Whether you’re a college student searching for a side hustle, or you’re looking for something serious, building a career online is one of the most appealing options.
It offers you more freedom, flexibility, and room for creativity, and almost anything you’re interested in can become lucrative online, marketing, writing, photography, even teaching.
The only problem is that building an online career is a little more difficult than it sounds. You need to invest a lot of time and effort if you want to be successful and outperform the harsh competition.
So, you’ll probably need all the help you can get. To make things easier for you, check out these 5 tips that’ll help you build a bright and lucrative online career.
1. Amass an impressive portfolio and share it
If you want to get the attention of your prospective clients, you cannot wait around for them to ask to see your portfolio. You need to provide it to them proactively.
This means that you’ll want to create a portfolio that will stand out, and share it wherever you can. If you have your own website, or if you’re using a blogging platform, make sure that others can easily find your portfolio there.
LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform that allows you to share your professional skills and experience. With its built-in features, it will help you outline your education, skills, expertise, accolades, and more in a format that’s easy to read and scan through.
Before you publish your portfolio, make sure you’ve included all the relevant skills for your niche.
Any volunteer work you’ve done, projects you’ve been a part of, classes you’ve taken, etc. And the most crucial thing of them all – proofread everything! Spelling and grammar mistakes make you seem unprofessional, and you really don’t want that.
2. Devote time to networking
At the end of the day, it’s the people that will hire you. Your skills and expertise won’t account to much if you don’t make the effort to get out and start networking. The more people you know, the better your chances are of finding a client and building your career.
Keep in mind that networking doesn’t just mean connecting with prospective clients. It also means connecting with other professionals in your niche. This can be helpful to you in many ways.
Primarily, you can meet your competition and find out what they’re doing. Analyzing your competition is essential for your growth and success.
Secondly, you’ll have more opportunities for collaboration. Working together and learning from each other is what will allow you to expand your online business.
3. Give back to the community
Giving back to the community allows you to establish credibility, position yourself as an authority in your field, and spread your brand awareness. Offer advice, ask and answer questions, comment on posts, etc. The more active you are, the more relevant your business becomes.
There are a few popular ways that you can give back to the community, including:
Let’s take a closer look at each of them and see how they can be beneficial for you.
When it comes to building a career online, content is king. 82% of consumers have a more positive outlook on a business after reading custom content, so if you want to be successful this is your key.
Blogging gives you great creative freedom, and you can use it fully to your advantage. Post blogs to let your audience know your interests and hobbies. This will help you spread your business culture, and your clients will become more emotionally invested in you.
Use your blogs to showcase your expertise and unique skill set. Just make sure you’re not too self-promotional. Your blogs should offer more value to the reader, and they should help the readers to either learn something interesting or solve a problem.
Vlogging is a step-up from blogging. You get to create your own visual content and enrich your blogs, social media accounts, and business website.
It’s estimated that by 2021, the global internet traffic from videos will account for 82% of all consumer internet traffic. This serves to show how important vlogging is for your online career.
The number 1 benefit is that it’s one of the cheapest forms of marketing. Basically, all you need is a decent smartphone with a nice camera, and you’re good to go.
It allows you to give a face and a voice to your brand, literally. Your audiences will become more invested in you once they get to know you through your vlogs, and you can engage with them on a much larger scale.
If you want to appear as an authority in your field, tutorials are the best way to do so. Nothing showcases your skills and expertise quite like your ability to teach others and inform them about your business.
Sharing tutorials will instill more trust in your audience, and you’ll be able to show exactly how knowledgeable and professional you are.
If part of your online business is selling products, sharing tutorials on how to use certain products will allow your prospective customers to learn more about your products, and so become more willing to buy them.
Another way to build credibility and engage with others in your industry is through forums. Answering questions, and sharing your insights and advice gives you the opportunity to expand your brand awareness.
It can also improve your link-building and so influence your Google ratings, as you can leave your website link in the comments.
Again, shoot for quality over quantity. Don’t spam the forums and use them solely for promotional purposes. The best way to build your career online is by giving some value to others.
4. Be punctual and realistic with your time assessment
Nothing can affect your reputation quite like punctuality. When your projects are running late, you’re showing a great lack of respect for your client’s time, and you’re coming off as unreliable and unprofessional.
This will not only cost you that one client whose project is running late, but any future clients as well. Consumers are quick to post reviews when they’ve had a negative experience with someone. 86% of people look up business reviews online before they decide whether they will trust a business or not.
For your online career to be successful, you have to ensure great customer satisfaction, and this starts with showing respect for their time and being punctual.
5. Get as much information about the project as possible
You cannot be realistic with your time assessment if you aren’t 100% sure of what you’ll be doing. Different clients will have different needs and standards, and to provide greater customer satisfaction, you’ll want to do the job the way your client wants it done.
Getting as much information about the project as possible will allow you to estimate how much time it would take to finish it, how much it will cost, and how it can be completed. Don’t be shy to ask questions about the project if you’re unsure.
Building a career online takes time and effort. These tips will help you on your path to success and will ensure your business grows quickly and steadily.
Guest author: Anja Skrba is a Content Creation Manager for FirstSiteGuide – an educational website which provides tutorials and guides that help people create, grow and maintain their online presence. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.