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Working Online: Is it as Enjoyable as it Seems?

Updated on July 5, 2016
Michael Ttappous profile image

Michael has been an online freelancer and writer for many years and loves discovering and sharing about new experiences and opportunities.

The World at Your Fingertips

This is a map of the world--and I share it with you to demonstrate the places I've worked for. I've worked on Belgian projects, British projects, and on projects from all over the United States. I've translated writing from French, German, and Greek and I have created online content that has no physical base. I have accessed markets and addressed my clients' needs in more countries than I can count and across a huge range of topics. But, most importantly, I've done all of this from my very own living room.

It's true. I have worked for clients based in many different countries and continents without leaving my own office. This is one of the beautiful things about working online: You get to interact with a world that's sometimes out of your reach. In fact, there are a whole host of reasons that make working online sound so appealing...

Home Sweet Home

You are in your own home. This means that you can eat and drink whatever and whenever you want, because you are writing from home!

You get to sleep-in. Although you have to keep to a schedule, you have the ability to make sure that that schedule starts a little later than 07:00.

You have privacy. There is little to upset you (besides your own kin, of course) in your own home and you get to concentrate more than you would at a bustling office.

You’re in your element. No over-zealous boss or nasty co-workers are there to distract you from doing exactly what you need to be doing.

You Learn to Work, And Work to Learn

There is a variety of work. You can choose from copywriting, to blogging, to proofreading, to translating, to transcribing, to completing human intelligence tasks… If you think that you can do it, you can probably find someone to pay you for it.

You learn as you do. Understanding the online writing business when writing from home is understanding a unique and very interesting industry. The more you do, the more you learn.

You pick up tangible and referable skills. Even as a novice, you will quickly be able to outline the experience and skills gained from working online to potential clients or employers.

The Word Is Mighty

It feels good. Knowing that you’ve earned money online, and through your own creations, makes you feel like a real entrepreneur.

There is a huge community. A countless number of people have already lived every first step that you’re taking, and they have already shared their wisdom online.

You unleash your potential. Taking on challenging projects or meeting stern goals that you set for yourself will rapidly make you realize just how much you can create and achieve when you focus and apply yourself. And you can do this from your very own desk.

Doesn't this sound awesome!?

See results

Although there are many benefits above, and many which I haven’t listed, there are also some issues that only become more and more apparent as you spend more and more time working online. Indeed, beyond the time that you'll spend at the beginning to start figuring out just how the online world works, you'll come to find that there are a few downsides to earning a living or a part-time income from working online. So while it may be relaxing and comforting to be in your own chair when you decide to write, remember that the work doesn’t stop there—it begins.

It Can Be Uncomfortable

Without the use of a good, Ergonomic Keyboard, writing can sometimes take its toll on your hands and wrists. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you’re always comfortable.

The same goes for the chair you sit in and the way you bend your back to type. Maintaining posture and not developing a hunch is difficult when you’re behind a computer all the time.

Sitting at the PC all day is itself an uncomfortable thing to do. And having to be on-call the whole time you’re working on the PC also creates the need sit most of the time.

Because you work whenever there is work, the downsides of writing from home is that your home has transformed into your permanent workplace. It takes over your free-time schedule, when you have breaks, when you can leave the house, and when you can have visitors. Not having a set point in the day to call it quits, because you work whenever there is work, can force you to become addicted to your computer–and that makes working from home quite uncomfortable.

It Can Be Stressful

It is stressful when you find a project that you’re unsure if you can successfully complete. You force yourself to accept it and then panic the whole time you’re completing it.

Projects you have finished are also stressful because, until they are cleared by the editors and accepted by the client, you can be asked for multiple revisions at any point within the client’s time limit, and this is usually a few days. You are on-call 24/7.

Finding work is also stressful. Even if you have multiple sites that you work for, work is still very scarce and the biggest downsides of writing from home is that there is often not much good-paying work to do. Even when you have a lot of time to allocate to it, you’re often out of work.

Constant page-refreshing. Whatever jobs do become available on online sites, they are often snatched-up very quickly. I think that at any point in time there are at least five people taking the work that appears. And this means that you have to continuously hit the refresh button in order to see the new projects and to grab them before they disappear. If you don’t do it frequently enough, you won’t even realize that work has come and gone.

It May Not Be Worth It...

You have to think about the work that you do and the amount you get paid in terms of the hourly wage rate. If you cannot make above the hourly minimum wage for one hour of working online, and if you cannot work for that type of money for at least six hours every day, then its not worth it. And it’s especially not worth it if you’re making less than minimum wage per hour.

You have to be overly protective of your data. A simple power cut or lightening strike can wipe out hours of work if you make the human failure of not saving your work. Indeed, even a power surge can end up destroying your computer and leave you helpless when you've got clients depending on you. This means that you have to invest in an Uninterrupted Power Supply Unit to ensure that your computer keeps on running, even when your power is cut, and that your hardware stays protected from electricity spikes.

You have to make a huge investment of time and energy to find trustworthy sites on the web that a) care about you as a worker, that b) will actually pay you when you work for them, and that c) will frequently have projects for you to complete. Some of the sites you run into will be duds, and that means your time has been wasted–especially if you had to take tests to be granted access.

There’s a concept in economics of ‘opportunity cost.’ It forces you to think about the next best alternative that is lost when a particular choice is made over it. In this case, if you are writing from home for money, what else could you be doing instead to earn money, and to earn more money? If an answer is clear in your head, then it may not be worth it…

There is 'Work' in Working Online

The truth is, there really are some ups and downs when trying to work online. It's very atypical of a normal job and you are challenged in ways that you can't predict. And just like any job, the companies you work for are sometimes unstable and close down. But, whether you want to earn online or write a blog for fun or even write a book, there are always some setbacks along the way. Yet, this doesn't mean that you don't learn as you do, and it doesn't mean that you shouldn't try.


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