Freelancing is about performing various jobs in various categories, but regular visitors of freelance sites may recognize a peculiar job category: data entry. The first question that pops into everybody’s mind is what kind of gigs does data entry offer? What skillset is required to accomplish the jobs? And, most importantly: is it profitable enough to be included in your portfolio?
Data Entry 101
The reason for the existence of data entry is pretty simple: small business owners and entrepreneurs are usually knee-deep in authorizing documents, updating spreadsheets, communicating with clients… So it’s natural that they have no time for mundane tasks and, as a result, they are more than willing to outsource those gigs in order to free up their valuable time. And this is where data entry clerks come into the picture.
Keep in mind, though, that the term ‘data entry’ is quite broad, covering several possible activities, but in its essence data entry means inputting data into the client’s system. Usually freelancers are asked to transcribe data from audio files or handwritten notes to another carrier, but data mining, data analysis, account balancing, and invoice recordings can be on the table as well.
A huge advantage of working as a freelance data entry clerk is that you only need some basic knowledge of Microsoft Office. But if the gig requires specific software, the employer usually provides the necessary instructions and (upon request) can even train you to handling the program.
However, low entry skills imply low payments – and the sad truth about data entry jobs is that they aren’t the lucrative kind. Freelancers doing data entry are usually paid by the hour, per-piece or by reaching certain keystroke limits, while the length of assignments varies heavily with most clients only seeking temporary help.
As companies realize how beneficial hiring a freelancer is over employing someone full time, home-office data entry is getting more and more common. Unfortunately, the rising popularity of these jobs didn’t go unnoticed by scammers, who are quite willing to exploit naive freelancers. Con artists usually prey on the work of unsuspecting data entry clerks by fooling them into entering a pyramid scheme or paying a ‘tuition fee.’
To avoid falling victim to scammers, it’s best to use your common sense and be skeptical about opportunities boasting huge turnarounds. You should also train yourself to tell apart scams from legit job offers: a good way of doing so is to stick to professional freelance sites instead of crowded job boards. Not only freelance websites attract higher quality gigs, but due to constant monitoring any fraudulent post would stick out like a sore thumb.
Do a basic Google search on the company to see how legit they are. Also, if you come across phrases such as ‘pay a small fee to show you are serious’ or ’this is a non-traditional data entry job‘ don’t even bother. In fact, a job offer where they ask you to do a non-traditional job translates to affiliate data marketing or an online rebate processing scam, so avoid them like the plague.
And last but not least, it’s best to keep in mind that data entry jobs rarely require paid certification or tuition classes, and if they do – in cases of legal or medical transcriptions – any legit client would mention it in the job description.
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