Working from home sounds like a dream, right?
Remote contract work has many benefits. You don’t have to waste time commuting to work every day. You avoid workplace drama and office politics. It offers higher pay and flexible scheduling. This all begs the question; if remote contract work is so great, why doesn’t everybody want to do it?
For starters, remote contract work offers little to no health insurance coverage. That’s a deal breaker for many. Another is job stability. You work until your contract is up, then you have to find another opportunity. Lastly, some people just flat out like the on-site 9 to 5 job structure.
But this article isn’t for those people. This is for the people that have traits and abilities to thrive as a remote worker. They are the dreamers, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads who want the freedom to travel and work from anywhere in the world. Below are the most desirable skills necessary to be a successful remote worker in 2020.
Without question, this is one of the most important traits to have as a remote contract worker. Working remotely means that you will be alone. No boss, no manger, just you.
External motivation can be hard at times. Being optimistic and having the drive to see things through is something you will need to be successful as a remote worker.
One way that you can help boost your self-motivation is to make a realistic daily schedule - and stick to it. This means that you should only veer from your schedule in the case of an emergency or a genuine accident. The second you start pushing it, you are on a slippery slope.
Additionally, these daily schedules should find a balance between specific and not too restricting. This means that while you won’t necessarily do each task down to the minute, you should try to map out when you will be aiming to do specific things so that you can maintain focus and get more done.
Whether it’s verbal or written, having good communication skills is important in any job. When it comes to working remotely, it is critical. Email, video conferencing, phones, and collaborative tools like CloudApp are used to connect to colleagues in a remote work environment.
Miscommunication can waste time and decrease productivity, so it is essential that you express yourself clearly and concisely, no matter what medium you use.
Basically, always remember that quality communication with your clients is the backbone of your independent business. You don’t go into an office every day or report to a boss, so you need to make sure you are completely on top of your means of communication at all times and no matter where you go.
If this sounds daunting to you, you’re not alone! Staying organized can be difficult, so make it a conscious effort to include getting yourself up to date with your emails, calls, and other forms of communication as part of your daily schedule.
In order to be successful as a remote contract worker you must have confidence in your skills and knowledge. You must be confident in giving opinions and feedback to your colleagues.
Sometimes you might hear something that you may not like. Can you handle criticism? Can you move past it, and continue to stay motivated? All of these questions will be put to the test in your line of work.
That said, this can be a fairly abstract concept. Not only that, it’s also something that many people have to continuously work on throughout their entire careers and even lives. At the end of the day, remember that it is okay to feel self-conscious - but don’t let it translate to the way you interact with clients and set your value. In other words… fake it until you make if you have to!
Ability To Evaluate Yourself
This is kind of an extension of the previous point and a critical part of maintaining your confidence without being careless.
When asked, most people will only say the best things about themselves. What about their worst? If you can’t honestly evaluate your work, your personal strengths and weaknesses you are going to have a very difficult time working remotely.
Working remotely means you will have very little external feedback. That means you have to constantly look for ways to improve yourself and your productivity. Being able to judge yourself and your work with a critical eye isn’t just important in remote work, it’s important in life.
Reliable And Secure Equipment
In order to work remotely, oftentimes you will need a computer, and a high-speed Internet connection. Some jobs require a headset and specific software.
Because your work will be done through online channels, it’s critical that your information is secure. For example if you are working outside, you should have a password-protected hotspot instead of using free, unsecured Wi-Fi.
To make sure you have this part of your contract work journey secured, put substantial time and effort into it at the very start. Investing in reliable and secure equipment is investing in a strong and durable business, so don’t cut corners or push quality off until a later date! Even if you cannot afford the most expensive or state-of-the-art things, at least make sure you have a solid and reliable level of equipment.
Ability To Quickly Learn New Digital Tools
The world is constantly changing, and one of the biggest parts of that in recent decades is technology. Digital tools and software are becoming more than beneficial elements of certain businesses; they are becoming necessary parts of any and every industry.
The truth is that there is so much niche software out there, that it’s too much for anyone to learn. Luckily employers know that, so what they look for instead is the ability to adapt quickly to their workflow and the tools they provide. Online courses offered by Udemy, and Lynda can quickly bring you up to speed on any specific software you need to know.
Online tools like CloudApp help you speed up your workflow and increase productivity. That means less time spent on organizing your information, and more time spent on learning new skills.
Where To Look?
So you have some traits listed above? Great! Now you can start looking at job postings online to get your next opportunity.
Focus on the type of job you want first, then ask; “what skills do I need for that job?”
Websites like Upwork offer remote contractors opportunities to connect to employers. Most jobs posted pertain to technical writing, graphic design, programming, and digital marketing.
If you are lacking skills in those departments, don’t be discouraged! There are numerous online tutorials that will teach you any skills you need. Some were talked about earlier.
If you like working in an environment with people instead, there are various staffing agencies that offer contractor positions such as trade show models as well.
Working as a remote contract worker can give you the flexibility and freedom that you always craved. Whether it’s a position from Upwork or a trade show staffing agency you will find a position that fits you!
Hunter Amato is a Freelance Writer & Editor. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hunteramato/