One of the most daunting things about a move abroad can be finding work.
Emigrating can be costly and it’s a very lucky expat who has the time to relax before beginning a job hunt. With the current global economic downturn reducing opportunities and wage rates, competition has never been tougher than now.
A common issue faced by expats is taking a position/wage cut in order to get a job in their remit. Whilst this can be demoralising, the job market is fiercely competitive and often starting a fresh career in a different sector seems like the only alternative. But is it?
Running or working for an online business abroad is becoming an increasingly popular and achievable way of working for expats.
Don’t believe me? Below are just some of the online career options available – and the list is constantly growing:
- Call Centre / Customer Service Worker
- Data Entry
- Transcription Service Provider
- Virtual Assistant
Whilst working online abroad can be fulfilling, lucrative and liberating it does require some serious planning and dedication.
Here are some top tips for beginning your online career:
If you don’t have a clear idea of how you’d like to work online look into potential jobs, make use of connections and, if you’re not starting your own business, get your C.V out to potential employers. Remember though, whist a job is an important part of life, moving abroad is supposed to be an adventure. To avoid becoming trapped in a darkened room, surrounded by the ambient noise of relentless tapping, work out what your living costs are likely to be. Make sure that this career option will mean you can live comfortably without working all hours of the day.
Consider your Options
Don’t just pick an online career based on ease or flexibility. As with all jobs, if you pick something you enjoy you’ll get more out of it and be far less likely to throw your laptop under a car.
Getting in contact with other expats can be a really useful and comforting experience for many reasons. When it comes to beginning an online career chatting to people who are either going through the same experience, or who have been through it and come out the other side successfully, can be invaluable. Sign up to expat forums and learn some info about your new career and home whilst making friends.
Prepare in Advance
If you’ve never worked independently before you might find it hard to adjust to working alone, and you may find time management an issue. When possible it’s always recommended that you try working remotely before moving abroad. Not only will you be able to see if the style of working suits you but you can have a career up and running before even getting on the plane.
Unless you find online employment through a company that offers a consistent, comfortable wage it’s a good idea to have some savings before you begin working online. When starting a business it can take time, and a great deal of frustration, before you build up a big enough client base to produce a decent income. A financial cushion, or a part time subsidiary job, can relieve some of the initial burden.
For an online career constant access to the internet is essential. If you work to your own schedule keeping nine to five hours is unlikely, so invest in a smart phone, laptop or tablet and keep up to date wherever you are. It’s also a good idea to research Wi-Fi hotspots and internet cafes in your area. You don’t have to spend a fortune on kit, but having equipment that’s reliable and user friendly is fundamental.
Be Tech Savvy
No, you don’t necessarily need to know what all the buttons on a keyboard do, or how to defeat a Trojan, but it’s really important to have strong basic computer skills and to have some understanding of computer function and care. Remember, when you work from a remote location there isn’t a handy I.T guy two seconds away. To prevent panicky melt-downs later on it’s advisable to enrol on a short I.T course.
Get your Accounts in Order
If you’re going to be self employed for an extended period, and you haven’t got much of a head for figures, it’s essential to get yourself a knowledgeable accountant. Make sure to hire an accountant who comes well recommended, and one who speaks in a language you’re fluent in!
This really goes without saying but make sure you back up all of your work, even the bits which seem trivial. Invest in a good external hard drive, large capacity USB pens and print off hard copies. It may feel like a waste of effort at times but if something goes wrong you’ll be glad you bothered!
For many would-be expats creating a successful online career in sunnier climes is a bit of a pipe dream, but it really doesn’t have to be. If you do your research, follow the tips above and prepare yourself for some hard work an online career can be just clicks away.