This next article may sound harsh to newbies in the freelancer game, but the quicker you realise not to be scared of the potential you can earn and that time is most definitely money, the better. However, there is a caveat.* Please, read on…
…do NOT waste your time as a freelancer with $10-$20 dollar jobs where the client is not willing to pay the full amount up front. Your time is your money. Before you apply for low value jobs, let alone accept them, think about how much time is in the
- application process,
- dialogue – you will often have to enter into a thread with your contractor to get the absolute gist of what they really want,
- researching their niche,
- submitting your article/work and, finally
- chasing payment if you’ve not asked for it upfront.
- That is all non-productive time that you have to expend before you have written a single, solitary word.
*Okay, I concede that, in order to get a few initial feedbacks, you may want to dip your toe in the water with such jobs. I think we have all done that and it’s a fair pay-off for building up a 5-star rating (see Tip below) and a portfolio, which you can later use to increase your worth on oDesk, hence your livelihood back in the UK. But do not let this type of work become a habit. And likewise, for long-term projects, do not be afraid to ask for milestone payments. Your client may expect you to wait for three months until the project is completed, but will your mortgage lender?
Discuss milestones, agree on regular payments and what’s expected to be done to satisfy all parties and then work to those deadlines. If something unexpected occurs that necessitates downtime, let your client know at your very earliest opportunity. They can then either reset the deadline, pay you for what you have done and call the job complete or work to a revised schedule if the incident is likely to cause long-term disruption. Whatever the outcome, make sure you get in first before they start chasing you for the work.
Tip: How to get a legitimate 5-star rating as a writer quickly:
There are literally thousands of jobs posted daily on oDesk. In order to ensure that you will excel, meet deadlines and attract the best appraisal from your client, stick to what you know! It’s an old saying in writing, but it’s never rang truer than when writing original content for the Internet.
If you have to research a niche you know little about, it’s time-consuming enough editing it to ensure that your work portends the same message as the original article without worrying about adding ‘your voice‘. And that is the difference between an average writer and a 5-star one. Trust me, it’s 5-star rating!
If you stick to topics you know (and you can save searches in the oDesk ‘search jobs’ dashboard, and even have them fed by RSS into your reader to save logging into oDesk daily), you will have an opinion. There may be Jurassic Webmasters who are inflexible about the content you write but those who are up to speed with Google (yes, there are other search engines, but the mighty G is the yardstick by which all others are measured) want a theme; they want to hear your voice in those words.
Not only will your work be original through the benefit of writing about what you already know and filtering in your experience and it will fly through Copyscape, but it will also lend a personality to your client’s website. And customers interact better when they can relate to emotion than if there is simply page after page of re-written syntax that is obviously written by someone who doesn’t know what they’re on about or, as per the afore-mentioned spun articles (Fixed rate projects on oDesk – for and against), is not even in English comprehensive in anything but satisfying Google crawlers.
Writing proficiently about what you know achieves many things, but the key factors are:
- You are likely to be rated highly by clients
- You are likely to get more work from new clients
- You will feel good about the work you’ve completed
- You will start to realise that it’s not so difficult and those promises of riches beyond your wildest dreams are not so far-fetched as you once imagined.
And that’s it for today; I hope you’ve enjoyed the three articles. Join me back here again next week when we’ll look into the hourly-paid process.