One possible option we’ve talked a lot about here at yesearnfromhome.com is freelancing. If you’ve got an in demand skill that isn’t restricted by geographical location then it is a great option to consider. There are several sites on the internet dedicated to matching up freelancers with people who need work done. One such website is upwork.com (formerly odesk.com).
Upwork.com’s focus, intentionally or not, seems to be on technical work like software development, website development and related fields. But there is a lot of non-technical work as well, like writing. If you’re trying to make it as a freelancer then it is worth checking the site and seeing if there is any work for you on there.
However, it is one thing to know that there’s work for you. It is another thing to win the work and make it as a freelancer the Upwork way. So, how do you go about it? Here’s some guidelines for people entering into the world of online freelancing on Upworks, or similar sites:
Have a good profile
There are lots of people on freelancing websites. Most of those people do not set up very good profiles. In fact a lot of people create an account and barely set up a profile at all. If you fill in all the fields of a profile you’ll be well ahead of 90% of people who sign up for Upwork and similar sites. Furthermore, people who don’t have a decent profile don’t get any work.
Put in just a bit more effort above the bare basics and you’ll be ahead of the vast majority of users of freelancing sites. Adding a photo is just about essential, as few people will hire a person without one.
Win some work, Earn some feeback
Having a good profile will put you ahead of more than 90% of the crowd. Winning some work and getting some feedback for it will put you ahead of a lot of the rest. It can be hard to go from 0 jobs to even a few, but those first jobs are the key to winning a lot more. The first win is always the hardest.
The aim of those first jobs is not really to make money. Instead it is to show you’re someone who can get the job done and are a safe pair of hands for clients needing your skills.
As such it might be a good idea to lower your rate initially to help win those first few jobs. It costs you money in the short term but it is an investment in your future on the site.
Don’t undervalue your time
Which leads to the next point: You need to figure out what your time is worth. It’s a tough question but one you need to answer. Don’t be swayed by “the market” and who you are up against – people who can afford to live off a lot less by living in countries with a much lower average standard of living. Otherwise it is a race to the bottom and you’ll be forced back into traditional employment.
This might make it hard to win many jobs, but you should be able to justify your rate. You may have experience or training/education that cheaper freelancers simply cannot get. Your communication skills and English proficiency is worth money to the right clients. After all, you don’t want clients looking for the cheapest price possible. You want clients who want your quality work, and are prepared to pay fairly for it.
If you find that other people have you covered and you simply have no advantage and are more expensive then take that as a sign that particular site OR online freelancing may not be a siginificant source of work and income for you.
Once the work slowly increases your rate should increase with it. Until you’re at the price that’s right for you.
Time to get going
So there you go, some simple steps to set you on the path to online freelancing on sites like Upwork. It doesn’t make much to be competitive on sites like these. Just remember to evaluate if, in the long run, it is worth it for you.