Question: Hi joy,
Do you have any thoughts on how to work online?
I’m an Italian English translator and I have a team of translators specialized in various language pairs that I can outsource my work to.
I’m in the process of building a website.
Can you share some of your online business strategies?
I’m not expecting to make easy money from home, but I’m hoping I will be able to attract enough on line translation work to make a decent living.
Is this doable?
Thanks a lot.
Tami Dominelli from Canada
Answer: Dear Tami,
Thanks for your question regarding how to work online. I wish I could tell you that it’s easy to earn fast money online. But in reality it’s not.
In my view the term “working online” has been thrown around way too often these days. Most people that talk about starting an online business have no clue what a successful business involves.
I’m in no way a business guru and I don’t claim to be one. But for the past two years since I started this website, my business has grown substantially. Instead of me chasing after clients, they come to me… There’s also a bonus – my website generates a healthy amount of passive income.
Things are just beginning to look good. I know that I still have a long way to go but looking back I can definitely say I’ve learnt a lot. There are things that I did right and there are things that I did wrong. Yes – I made a lot of mistakes!
Let’s say this – regardless where you start your business, whether it’s your home or a commercial office, online or offline, nothing works automatically. You have to make it work. There’re fundamentals that will never change. Before you get too excited thinking about how to work online, you may want to read following notes that I’ve taken from my own experience:
1- Find your audience
I can’t stress this enough, but if you don’t identify your specific target market. You are not going to create a powerful marketing message. Work with your strength and weakness and pick your niche.
There are many common mistakes that sink new businesses, and one of those is trying to spread yourself (or your services) too thin. Find that specific target audience for your services first and fast.
Forget about trying to ‘do it all’ because that often leaves you exhausted and revenue-challenged. When you know exactly who your target market is, your marketing effort will bring maximum results.
2- Make your website work for you
It’s amazing how internet has evolved and changed our lives over the last decade. I can hardly think of any sizable business that runs without a commercial website these days.
A nice user-friendly website helps build your credibility online. It’s like saying to your prospect – “I’m here to stay.” For translators who wish to attract work beyond your local geographic area a website is a great tool to reach out to the international market. When built properly it also brings extra income for you.
Wonder how to work online? Having an effective website is the first step if you want to do more than just answering job board messages. But a website does not guarantee business success. Quite contrary I’ve seen fancy custom-made websites sitting around collecting dust while some simple even amateur looking websites (such as mine) attracting business leads consistently. Here’s what I did:
– Choose an off-the-shelf web building system over custom made ones.
Off-the-shelf service usually involves a template system. It is not only cheaper, but also provides you with more technical support such as web hosting and web maintenance. If there’s any system upgrade you’ll have it done automatically on a regular basis. They take care of the technical stuff and I take care of my business. This will save you so much time and money in the long run.
3- Take advantage of online resources
The question of how to work online really is about how to promote online. The good news is – you don’t need a big budget to start promoting your website and your business services online.
There are websites that offer services such as link-building, social networking, SEO and other services for next to nothing. You won’t believe what people are willing to do for so little money (at fiverr.com you can get tons of tedious jobs done for only 5 bucks each!). If you choose carefully there’re plenty of great deals out there. Just remember to check comments and feedbacks and shop around.
4- Be flexible and ready to change
Make sure you don’t get stuck on your original idea. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes we start a business idea only to find out that something else is more suitable for us.
When I started I just wanted to get enough requests from my translation clients to make a living. But it turns out that I’m needed for not only translation, but also writing in both Chinese and English and business consulting etc. It has been great, but had I gotten stuck on my original idea, I might not have been able to see all these opportunities.
You may have a passion for translation, but sometimes people do have changing interests, you have to be prepared for that possible change.
This is how to work online – As Dan Kennedy says “Don’t marry your idea, marry your goal!”
5- Don’t give up too easily
You may make more mistakes than necessary. You may change your view on certain things over time. But you shouldn’t lose faith. You can adjust and adapt, but do not give up. There were times in the past that I thought my business was never going to make it. I just wanted to throw in the towel.
But after some soul searching and serious thinking, I decided that all I needed was a different approach and some patience. I chose to stick around and keep working on my business. That was the best decision I’ve ever made for my business.
With perseverance and patience you’ll figure out how to work online eventually.
wish you a great success,