If you’re looking for a work from home gig that doesn’t require years of education or experience, then data entry is a good place to start. Though you will need to hone your typing skills, this won’t take long. And with a high and consistent demand for freelance data entry workers, it’s not hard to find a steady flow of work – provided you know where and how to look.
What is data entry?
The term actually encompasses a number of niches, including:
- electronic data processors
Basically, what you’ll be doing is, as the name suggests, entering data. This can be in a word or excel document, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, or any number of other databases or programs.
How much can I earn doing Freelance data entry?
There’s quite a large variation in earnings due to the fact that many entry-level roles for minimally skilled workers pay quite low. According to the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, minimum wage data entry workers are earning US$11.24 an hour, while the top tier workers are earning US$23.65 an hour, with a median hourly rate of US$16.10 per hour.
Unless you strike it lucky, you can expect to start on the lower end of the scale and work your way up as you gain experience and develop a professional network.
What skills do I need to get started with data entry work?
Though some industries – like medical transcription – do require specific knowledge and equipment, generally speaking, all you’ll need to do is ensure your typing skills are up to scratch. A high school diploma is usually required, along with proof that you are either a native English speaker or fluent in the language.
If you have no idea how many words you can type per minute, you can test your typing speed here. To be competitive, you’ll need to be able to do at least 60 WPM (Words Per Minute) with accuracy.
If you can’t reach this benchmark yet, don’t stress! There are plenty of free online typing courses that gamify the process, making it surprisingly fun to get yourself up to speed.
To really excel as a data entry freelancer, you will need to let go of whatever idiosyncratic typing technique you’ve developed and learn how to touch type. It will be frustrating at first, but the free online touch typing courses will get you there.
To give you a rough guide, it takes the average person about 10 – 15 hours of switch their brain over to touch typing. Then additional hours will be needed to build speed. Though you may be tempted to smash these hours out all at once, working in 20 – 30 minute chunks is best for retraining your mind and muscle memory.
Finally, if you feel your English grammar and punctuation could use some improvement, Khan Academy offers free online courses.
Where do I find legit online data entry jobs?
With your typing skills firing along nicely, it’s time to track down those elusive freelance data entry jobs. A great place to start is by listing your services on freelancing platforms like the following:
Be sure to include your typing speed, and work the following keywords in with your relevant qualifications and experience:
- able to work to tight deadlines
- high level of computer literacy
- strong grasp of English grammar and punctuation rules
Though these platforms are a good place to get started, the pay tends to be on the lower end of the scale. So, once you have a few jobs under your belt, it’s worth expanding out in search of higher-paying opportunities.
These can be found on job boards like Indeed, and through the following companies that regularly hire remote data entry workers:
- Lionbridge – TheSmartCrowd
If you find you’re constantly losing job opportunities to more experienced candidates, consider dedicating some time to doing volunteer data entry for a charity or non-profit. Sites like VolunteerMatch and Vollie will connect you with reputable charities that need jobs like this done, allowing you to give back to the community while developing your skills and gaining referrals.
A word of caution: online data entry work and scams
Some of the ads you’ll come across in your search for freelance data entry jobs will end up being work-from-home scams. It’s essential that you know how to spot these in order to keep your data and banking information safe.
Be wary of data entry jobs that promise super high pay. Check how the hourly rate fits within the averages provided above, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This doesn’t mean you need to discount the opportunity right away, but it does mean you need to carefully examine the company before taking any action that may compromise your data. For a full guide to spotting fake work from home ads, click here.
Is freelance data entry work worth the effort?
Though it may take a bit of upfront effort to get your foot in the door, once you’re up and running, freelance data entry is a great way to earn a living from home. There’s an almost hypnotic feel to the work, allowing you to slip easily into a flow state, and making the workday fly by.
If you like the idea of challenging yourself to keep improving your typing speed, and you’re looking for straightforward work that you can fit around your existing schedule, then freelance data entry ticks all your boxes.
Did you find this guide useful? If so, please feel free to share it with friends who may also be looking for online work.