Do you want to earn honest income doing what you love to do, while actually providing real value and fulfilling other people’s needs?
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to work from the comfort of your own home, or from anywhere in the world?
Many of the jobs we do today can be done more efficiently and environmentally friendly from our homes. What’s the point of driving (sometimes for hours) to an office to sit in front of a computer all day long? It’s a waste of time, money and resources. The traditional method of working in an office building is quickly being replaced by people working from their homes.
After I left my last job, I started to use a website called Freelancer.com to earn income. In this post I would like to share with you the steps I took to land my first project, and my overall experience with the service.
You may be thinking, “Aren’t these websites are full of people who charge super low rates?” You know, I had the exact same thought and yes, it’s true. There’s a lot of competition out there, but don’t let that discourage you. There are many employers who are willing to pay for high quality work.
You have a unique skill or talent that you can market, I’m sure of it. Think about it. What have you been good at your whole life? What are you passionate about? You see, the great thing about these freelancing websites is that there’s work available that matches each individual’s unique skill set. There is somebody, somewhere out there that needs your skills and talent.
- 1 What is Freelancer.com?
- 2 How Does it Work?
- 3 How to Get Selected
- 4 Random Details
- 5 Give it a Shot
What is Freelancer.com?
People from all around the world use freelancer.com to outsource all types of work. You can find projects related to web development, programming, technical writing, graphics design, and more. You can join as somebody looking for work (freelancer) or as somebody who needs to get work done (employer).
Here are some benefits of using a site like Freelancer.com
- Freedom – You can work from anywhere at anytime, as long as you meet your employer’s deadline.
- Convenience – You don’t have to commute to work, which saves you time and money and is better for the environment.
- Opportunities – You don’t have to limit yourself to jobs in your local area, you can work for anyone, anywhere in the world.
- Reputation – You can build a reputation on the site, so you don’t have to track down references for your next job application.
How Does it Work?
So how does the dang thing work, dang nabbit?
- Someone, somewhere in the world, realizes that it would be easier to hire somebody else to do a task than to do it themselves. For example, they may need a logo designed for their website.
- This person logs into their freelancer.com account and creates a project, describes what they need done, and selects the price range they are willing to pay.
- Freelancers from all around the world are notified and start to bid on the project. They bid a price and specify the amount of time it will take them to get the project done.
- The employer reviews the bids, selects their favorite candidate, and offers them the job. If you are the lucky candidate, you receive an email from Freelancer advising that you are the chosen one (like Neo).
- The freelancer then accepts the job, usually asking the employer for clarification, and starts to work on the project.
- Freelancer.com takes the agreed amount from the employer’s account and holds it for the freelancer upon completion of the project.
- The employer often sets a milestone payment, which is a portion of the total amount to be paid when the project reaches a certain point. For example, the employer may agree to pay the freelancer 50% when half of project is completed.
- When the employer is satisfied with the job, they release the funds, and the freelancer receives the remainder of the total amount.
- Both the employer and freelancer leave feedback for each other. This consists of leaving a five star rating and writing a comment. Both the employer and freelancer build a reputation based on this feedback.
After you receive your payment, you can transfer the money to your bank account, Paypal account, or by using another method. Freelancer.com takes a 10% (or $5, whichever is more) cut of your payment. Check out this article on how to withdraw money from Freelancer.com
Freelancer.com is not the only player in the freelancer market. Another big one is upwork.com, and there are many others. You may want to try signing for a few to see which one gives you the best results. Personally, I’ve had more success with freelancer.com.
How to Get Selected
When you bid, you offer a price and write a short message explaining why you are the right person for the job.
The freelancers with the highest ratings show up at the top of the list of candidates:
So how do you get selected? Especially when you’re just starting out and you have no reviews to back up your skills or reputation?
Bid on Projects you’re Passionate About
Think about your passions and natural talents. Do you love graphics design? Writing? Computer programming? If you can show your employer that you love what you do, they’re much more likely to hire you, even if you don’t have an existing reputation on the site.
So how can you prove to your potential employer that you love what you do?
Include Links to your Professional Blog
Think about if. If you were the employer and you wanted to hire someone to design a logo, program something, or write an article, wouldn’t you want to see examples of the candidate’s work? For example:
- If you’re a creative writer then post some of your short stories.
- If you’re a programmer, then share some snippets of your code that you’re proud of, along with an explanation of how it works.
- If you’re a graphic designer, then create a page that shows off some of your best designs.
This way, your potential employer can see some samples of the work you’ve done, and it should be obvious that you’re passionate about it.
If you don’t have a blog yet, you can easily start one for free on wordpress.org or blogger.com. Eventually you should pay for your own domain name, to make your website look more professional.
Highlight your Skills, Experience and Qualifications.
Highlight the reasons why you would be the best candidate for this job.
- What prior experience do you have that’s related to what the employer needs?
- What relevant education and/or certifications do you have?
- Do you have anything on your blog that’s similar to what the employer is asking for?
Include all this in your bidding message and you will surely get more consideration than the other applicants.
Upload a Photo of Yourself
Candidates with photos are more likely to be selected than those who don’t.
How do you get your bid to stand out amongst dozens of others? Read the description carefully. For example, if the employer is looking for someone with a background in the banking sector and experience with writing articles about finance, then you should highlight in your bid that, for example, you a degree in finance and CFP certifications.
When I submitted a job to get a logo done for my website, I received dozens of replies from people all around the world. A lot of them were obviously using templates, many of which were poorly written. You can easily make your bid stand out if you read the description carefully and tailor your message accordingly.
Write Clearly and Concisely
Make the message easy for your potential employer to read:
- Structure your message so that it is clean and clear
- Use bullets or hyphens to break your message down into small chunks
- Do not write ten sentences without any line breaks!
Here is an example of a message I wrote to an employer. It was chosen out of 41 other bidders:
You start out with zero reviews, so you’ll have to bid on a lot of projects before somebody selects you. At the beginning, all of my bids went nowhere. They were completely ignored.
It’s easy to be discouraged because you may be competing with a lot of people where the cost of living is much lower and they can afford to bid at much lower rates. So you have to highlight your experience and skills that make you unique from the another candidates.
Keep bidding and eventually you’ll get a bite… then it’s a matter of putting your heart and soul into your first project to make sure you receive a shining review.
How much money should you ask for in your bid? Well, when you’re first starting out, you don’t have any reviews to back up your work, so it’s a good idea to keep your bid at a relatively low figure. If you know that your skills and background match the job, don’t ask for too little. But on the other hand, don’t ask for an astronomical amount that will cause the employer to pass you by and choose a freelancer who’s already built a reputation.
In my case, for the first projects, I simply bid the average of what everyone else was bidding.
Eventually you can increase your rates. At that point, you must prove to the employer why you are worth more than the other bidders. Be sure to highlight any projects that you’re particularly proud of in your bidding message.
- Some employers choose to pay an hourly rate, rather than set a fixed price. This involves installing software on your computer that takes screenshots of your desktop at periodic intervals, so that your employer can check up on you and make sure you’re not fooling around on Facebook on their dime. None of that software is needed if you work on fixed projects. As long as you get the work to your employer on time, you get paid.
- You can be paid in many different currencies (GBP, USD, CAD)
- Communication between freelancer and employer happens via the freelancer.com website. It’s very similar to a Facebook chat window.
- I should also mention that I upgraded to a premium membership (about $9/month). Freelancer.com offers a one month free trail, so you can always cancel before the month is up if it’s not panning out the way you planned.
Give it a Shot
What have you got to lose? Life is short, live a little! Consider it a new life experience. What’s the worst that could happen?… They’ll ignore your bid.
Think about the best case scenario. Soon you’ll be working from home in your sweatpants with your slippers on, producing high-quality work for employers all over the world and feeling great that you’re providing real value to people, doing what you love to do.