targeting resource intensive jobs like graphics design or video editing.
Those require much more memory, a big hard disk, and powerful graphical processing so you must be ready to make a significant investment.
And the last time i checked, it was possible to get a complete desktop with as little as $100 from some of those sellers in downtime Nairobi so with time, you can save towards it.
What if i don’t have a computer at the moment?
If you currently can afford a computer, there are options:
- Borrow from a friend/relative
If you know a close friend who has an idle computer somewhere, sweet talk them and request them to lend you theirs.
It may help you win a long term client. And with that a very real possibility of owning yours soon.
- Hire /Lease
You can also look for someone who is willing to hire out their computer/laptop. It shouldn’t be that expensive ….maybe $10 a month shouldn’t be much since its possible to raise it with just one 1000 words article if for example you are a writer like me…
Guys raise even $1000 a month with focus
- Cyber café
If you can access a cyber, talk to the owner for a discounted rate..and make maximum use of it.
So, if for example he charges 50 cts. per minute, talk to him to give you something lower.
If possible, you can tell him/her you will be working from there and would be willing to pay a small monthly fee
They rarely hesitate because that’s guaranteed business.
- Your Smartphone
This should be your last option..not that it can’t work. It can though I believe it’s much more difficult with some jobs..for example, I can’t see you producing creative graphics purely from your smartphone
But guys have told me they use it to search for jobs and then once they nail them, rush to the cyber to execute them so it can be a useful option
This is what you do:
Go to Google Play store and download the Upwork App and the Fiverr App.
Then log in with your normal credentials.
It means you’ll never miss a moment to send a proposal or even to reply to a client.
You can do the same with all other freelancing apps like PeoplePerHour, Edusson, transcribeme etc
b. The Internet
The internet is the bread and butter of every internet worker. Period!
You must therefore secure yourself a reliable and preferably, an affordable internet connection.
These are the options:
- Invest in a Modem
Yeah. The good old modem is still a handy device to have. People ask “Which is the best modem?” Phew..what a tough question!
What you need to know that its not the modem that matters…It’s your internet service provider (ISP). In Kenya, this should be one of Airtel, Telkom, and Safaricom
I say this because not all will have a strong signal where you live. Like where I live, I use Airtel but I had to shift to working from my bedroom because the signal is stronger there!
So, before buying a modem, find out if your ISP has a descent signal in your area…you may buy Airtel only to find that its connecting on GSM instead of 3G or the faster 4G…you won’t work.
You can borrow from a friend, and then go test before buying.
Alternatively, inform the seller that you will be returning it if you find that it’s not working in your area.
If all the three companies have good internet in your area, compare the pricing (bundles) and see which one suits your best!
- Tethering Your Smartphone
Rather than buying a modem, you can tether your android smartphone to your computer using your USB cable.
This converts your device into a wired modem.
You can explore your gadget from the settings area to see if it offers this useful option (most do)
Beware that tethering may affect the health of your phone’s battery
- Create a Wireless Hotspot from your Smartphone
You can also Use your Android device as a wireless modem. Here, it functions like a Wi-Fi hotspot and you won’t need the USB cable.
Again, look for this option from your phone’s settings.
Best of all, this won’t mess up your battery plus you can share the connection with your friend or family.
- Other options
You can also opt for;
- Fixed wired installation paid for monthly. For example, Safaricom home fibre costs about 2500/= per month. There is also Faiba for home
- Buy a portable Mi-Fi from Faiba (4G) or any other provider. Again, find out if your area is covered. Some of these options are cheaper
- Share the Wi-Fi from your neighbor, your college/university, or even from hotels (sweet talk those involved)
How to reduce data consumption on your Android device
Let’s say you have settled on tethering or to create a mobile hotspot on your device, you will then need to get a way on controlling data usage.
Otherwise, you can find yourself running out of internet bundles every now and then
Here is how you can limit data consumption on your mobile device
- Limit your data consumption in Android Settings.
Head over to your phone Settings. Once there, tap on Data Usage > Billing Cycle>Data limit & billing cycle.
There you can specify the maximum volume of data you are targeting to consume in a month.
Additionally, you can set your device to automatically disconnect from the data network once the set data limit is hit.
- Restrict Apps background data
Some apps continue using data even when your smartphone is idle.
Background data is of course useful in that it allows you to continuously monitor your apps while you’re busy multitasking or when you’ve switched the screen off. However, not every app is important so you can disable background data for non-essential apps.
Go to Settings > Data Usage. There you will get some statistics showing the amount of data each app is consuming behind the scenes
Tap on the app you feel is non-essential yet it’s using lots of bandwidth.
Tap to enable on “Restrict app-background data.” From that moment, the app will only consume data when opened.
This will no doubt save on your data
· Activate data compression in Chrome
Google Chrome is a popular Android browser. It comes with a handy data compression feature that should significantly lower your data usage on Android when turned on.
Not only that:
Data compression also speeds up page loading bringing you further convenience
To activate data compression, open your Chrome, then tap on the three (3) dot menu near its upper right corner.
Now tap on Settings. Then scroll down up to Data Saver. There you may tap on the Data Saver (upper right corner) to enable it.
You will now be using less data
· Update apps only over Wi-Fi
Another effective way to save on mobile data is by disabling automatic app updates- updates are heavy data users.
Head over to your Play Store. Once there, tap on Menu > Settings > Auto-update apps.
Select “Auto update apps only over Wi-Fi.” Alternatively, choose “Do not auto update apps,”
The later is not recommended as you’ll have to manually update your apps every now and then.
Limit use of your streaming services
Data-hungry content such as music, videos, and high-quality images may burn a significant hole in your pocket.
Try not to stream these while on mobile data.
A clever option would be you store your music and videos in your local storage or if you have to download, only stream them when connected to a Wi-Fi.
On the same note, YouTube consumes lots of data, so, be sure to lower the resolution of YouTube videos while on mobile data.
Closely Monitor your apps.
Data-hungry apps also seriously affect data consumption. While you may not even realize it, your Google Photos app could be synchronizing your photos silently each time you click on one.
Same goes for Social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram.
This is what you do:
First, avoid watching GIFs and videos in those apps.
Then, using alternatives to some of these apps to perform some of the required functions will save on data.
For instance, Facebook Lite is the recommended lighter alternative to the popular Facebook app.
Moreover, it will save your on your battery life.
TweetCaster is an amazing alternative to your Twitter app.
Cache Google Maps -for offline use
Instead of looking up Google Maps live, you can download and save some of your favorite maps within your Google Maps app for later offline use.
You will still be able to navigate to your target location by referring to the downloaded map. You only need to switch your GPS on.
It’s therefore advisable to download all your important maps (e.g. that of your home area) and for all the regions you usually frequent.
So, next time you have Wi-Fi, click Google Maps, move to Menu then select “Offline Maps”
While there, tap on “Select your-own map” then zoom in/out to choose the area that you want to make available offline.
With area chosen, press “Download.”
· Optimize Your Account Sync Settings
Your account settings are set to auto-sync automatically.
Disable auto-sync for data-thirsty apps including Facebook and Google+
Google also sync’s your personal data whenever it senses some changes. You may not necessarily need these sync services so it’s wise to switch them off.
Go to Settings >Accounts. There you can set different sync settings for various apps. For Google sync settings, tap on Google then turn off those options you don’t need such as Google Fit data and Google Play Movies
Bonus Tips and Tricks to reduce mobile data usage on Android:
- Download larger files only when on Wi-Fi.
- Avoid clearing your System Cache unless there’s no other means to free up more storage space.
- Turn off your mobile data when not needed.
- Turn off apps notifications for non-essential apps.
- Set longer update intervals for the frequently updated home screen widgets
Obviously, you must have a skill that you want to sell online. The good thing is that there are over 5000 different online jobs.
Some of the more popular includes
- Digital marketing
- Academic writing
- Article writing
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Affiliate marketing
- Online tutoring
And thousands of others
You can also look for and work with direct clients.
And to me, the most important step is to choose exactly what you want to do!
- Here is how to choose a niche
- Here are the top rated online jobs websites
- Here are top 10 online jobs that can change your life
- And here are the top 11 high-level online jobs
There you have it…what you need to start off as an online worker.
In short, we have seen that you need a Computer, Perhaps a smartphone, A reliable internet connection and of course, some skills.
Plus of course, some determination to succeed.
Finally, you’ll also need to register with the relevant freelancing websites or get direct clients.
So, what is you next plan now that you know how to kick start your internet career?
Let me know in the comments section!
Author: John Gitahi
John is a freelance writer. He is passionate about helping individuals grow by creating insightful, shareable content.
He doubles up in digital marketing and blogging. When not writing, you will find join touring the remotest corners of Earth.