What to expect from sites like Upwork & Odesk?

I have worked on both of these sites as well as many others over the years. I still do once in a while actually. I have clients that request my services and I oblige. It can be a life saver when you don’t have other or much income coming in from freelancing. There are negatives to working on these sites, especially exclusively.

·         There are fees charged to you and to the client, know what they are so you can bid accordingly.

·         You have to spend time searching and bidding on projects. If you use the free profile option, you are limited to how many you can bid on during a certain time frame.

·         You need to build a credible reputation, this takes time and feedback from clients.

·         Pay cycles are not always immediate. Clients have a time to accept your work, or send it back for revision. Then once they accept and pay, many sites hold it in escrow for a period of time.

·         The pay can be very low. I have seen many sites being overrun with clients who do not want to pay for quality because they can get someone from a third world country for pennies on the dollar compared to an American who offers high quality work.

Content mills such as those mentioned above and so many more out there are just that, mills. The client gets cheap work, the site makes a flat rate percentage of the monies paid and the freelancer gets what is left. There are clients that understand quality, and are willing to pay for it, but they are few and far between on these sites.

Working Independently- Private Clients

This is a huge step up from the content mills. You are working directly with a client, you should be getting paid much better per project and there are no fees paid by you or the client. I still have a couple of these that have been long term and we have built a great relationship. This is the ultimate win-win! But it is not always that way. There are cons to this too.

·         Finding clients takes time and perseverance. You have to spend hours combing Craigslist or other internet job sites, or you have to market yourself locally to businesses.

·         Not all clients are good clients. If you don’t get paid in advance you always run the risk of not getting paid at all. Once you submit a project, you are at the mercy of the client’s integrity.

·         In order to make a decent income you have to find quite a few repeat clients, or continue finding new ones.

So both of these are viable freelance options. They both have their drawbacks, but they will earn you some income if you put in the time. These can be combined with other work from home options as well depending on your skills and drive. 

See part 3 of this series tomorrow morning...