Fixed rate projects on oDesk – for and against


Welcome back. We continue into today’s mini-series about oDesk about the type of work you can expect as a freelancer and, as someone who’s been there and done it, I hope to save you a lot of time, which, in our game, is most definitely money. So, herewith, the lesson continues…

…the general consensus is that writers prefer a fixed rate project. Contrary to working on the clock, writers feel more at ease when there is less pressure – it lets their personality speak through the words they write rather than having the feeling that someone is watching them, muffling that all-important personality. Another reason is because writing – writing well, that is – is not something many professional writers can just switch on and do in order to put their signature voice to the finished piece.

Granted, a base rewrite of an article for adaptation to your paymaster’s site’s theme may not sound so taxing. But webmasters, following the latest Penguin update, want original content, not just some reworded hash of an article that already exists on the web. Not only does your Webmaster not want that sort of work, but neither does Google. This is why the time is so right to become a full-time, freelance writer.

A lot of work on oDesk, although I abhor it, goes through article spinners from Asia whose grasp of English is basic, and that’s putting it kindly. If oDesk wants to improve its credibility, and this is where they could really plug a gap in the marketplace and make it their own, is by promoting native English-speaking writers where that’s what the client is calling for. Non-natives still apply and the client gets tempted because of the price. More fool them.

Since leaving oDesk to work for my first UK-based Webmaster, he has introduced me to three other Webmasters, all for whom I still write. Each and every one of them were willing to pay more for well written copy as, and these are the words of my original client, “they’ve tried the [Asian] route and it’s gone tits up.” That’s not just one, but all of the subsequent work I’ve secured here in the UK has been down to Webmasters’ bad experiences with people who profess to write native English, but so obviously can’t when it comes to the crunch. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for and never underestimate your own worth. We’ll look more at that later in the series.

So, yes, it will cost the client more. And you will have to prove that you are worth their extra investment. How to do that’s coming up in the next article, oDesk small-value fixed price jobs – ask for the full payment up front. But what set off today’s mini-series was, on the oDesk Group LinkedIn thread this week, one Asian writer asked our members to look at his profile to advise him why he wasn’t getting more work. Beneath his profile picture was the list of jobs he was currently working on. One job he was working on the clock (hourly rate) for  $0.22/hour; there was other history on his profile for similarly low-paid work. The reason, I suggest, he was getting no work is because clients are starting to develop that very mindset: you get what you pay for. So, if anything, this guy was under-selling himself; the quality of his work notwithstanding, of course; he may well only have been worth that much, which is what clients are wary of.

That said, it is worth knowing that this is what we’re up against in the Western World, where that sort of pay would be classed as slave labour. Which leads us nicely into our next article about fixed rate oDesk jobs…

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2 thoughts on “Fixed rate projects on oDesk – for and against

  1. This is indeed a very nice article. Odesk has merely become some sort of a source for slave labor as contractors are getting contracts at a very low cost which undersells them. There really should be a standard imposed by Odesk to restrict employers and contractors to bid at a lower price that they would set. Some websites which are similar to Odesk like Staff.com are asking contractors their monthly fee instead of per hour basis so the contractor gets to paid the right amount that both parties can agree with.

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    1. Absolutely agree, Daniel. There may even be an argument for oDesk West and oDesk East, such is the variation between nett cost standards of living.
      As far as written standards go, to qualify for oDesk West an agreed and implemented set of minimum marks on oDesk tests should be gained, thus qualifying for a minimum rate of pay that is deemed acceptable and liveable in the Western World. Not that I’m biased, it’s a simple fact. That way, clients will get their ‘Native English’ writers and, given the Penguin/Google update situation, be happy to pay the price for it.
      If, on the other hand, the client only wants ‘BMR’ articles at a minimum cost (which will hopefully become more futile as Google improves its algorithms), then oDesk East would supply that market.
      Everyone, as they say, is a winner. Thanks for taking the time to drop by and comment, bud. Zebedeerox. x

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