If you are looking to earn extra income, one of the easiest ways to do this is by finding freelance work to do on the side. Sites like oDesk, Elance and Guru match freelance workers with contractors. You might think these sites are only for people with technical experience, but that is not the case. While technology is the focus of most of these sites, there are other areas of work available. Did you know contractors are willing to pay freelancers for help with blog writing and administrative services? Virtual assistants are another hot area on freelance sites. Other contractors are looking general sales and business services. These are great opportunities because you can do these types of jobs from home in your spare time.
One of the most suitable ways to earn extra income is freelance writing: try to become the one with thepensters.
Registration for these sites is free. The contractor pays a percentage of your hourly wage as the fee to the site. You should NOT pay to register or pay the site to become a contract worker. If you find sites like this, avoid them and go with the trusted sites I have mentioned.
When you are looking for freelance work, here are some things to think about to make your freelance job hunt more successful:
Qualifications – Everyone has talents, yes even you! The simple things that come so easy to you may be tough for someone else. Take one of your talents (example: Microsoft Word) and think about all the things you can do. It’s probably best if you take notes because these qualifications will help you build your profile on the freelance site.
Profile – Make sure you create a thorough profile on the freelance site so all of your skills are listed. You may know you are good at several things, but if you don’t list it in your profile, no one else will know. List projects you have worked on through your employer or on your own and make sure to put as much detail in the description as possible. This process is going to take some time but it will pay off in the end. Think of the profile as your first meeting; it will determine if you get a chance at the interview!
Testing – Some freelance sites require you to take tests on their site to show you have the basic skills to pass them. There are different tests for different types of work and different levels. The basic test I took on oDesk was very easy and all the answers were provided. Not all tests are like this, it depends on the level and type of test offered.
Time – Think about the time you have available on a regular basis. I say regular basis because you don’t want to stretch yourself to the point your freelance work is taking up more time than you anticipated. Some weeks will be good and some will be busy, so start small. There are opportunities available for a few hours a week up to full time work so think about what is realistic for you.
Apply for jobs – Once you have your profile and you know how much time you have each week, you are ready to start applying for freelance jobs. Search the available jobs on the freelance site where you created your profile. You can start by searching for jobs in your area of expertise. I also like to search for the misc. jobs because you never know what you might find! Some sites have limitations to how many jobs you can apply for. Make sure you read and understand this as each site is different.
Interviewing – After you have applied for jobs which you are qualified for, you can expect at some point a contractor will find you as a potential candidate. Each contractor will handle the interview process differently. Some will contact you via email with questions and some will want to chat on the phone. If you are applying for a writing position, the contractor will probably ask for you to write a sample article to determine if you are a match. Remember this is the interview process so your correspondence should be professional.
Payments – Once you have started looking for jobs, you may be surprised to find what people are willing to pay for. The great thing about oDesk, Elance and Guru is you are paid through your account on the site. As long as you deliver as promised, you don’t have to worry about not getting paid.
Creating a profile on each of the freelance sites I mentioned can give you more exposure and more opportunity for work. But remember, this can also get confusing and overwhelming. If you are new to freelance work, take it one step at a time. Start out small so you don’t take on too much and get burnt out.
If you have done freelance work on oDesk, Elance or Guru, I’d love to hear about your experiences! Please leave a comment and feel free to add any advice you have learned with your experiences.