As a woman in Pakistan, I know about the challenges that come with commuting for day-to-day work. It can be quite daunting, especially considering the safety concerns that arise when traveling to and from the workplace. As a result, I think its more important for women to start considering online solutions.
And yes, I understand the challenges. Its difficult to travel alone or via public options, even a Careem or In-Drive especially once the sunsets during the busy evening traffic. Despite taking every precaution in the world, the fear of harassment and sometimes even the risk of assault is quite real.
But women, fret not. The world is changing. I am actually quite grateful for how the post-COVID era has brought about significant changes that are creating interesting work opportunities.Below, I will discuss them, but it is worth noting that an increasing number of companies are adopting a hybrid work model that enables employees to work from home.
My friends and I have been fortunate enough to experience some of these positive shifts, and I would love to share more with everyone. The exciting part is that these changes are also taking place in Pakistan, not just the West. Below, I have listed some options that I believe are ideal for women seeking more flexibility to create value and feel empowered while still adhering to cultural and societal norms. I know it can be challenging and sometimes almost impossible to make parents, in-laws, and even fathers-in-law understand that you want to do more than just run a household.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a greater acceptance of online tutoring among students and parents. Several companies from the US and the Middle East have expanded their reach to Pakistan, allowing teachers to build classes and teach from home. Recently, some local startups have been trying to attract students by providing courses where teachers can create and set up their own live classes for subjects in which they specialize.
There are several platforms available for online teaching, such as Tutorbees and Dot & Line. If you have previous teaching experience or are interested in trying it out, I highly recommend joining their teaching faculty. You can usually apply easily by contacting their teams or founders directly. In many cases, teachers have been onboarded in as little as a month and started earning money from these teaching gigs almost immediately.
Similarly, there are online freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork that allow individuals to provide online tutoring services. Even if you haven't used these platforms before, there is ample material available online that you can refer to in order to set up an account and create a profile. Some of the best guides, in my view, are the following:
Please note that this is not a "get-rich-quick scheme". The barriers to entry are low, but it will take some time for your students to spread positive words of affirmation to their friends and network. Be patient and become an expert at delivering your craft in an online setting. With experience under your belt, you will start to shine. I recommend recording your classes and re-watching them. You will find new ways to improve your teaching, and with time, there is a real chance to build your own brand. This will help you create a steady income stream from teaching online.
We are witnessing a significant increase in e-commerce activities, with more and more companies setting up their online stores to sell products and services. This trend is also reflected in Pakistan, where platforms like Daraz have emerged. Even retail outlets are selling more of their products online, including household names such as Sapphire, LAAM, Khadi, and others.
As companies try to sell online, a whole host of new jobs have been created that are almost perfect opportunities for remote work. Some of these roles include:
Social Media Managers - These individuals typically manage the social media pages of brands and companies. They ensure that customers receive timely responses, create engaging graphics, and write short, captivating messages that introduce potential customers to brands.
Content and Blog Writers - These individuals typically focus on understanding a brand's customers and creating content or writing blog posts to drive more users to a brand's online pages. A significant part of the job involves researching what people search for when looking to purchase products or services that their companies offer. Their goal is to demonstrate to online users that their companies are experts in their respective fields, thereby increasing the likelihood of customers purchasing or trying their products and services.
Marketing or Paid Performance Managers - As online selling increases, companies are allocating more of their marketing budgets to online channels. This has resulted in an increased demand for individuals with online marketing skills. Two of the most common skillsets desired by companies in Pakistan are individuals who know how to effectively use Google Ads Manager or Meta Ads Manager. You can start learning these skills right away through well-designed courses and build a strong foundation for your career. Some good starting spaces can be:
Google - Grow your skills using Google Ads to advertise
Meta - Learn how to set up and manage ad campaigns
I strongly suggest learning more about these opportunities. If some of these ideas seem unfamiliar, don't worry, you can start by building your knowledge base through materials that are easily available online. Once you have a foundation, begin searching for jobs on online job platforms like LinkedIn, Fiverr, Taraki, etc. Additionally, you can directly reach out to hiring managers or individuals working in the field to explore potential opportunities or ways to collaborate and gain experience. This can help you get your foot in the door and begin your journey in the industry.
Opportunities in call centers are rapidly increasing in Pakistan. Many western companies are setting up support centers in countries like Pakistan because a lot of people here speak English fluently, and can provide affordable talent for western markets. Moreover, Pakistan is rapidly adopting new technologies, making our market more familiar with the products used by international users, and more comfortable with video calls too.
There are many types of jobs in this industry that can be good entry points for women who want to work remotely in a professional environment and still make a reasonable income. However, there is one big drawback: as many of these jobs deal with Western markets, there is a high chance that you may be required to work evening or even night hours.
Here are some roles to consider:
Customer Success Specialist - Inbound call centers primarily receive calls from customers seeking information regarding a company's products or services. As a customer success specialist, your role would involve receiving and processing orders, answering product-related questions via email or chat, and effectively dealing with customer queries. Additionally, these specialists often provide help desk services, listening to clients' problems and resolving them in a timely manner. While the job description may seem daunting, rest assured that the company will provide adequate training to ensure you have a thorough understanding of the products or the services they offer.
Outbound Call Centre Representative - Multiple opportunities have emerged in Pakistan, with companies such as Ibex, Apex Global, and Jaffer Business Systems. They have opened up local offices and are almost always hiring local talent. These outbound call centers specialize in contacting customers to increase reach and sales. Employees at these companies cold-call potential customers, conduct surveys, pitch users their companies products and services and try to bring in more revenues. Most of these jobs are usually in-person jobs but as new and smaller companies start to operate we are seeing a growing trend with companies such as RepStack starting in Pakistan and hiring talent remotely.
Virtual Assistants - Virtual call centers or admin assistant roles are also on the rise. Due to the fixed cost of having a physical facility to accommodate a team, many new ventures are trying to be as lean as possible and are operating remotely. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasing number of virtual call centers have emerged, creating a host of remote call center jobs. These jobs vary depending on the type of call center (outbound or inbound), but they offer a unique experience of expanding sales outreach or helping existing customers resolve their problems from the comfort of their own home.
As mentioned earlier, some of these positions may require working during evening or night hours, but as you gain experience, there may be room for flexibility. Additionally, having a good level of English proficiency is important. One should be able to speak and write well to be considered for these jobs. Even if you do not currently have the full skillset, there are ways to quickly improve your abilities. Some of these jobs may also be commission-based or target-oriented, providing an exciting opportunity to earn more money as you improve over time.