There is no denying that the internet has become the number one resource people are using for their careers. For some that’s sending your CV in through job advertising sites such as LinkedIn. For others they work from home if they cannot access the office, using Zoom or Skype to hold meetings.
As well as this, recently there has been a surge in people using online platforms to start up or pivot their career online. These online jobs can include self publishing, creating podcasts or selling goods on websites such as Etsy. This has even extended to the more recent rise of the ‘social media influencer’ or an online version of the celebrity. Online jobs have taken off in a big way and they aren’t about to stop.
But what is so appealing about moving your career online? Let’s have a look at the benefits of online jobs.
- Control – Foremost is the fact that you are the head of the business. You have complete autonomy over how you want your business to run. This includes the logo, names, vendors, style, clients, partner, and merchandise. You can cater how and where your business is marketed.
- Cost effective. As you are not travelling (mostly) to and from various company buildings and meeting places, travel costs get cut in half. This also cuts travel time off your day, leaving you with more time to work on your company. However, there may be other aspects that drive costs up such as product attainment, creation and delivery charges.
- Flexibility of location – perhaps one of the biggest benefits, working online allows you to work from virtually anywhere. All you really need is a laptop or computer and an internet connection. This also allows freelancers to work different jobs at the same time as they are not bound to any particular location.
- Health benefits and Work/Life balance – If you are working from home, this gives you more time to spend with your family. It also allows you to control your diet more, and it has been said that working from home can lessen stress. Although, it has been debated that bringing your work home with you isn’t good for your mental health. Thus, the argument can be made that your work environment BEING your home is worse. But as long as there is a separation between your work life or home life it is easy to maintain a balance. This can be done through such things as; a certain time when you log off work completely, or working in a specific room set aside for work (an office or second bedroom). It is possible to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
- Audience- Being online allows you to avail of, and connect with, a wider audience. As you are in charge of your own products and how you market them, doing this online allows you to connect with different people and potentially more advertisers, expanding your business beyond your core location.
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Let’s have a look at how some online jobs and their traditional counterparts
Podcast vs radio
Podcasts are one of the older types of online jobs but they came into popularity around 2005 after iTunes added them to its online store. Now there are multiple listening platforms for them such as Spotify and Stitcher. Podcasts have some similarities to radio stations, however there are some key differences that make them attractive to people who want to start their own.
For the owner of a brand or company, you can control the type of content that you want to discuss. While some radio stations have guidelines to follow, and therefore some topics cannot be talked about by the host, your own podcast can be focused on whatever topic you want. You must also take into account though, that this can also reduce the amount of sponsorship opportunities available. Popular podcasts can make deals or be reached out to, by popular brands. You also have to grow and market your brand to these companies, while current major radio stations may already have a network and sponsorships.
This is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has become one of the newest ways that brands are marketing their products, and as it is mostly centered around social media celebrities or ‘influencers’. This social media style of online jobs have a big appeal with a lot of the younger generation.
Another benefit is that a podcast can be made virtually anywhere; from your own home, an office or even from abroad. The only equipment you need are a mic, a computer or laptop with editing software and internet. Traditionally, radio stations need to apply for a frequency and a license to operate before they can air. In Ireland as well, a lot of radio stations are county based whereas podcasts can be listened to from anywhere.
Another thing that appeals to those wanting to start their own podcast is that they can be listened to from a computer, phone and tablet. This expands their potential listening audience greatly. In contrast, until recently, radio stations needed a radio or a radio app on a phone to be listened to. Now most radio shows have websites that allow streaming. Recently, podcasts have started to be recorded live and put up on YouTube, for example The Try Guys Podcast is available to watch on YouTube as well as other streaming websites with audio only.
Online Self-Publishing vs Publishing houses.
E-books became popular thanks to the Kindle tablet and iBooks on Apple products. Now authors have been starting to publish their own content onto online stores, such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
The advantage of this type of publishing is that you don’t have to go and pitch your novel to various publishing companies, with the potential of getting rejected. This allows you to write your novel, edit it and publish it on your own and within your own timeframe, as you set your own deadlines.
Another pro is that your book, once published, is on the shelf in minutes and available for people to buy or download straight away. You also keep the rights and royalties to your work, rather than sharing them with the publishing house. Books have now also evolved into audiobooks, with companies such as Audible, further expanding the audience to include people with a disability, or even those who prefer to listen to a book while doing work.
Paper books, ebooks, audiobooks: what’s the difference?
However, self-publishing does have its drawbacks. If you get signed to a publishing agency, you have access to multiple resources you don’t as a self-publisher. Publishing houses may have agents and marketing team’s available to promote your book and a vast network to set up promotional events. They also have access to illustrators for those who need pictures drawn or a detailed front cover. However, it is possible to do this on your own, through such methods like: paying willing artists commission for their illustrations and using social media to promote your work.
Not all online jobs revolve around this type of content creation though. During Covid-19 a lot of careers moved online. From web developers to personal trainers streaming fitness classes, people found a way to maintain their career online. This is one of the reasons why online jobs caught peoples interest and they found a rise in popularity for both workers and people looking to shop online.
Many companies whose product is based around online content, such as social media, are also hiring traditional office careers that can be done online. These include careers such as marketing, lawyers, public relation and management teams. So while you may not want to have a career on social media, you can still be involved in the process.
As we can see, switching to an online job has many benefits to it. Being your own boss and doing something that you love are just some aspects to it. While there are some drawbacks to moving online, a lot of people are willing to accept those if it means they are able to stay in a career they enjoy and can see flourish.