Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tips to Help You Succeed as a Freelancer

Today’s market is shaky and that’s led to an increase in freelancers. In the United States, 1 in 3 people is a freelancer and this leads to about 42 million people that are working as a freelancer without health insurance, without a 401K and without consistent income to start with.

Freelancing can often be a successful way to make money if you know what you’re doing. Many people decide to work as a freelancer by choice because of the freedom that comes with it. Some people also do it to help add to their current line of income whether it’s full-time or part-time. Working as a freelancer brings flexibility and the ability to work on your time. Freelancers can be anyone from artists to painters to writers and even photographers. Here are some tips to help you succeed as a freelancer.

Marketing Yourself
While most freelancers can be skilled in several areas, chances are you’ll have success if you stick to one niche market. Branding yourself takes time and effort and you want to make sure you set yourself up for work in the right area. Begin with a website that highlights who you are, your experience and the type of services you offer. You should also increase your presence on social media sites or start a blog discussing different issues and offering perspectives.

Networking
While there are thousands of freelancers looking for work these days, you want to network yourself which can connect you with potential employers over the course of your career. Freelancing also means you are in business for yourself. There may be dry spells which is why constantly networking is crucial to your success. This should become a regular task and you can use the internet, make business cards, attend events and even make cold calls to potential clients that may benefit from your services.

Remain Organized
The most important thing that comes with being a freelancer is staying organized. Juggling multiple projects can be hard at first, so make sure you set deadlines far enough from each other that you aren’t rushing on things which can lead to sloppy work being turned in. You can use calendars or spreadsheets which will help you stay organized and can help you see upcoming deadlines that are approaching.

Remain Flexible
One thing a client likes in a freelancer is the ability to have a flexible schedule. There may be times when a client contacts you with an urgent project and you may need to take it especially if work is dry at the moment. Making yourself available will help clients know that you can handle tight deadlines or future work with less urgent deadlines.


Working as a freelancer can be rewarding for so many people as long as you have the determination and the desire to commit to working for yourself. It can be trying at times and you need to learn to budget your money so when a dry spell comes along you still have money to pay bills until more work starts to come in. 
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Elance Checklist

So here is a check list for your elance profile before you start applying to jobs.

You have created your Elance profile but you’re too frustrated that you are not getting any job, even when you are bidding so low. Wait, I have the solution. If you haven’t read Elance top 10 tips then you should check it out. Now here is what is going wrong: you probably are not putting enough effort so the client can trust you with their job.

Here is a check list of the thing you MUST do to get a job, these will make you stand out and will give you a better chance of landing on your first job.

1- Uploading a profile image: I know that you have heard of that before if you have read some of my previous articles. You must have a profile image, it is essential! A profile image makes the client feel more secure when deciding to award the job. I really had to experiment this issue to see its effect on getting jobs. So here is what I did. I removed my profile picture and tried to apply for jobs as usual. The ratio of getting the job dropped by 30%. Even though I had a well established reputation, a profile picture was still essential to get jobs. So if you want to have a chance of getting a job then I really advice you to upload a profile picture.


2- Take as many skill tests as you can: Remember skill tests are free, so why not take these tests to prove your skills. There are over 270 skill test and they cover almost any skill you might have. Taking a skill test will prove to perspective clients that you do have the skills to handle their jobs. Remember that if you didn't do well on a test that’s fine, it won’t show on your profile, so you are safe. You can take the same test again after waiting a couple of weeks.


3- Add valuable things to your portfolio: If you have a special talent then the portfolio is the perfect place to show your talent. Remember you can always refer to your portfolio when you are applying to jobs. If the client likes your portfolio then this will definitely increase your chances to be awarded a job.

4- Select appropriate keywords: A client can only find through keywords, so make sure you don’t leave this field empty. I have seen many beginners’ profiles and they usually leave this field empty which reduces their chances of clients finding their profile.

5- Stress on the unique selling point in your profile: If you have any special skill, then stress on it and make sure that the client will notice it. I really recommend you mention it in the first few words of the overview. When a client checks your profile, he/she won’t be reading every single word on every single job applicant’s profile. So you must attract the client to keep reading by hooking him/her with the first few words. It is more like a story; if you like the introduction, then you are most likely going to continue reading.


My last advice to you is stay connected to Elance. Most of the jobs you will probably take are “ASAP jobs”. Clients usually want to do their job quickly and they require fast turnaround. Having a mobile device with a push email notification is really essential. It will help you get notification about any update in seconds. This will not only help you in getting jobs, but also in getting a good reputation. I really got most of my reviews and positive feedback from this factor. I would deliver within a couple of hours of awarding me the job. The clients will definitely feel happy that they got their job done quickly. However, you must remember that rushing through a job just to finish early has a worse effect than delivering rate. So make sure you work hard on the project and deliver best quality work.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Writing a job proposal


Stop wasting your time looking for a magic job proposal that would get you any job. Many people claim that they have the perfect formula; they say it is a magnet. But wait! Clients are normal people and each has his own style and his own preference. So there is no guaranteed way to reach all clients by using the same strategy over and over again. Each client is unique and thus your proposals should be unique too.
However there is a common thing that all clients are looking for, it is to get there job done perfectly. So you can apply some strategies when applying to any job. But remember always be smart and impress the client when you are applying to the job. Put yourself in his shoe and evaluate your own job proposal.


Here are some techniques to apply when you are writing a job proposal:


1-Do not use the same job proposal for all clients
Show the clients that you care! Take your time reading their job requirements and address this issue. If you don’t bother to even read their requirements and what kind of job they are offering, then you are proving that you cannot handle this job because you don’t really care. Take your time in reading what they require for their job and express how your skills can be perfect to do this job.



2-Take a look at the client’s profile
Check the client’s profile. This would give you a small idea about your client and would help you in writing your job proposal. Check his comments on previous jobs he/she has offered what he/she liked most in previous contractors. Does he/she offer a review regularly? Looking at the clients profile would help you a lot especially if you’re looking for a good reputation to begin with. Try to choice clients that are not so picky and mean with their contractors.



3- Reread your job proposal
Make sure that it sounds good and it is free of spelling and grammar mistake. Remember, the job proposal is the first impression the client is taking from you, so it better be a good one. Reviewing your job proposal only take seconds and trust me it can help you in evaluating your own words. Think about your proposal for a second, do you think it is effective and worthy? If yes, then proceed.



4-Attach a sample of a similar job you have done before
This is one of the very important freelancing tips ever. I really got my first few jobs after I applied this technique. If you are still new, then probably you do not have any ratings or and comments from other clients.  So you need to show the client a proof that you have done similar jobs and that he can trust you in handling his/her job. Make sure that the attached sample is relevant, also make sure to refer to it in the job proposal and maybe give a small description if you want.

bad job proposal


If you have reached that far, then congratulations! Most beginners just skip this very important part and you see them after a while complaining that getting a job on freelancing sites is impossible.
Always remember that job proposals are the first impression clients have from you, so make them stand out and show the client that you really care to do a perfect job for them.


If you have any question or any concern, please don’t hesitate to contact me or post your comment bellow.
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Monday, July 8, 2013

Ten Most Important tips for Elance freelancers


Here is a quick list of the top ten tips for Elance that would guarantee you a good start in the world of freelancing:


1-Don’t use a customary made message to apply to jobs
don't copy pasteThis is the most important tip you will ever hear. I really fell in this trap when I first started applying for jobs on Elance, I would do a “perfect” application and then copy/paste it to every single job I could find. Let’s be serious, no client would award the job to someone who is not even bothered to read the requirements of the job. So if you really want to get a job online, you should really address the client with relevant material.


I really experienced that from a client’s perspective, once I posted a job to SEO a certain website. I got many applications for that job, but there was a certain application that just made me laugh. An applicant was talking about data entry and really elaborating on that issue!!

You can’t just copy/paste any application and expect the client to give you the job.



2- Make sure the clients fund escrow
freelancingYou better check that the client did fund escrow with money rather than do all the work and then get a scammer that would steal all your work for free. I really had a couple of experiences with scammers, but I never fell in their traps. Some Scammers expect you to work without awarding you the job (never do that!). Never work for free, always do the necessary steps to guarantee that you would get paid after you have done your work.




3- Build a good Profile on Elance
Take your time building a good profile on Elance. If the client liked your job application, the next thing he will look onto is your profile. So make it attractive so you would give a good impression to the client. Take some time and do some tests, this would really verify your skills (Elance tests are free!! So why not use them). Provide a detailed description to your services. Add keywords so clients would find you in their searches.


4- Upload a good portfolio
online jobs
A good portfolio really matters in most jobs especially if you are a: designer, writer and programmer. A client will certainly look at your profile if you are providing any of these services. Make sure you show the best samples you have. You can always refer to your portfolio in your job applications this would help the client show your awesome skills!!



5- Never use “Submit Amount later”
Let’s face it. All “Submit Amount later” applications will be definitely ignored. I know it is not that easy determining the amount of money you want to charge when you first start your career as a freelancer, but a client wouldn't bother ask for the amount you would like to charge. Most clients are in a rush to choose a contractor and wouldn't like to waste their time on contractors that don’t know what to charge.


work from home6- Upload a professional photo
You may be thinking that this tip is just lame… But wait, really a good photo really matters, adding a photo really adds credibility to your profile; don’t forget that clients are afraid of scammers just like you and they don’t want their project to end up in the wrong hands. So adding your photo and providing your Skype name would really help you get good jobs.





7- Be willing to Spend a little more time to impress the customer
If you do a little extra the customer would really be impressed and would certainly give you a better rating. When I used to do research jobs online I would then format the document before sending it to the client. Formatting the document didn't take more than 5 min, but customers always complimented me for this. So if you just provide a little extra thing this would help you with the rating and would motivate the client to award you more jobs in the future.


8- Send regular status reports
online jobsWhen I first started working on Elance I really thought these were useless and merely a big waste of time and effort. However, with experience I really knew that this really affects your Elance “level” which really matters where you appear on contractors search.  So spend some time sending status reports and don’t ignore them even if the client does not really care, they have a real impact on your level.


9- Respond to Invitations Right away
Leaving your invitations pile up without answering them would have a negative effect on your level. Even if you don’t want to apply for the job you have been invited for, then just decline this job. Don’t Forget that if you are unavailable for a certain period then just set your “Availability settings” to unavailable.


10- Ask in a friendly way for a feedback
elance jobsFeedback is one of the most important factors for getting jobs; someone with a low rating won’t get a single job. When you are done with the job, ask the client if he/she is satisfied with the work and if they want to modify anything. After they are fully satisfied, ask them in a pleasant way to leave you a good rating.
                                 
I hope these tips will help you have a better understanding for how to become a very successful freelancing.
 Check my next Blog about my Freelancing experience with different platforms.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

What is freelancing?

online jobs

We all want to be free in things we do in our daily life, especially our job. Many people just hate to wake up at 7:00 am, go to an office, spend most of their day there, and come back bored to death from routine and tiring job. If you are this kind of person then Stop here, you will just find a perfect way to earn money online, you could do your job from any place you want: In the garden, at the beach, at home…Just Anywhere!

Your Solution is just 1 word, Freelance.


freelancingYou can now be your own boss; nobody can force you to do things anymore. You will do the things you desire whenever you feel like it. I want to tell you good news: In the shacking economy that we have today, freelancing jobs are rising tremendously.




Freelancers can take any job they desire and in their field of expertise, freelancers can be graphic designers, administrators, writers, web designers… If you have any special talent or if you are an expert at something, then you can use that to do various jobs online and earn hundreds to thousands of dollars in a short period of time if you do this the right way.




So if you are looking for a definition about freelancing here is one: “A freelancer is a person who performs tasks for multiple employers. A freelancer is somewhat like a free agent, but who works for multiple customers”.

Your dream of being independent in work can become true with a freelance job. You would be able to put the working schedule that suits you!

If you are afraid of losing your job then here is my solution to you; you can stay working in your current job and start as a part time freelancer taking jobs in your free time. Using this strategy you would experience what it means to be a freelancer and then you would easily compare it with the job you are currently handling. If freelancing worked for you and you like it then you should definitely quit your job, and if it didn't then you wouldn't have lost anything.


Wait a Moment! Are You Ready For a  Freelancing Job?

1 - Are you good at the thing you do? This is something you should be aware of: Competition in freelancing is fierce, so you have to be quite good at the things you do so that you can stand out of the crowd.


2 – Don’t just go ill. If you really like being absent from work a lot then freelancing is not for you. It is right that you are free to do what you want and whenever you feel like it, but not doing work for a long period of time would mean that you would be earning much less and losing your popularity gradually.


3 – Plan your Days:  Putting a schedule for your freelancing jobs is essential. You would be able to see your goals, put deadlines, push yourself to the limit and thus enjoy your time more with an organized schedule. Planning also helps you in decisions whether or not to accept a new job (It is very important not to overload yourself with so many jobs that you can’t deliver on the required time!).


4 – Have a life: Failing to create good plans can lead to a hard life, you could be working day and night if you don’t plan well. So plan correctly and give yourself time to do the thing you like: Sports, TV, spending time with your family and friends.


5 – Save for rainy days:  Even if you are doing really well and earning a lot of money, you can’t know when the market changes, there could be times when your earnings drop. So saving spare money for such days would save you from threats of the market.



6- Keep your finance tidy: Keep track of your finance daily, don’t just wait to get bills to start working on your finance (this would bring trouble and ruin your schedule). So spend a small amount of time daily to manage and keep track of your finance.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Freelance Writing Jobs

freelancingHave you ever written an amazing articles that people really liked? Do you deeply feel that your writings are good but you don’t know how to be paid for that.
If you are that passionate about writing, then why don’t you start your own blog and try making it popular. That can generate a lot of money if you are doing it the right way. But let me warn you: that would take a lot of time to SEO your blog or you would have to pay and expert to do this for you.




writing freelancingHowever there is a second option which is partical for people who are passionate about writing, but who don’t want to go into the mess of SEO, getting more readers and traffic analysis...There is an amazing option for you guys. Many clients are looking for writers to write blogs, articles, description for certain products … Those clients usually post their jobs on certain platforms where writers can apply for these jobs. These sites include: Elance, freelancer, oDesk, guru, peopleperhour and much more.
Working on freelancing websites is the first step towards success as a writer. It is an experience that would teach a writer a lot and help him boosts his career. If you want to work from home, and write whenever you feel like it, then freelancing is the right solution for you.
Getting started as a freelance writer
For writing it is so obvious which platform to work on, it is Elance and here’s why:

a- Other sites have tremendous competition when it comes to writing. For example, in oDesk you can see over a hundred applying to the same job and usually clients would pick the lowest bid.

online jobsb- Elance is a very friendly platform where you can easily choose which job to apply to. You can use filters to see which client is verified and trusted by Elance, and a job list that matches your field of expertise would be sent to you daily.

c- Writers have their own section in Elance, so an administrator cannot apply to writing jobs. This reduces competition tremendously.

d- A large percentage of clients would pay fairly to writers, especially those that really establish a good reputation. Sometimes the payments would be $3000-$5000 for a single job, but of course you have to be professional to earn that much.



Tips and tricks for Writing Freelancers
1- Don’t just apply on all the projects you find, you would be wasting “connects”, these limit the number of job applications per month. I think taking time to apply to a few number of jobs where you study carefully what the client needs and you directly address these needs, then you will get to your goal much faster.

what is freelancing2- Being from a country that originally speaks English is an advantage to all writers, also if your first language is not English but you have lived in a country where they speak English as their first language, then make sure you mention this clearly.

3- Your grammar should be flawless. What clients hate most is spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes. So make sure you double check everything written in your profile and messages. A single grammar mistake would make you lose the opportunity of getting the next big job.


4- Make sure you include a sample of your work each time you contact a client. Writing is a very sensitive issue, and clients posting jobs for writing tend to be picky, so make sure you pay attention to these details.

5- Most of the time clients would request a small paragraph about the subject that you will write about in the future. So make sure you master this small piece of writing:

A-     Punctuation
B-      Grammar
C-      Interesting ideas


6- Choose the subject you want to write about. Each writer has his own style and field of expertise. When you find the subject does not appeal to you, you better not apply to this job. It only means you would be bored to death writing about something that you really don’t care about and most probably your results won’t show your creativity.

Check my blog: Tips and Tricks for freelancing.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Freelancing Personal Experience & tips

freelance jobs

How It All Began

Everybody told me that working online was a big scam, but I wasn't the kind of person who would instantly believe everything said until I examined things myself. So I did my research and found the most popular platforms for freelancing : Elance, oDesk, freelance, PeoplePerHour and many others, but those in specific I had some experience with.I was determined to make money online.



First Experience (Tips and Tricks)

First, I tried oDesk, I prepared my profile which took some while. I also included a portfolio from previous work. I tried bidding on over a 100 project but nothing worked.  Other people who had good profiles where bidding extremely low, and I do mean extremely low ($2/hour). That was a $2/hour, which oDesk took partial amount of this amount of money too!!

 In addition to that each posted project had more than 50 bids, sometimes it even exceeded 100 people bidding on the same project. This made me stop using oDesk, competition was too high and bids were so low, it was not worth my time.


Decided to Change the Freelancing Site

It freelanceSo I decided to continue my search and started using Elance. I found that Elance had a much higher hourly rate and people posting their projects there, were willing to pay higher than what is paid on oDesk. After submitting many unsuccessful bids, I decided I had to work harder to get my first job online. So I reconstructed my profile so it would look much more appealing to clients (the truth is that I lied in some of the provided information).After that I bid super low on one of the projects and I was lucky, the client was willing to take the risk with someone with no previous rating. So I did my first project, and I got paid a $20 for something that took about 6 hours to finish …


freelance writingI continued doing jobs; some were pretty easy and made pretty good amounts of money, especially that I know how to use excel pretty well. So I made a total of $800 per 1 month which was pretty good as a start. However, this was not very easy, I had to spend hours just to watch the jobs posted and apply for these jobs. Also, I had to pay money to promote my membership, since a free membership doesn't give you enough connects (credit to apply to jobs).


Summary

outsourceSo my experience was a mix of good things and bad things happening together. It was a good experience in terms of I learned a lot from this experience about many things. Another thing is that you would really know how to outsource your project, when and where. That in my opinion is very important, and I would really like to apply this effectively in my future business.

However Elance is becoming like oDesk, too low hourly rate and too much competition. I think when such sites become so popular they are ruined. To talk from a client perspective it is a good thing to have many options and they have to pay less. But for people looking to work online this situation is the worse because this is what happens:
Contractors have to lower their hourly rate to fit in the completion or otherwise they won’t get any jobs. In the mean while, they are expected to do quality work while they are paid less than what they previously were charging.
As you spend more years in a certain job your wage normally increases, but when working online your wages go down significantly which annoying and makes people want to search for other ways to invest their time and money.

tips

Tips from previous experience

  •          I always applied to jobs posted by clients from Canada and USA majorly and Europe sometimes. Those countries probably include people willing to pay a decent amount of money on their project.
  •          I never bid on projects posted from the third world and those are the reasons why:

a) Usually salaries in the third world is low, so if clients are planning to outsource this means that they want to pay less than what they pay for the local market, which makes the amount of money they are willing to pay too low.

b) Some contractor’s take jobs from certain clients and then re-post them, and pay much less than what they are earning. Thus they make profit themselves without doing anything in reality.

c) In some countries they don’t have access to the internet all the time, so clients take ages to reply which get’s annoying.

  • I take good care for every application I submit, I do some research before applying to any job. This would show the client that you do care about their job and that you are knowledgeable about their project. This is one of the most important things in applying.
  • Create a very eye catchy profile and add a portfolio to your profile; this would make it much more attractive to clients.
  • If you are willing to pay a small amount of money I will give you a tip that would save you a great amount of money :
  1. Create 2 account’s, let’s call the first one X and the second Y. Y would be your actual account.
  2. Post a job from account X, and then apply to this job from account Y. But make it look realistic.
  3. From account X award the job to Y and proceed with the payment, then give a 5 star rating. Thus you would get a good feedback for the first time (which means overcoming the hardest step).What is nice about that is that you can have a good review for as low as 5$ or even less.

  • Try using http://www.peopleperhour.com , they pay significantly higher than Elance (probably because they are new :p). But the problem is that they don’t have a big amount of daily jobs posted so that’s the disadvantage.


Currently I have stopped working on Elance because I think that there are better ways to invest you money and time and it would be much more rewarding. I will soon post a new page for how to invest your time and money.




If you need any advice about Elance I am ready to help, please contact me on my blog and I can surely help you.

Check out my new blog on low investment ideas.
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