Freelancing can keep your career moving in a trying time.

The coronavirus lockdown has hit everyone in the UK to some extent, especially when it comes to employment. One study from the University of Essex predicts that 6.5 million UK jobs will be lost as a direct result of COVID-19. Should you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed, you will naturally want to start your job hunt as soon as you can.

Rather than merely looking for full-time roles, you may want to dip your toes into the world of freelancing. At the very least, doing so may help you bridge the gap between jobs and make some money in the interim. What's more, in some cases, you may be able to build up a freelance client base and turn it into a full-time career. Luckily, not all freelance gigs require experience. Let's delve into six options that are available to anyone.

Virtual assistant

Whilst virtual assistant gigs will vary wildly, many of these short-term roles require no prior experience in the field. If you're a highly organised person with a willingness to take on new challenges, you may flourish in this online sector. Before you rush off to search for roles, however, it's important to realise that the term 'virtual assistant' can apply to a wide selection of different tasks. Be sure to read the job description thoroughly before putting yourself forward for a role or you may find that you're out of your depth.

But if this kind of gig varies so greatly, what can you expect the job to be? The answer depends on the company, but generally, you will likely find yourself writing emails, scheduling appointments, dealing with simple digital marketing activities and managing personal tasks. You can look for online virtual assistant roles on any of the leading sites, such as Indeed. However, you may also want to check freelance gig websites such as People Per Hour as well.

Top tip: Make sure you tailor your CV to suit each specific virtual assistant role you apply for. Aligning your current skill set with the job description is a savvy way to get ahead of the competition.

Online English teacher

Want to share the gift of language with the world? If you've got a way with words, you may find virtual teaching rewarding. You don't need experience to start teaching English online, though some agencies will ask you to complete a short online qualification, such as a TEFL course, before you get started.

To land freelance gigs in this sector, your best bet is to sign up with an agency that will connect you with learners around the world. For example, you could join English First, so long as you have a bachelor's degree, TEFL qualification and internet connection. When you've been accepted, you will start getting gig offers that you can choose to take or leave. As a bonus, you often get to make your own schedule!

Focus group participant

Your opinion is valuable; if you've been completing surveys online for free, you're missing a trick. Market researchers will pay you for your views and opinions. Of course, you're unlikely to make a substantial amount of money by completing surveys online. However, if you're looking for a simple side hustle that boosts your income during lockdown, you may just have found it. The good news here is that you don't need any special skills, experience or education level to perform the job ‒ you can jump right in and get started.

To look for some extra work in this area, you'll need to sign up for a few sites. Survey Gizmo, Swagbooks and Opinion Outpost are some of the best UK online survey companies. Once you've completed your initial setup by entering the basics such as your name, gender and age, you can begin looking for surveys that you can take.

Which campaigns you're eligible for will depend on the criteria. For example, a certain business may launch a survey for 30–40-year-old women with more than one child. If that's you, you can sign up and get to answering the questions. If it's not, you may have to wait for an apt survey to come around. Put simply, whilst you shouldn't expect miracles here, completing a few surveys in your spare time is a quick way to make some extra change.

Transcriber

Are you a fast and accurate typer? If you are, you might find that a freelance transcription gig is a low-hassle way to make money online. Whilst some companies will ask for experience, many take on people who simply have aligning skill sets. Key skills include typing, researching and a good command of English. So, if you've worked in any type of modern-day office setting, chances are that you will be able to land a decent transcription gig online.

Much of the time, these types of freelance gigs are paid by project. For instance, you may have to complete the transcription for an hour-long audio track for a flat rate. That means that the faster you work, the more you will ultimately make. Check out British agencies like UK Transcription and Transcript Divas to get started.

Proofreader

If you've got an eye for detail, proofreading could be calling your name! For this role, you will be doing exactly what it says on the tin: checking over content for grammatical or spelling errors. Needless to say, you will need to have a great grasp of the English language and be highly accurate, too.

Whilst you can look for proofreading roles on freelance job boards, you may also want to go through an agency. Global Proofreading and Copyediting is one example of a company that is always taking on new proofreaders. After you have applied for a freelance role with the business, you will be invited to do a short interview. Should you pass that stage, you can start taking on proofreading work at your leisure.

Customer service advisor

Virtual customer service advisors are the first port of call for many commercial businesses. When a customer has a problem or question, they are put through to these professionals to get some answers.

If you get yourself a customer service gig, your main responsibilities will be dealing with clients, either via phone or an online chat system. Luckily, you often don't need experience to bag yourself this type of work.

Before you get started with this role, you will need to tailor your CV accordingly. Emphasise your relevant traits, such as professionalism, interpersonal skills and tech-savviness. It's important to note that not all online customer service roles are freelance. Many of these will be full-time remote opportunities, so be specific and use filters when scouring job boards.

The takeaway

Whether you're a veteran freelancer or new to this world, landing online gigs is a fantastic way to make extra money. If you do start making money on a self-employed basis, don't forget that you have to register for self-assessment tax with HMRC

Consider what jobs your skill set lends itself to and take things from there. There are lots of opportunities available for you to discover.

Looking for a freelance gig? Make sure you have an eye-catching, up-to-date CV first. Take advantage of our free CV review today.

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