In the world of side hustles, one job stands out as being steady, reliable, uncomplicated, and – if we are to be honest here – potentially dull.
In stark contrast to more “exciting” and involved part-time gigs such as dog-walking and donating plasma, you can expect this type of work to fall on the spectrum of rote, predictable, and yet undeniably practical activities. In fact, the traditional jobs associated with it include word processing, encoding, transcription, typing, data processing, and those of a clerical nature.
Sounds thrilling, right?
These are more commonly known as data entry jobs from home. But before you scoff at this particular home-based gig, you will first need to understand why they are accessible and consistently make it to remote workers’ and digital nomads’ list of top side hustles. To illustrate: the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates nearly 175,000 data entry keyers actively working in mid-2018 alone.
So to paint a more precise and more accurate picture about what to expect (if you’re interested in doing remote data entry), here is a lengthy and thorough post that aims to explore all its whys, hows, whats, and wheres.
- The Reasons Why Work From Home Data Entry Jobs Rock
- Skills (And Attitudes) You Will Need for Successful Data Entry Jobs
- How to Prepare for Remote Data Entry Jobs
- What To Avoid When Looking For Data Entry Jobs From Home
- A Dozen Data Entry Jobs You Can Do From Home
The Reasons Why Work From Home Data Entry Jobs Rock
The single, most important reason to even consider a data entry job is that it is reliable. It will always be there. Without exception, there will be a job opening requiring one – if not immediately, then you could at least expect to be waitlisted in a database for potential future hiring. As a result, more and more platforms are opening up to accommodate remote workers looking for this certain task, to be matched with businesses and clients specifically looking for data entry workers.
Someone – an established firm, a lone business owner, a busy start-up, or even a long-standing institution – will always require somebody else to oversee the minutiae of their business or passion project (because they can’t, or won’t). Even if it’s a seemingly unsexy task, data entry nevertheless provides a solid structure to any project or pursuit, however big or small it may be.
Aside from that, this task offers what will conveniently be called the Four F’s: freedom, flexibility, financial stability, and facility (or ease of work). They represent the most practical reasons to take on a data entry job if you’re a home-based worker.
Work from home data entry jobs will not demand that you drastically change your lifestyle – though you are nevertheless free to do so if that’s what you want. The sweet thing about this particular job is that you can accomplish it practically anywhere and everywhere: your home office, a coffee shop, a co-working space, on a beach, a park, while waiting for your turn at the dentist’s or a doctor’s appointment, etc. You’re free to perform this task anytime, anywhere, and in any circumstance that is convenient or enjoyable for you.
Remote data entry jobs also offer the much-desired flexibility that freelancers or home-based workers always seek. Not only can you schedule it at your most convenient time, but you can also work around your other home-based tasks to sufficiently accommodate all your side hustles. Owing to the tasks involved in data entry being pretty straightforward, you won’t have a hard time juggling all the other tasks you need to do (earning or otherwise) within a given day.
Most data entry workers opt to perform their tasks after they are done with their other (more lucrative or complicated) jobs. And because many clients now prefer remote workers to do their data entry requirements for them, they are more than willing to accommodate a flexible schedule as long as the work is delivered satisfactorily and on time.
If it is an easy way to earn that you want, then this job is for you. A lot of people rely on data entry jobs to keep them financially afloat – though this is a good time as any to remind you that you will not get rich from it, no matter the length of time or hard work you dedicate towards this endeavor. At best, a data entry job can address specific financial needs such as groceries, utility bills, rent, or to add to your nest egg over time.
Realistically speaking, you can earn around $15 – $16 an hour doing data entry, though this is a best-case scenario because a lot will still depend on a variety of factors. Overall, though, it’s still a good deal. With this job, there is an annual median wage of around $30,000, which, if combined with salaries earned from other home-based jobs, can make your financial situation a lot more comfortable.
Facility and Ease
Unlike other home-based jobs that require further training, certification, and other prerequisites before you can even start working, data entry does not need a prolonged ramp-up period or “onboarding.” Most of the time, it doesn’t also ask for a college degree (it will depend on the client, though)!
As for the skills involved in data input work, you will likely be hired for the ones you already know or are at least familiar with (more on this in a bit). And while anyone would be hard-pressed to describe data entry as a “passion” unlike certain side gigs like pet-sitting or graphic design, you can at least be assured that there’s no considerable learning curve involved here.
Skills (And Attitudes) You Will Need for Successful Data Entry Jobs
Though data entry doesn’t require a doctorate degree, genius-level efficiency, nor decades of work experience, there are still necessary skills and attitudes involved to accomplish it. Below are just some of the most important ones.
Patience for repetitive tasks
As previously mentioned in this article (several times, in fact), you will need to be patient while doing data entry tasks. It will get repetitive, and consequently boring, if you aren’t really up for it.
Forewarned is forearmed. Knowing that you can spend hours trying to make sense of a specific phrase or term – or trying not to get cross-eyed at the number of spreadsheets you will be filling out day after day – could be the first important step to handling data entry tasks like a champ.
Speedy typing skills
Some vacancies might require potential hires to go through a keyboard test to determine accuracy and speed, plus knowledge of keyboard shortcuts, etc. But if you can correctly type at least 50 words per minute, then you’re a shoo-in.
It’s a good idea to practice your typing skills prior to applying for a data entry job, especially if you have gotten rusty at it. This job needs somebody to process and input as much data in as little time as possible, but with a particular emphasis on exactness and providing correct information where applicable.
Some data entry work will be based on audio or handwritten transcription work, usually within legal, academic, or medical circles. In line with this, it’s also a good skill to know how to contextualize some unclear or unfamiliar terms, words, and phrases. However, if the word, term, or phraseology is a totally foreign concept to you, it’s best to clear it up with your employer instead of assuming what it means.
Organization and attention to detail
Being focused on even the most minute details is a welcome trait of a good data entry specialist. There are numerous charts, spreadsheets, word documents, audio and video files, and other data sources requiring a sharp eye, keen hearing, and an instinct for organization.
For instance, knowing how to place documents in appropriate digital files and folders is a must, so that no time is wasted when something needs to be retrieved ASAP. You will also be expected to keep a close eye on deadlines and other important dates, so let calendar apps and notifications be your go-to tools for this task.
Basic computer knowledge
Many people think that as long as you know how to operate a computer, you can already do data entry. This isn’t far from the truth, though it’s a little more complicated than that.
Encoding, downloading, uploading, formatting, formula inputting, and editing are just some of the regular activities associated with data entry. The tasks involved usually fall under the general skill of “Microsoft program proficiency” (or similar) that one often sees in the resumés of job applicants.
It’s best to broaden your computer skills to accommodate commonly-used office programs, as well as apps and software for spreadsheets and word processing. While you’re at it, research and practice keyboard shortcuts and knowing how to work numerical keypads, as well.
Effective and prompt communication
Because you are reporting to someone who will constantly need your data input, you will need to be prompt about clearing up certain things (terms – especially medical and legal ones, how the data should be presented, when deadlines are, etc.).
You must always be reachable either by phone, text message, private message, chat, email, or a communication system that you and your employer have agreed to implement.
How to Prepare for Remote Data Entry Jobs
Preparing yourself for actual data entry work is one thing, because, as previously mentioned, there won’t be a lot of onboarding or special skills to be expected of you. However, being mentally, emotionally, and physically (yes, physically!) prepared for it is another thing altogether. It’s best to keep the following tips in mind.
Find a quiet, comfortable place to work
You will need concentration and focus for some aspects of data inputting. Though you might find yourself going on auto-pilot for most of the tasks, getting distracted all the time can spell out disaster for your output.
You won’t need to set up a separate home office or area for data entry. A quiet corner of your room where you can work steadily and without interruption will suffice. Choose a comfortable, ergonomic chair that provides sufficient support for your back and neck, and a desk or work surface that will help keep carpal tunnel syndrome at bay.
Be realistic about how long you want to do data entry work
Believe it or not, plenty of remote workers who choose to do data entry jobs end up keeping at it for years. Even when they know that they won’t strike it rich with these tasks, the ease and routine associated with them make them a shoo-in for a steady, reliable income with hardly any learning curve involved. So if you have the disposition and patience for it, you might just be able to make data entry a semi-permanent job, as well.
However, burnout and boredom are real issues you will also have to deal with in the long run. For instance, you might be able to tolerate repetition only for a set period. To address these issues, give yourself a timeline of how long you can see yourself working on data entry jobs, as well as what you see yourself doing afterward. This will provide a more realistic time frame which you can adjust according to experience and circumstance.
Read up on the company or business you will be working for
You can get an idea of the kind of work involved if you do prior research on the company or entity that will hire you. Doing this can give you a heads up on industry jargon, statistics, the key people involved, and other important details that might be useful for your actual work.
Aside from that, you can also look up feedback and testimonies from former or current employees. The company or business might be technically legitimate, but the experiences of its workers often weigh more in the decision-making process.
Update your virus protection, chat systems, programs, etc.
Since you’re going to be handling lots of digital files on a daily basis, it’s best to keep your virus protection software regularly updated and running. You might also be asked to download and install a particular chat program for more accessible communication. Make sure to have the latest version installed for compatibility.
Do some light exercises every couple of hours
You’re going to be doing a lot of sitting down every single day with a data entry job (unless you’re one of the rare few who use one of those standing-desk contraptions). This could cause cramps, a stiff neck, sore joints, and a myriad of other physical ailments resulting from a sedentary lifestyle.
Your work won’t suffer if you pause for a five-minute break every three hours or so. Get up, stretch, do a bit of light cardio or even desk push-ups, drink a glass of water, and generally move about before hitting that keyboard and typing furiously away once more.
What To Avoid When Looking For Data Entry Jobs From Home
Since we’ve pretty much established what a data entry job is along with the necessary expectations that come with it, it’s time to take a closer look at what NOT to look for with this specific occupation. Because it’s such an in-demand job, scammers abound to take advantage of gullible and desperate-for-work people.
For instance, if you get a call out of the blue from an entity or company, but you don’t recall filling out an application with them, steer clear. While there’s a slim chance they found a public work profile of yours floating around online, these scammers are most likely out to pull a fast one with promises of high-paying, easy data entry tasks to people desperate enough to entertain them. To reiterate: you should not expect to get rich from this kind of job. Anyone promising more than a reasonable hourly or weekly rate is already suspect. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, then it most probably is!
The Four F’s associated with data entry jobs are enticing and can rope in anyone who badly needs a secondary stream of income ASAP. So a logical method to determining which companies to avoid would be to see if they offer the Four F’s with their vacancies. Aside from those, learn to discern the scammy job offers from the legit ones based on the following common scenarios.
They will hire for “experience”
Plenty of data entry job vacancies welcome even first-timers with no prior data task-related work history. This does not mean that they can get to hire people without paying them cash, though.
Scammers are bound to take advantage of the uncomplicated nature of the work involved, plus the lack of work experience of many applicants (usually freelancers). They might try to entice them with promises of an educational and training experience in place of a real income. In no logical scenario is this a fair deal, especially if you’re after a supplemental stream of income.
They will ask for your personal information
While submitting your resumé with all necessary information in it is part of a job application, asking to give up your credit card information or other highly personal details isn’t.
Even if the company name appears legitimate (it is possible that it could have been spoofed), there is no reason why they would ask for something like your bank account information or other confidential things for whatever reason they may come up with.
They will pay, but in pennies
Remember a few paragraphs up about something being too good to be true? The opposite applies in data entry jobs. If it doesn’t even sound as if it’s worth your while financially, then there is no reason even to give it a try. As previously mentioned, it’s possible to make at least a minimum wage on data entry, but any offer that is way below that is not even worth your time and effort.
They will hire you, but only after you pay a training fee
This particular advice applies to practically any kind of job offer, especially of the side gig nature. If you need to “pay” for a job, then it isn’t worth it.
It doesn’t even make sense to be asked for a training fee when the work is as basic as data entry or inputting. Run far away as fast as possible if you encounter something like this.
They will provide you with work…and then some (AKA scope creep)
A data entry job is pretty straightforward. You are tasked to input data – whether it’s numeric, alphabetic, or even symbolic – into a company or entity’s system (digital or otherwise). In some cases, the task might also include a bit of editing or verification as you go along.
However, if you find yourself being tasked to do more than what was previously agreed upon – such as encoding things that have nothing to do with work or having to deal with a client’s personal matters – then you are encountering scope creep. This is a phenomenon common among freelancers. It is when your work becomes undefined and unclear, and you’re pretty much doing what your employers ask you to do, regardless of its nature.
A Dozen Data Entry Jobs You Can Do From Home
Now that you’ve learned about how data entry can become your next possible side hustle, let’s take a look at a dozen legit companies you can apply with today. These always make it to the top of data entry reviews lists for being consistently reliable, though in some cases, you might have to do a bit of additional searching to land the perfect job.
Clickworker has a client database which the site matches with potential employees, including those seeking data entry jobs. Job availability is subject to performance quality, and payments are issued via PayPal, either weekly or monthly.
Specializing in micro jobs, the data entry tasks available on MicroWorkers usually only take a couple of minutes to complete. Users can then withdraw their earnings via PayPal once their account has at least $10.
Working Solutions provides an assessment test to applicants before hiring, but once you’re in, you will be matched with a job that suits your skills.
The Smart Crowd is another site offering microtasks, with an enticing offer of flexibility for applicants. Again, payment is in direct proportion to productivity, so if you want to take on as many jobs as you can here, it might prove to be lucrative for you.
Serving as a sort of portal for other job search engines, this site boasts of an extensive database of data entry jobs based on listings from other similar websites.
This company specializes in finding work for remote workers and freelancers, so there’s almost always a data entry job up for grabs. They offer a payment scheme that provides the highest wages to data entry workers who are consistently accurate in their output.
7. Amazon mTurk
As a crowdsourcing platform, Amazon Mechanical Turk offers “Human Intelligence Tasks” or HITs which include data entry and other similar microtasks. You could also try your hand at curating images, identifying people, rating websites, and other exciting and easy jobs here.
SigTrack offers seasonal side gigs – usually during the US petition season (yes, it’s only open to US citizens, unfortunately). The job involved requires accuracy though it’s pretty straightforward: you will be checking specific voter registration data.
As a freelance job database, FlexJobs has a reputation for providing only legit job offers because of the vetting process they have in place. The site, however, asks for a nominal fee to keep you in their database.
You will need to create a profile on UpWork to be able to attract the attention of potential clients for data entry jobs. Still, it’s an excellent way to get repeat clients and cast a wider net for future job posts.
11. Capital Typing
Capital Typing, a company that helps independent contractors get employment, specializes in matching remote workers for data entry and clerical jobs as needed by their partner businesses and clients.
Being around for more than a decade has given DionData Solutions the reputation for being trustworthy and reliable. The company prefers independent US-based contractors with near-perfect typing accuracy, who are computer savvy, and who have self-discipline.