As a freelancer, you’re probably used to your craft, whether it’s web design, content development, web development, or any other area of specialization. That’s great, but it’s always good to try and diversify.
And that’s where data entry jobs come in handy.
You’ve probably come across jobs or ads on data entry but never given it a serious thought. Perhaps you think data entry sounds too complex compared to what you do best. But don’t dismiss it just yet.
In this post, we delve deep into some of the least known facts about this field so you can understand what it’s all about. It might just become your favorite gig or at least a decent side gig!
Skills Required for Data Entry
To excel at data entry, you need to have (or at least develop) the following skills:
- Fast typing and transcription. You’ll come across bulky jobs that require thorough typing from audio files or other types of files.
- Computer-related skills and especially technical ones. Your PC may slow down while working, or you may need to know how to work with certain applications, especially MS Office. You don’t need to be a computer wizard here; some basic computer skills will do.
- Time management and organizational abilities. Clients will assign you data entry tasks that you need to complete within a specific timeframe. If you are working on this alongside other freelancing tasks, you better be very organized to avoid missing a deadline.
- Customer service skills. You’ll be handling customers, so you need to know how to impress them.
- Multi-tasking. Data entry jobs may require you to juggle up several tasks at once.
- Confidentiality. You’ll be handling sensitive company data you will be prohibited from sharing with anyone else.
- The ability to work as part of a team or independently. Once in a while, you may be required to coordinate with other employees in an organization (even if it’s only one person). So, you should enjoy working with others as well as on your own.
- Phone etiquette and skills. The job might require you to make some calls to collect data before organizing it.
- A positive attitude when you’re facing pressure as you work
- Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
In short, you need to be a well-rounded professional.
Common Types of Data Jobs
There are different types of data entry jobs, including:
- Plain data entry jobs. These jobs involve reading a PDF file and typing the words into an MS Word document.
- Word processor or typist. A technical job, this involves creating letters, reports, mailing lists, and more. To do it, you need good vocabulary and grammar.
- Cleaning of data. Also referred to as data scrubbing or data cleansing, the work includes removing or modifying incorrect, incomplete, wrongly formatted, or repeated data from a database. The objective is to make the data more consistent and accurate.
- Form filling. Here, you’re given huge data and an online form separately. Your job is to obtain the values from the database and enter them into each field on the online form.
- Survey job. You need to fill out survey forms or answer simple questionnaires. It can take five to 15 minutes to complete, depending on the questionnaire’s length.
- Captcha entry jobs. Captchas are usually images that have texts, alphanumeric, or numbers you enter in the field provided below. This job may require you to complete hundreds of Captchas on a daily basis. Here are the top Captcha entry sites to get started with.
- Copy and paste jobs. The job involves copying data from one file and pasting it to another file, which is typically an Excel spreadsheet or Word document.
- Transcription. Here, you listen to an audio file and render it into text, word for word.
- Image to text jobs. You are given a screenshot containing text. Your work is to read the text and copy it into a Word document.
- Email processing. This high paid data job requires you to process numerous emails daily and categorize them into an excel spreadsheet.
As you can see, these jobs tend to require accuracy and attention to detail.
Tips to Research the Legitimacy of the Company Offering Data Entry Jobs
Let’s face it: many people are looking for online work that’s less involving, and data entry falls under this category.
As a result, many websites claim to offer data entry jobs and some can even seem to pay you just for signing up!
Well, the truth is that, while there are numerous legitimate data entry jobs, there are also many data entry scams out there.
Distinguishing between these two can be difficult for freelancers who are setting out to find work online.
So, how do you dig in to establish the legitimacy of the company offering these jobs? Here are handy tips to use:
If the Deal Sounds Too Good To Be True, Then It Probably Is
Compared to other freelancing jobs, data entry jobs often don’t pay very well, as the work involved is usually less demanding.
Picture Captcha entry jobs or form filling work, for example. Anyone can do them without undergoing special training.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a data entry keyer’s median hourly wage is $16.10 and the lowest percentile of workers’ median wage is $11.24 per hour.
Of course, some types of specialized data entry jobs pay slightly more; examples include jobs like a legal transcriptionist or medical coder.
Therefore, if you come across a data entry job listing offering a disproportionately generous salary or a highly flexible schedule with tons of perks, be very suspicious.
Research the Company
Before you send your personal details to any HR department, learn more about the company. Ensure they have got a legit website.
Besides, ask the person in charge if you can speak to one of the current employees or a former employee.
Research further until you establish that the company is legitimate.
Don’t Pay for a Job
Most scams tend to ask for money at the earliest stages of the application process.
They justify it by needing payment to cover an administrative fee, an equipment cost, or the job’s test.
Well, you shouldn’t pay any money to get a genuine job.
Ask for a Signed Contract
If you land the job, ask to sign a legal employment contract before starting any work. This step ensures that a company hires you legally.
How to Approach Billing and Payments
The main reason you do a data entry job or any other job online is to get paid for your time and effort. You’ve just landed a great data entry job; how do you tackle payments?
Rate per Task
Since most of the data entry tasks are simple and bulky, rates are usually calculated based on the number of assignments completed.
For example, you may be paid $0.5 after completing 1000 copy and paste jobs.
Therefore, in the negotiation stage, you want to confirm how much is paid per specific number of tasks so you can know whether it’s something you can do quickly enough to get proper compensation.
The first thing is to check if the payment method on the data entry job website works for you. Most companies pay through a variety of methods to suit the needs of different people.
So, ensure one of the payment methods works for you and that the chosen platform charges the lowest fees.
As earlier mentioned, most data entry jobs usually aren’t extremely lucrative.
That said, you’ll need to have a minimum amount in your account to be able to withdraw it.
Just check to ensure what the minimum payment threshold is and whether you’ll be comfortable waiting until you reach it.
The Future of Data Entry
Automation has caused major disruptions in several industries, and it’s about to impact data entry as well.
Machine learning and AI are the catalysts behind this shift towards automation in the data entry industry. For example, IIOT technology now enables automatic data capture using smart sensors.
However, this automation won’t render data entry workers obsolete. Instead, their job requirements and skill sets will change as they’ll need to offer manual support to the new automated systems through regular database updates and digitization of paperwork.
You can do numerous data entry jobs as a freelancer. However, exercise your due diligence before starting any data entry work with a company.
Most importantly, be open to automation, which will soon streamline your work as a data entry professional.
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters