For many people, the allure of freelancing has a lot to do with the potential of working from home on a flexible schedule. Some want to escape the office culture, others want to be free to raise their families or pursue other career dreams in tandem with this one – motivations are as varied as the freelancing niches themselves.
That being said, some of the main freelancing niches – writing, editing, and graphic design – might not mesh with certain aspirations, so people look to other opportunities, such as phone-based jobs. If you can relate to this aspect of the freelancing journey, then read on…
Plentiful potential, or problems?
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the freelance job market, it’s that there always seems to be phone-based jobs available – lots of them within even just certain companies. I’d like to think that it’s a strong sign of job growth, but the reality is that, like content writing, many of these opportunities are exceptionally low-paying and even covers for scams.
Additionally, consider how much you really want to pursue this form of freelancing work. You’re obviously going to need a very quiet, distraction-free environment, as well as a phone that, ideally, should be just for this. As to whether that should be a landline or a mobile phone, the former is still usually considered more professional than the latter for these purposes. Note that some companies might also require headsets.
Look for these clues of legitimacy…
There’s a fine line between customer service and telemarketing. Some better-known companies will be very upfront about the fact that their phone jobs require both. If it’s just customer service, then the job description should clearly state that, as well as system requirements.
- You should NEVER have to use your own phone number for this work.
- The company should provide monetary compensation for training, directly-related phone expenses, and necessary software.
The longer/more intelligently-written the job description, the better, because it indicates that the hiring company is serious about being in compliance with above-board business practices.
Signs of scams…
When an opportunity seems like it’s just what you’ve always been looking for, then, unfortunately, I might actually not be, because that’s how scam artists work. They especially seem to know just how to identify and exploit the needs of those looking to work from home, as well as the people they target for telemarketing calls. Be on the alert for…
- Promises of lucrative contracts and full-time income from little-known companies (who say they’re just getting started).
- Strictly commission-based work.
- Evasive descriptions on job boards that instead direct you to very basic websites that are confusingly written with lots of hyperbole (think lots of exclamation points and a fondness for the Caps Lock key).
Having some compassion…
A lot of people associate telemarketing calls with overall unpleasantness. They either don’t answer, answer and abruptly hang up, or answer, say something rude, then abruptly hang up. Very rarely does anyone actually listen to these people, then politely decline before ending the conversation.
Taking all of what’s been discussed so far in this post into consideration, do you have more compassion for telemarketers? After all, they might be fellow freelancers who are just looking to earn a living in a tough economy/job market.
- True scammers will often use voice masking software and will always lace their calls/voice messages with threats, such as, “If you don’t take action now, (name of service) will be cancelled.”
- They’ll be confident to the point of arrogance. In fact, if you tell them off, they might return the favor. Don’t engage with them, just report their numbers to the police.
- People-who-just-need-a-job-and-might-even-be-getting-scammed-themselves will always use their own voice (and sometimes their own cellphones – hence the Caller ID actually presenting them as such)
- They’ll often be exceptionally nice (maybe even to the point of desperation) reading quickly from a script.
- You might detect a hint of fear in their voice, too – because really, who wants to be a telemarketer? Customer service, maybe, but telemarketing? Not so much.
- Be nice to these people – you might even send them words of encouragement to look for other job opportunities. Who knows, this level of kindness and consideration might even make their stressful, dreary work days a little bit brighter!
Finding your way…
Chances are you have favorite brands, be they appliances, clothing, tools, makeup – you get the idea. You like to buy from these brands because you’ve found their products to be innovative, and, above all, reliable. Although some of these brands might require contractors to actually be based in company headquarters, others do offer work from home phone-based customer service opportunities. Make a list of who you’d really like to work for, visit each respective brand website in turn, and apply accordingly.
After all, if you apply for opportunities based on topics you aren’t particularly interested in, it’ll most likely reflect in your job performance, or even as to whether you’d be hired at all. Reputable companies prefer to hire people with a genuine appreciation for their products or industry. It makes the training process easier, and results in more authentic exchanges in the true spirit of customer service.
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