The need for digital jobs became glaringly apparent during 2020 as we experienced two global disruption events, Coronavirus, and an economic meltdown. In light of these tenuous circumstances, we’ve created this guide to assist those wanting (or needing) to make the transition to digital work.
Whether you’re missing work while sick or in quarantine, or have lost work as a result of the economy or effects of Coronavirus, this article will help you assess online opportunities to find what’s right for you.
So let’s delve into multiple ways to start income streams with side jobs, passive income, and digital jobs. All of these online side gigs require little to no investment other than your time, an Internet connection, and a device.
This may be a stressful time for you – the world is uncertain and you no doubt have bills to pay. So let’s start with a quick summary of the benefits of working digital jobs from home. If you’ve never done it before, you may not know what to look forward to.
Benefits of working at home
- It saves money. It certainly saves a company the costs of providing a workspace, with facilities, insurance and all. But we’re talking about saving YOU money. This includes:
- Less money spent on work clothes (because PJs will do!)
- Reduced commuting time and expense, plus less wear and tear on your vehicle if you drive to work.
- Meals at home can also be much cheaper than ordering out for lunch.
- Schedules are flexible. Many digital jobs offer a flexible schedule that you can work around other activities and family time. Making your own hours is a big plus for many contractors and gig workers.
- Growth potential increases. Once you begin working online, you realize that the entire world is now open to you as far as work opportunities. It enables you to determine what you’re passionate about, develop your skills, and move up in terms of better gigs, potential full time work opportunities, and even your own business.
Many of you are new to working at home. So let’s quickly cover the difference between being a regular employee and a freelance or contract worker:
Differences between regular employment and gigs
The legal definition of regular employment is a clearly defined job that lasts for an extended period of time and is provided by an employer to its working force. A regular full-time employee (FTE) is scheduled regularly to work all year long for at least 30 hours per week.
Regular employees often get benefits, especially FTEs. This could include health insurance, pension plans, paid leave, and 401(k) contributions, among other things. Many times, part-time regular employees receive little to no benefits.
Taxes are automatically deducted by the employer, who also processes standard contributions to Social Security and Unemployment Compensation.
The pros and cons of regular employment:
With a regular job, people have a very regular schedule and long term work lined up at all times. Many employers do offer room to grow, even providing paid education in some instances.
But compared to gig workers, regular employees have, at the end of the day, a boss to answer to. And their bosses’ boss is probably making big profits. In comparison, gig work requires you to be responsible for your own profitability to a greater degree.
Additionally, it’s easy to get comfortable in a regular job and not push yourself to improve your skills and knowledge. Again, on the other side, digital jobs that you ‘own’ give you more responsibility for creating their own fortune.
Gig or contract workers
Gig workers are independent contractors, temporary workers, or online platform workers. They are not expected to stay long term in most cases but are hired for specific tasks or services for a specific duration.
For tax purposes, the job is a contract job if whoever is paying for it has control over only the result of the work. But they do not direct how or when the contractor will do the work. Contractors usually pay a higher income tax than regular workers and must take care of their own self-employment tax payments and retirement saving.
Gig workers can be considered entrepreneurs because they are responsible for developing their own business contacts and building their own freelancer profile. They can build upon each gig and evolve with each finished contract.
Since the pool of clients is worldwide, gig workers often branch out to do many different things. They also may end up carving out their very own, unique niche, built upon their previous gigs and a lot of self-learning.
The pros and cons with gig work
You’ve no doubt heard about gig workers getting taken advantage of by big tech companies such as Facebook and Uber. And many times, this is the case. Big companies can save a lot of money by hiring contractors instead of regular employees.
The main complaint is that they treat contractors like employees by demanding strict schedules or telling them how to do their jobs. But even though they treat them like a regular employee in these ways, they do not offer them any benefits or job security.
Another place where freelancers may find trouble is online freelancer platforms. With a global reach, these sites have gig workers from around the globe competing with you. Some employers take advantage of this fact by paying very low wages – like $2/hour and sometimes even less.
Gig workers can start out with a low paying gig but should be able to quickly work their way up with quality work, strong communications, and meeting deadlines. Once they have their first closed contracts and some positive recommendations, they can continue moving ahead.
On top of all that, freelancer sites can charge upwards of 20% of a gig worker’s income! Still, gig workers can build up careers rather quickly with a global pool of clients and dynamic start-up teams looking for adaptable contract workers.
What can I do to make money online?
There are three major ways to do this; taking your current regular job home, starting a new job as a contractor or gig worker, and setting up passive income streams. Before we go into all of these choices, it’s important to know that it takes time to build up a clientele and positive references in your industry.
Unlike regular jobs, where you start with your full-time income right away, gig workers are more like entrepreneurs in that they have to develop their business and make it grow over time.
Now, let’s take a closer look at three of the main ways to make money online:
1 – Work your regular job from home
When taking your current job home, you can enjoy the flexibility and cost savings it provides. Many people start out by just taking some work home. But with recent events, people are more compelled to work full time from their home office.
If you are bringing a regular job home with you in 2020, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up a nice office that will promote creativity and efficiency. For that we suggest reading our guide: “Working From Home: Setting up the Home Office for Success”.
2 – Apply your skills and experience to the online environment
Now you are on your own as a gig worker or entrepreneur. For instance, if you are a graphic designer, a teacher, a nurse, or a Wall Street trader – all of these occupations and many more are available online. Here are just a few real-life examples:
- Graphic designer – Open a Fiverr account and accept clients for graphic design.
- Teacher – Set up a profile in the Upwork freelancing site for gigs for editing and proofing term papers and essays.
- Nurse – Open a YouTube channel and create videos that teach people how to pass nursing exams. Give away free content to receive ad dollars, and perhaps have a paid video service as well.
- Stock or Cryptocurrency Trader – Make money by sharing your advice on social trading platforms such as HedgeTrade.
- Marketing – Marketing skills apply to every kind of business, whether you’re at the office or working at home. Marketing managers, content managers, and social media managers are all very popular online jobs.
Freelance gig work
A freelancer is essentially someone who contacts out for gig work or to provide services to clients. Since the dawn of the Internet, we’ve seen Consultants in just about every industry take advantage of contract business opportunities on the web. And they make up a large chunk of the gig sector.
If you are a professional, such as a lawyer, marketer, strategist, accountant, or designer, you can find ways to take your business online as a consultant.
Another way to get gig work is to use a platform. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are platform economies where people can use their web application to grow a business. Gig workers can sign up to drive for Uber and use the platform to connect to customers, for example.
There are also a number of freelancer sites that help connect gig workers with clients, such as Freelancer.com and Upwork. No matter the platform, if you are using one, you can expect to have a fee taken from your earnings every time you get paid.
You may be surprised at the wide variety of gigs that are available on freelancer platforms today, like:
- Video Editor
- Creative/Graphic Design
- Social Media Management
- Web Development
- Game Development
- Article and Blog Writing
- UI/UX Designer
- Customer Service/Chat Support
- Administrative Support
- Technical Writer
- Voice Actor
- Public Relations
- …the list goes on.
Pros and cons of gig work
If you’ve ever worked in a new business or a start-up, you know what it’s like to wear a lot of different hats and learn at a rapid pace while working your way up. Gig work is similar in that you continually meet and serve new clients, learning from each experience and becoming more valuable for future clients.
Having multiple clients (instead of just one employer) over time is a benefit in that you gain so much experience and can progressively figure out the needs of your clients by trial and error.
Some people consider gig work to be a part-time thing, taking a few side gigs in addition to their primary income. Others work full time as a gig worker. And of course, others fall in between. The beauty of it is that you can choose what fits for you.
Because you must continually develop and manage your own workload, a considerable amount of time is put into business development each week. One part about it that can be a downside is the amount of time it takes to send in multiple, detailed proposals per week, many of which will not be accepted.
You will be competing with a global pool of freelancers. So, the more you can differentiate yourself and the quality of your work, the better your chances will be of landing clients.
Most freelancers would probably say one of the biggest drawbacks to digital jobs on platforms such as Uber, Upwork or AirBnB is the fees that are taken out. After some time working through a platform, many are able to break out and create their own website and business outside of the platform.
Now that you have an idea of what kind of digital jobs are available in the gig economy, let’s laser focus on three of these options to gain a better understanding:
2020 has certainly been a year for news, no one can deny that. And with a worldwide faucet of potential readers and viewers, it is now a good time to share with the world your expertise. Especially if you know how to trade stocks, bonds and cryptocurrencies in volatile markets.
Social trading happens when an experienced trader shares his or her knowledge with less-experienced traders. It’s mutually beneficial because the traders can profit from their professional forecasting, and newer traders can copy their trades until they have achieved their own greater proficiency.
One downside to social trading has been accountability. Because traders could make money even when sharing bad information. HedgeTrade solves this problem by timestamping predictions on the blockchain and using smart contracts to pay out copy traders only when the information was correct.
If you’re a Wall Street trader and are ready to shift gears, social trading is a plausible avenue for earning money online.
Kindle Direct Self Publishing (Amazon)
No matter what your expertise, there is always someone in the world that can learn from you. Take your knowledge and write about it in a Word document or Google Doc. The KDP platform will prompt you in everything from book covers to marketing. They do not have to be long – it only needs to provide value to somebody.
If you need help in formatting or book cover design, you can find cost effective options at Fiverr, such as a book cover for $15.
When first getting set up for self-publishing, you’ll want to set up a few social media accounts to share information relating to your book. It’s also a great place to announce a new book or announce a sale.
A Facebook page will go a long way to this end because of the massive reach and spot-on algorithms that quickly identify your target audience, using keywords. So be sure to use a keyword tool and use strong keywords in your title, subtitle, and descriptions so people can find your content when they are Googling your subject.
If you love to write and teach others, KDP offers the perfect ‘foot in the’ door for home based work and entrepreneurship. Amazon takes a cut, but you’ll receive monthly royalties and will be able to market to most countries throughout the world.
As one of the oldest ways ever created to make money online, affiliate marketing costs relatively little to get going. It’s also pretty easy. Instead of creating and marketing your own product (like an ebook), you’re simply marketing someone else’s product.
As an example, an affiliate marketer uses their own website and/or social media platforms to market for others by recommending a product or service, and including a link to it. They are paid a commission, usually based on the number of page views you sent via your affiliate link.
You can solicit an affiliate link from companies you genuinely support, such as your favorite brands and services. Many financial and trading platforms offer affiliate links to reward users who bring in new customers. Take, for example, the HedgeTrade Affiliate Program, which pays tokens to not only help spread the word, but to actually help bring more people on board the social trading platform.
Alternatively, you can also go through a platform such as ClickBank, which connects companies with affiliates for a fee. Using this type of service can drastically reduce your time in searching out and communicating with individual businesses. But again, a fee is charged for connecting the affiliate marketer to so many opportunities in one place.
Freelance affiliate marketers can also have their own websites that build over time. Then at some point, they can publish sponsored posts and advertisements on their website, without the middleman fee.
There is some work in setting up the affiliate arrangement. And it can be a continual process of finding good places to be an affiliate. But it can turn into a nice passive income, which is our next topic!
3 – Creating passive income streams
There are many ways to earn income online that once set up, provide passive money streams and a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality to earning money. Some of these ideas require considerable time and effort to set up, and some do not. Let’s go over a few options:
Online course creation
The online course market will of course get a nice hefty boom with everyone quarantined at home. But this learning from home trend has been building for years.
There are two main ways to go about creating and selling a course for passive income.
- Use a platform such as Udemy or Thinkific, which helps you create and market a course that you can then sell to others, with a fee going to the platform for each sale. These large platforms provide ample opportunities for your product or service to be found, shared, and downloaded.
- The second way to sell an online course is to create your own using text, video, or a combination and post it for sale on your own website. For setting up a simple website, check out this guide.
Your course can be about any topic. If it interests you, it will no doubt interest more of earth’s 7+ billion people.
Sell stock photos
If you are big into photography, you have an array of platforms that enable you to sell your photos. Stock photo platforms like Shuttershock and DepositPhotos provide a marketplace for you to do that.
Most sites require that you provide some free photos, which then potentially lead to your paid collection. Likely you will need to have a large stock in order to earn this way. If it’s something you love to do, it might be a great digital job option.
What are the hottest digital jobs in 2020?
These are some of the trending gigs for 2020. All of them represent a potential opportunity for working from home – even in the face of economic distress.
- Blockchain Developer
- Cryptocurrency/Finance Writer
- Digital Marketing
- Graphic Design
- Web Development
- Social Media
- Video Marketing
- Data Analysts
- Content Managers
- SEO Specialists
- Video editors
- Content editors
- Technical writers
General Tips for Digital Jobs
- Set up your profile on LinkedIn and begin following others in your industry. Ask people you’ve worked within the past to write recommendations for you on your LinkedIn profile page.
- Start following professionals you can learn from (online) in your field on other forms of social media.
- Create social media pages, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others depending on your business and preferences. The key is to start it now so it can develop over time with regular posts or content.
- Take advantage of free work applications, like Google Drive, Google Analytics, UberSuggest Keyword Tool, MailChimp (for email lists and newsletters), etc.
- Utilize video to spread the word about your services. You can include it in your freelancer profile, pin to Twitter, and even send it to prospective clients.
- Keep working. Even if you’re between clients, be educating yourself, improving your skills, or developing business. Over time it will build-up, providing a foundation for future work.
We hope our Modern Day Guide to Digital Jobs for 2020 has been an outstanding resource for you. At HedgeTrade, we do everything we can to provide educational tools for our audience of global entrepreneurs and traders. Join us today to learn what infusing accountability into technology and trading is all about.