June 12th, 2013 by ana

How remote work can be the solution

So yesterday I went to a place near Coimbra called Quinta da Conraria, which is an institution located in a huge rural farm, in a gorgeous place, with an incredible view.

In this institution they specialize in helping children, young people and adults with some degree of disability, which can range from a small disability as simple as missing a finger, to people with cerebral palsy and down syndrome, to profound disability such as tetraplegia.

At Quinta da Conraria they have an amazing team of professionals, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, amongst others, who work hard and passionately to try to improve the quality of life of their clients.

The people that attend this institution, depending on their age, can have adapted school lessons, hippotherapy (therapy with horses) and even attend a myriad of different professional courses from cooking, to car washing and even farming.

The reason why I went to this amazing place was to speak to a group of very special people about remote work.

Some months ago, when Connect Coimbra was basically in cruise mode, there was barely anything to. I couldn’t find anything to work on. People who know me well, know that I’m a doer with lots of energy, so they can surely understand why I was almost going crazy! Basically I felt useless and very, very bored. The worst thing was that I felt that I had lost all practice of programming since I hadn’t done it for a long time and because I hadn’t been doing it for a long time I had no idea how to find clients to work for!

One night at dinner at my father’s house, while venting and talking about how lousy I felt, my father told me about online work and about some websites he had found, where people could work on translations, copywriting, amongst other things. At first I thought it was stupid for an informatics engineer to work on translating and copywriting, earning very little money, when what I really wanted was to program!!! Then I stepped down from my engineer ego and thought that well, since I had absolutely nothing to do I could give it a try, at least I wouldn’t be bored.

I started by trying Gengo, a translation service. I did their test on translating from English to Portuguese but they took forever to give feedback. Next, I tried ClickWorker, where you can work on translations, copywriting and more. I did some tests which were corrected swiftly and started to work immediately on copywriting for Groupon coupons for Brazil. At first I felt kind of wary because I had no idea if this website was trustworthy or if they were really going to pay me at all. After being reassured by reading some threads on their forum (they have a section for Portuguese speakers) I continued working and earned 86€ in 3 days! I was so happy when in the next month the money appeared on my bank account!! The frustrating part was that work in Portuguese language is seasonal and there were months with absolutely nothing to do.

I tried exploring other websites such as CloudCrowd and Escrever (copywriting in Portuguese) but never got to start any real work. The truth was that although this kind of work was pretty easy to do, I could almost do it in my sleep, and I was earning some money, it was also very boring, not challenging at all and it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Fortunately, not long after, I finally found some web dev projects to work on and began a course on Web Development in TeamTreeHouse which made me very happy.

Most of the people at Quinta da Conraria find themselves in the same workless situation I had been on, but to make it even worse they have a very hard time finding work because of their disabilities. A friend of mine who works as a psychologist in this institution thought that this kind of remote work could be useful for them and invited me to come and speak about my experience. I thought this was a great idea since these websites don’t care how you look as long as you provide work with the proper quality. The group that I spoke to was very interested in what I had to say, I really hope they have a lot of professional success.

Of course the child in me was thrilled to visit Quinta da Conraria since for starters it’s a beautiful, gorgeous place, with a green landscape. Since it’s a farm it has horses, cows, peacocks and other animals, I even got to pat a horse! What a beautiful, majestic animal! Also, they grow organic produce that you can buy on their little market on Thursdays around 12am.

This is an incredible institution which helps thousands of people, I’m glad to see how everything works so well! If you’re in the same situation I was, I invite you to explore this possibility. Check the websites I found in the list below:

Escrever - Copy-writing in Portuguese
Zaask - A Portuguese website where you can do and ask for tasks most of them outside the Internet, in the real world

Freelancer - The most popular freelancer platform in the world

Gengo - Translations - They take too long to correct the tests, for me it took about 1,5 month!

ClickWorker - Translating, copy-writing, searching for information on websites and more. They don't have a lot of work for Portuguese workers, but when they have it pays off!

GreatContent - Copy-writing in English
iWriter - Copy-writing in English

CloudCrowd - Small tasks, translating, copy-writing, etc - Interesting system, they have a Facebook app where you do all the tests and work

PeoplePerHour - Freelance projects
oDesk - Freelance projects
Guru - Freelance projects
Elance - Freelance projects

fiverr - Things people do for 5USD, some are useful, some are funny, it can be anything really!

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