Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to get started freelancing, part four

Today's subject: online bidding sites

Although online content sites are a good way to cut your teeth and get yourself in the writing mode, they pay very little. If you want to make a real career out of writing, you can do much better through other means of making money.

Bidding sites are a great way to find work. Someone who needs work done will post their job on the site, a bunch of people will place a "bid" on it, and the buyer will decide which service provider is best for the job. Some of these jobs are very low paying, aimed at workers in India and other places with a low cost of living. However, not everyone wants to hire the cheapest writer--they want the best writer they can get for their budget. This is often a person whose first language is English.

The two bidding sites I use are oDesk and Elance. I prefer oDesk at this point, because it costs me nothing. I get 20 bids per week, and the cost of the service is added on to my fee when the buyer is billed (in other words, if I bid $40, the buyer pays $44). Elance gives you only 3 "connects" per month for free, and high-paying jobs cost more than one connect. You can purchase more connects so you can bid on more jobs, and then Elance adds a service fee to your bid as well. I know I warned you yesterday about sites that charge money to get work, but this is different--you can see the available jobs before you pay anything, and there are so many jobs that it's worth it.

When you sign up for these sites, fill out your profile as completely as possible. Your first couple of jobs may need to be low-paying ones so you can build a reputation--buyers will give you feedback so future buyers will have more confidence in you. When you apply for jobs, write a cover letter that tells them why you're the person for the job--your experience, your knowledge of the work they need done, etc.

You can find all kinds of jobs on online bidding sites. Eventually, you may move away from using these services, but they are a good way to get started. Each time you finish a job, be sure to ask for more work. This has worked well for me with several jobs.

No comments: