How to Work from Home Using Mobile Phones
This article was written, edited, and uploaded to the Remote Filipino Worker website using a mobile phone.
Are you looking for an opportunity to get an online job but are hesitating because you do not have a computer? If you want to work from home without a laptop or desktop computer, you should know that some jobs are quite possible to do on a smartphone.
If you have one, you might be able to find work you can do on your phone right now. These jobs include writing and social media management, among others.
But you might be skeptical of a how-to article about using your phone to do online jobs when it was made through a computer. So, as proof, everything about this article was made using a smartphone.
Here, you’ll learn about what kind of experience you can expect when you work from home using a mobile phone. We’ll also recommend ways you can improve your work experience as well as the quality of your output.
Table of Contents
The Work from Phone Experience
Just so you have a clear picture of what you can expect when you work from home using mobile phones, we’ll be sharing what we experienced ourselves:
- Compared to working on a laptop, any task involving multiple apps or windows feels about 50% slower. For example, when copying and pasting this article from an MS Word document to the website, there are a lot of awkward button presses that make everything feel clunky and less intuitive. We even accidentally closed the app a few times!
- You might encounter software compatibility issues that will increase the learning curve and hours worked. In our experience, writing the article itself was easy but uploading it to the website was a nightmare. Elementor, our website builder, is not compatible with mobile. So, we had to research and test alternatives that added a few hours to the total time of making this article.
- You could waste money if you don’t test if a piece of hardware works with your phone before purchasing it. Unlike computers, it looks like even keyboards may have issues working on phones properly depending on the model. Unfortunately, we learned this too late and wasted some money buying an incompatible keyboard online. That’s why we recommend that you go to a physical store and test it yourself.
These are the major issues we encountered. There are some minor issues, like not being able to listen to a YouTube playlist while working, but that’s up to the individual’s preferences.
Also, this might be a personal anecdote, but we found it surprisingly easy to concentrate on working on a mobile phone. Probably because there was no phone distracting us from working since we were already on our phone.
5 Step Guide: How to Work from Home Using Mobile Phones
Step 1: Set a Goal
Having a goal in mind before you begin will help you have a clearer picture of what you need to learn, what apps you need to download, and what phone and additional equipment you will need to buy.
For example, when we started this article, we had set the goal that it must be written, edited, and uploaded all on a mobile phone. From there, we downloaded apps, such as MS Word, to do the actual work.
We did encounter issues along the way. Some solutions needed additional equipment or apps, while some needed research and troubleshooting on the internet.
In the same way, you’ll be able to solve every difficulty you encounter on the way to your goal as long as you keep it in mind. This is applicable to any field, from graphic design to video editing on a mobile phone.
Step 2: Make a Sample Work That People Would Be Willing to Pay for
If it’s your first time to work from home using mobile phones, you probably don’t know yet if you’ll be able to produce the same level of quality as work done on computers. That’s why you need to create a sample of your work.
Before making a sample, you need to know what kind of output people are willing to pay for. Start by finding online jobs for phones that have a clear idea of what kind of output they want to receive. You can check freelance platforms and job boards for ideas.
The samples you make will be what form your portfolio once you apply to these jobs.
You may not be able to make a high-quality output the first time you are doing this. But you have to accept that working from a phone is a learn-by-doing process.
You’ll definitely encounter complications on the way. Take note of them so you can search for solutions later.
Step 3: Find Solutions for Your Work from Phone Difficulties
It’s natural to run into some issues when doing a task on your phone for the first time. Some things are just difficult to predict and you’ll only be able to understand the problem after you’ve encountered it yourself.
Once you’re in that situation, you can check out the recommended work from phone equipment and apps section to help you deal with the problem at hand.
If a solution doesn’t work for you, it’s important that you don’t give up working using your mobile phone immediately. It might take some additional research, testing, and adjustments until you are able to complete your tasks more smoothly.
In the worst-case scenario that there’s a task that’s impossible to do on your phone, you can always borrow a computer or go to an internet café to solve the problem. A minor inconvenience and expense that you can write off to what you can start to earn from doing an online job.
Step 4: Protect Your Work from Loss
Phones are prone to becoming damaged or lost since we always carry them around. But losing your phone should not mean that you lose your entire online career and portfolio. So, it’s very important that you secure your work through online backup systems.
One of the most crucial things you need to set up is your cloud storage account. You can use apps such as Dropbox or Google Drive, as long as they are able to back up your work files automatically.
You should also make it a habit to save multiple versions of your files so that you never lose your progress.
For your other work apps, such as to-do lists, notes, or email, make sure that you are able to sync your data to your account. Don’t forget to keep a copy of your username and password for each of these apps in a safe place.
All of this preparation will also make it much easier for you to transition to a laptop once you do decide to buy one.
Step 5: Create Your Own Work-from-Phone Working Style & Habits
After you’ve made a few samples of your work, you’ll probably have a better idea of the working style you can follow which makes it easier for you to produce high-quality outputs.
For example, we personally found article writing easier on a vertical screen. Meanwhile, designing graphics was a better experience using a horizontal screen.
Here are some other ideas you can use to make your own working style:
- Turn off notifications or use Do Not Disturb mode when working. This is especially useful if you are easily distracted. Frequent notifications are just noise when you should be concentrating on your work.
- Test our different apps until you find the ones you like using the most. You won’t be able to know if an app fits your working style or not until you actually use them. The best apps are the ones you can effortlessly use throughout your workday.
- Turn off auto-updates. App developers roll out updates every so often to fix bugs and introduce new features. However, sometimes those updates make your app unusable or buggy at the time you want to work. By turning off auto-updates you’ll be the one in control so you can update the app at a better time.
- Save often or use apps with the autosave feature. It’s very easy to accidentally close an app especially when you are going back and forth between other apps. Saving often, preferably in multiple versions, will help prevent you from losing any progress.
Once you’ve turned your work processes into actual habits, you’ll have formed your own personal working style. You are now able to work from home using mobile phones at a faster pace and at a more consistent quality.
Equipment and Apps That Make the Work from Phone Experience Better
A. Work from Phone Equipment
Yes, you can work from home using mobile phones right now even without any of the additional equipment below. Feel free to get them later when you want to work faster and more comfortably.
1. Phone Stand
This might be unexpected but a phone stand is probably the most important piece of equipment to add to your work from phone setup. Instead of holding your phone, you’ll now have an extra hand you can use for work, whether that’s through the phone’s touch screen, a keyboard, or a mouse.
You can easily get a phone stand online or through your local electronic store. Pictured below are many different kinds of phone stands that you can get from Lazada and Shopee.
There are phone stands where you can adjust their height and orientation. There are also phone stands that magnify the size of your phone’s screen. Choose the phone stand that will best improve your work efficiency based on the kind of job that you want to do.
We personally used this one pictured below:
It’s a 3-in-1 combo of a phone stand, keyboard, and mouse. The phone stand itself has these L-shaped holders that you can stick on the Velcro cover, so you can adjust the position depending on the size of your phone.
Full Disclosure: This buy was a semi-failure since the keyboard was not compatible with the mobile phone. But since both the mouse and stand worked, it wasn’t a total waste.
2. Mobile Phone Keyboard
For any kind of job with typing involved, whether that’s article writing or programming, then a keyboard is essential for fast and accurate output.
When buying a mobile phone keyboard, make sure to test it out first before paying anything so you can avoid any compatibility issues. It doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive keyboard, just one that is comfortable to work with.
Also, if you plan to use a keyboard at the same time as a mouse, one of them must be Bluetooth-compatible and the other one must be USB-compatible so you can use them both at the same time.
You can also find a variety of mobile phone keyboards in electronics stores and online marketplaces such as Lazada and Shopee.
3. Mobile Phone Mouse
Since smartphones do have a touch screen, a mouse isn’t particularly necessary. However, we’ve found them very useful when you need to click on something small.
For example, in editing this article, we needed to click the small spaces in between letters. It’s quite doable using your finger but it’s not very accurate. A mouse just makes the task much easier to do.
Just like the other work from phone accessories, you can easily find them in electronics stores and online shops in marketplaces such as Lazada and Shopee.
Try using something other than your finger, such as a pen or a brush, on a phone’s touch screen, you’ll notice that it’s not detected accurately. If you need to emulate the experience of drawing traditionally, you’ll need a special tool called a stylus.
A stylus is a pen-shaped instrument that’s easily detectable by touch screens. By using this in conjunction with your drawing and design apps, you’ll be able to create an output just like the pros.
5. Portable Monitor
A portable or external monitor should be unnecessary for most jobs you can do on your phone. It helps people who need a bigger screen to do their work but since the monitor will just duplicate what you can see on your phone, it doesn’t really expand the workspace.
Instead of buying a portable monitor, it’s probably better to save that money for when it’s time to purchase a work-from-home laptop.
But if you already have a Smart TV at home, then it’s not a bad idea to connect it to your phone when you need to see the finer details of what you are working on.
B. Work from Phone Apps
1. Job-Related Apps
Depending on the online job, you need to download certain apps so you can do your work well. Listed below are popular apps categorized based on what tasks they can do.
a) Office Apps
These are your common office apps that you can use to make documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, among others. These are the apps that would be most useful for data entry, writing, and virtual assistant jobs.
There are a lot of choices, but using popular apps such as the Microsoft Office Suite or Google Office Suite, ensures that your work is compatible with whatever your client or employer is using.
This article itself was written on the Android version of MS Word and saved on a cloud storage app. When opened on another device, such as a laptop, the document opened without any problems.
b) Graphic Design Apps
These are the apps you can use to create images for jobs like graphic design, social media management, and blogging.
There are apps for drawing, art, adding filters to photos, creating social media posts from templates, and much more.
An example would be the Adobe Suite, which includes Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Draw. They are perfect for both serious and light graphic design work. Meanwhile, Canva makes it really easy for you to make high-quality images for your social media pages.
When choosing an app to use, it’s probably a good idea to use those that are also available on a computer so you’ll have an easier time adjusting when you make the transition.
Here’s some professional work we’ve made using Canva:
When choosing an app, it’s also a good idea to use those that are also available on a computer so you’ll have an easier time adjusting when you make the transition.
c) Video Editing Apps
Similar to graphic design apps, there’s a huge number of video editing apps available in both the Android and iOS stores. It can be overwhelming if you are a newbie video editor.
If there’s an app that’s available for both computers and phones, then there’s a higher chance that it’s worth trying it out. Examples include Adobe Premiere, Kinemaster, and VN Video Editor.
But make sure to read reviews carefully, do your research, and test the video editing app. This will help you make the decision on which app to focus on when you build your skills and portfolio.
d) Social Media Tools
If your job is related to social media management, you might need to install apps such as Facebook’s Business Suite as part of your job. Other social media apps, such as Instagram and Tiktok, may also have accompanying apps that will help you do the job properly.
However, regardless of your job, these popular social media apps are still useful for promoting yourself, finding work, and networking with clients.
A good example of this is Reddit, an online community app. There are many dedicated communities there that are all about sharing job openings or hiring people. Check out “How To Find Remote Jobs on Reddit: 8 Step Guide” to learn how you can use the platform to your advantage.
2. Essential Apps
These are the apps that are useful for almost any profession. Examples include apps for managing your pay, safekeeping your files, organizing your workday, and finding new job opportunities.
a) Cloud Storage Apps
When working on any kind of device, it’s a good idea to have a backup of your files so that you don’t lose any progress. It’s especially important for phones since you carry them everywhere and so, are more susceptible to damage and loss.
That’s where cloud storage apps come in. These apps, when set up correctly, can automatically save your files on the internet. This way, if you ever lose your phone, you can still access your files online.
Popular apps, such as Google Drive and Dropbox provide you with a large, but limited amount of free space to save your files. You can use all three to maximize the amount of storage you can get.
Once you’ve used up the limit, you would need to pay for additional storage space.
b) Web Browsers
Your phone probably already came with a browser, either Google Chrome for Android phones or Safari for iOS phones. These apps can be used for a multitude of things.
For your online career, they’re excellent for finding jobs on platforms such as Onlinejobs.ph, Upwork, and Fiverr. Browsers are also useful for doing research and learning new things.
If you are not happy with your current browser app, you can always download a new one. For example, Mozilla Firefox with the uBlock Origin plugin is great for an ad-free browsing experience.
c) Job Platform Apps
Some online job platforms, such as Upwork and Fiverr, also have their own apps. They’re okay to use as an alternative to a browser, but it’s mostly up to your preference.
Just remember that you shouldn’t limit yourself to finding work in these job platform apps. You can pretty much find opportunities for online jobs anywhere, from Facebook Groups to Reddit communities.
d) eWallets, Bank & Money Apps
Of course, the very reason you work from home using mobile phones is to receive payment for doing the job. There are many options available but you should really choose only the most popular ones.
Popular apps are the ones your clients most likely have access to. For international clients, PayPal and Wise are your best options. Wise, in particular, will have better conversion rates than PayPal, so if possible, choose Wise.
Use those in conjunction with local bank apps or eWallets, such as GCash or Maya. This way you can actually use the money you’ve earned online for local transactions.
e) To-Do Lists & Calendar Apps
It’s difficult to keep track of everything that you have to do in a busy work day. You can use to-do lists and calendar apps to keep your work organized.
When you work from home using mobile phones, it’s up to you to keep yourself productive and disciplined without any supervision. After all, missing a deadline or an important call can lead to losing your online job.
Popular apps include Google Calendar and Microsoft To-Do. But since this involves your working style, just use any app that’s most comfortable for you.
Just make sure that you can sync it online so you don’t lose your notes.
3. Communication Apps
Targeted communication with potential clients is essential for landing a job. Further communication is also necessary to keep that job.
And excellent communication will be what separates you from your peers. It’s what keeps your employers and clients happy enough that they’ll refer you to other opportunities in their network.
So, don’t hesitate to download the communication apps required by your online job. Listed below are some of the popular communication app options.
a) Email Apps
Make sure to choose an email app that won’t accidentally filter out any important messages. From our experience, Gmail has been a reliable choice for over a decade.
If you are new to email, remember to use only a professional email handle for any business-related communication. When in doubt, just use your name.
For example, email@example.com is a simple email handle with just the last name and first name of the user.
b) Messaging Apps
Use whatever messaging app is preferred by your employer or client, whether that’s Skype, Slack, Viber, Facebook Messenger, or some other app.
By making yourself easily accessible to them, they’ll have a more favorable impression of you and the work that you do.
A word of warning though, there are certain messaging apps, such as Telegram, that while legit, have become popular with scammers. It’s not an immediate sign of a bad job, but make sure to tread carefully.
c) Video Call Apps
Similar to messaging apps, just use whatever video call app is easiest for your clients to use. Zoom is popular, but the free version will cut off your call once the time is up.
If you can, try to suggest to your client to use Google Meets. It has similar features as Zoom and you can take as much time as you need on the call.
It’s also well-integrated with Google Calendar and Gmail. You can send an invite and it will automatically update the details to your calendar and send reminders through email.
Conclusion: Work from Phone Is a Viable Way to Begin Your Online Career
Just as this article was written, edited, and uploaded to this website using a smartphone, it’s also very possible for you to begin your online career all through your mobile phone.
You don’t have to overthink things. The most important thing you can do to begin, is just that, to start right now on anything that you can.
You can think about paying for online courses or buying a work-from-home laptop later, if you still need them, once you’ve earned enough from an online job.
As soon as you start to work from home using mobile phones, you are taking the first few steps you need to eventually reach ₱1M in annual earnings as a Remote Filipino Worker.