I won’t rehash what we already know about the economy. But I will say this: I know far too many talented folks who have lost their jobs. With so few openings, however, some won’t wait for a job to come along but will instead start their own business.
A computer is all most people need for web working — though many of us are already web workers, including those working outside of the home. For those who don’t put yet put themselves in that camp, it’s important to note that web working also provides a minimal way to launch a career, especially for freelancers.
So how can you get started on your web working business?
Review your skills and experience. What can you do on a freelance basis? An unemployed IT person could put up a web site and start offering IT services. A membership coordinator can use her people skills to start a recruitment business. She could help people find service workers, temp workers and so on. Hone in on one skill and use it as a starting point.
Create an office space in your home. Web workers can work anywhere, including the nearest coffee shop. Nonetheless, having a space for work helps you focus on work. If you try to work in the family room or game room, you may discover you can’t focus well. That’s because these rooms have a specific different purpose for you and your family, such as watching movies or playing video games. The office space serving as the place to do your work sets the mood and tone so you avoid procrastination.
This doesn’t mean you can’t work outside of your office space. I often work in my bedroom.
Build a web site: This may scare some folks, but it doesn’t need to be fancy and full of Flash. In fact, clean and simple works. Start with a blogging tool; most come with free templates and only require entering your information. At least you’ll have a place where people can go and learn more about the services you offer. You only need two things on your web site:
- Explain the services you offer — quickly and simply.
- Provide background about you and your experience.
Think about it this way: You need to hire a repair person. What do you want to know about the person before hiring? That’s what you need to have on your site. A photo also adds a personal touch to show there’s a person behind the business.
Yes, hiring someone to build a web site is the first choice. However, if you don’t have the cash to hire someone, the do-it-yourself process lets you test the waters of the business before investing too much.
Network. What’s a business without clients? You can network at local city events, such as Chamber of Commerce meetings. Online networking works when you get involved. Social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can lead to opportunities. If you don’t already have an account with these and other appropriate networks, start by registering and adding a profile complete with your web site address.
For those who do have accounts, update the information to reflect your new web working business. In creating a social network profile, answer the following questions:
- What do I do?
- Why should you hire me?
- How can you learn more about me?
- How can you reach me? (Note: I’m deaf, but I still provide a phone because it’s for the customer’s convenience).
You might ask a friend or family member to review your profile and web site to ensure clarity. Some (too many) companies make you work too hard to figure out what they do. But in your case, the potential client might leave rather than spend time figuring out what you do.
There you have your starting point for getting on your way to becoming a web worker. I’ve been working out of a home office full-time for over four years and these basics make a difference. If you’re looking to get started, you should check out our Web Work 101 series of posts.
What has worked for you in setting up web working business? What do you wish you had known before starting?