Working online is becoming increasingly common. Businesses are increasingly deciding to let staff work from home, while more and more independent freelancers are opting to provide services over the web, rather than in person.
There are countless reasons for this. This is a set-up that benefits both the client/employer and the professional. From the perspective of the business, it now has the opportunity to choose a professional from a global market rather than the local talent pool. That drastically increases the chances of finding someone perfectly suited to that specific role.
A business can then work with that professional for as long as the project continues, with no strings attached. There is no requirement to provide desk space, health insurance, or sick pay, either!
While it might sound as though the company is getting a good deal, it’s an even better story for the online worker. Below, we’ll explore ten of the very most compelling reasons to work online. You’ll quickly see that this can not only give you more spare time to spend with your family, but also increase your salary, improve job security, and ensure you find your work truly rewarding.
You can work from anywhere
The first huge advantage of working online is something that most people will think of immediately: it means you can work from anywhere.
To many people, that means working from home (and indeed the phrase “work from home” is often synonymous with “work online”). Indeed, this is a highly rewarding way to work, as it means you’ll be comfortable in your own environment, surrounded by your own possessions, and décor. That’s a great improvement over a stuffy corporate office with halogen lighting and too-cold air conditioning!
But working online doesn’t just mean working from home. It can also mean working from a coffee shop; where the buzz of people chatting can fade into a kind of ambient white noise, and where the smell of coffee can keep you focused and alert.
It can mean working from the beach in a deck chair, as I used to when I worked in Bournemouth! If you’re not near the beach, then how about in the garden with a mocktail under an umbrella? It’s great for the soul and can even increase creativity!
Or it could mean working while travelling. A digital nomad is someone who works while backpacking from one country to another. As long as you have a laptop and an internet connection, you can work from anywhere in the world.
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Why stay stuck in one dank office, when you could explore so many different wonderful things? Surely that’s a more fulfilling way to live.
You can do as much or as little work as you like
Here’s the other thing about working online: you can choose how much work you actually want to do (this is assuming you’re freelance).
In other words, you can decide you’ll gladly take the financial hit if it means you get to take Mondays off to spend with family. Or alternatively, you might decide you want to work 7 days a week, earn a lot of money in a short time, and then take the following year off.
This is what is known as “lifestyle design.” It means that instead of finding a job and then forcing your lifestyle to adapt; you flip this concept on its head. Work out how much you need, work out how much your income and your career matter to you, and then adjust the balance accordingly.
You set your own salary
Working online means you get to choose your own salary. As we have seen, working online will allow you to choose exactly how much you want to work, thereby giving you the opportunity to earn more or less as a result.
At the same time, working online also means that you can negotiate your salary with clients, or just increase your rates and hope you still get the work. How about finding job listings on sites like UpWork and TopTal, and gradually going after higher and higher paid gigs? As you add to your portfolio, seek out more training and certifications, and generally increase your confidence, you can begin to demand a higher and higher rate.
Whereas full-time employees need to wait for their manager to offer them a raise, online freelancers can take matters into their own hands.
And because a freelance writer has so few overheads as compared to a writing agency with an office location (for example), you also get to keep your prices competitive and take home a lot more profit.
That’s before we even consider the role of passive income streams that generate revenue while you sleep!
Far from earning less by working online, you are going to be able to earn much more
No more exchanging time for money
The typical working relationship between a professional and an employer effectively involves the professional selling their time for money. This means they are getting paid for hours of their life, rather than for the value they provide.
And this is suboptimal.
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The highest earners in the world all charge based on value rather than time. And that suits us a lot better too, as it means we aren’t tied to our desks for a set period of hours every single day. Instead, we have the freedom to shift our work-life balance as we please.
We get back our freedom.
This might seem like a small point at first, but it’s actually game changing.
Most people will spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours a day commuting to and from work. Two hours a day is 10 hours a week, or 40 hours per month. That’s 480 hours per year! And in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s insane.
Imagine what you could accomplish in that time if you weren’t sitting on a train? Imagine how much more energy and time you would have to play with your kids, get in shape, start a side business, learn a language. Plus, you could potentially save thousands of dollars each year on train fares and gas. That’s without your actual salary changing at all!
Working online is exciting. My Uncle once described what I do as “pioneering,” and that is something that really stuck with me.
While I don’t often feel like a pioneer, it’s certainly true that a lot of people still think of working online as some kind of black magic.
And when someone asks you what you do at a party and you tell them you work online, they will instantly follow up with more questions. Tell them you’re a logistics manager and see if you get the same fascinated response.
No office drama
How much of your time and energy do you think has been wasted on office politics? On dealing with petty squabbles, micromanagement, or on your colleagues’ bad moods?
Many people find this aspect of office work extremely stressful and are certainly not sorry to say goodbye. Not only that, but when you remove these distractions, you can work a lot faster and a lot more efficiently.
Then there are the meetings. Too many companies waste a huge amount of time on the “busywork of business.” They like to “play” business and to hold meetings seemingly for the sake of hearing themselves speak. This is referred to as “communication overhead” and it costs the average company a lot of money each year.
For some people, the lack of social interaction is going to be a big downside to working online and they will miss that stimulation. But you know what? When you work online, it actually affords you more time to spend with friends and family. I used to meet my friends on their lunch breaks for example. Now I have a young daughter, so I spend lunch with her.
The point is that you are trading forced interactions with people you probably don’t like all that much, with meaningful time with the people you love.
Working online forces you to take responsibility for your own career and your own professional growth. Nobody is going to pay for you to take a course to further your skills; that’s on you if you want it.
While this might sound like a bad thing, it actually means that you’re likely to end up being more conscious in your decisions to further your skills and add to your resume. And because many jobs you take on will be exclusively your choice and your responsibility, you’ll quickly develop your portfolio too. Add further to your reputation by running a blog, and you can quickly become a superstar in your niche!
Wear, eat, and drink what you like
Working from home or wherever you like, also means you can relax a lot of the rules that take the fun out of work. There’s no need to wear a suit (unless you want to), and no rule against eating at your desk. You can listen to your favorite music while you type, and you can even work in your pajamas. This can actually help you to be more productive by ensuring maximum comfort. But moreover, it can make each day a little different and a little less dull.
It’s extremely stable
A lot of people struggle to understand how I’m able to support a family and work online. What if the work dries up, they wonder?
Well, don’t think that doesn’t give me sleepless nights too! But the truth is, that working online is surprisingly more stable and reliable than you might think.
Put it this way: if I were to work for a single organization, there would always be the risk that this company could go under and lay me off. But by working for multiple different clients, you spread your bets and become much more resilient. With some passive income streams, you’ll be even less susceptible to problems facing any single business.
Not only that, but as a skilled freelancer capable of finding work online, there is never likely to be any shortage of available work you can complete.
It is the future
Finally, you should get used to working online because it is the future. As I said at the start of this post, working online has a lot of compelling advantages for organizations as well as individuals. As technology and infrastructure continue to improve, it will only become increasingly viable for more industries to work in this way.
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In short, the incentives for all parties are simply too great for this not to eventually become the new normal. Work online now and you will simply be getting a head start on the competition.