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Data Entry for Beginners: A Guide to Starting Your Freelance Career



Data Entry for Beginners

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Are you interested in making money online as a data entry professional but don’t know where to start?

What if you have no skills or previous experience — then becoming a data entry pro can feel daunting.

Have no fear… with the right tools and guidance, you can get started on your freelance career and start earning money right away.

Today we’ll go over the basics of data entry, including the requirements needed to become a data entry pro, along with how to learn Microsoft Office programs, and how to gain much valued experience.

Let’s get to work!

My First Data Entry Job

I was a complete beginner with no prior experience when I landed my first data entry job on Fiverr.

When I first started out as a freelancer, I was looking for ways to make some extra cash on the side. I stumbled upon Fiverr, a platform that connects freelancers with clients who need various services. I saw that there were many data entry jobs available, and I figured I would give it a try.

The project started on March 5, 2017, and I delivered it the next day. The project budget was $5, and I earned only $4 after the Fiverr fee.

The client provided me with three PDF files, each containing one to three pages of information. In total, I had to type out five pages to earn $4. It’s not a big haul, but it was a start.

To complete the project, I opened Microsoft Word and split the screen with the browser so that I could see both documents. (Note: now you can have AI read pdf files and place the text automatically into a file.)

I typed out the information from the PDFs onto Microsoft Word and formatted it according to the client’s instructions. I made some mistakes along the way, but I was able to fix them quickly.

In the end, I completed the project in less than five hours and earned $4. That was the auspicious beginning of my data entry journey.

To my surprise, the client was very happy with my work and left me a positive review. This gave me the confidence to do more data entry jobs and eventually build up a solid client base.

Looking back on that first job, I realize that it wasn’t about the money. It was about gaining experience and building my skills as a freelancer. And it all started with a simple data entry job on Fiverr.

Data entry pros are responsible for inputting data.
Data entry pros are responsible for inputting data.

The Basics of Data Entry

Data entry is the process of recording information into electronic formats such as databases, spreadsheets or word processing documents. Data entry pros are responsible for inputting data into these electronic formats accurately and efficiently so that the data can be re-used.

The tasks involved in data entry can include typing, copying and pasting, and transferring data from one resource to another (such as information in a database and putting it onto a thumb drive).

The essence of data entry lies in its capacity to encode complex and diverse sets of information into digital formats with precision and alacrity. This vital process is essential to maintaining the integrity of databases, spreadsheets and other electronic documents, thereby ensuring their accessibility and usability.

The individuals who specialize in data entry are adept at navigating various software applications and proficient at transcribing data with speed and accuracy. Data entry requires accuracy and attention to detail, so make sure you’re double-checking your work and catching any mistakes.

The task of data entry requires a keen eye for detail, as even a small error in the entry process can lead to significant consequences down the line. In many cases, data entry professionals must work with a diverse range of information, including names, dates, numerical values, and more — all of which require different formatting techniques.

They must also be able to use specialized software tools to maintain consistency and accuracy across various platforms.

Data entry is critical in the modern age, since vast amounts of information are generated every day. By having the proper organization and recording, the data does not become unmanageable or unusable.

From financial transactions to healthcare records, data entry plays a vital role in ensuring that information is properly stored, tracked and analyzed. Data entry pros are able to augment the efficient transfer of data to benefit unlimited industries and fields.

Data entry professionals
Data entry professionals can use a variety of equipment to input data.

Requirements to be a Data Entry Pro

As a data entry professional, in addition to having computer hardware and storage device(s), there are some skill requirements to help get started.

These requirements include:

Computer Knowledge

You need to have basic general knowledge of operating a computer: including installing software, creating folders and editing file names.

Knowledge of Microsoft Office Programs

You most likely need to have basic knowledge of Microsoft Office programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel. Once you learn how those programs work, the Google office programs work in a similar way — often with similar keyboard shortcuts.

Fortunately, there are no cost ways to learn the programs and even low cost monthly subscriptions. Long gone are the days where the program was purchased for a $250 price. You can start for free and if needed, the monthly subscriptions are very affordable.

If you don’t have any knowledge on how to use these programs, there are many good resources available online to help you learn.

Basic Communication Skills

Having communication skills in English will enable you to understand your clients’ instructions and to communicate your message effectively.

Online Searching Skills

You need to have good online searching skills as a way to find the information your clients would need.

Good Typing Speed

A good typing speed will help you to get more data entry jobs and complete them quickly and efficiently. The faster you can type, the faster you’ll be able to complete data entry tasks. Consider taking a typing course or using online typing tools to improve your speed.

Stay organized

Keep your files and folders organized and labeled to make it easy to find what you need quickly.

Take breaks

Data entry can be tedious and repetitive work, so it’s important to take breaks and give your eyes and hands a rest. Take a walk, stretch, or do something else for a few minutes to break up the monotony.

Know Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can save you time and make your work more efficient. Learn common shortcuts for your software programs to speed up your work. Each program has it’s own set of shortcuts although there’s a lot of similar shortcuts between programs.


While experience is not always necessary, having some experience is a plus point for some clients. If you don’t have any experience, don’t worry; we’ll show you how to gain experience without working on actual projects.

Learn computer data processing programs.
Learn computer data processing programs.

How to Learn Microsoft Office Programs

If you don’t have any knowledge of Microsoft Office programs, there are many resources available online to help you learn the basics.

The first thing to do is use the Microsoft links above and sign up for a free account. Then create a new file from each program you want to learn. Then practice typing into each. This gets you familiar with the program so that tutorial instructions make sense.

You can find tutorials on YouTube, Udemy, and Skillshare — and you can read articles on websites like TechRepublic and PCMag.

The important thing is to start learning and practicing, even if you don’t know everything yet.

With time and practice, your skills get better with each passing day.

Gaining experience
The more you do data entry, the better you get.

How to Gain Experience

If you don’t have any experience, don’t worry. There are many ways to gain experience without working on actual projects.

The more you do data entry, the better you’ll get. Set aside some time each day to practice typing and data entry tasks, and you’ll see improvement over time. You can practice by typing out articles or books and creating spreadsheets.

You can reach out to friends and ask if they need you to type something: such as a report, or a recipe, or a project paper.

From there, apply to some job listings at places like Upwork and Fiverr. There’s tutorials for that also.

Brief tutorial on doing data entry work.

Build upon each experience. Having a good portfolio of work experience happens quickly this way.

Data entry may not be the most exciting or glamorous job, but it’s a great way for beginners to start earning money as a freelancer. With a few basic skills and some practice, you can become a data entry professional and start taking on jobs in no time.

Remember to pay attention to detail, stay organized, and take breaks when needed. And don’t be afraid to start small and build up your skills and reputation over time.

Who knows? Your first data entry job could be the start of a successful career as a freelancer.

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