If you have ample technical skills and expertise, it’s only natural to look for ways to monetize them. While you may be able to get a job working as technical support for a local company, going to work five days a week for eight hours a day may not be the most appealing idea to you. As an alternative, you may look to offer technical support services online. Freelance customer service is a continuously growing market, still in its infancy.
Considering the Job
Freelancing requires a lot of effort and discipline and certainly isn’t a quick way to get rich. You have to put in plenty of effort and time to see your first profits. At the same time, you need to be absolutely sure that you can provide the necessary technical support to your customers. If you are specializing in a particular aspect of technology, particularly information technology, don’t automatically assume that you can deal with related fields with ease. Freelancing is much like walking a tightrope: great if you get the hang of it, but a single mistake can ruin everything. Especially when it comes to niche markets.
Preparing for the Job
The first order of business when starting a freelance customer support service is to create the right infrastructure for yourself. Your most basic tool for providing support will be any software that allows you to remotely access another person’s computer. The usual choice is Crossloop, which provides a basic level of functionality for free. You can easily expand to professional editions once your business takes off. You also need to prepare for rigorous bookkeeping and get someone to do your taxes, if you haven’t done so already.
Finding the Job
The key advantage of Crossloop is that it incorporates a robust marketplace, allowing you to advertise your services, your rates, and enable clients to find you. Of course, the matter is not as simple as just submitting your profile and waiting for clients to come knocking. As with all freelance activities, you need to actively seek out clients and engage them. Advertise your services in a reasonable way through various channels on the Internet. The higher your profile, the better the chances of getting hired.
Doing the Job
When you start getting jobs, it’s crucial to make a good first impression. Even if you are contacted with something trivial, remain courteous and polite at all times. Explain the solutions you propose in detail. Don’t assume that just because you know something, the other party does so too. At the same time, don’t patronize your clients. Finding the right balance between the two is hard, but is essential to succeeding in online customer support. Nurture professional relationships beyond the immediate service session as well. It’s one of the best ways to build up an user base and allow people to find you.
Offering online tech support can be very profitable, particularly if you manage to start securing jobs, but is also very tricky. Be aware that you will need to invest a considerable amount of effort before you start seeing any return on your investment. If you have the self-discipline and knowledge, however, it might be a very rewarding, not to mention liberating career choice.