Complete Guide: How to be an Online Freelancer?

Freelancer Intro:

There are different ways that you can earn independently through freelancing. Connections through friends, word of mouth, are just some examples of freelancing. But online freelancing is on the top of all freelancing styles! Why? Because the world is changing, and the only important thing to consider in freelancing is to connect to your clients, and online is the best place to connect to all your clients worldwide, it’s fast, easy, and very convenient!

So what are the things we need to learn about online freelancing? First is to know what websites we can use to sell our services or to meet clients. We need to know the BEST website where reliable clients really GO and find contractors to hire. I have three websites that so far I find to be reliable and true. These are www.odesk.com and www.elance.com. The third one is ebay.com, since I came from ebay and know a LOT about ebay, I realized that selling services is also a good option. You just need to secure a verified paypal account, and the security issue is too much to handle for now.

Most of elance projects are bigger, and are looking for higher quality workers than lower rates, that’s what I observed.

I’ll share the key information in starting your online freelancing career for odesk.com website only since elance is almost the same as odesk, and you can easily understand elance after reading my whole blog anyways.

And I also suggest that you explore the ebay.com website too. I’ll make another blog about this later.

 

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Freelancer at Odesk.com:

Odesk is a FREE perfect place to get mostly small and quick projects, also long term jobs are popular here. How to sign up? Easy, just open odesk.com and click “sign up”. Just follow the online instructions until you finally created and confirmed your odesk account.

NOTE: Make sure all the information you placed on odesk are correct, exact and true! You need correct information especially if you enter financial info in there. The info from your odesk account must match the financial info you placed.

Next is to build your profile. Clients feel comfortable to deal with contractors that took the time to create a very excellent profile. So make sure that you gave all your best in creating your profile. Think that the clients should be impressed. See guide below:

  • Title – This section requires you to enter your own original title for yourself. You can use “Ebay expert”, or “php expert”. Use excellent, exemplary words, strong and best words to ignite clients to buy your services.
  • Hourly rate – you will be the one to decide what your hourly rate is. Hourly can be based on your years of experience on odesk, or years of experience in your specific field outside odesk, it can also be based on your portfolio or your awards and certifications. You can also check other odesk profiles what’s the best hourly rate. For data entry, I started with just $3/hr since my words per minute is already higher than most odeskers.
  • Picture – use a professional picture with a smile so that clients wont be scared
  • Overview – This is the place where you can introduce yourself, and basically sell your self through words to your clients. This means that you should only place positive words, words that invite clients, words that interest clients, words that make you unique and special from other contractors. Sales talk is very important here.
  • Skills – Enter ALL the skills you know
  • Portfolio – Enter ALL the portfolios you finished, like artworks, excel file, ppt, words per minute from a typing test and a lot more. You can take screenshots of your projects, jpeg files and etc.
  • Certifications, experience, awards – Just enter ALL that you gained in your previous years, this may be essential in any kind of work you are applying for.

The higher the profile completion is, the higher your application quota will be = more chances of getting hired. Here’s a good guide to understand your application quota: LINK

The next thing to do is to set your payment methods, how you’ll receive your money. As a starter, I think the best payment methods would be paypal and bank account. In the Philippines, we can receive funds from oDesk directly to our bank accounts which sounds really convenient. But I also recommend that you open a paypal account and verify it to get funds from odesk to paypal to bank account/debit card. If you have sources of online income, it would be easier to manage all your money if they’re all sent to one payment method online – paypal is the safest and most convenient method to have that.

 

What is the best bank, and how to get one in the Philippines?

Odesk call this system as Local Funds Transfer (LFT).

BPI is the best, since the fee is low and odesk and BPI made some partnership to give better service for freelancers, so I recommend this bank for Filipinos. How to get one? Just secure 2 valid government IDs. I had postal ID, and a student ID with study load. Same goes with getting your paypal verified, you need a credit card or debit card to verify your paypal account. EON unionbank debit card is accepted to verify paypal and you just need two valid government IDs to open one too, fast and easy to get one! 🙂

NOTE: Opening bank accounts, and linking them to your odesk account take time. I remembered that it took 5-7 business days to link financial info to my odesk account.

Useful links:

How do I set up to get paid by Local Funds Transfer?

How do I set up to get paid to PayPal?

 

If you have finished your profile, and have reached the 100% completion, and you also have payment methods ready, this is the perfect time to apply!

 

Few things to keep in mind when applying as a freelancer:

  • Client’s feedback
  • Client’s verified payment method
  • average rate from interviewed/applied contractors
  • Your cover letter
  • The right job for you

 

Client’s feedback:

When you found a good job, open the job description and check if the client already has feedbacks. If he has feedbacks, of course read the comments to know a little about this client. If the client doesn’t have feedback, but you really want to apply to this job, then its fine, anyway the client can’t see you in person.

 

Client’s verified payment method:

If the client doesn’t have a verified payment method on file, how can he pay you? Make sure to check that on the right side of the job description, it should be under “about the client”. Or you can check that on the search results page, there is a dollar sign that’s filled with color green or not. Just hover your mouse over that dollar sign to check if the client has a verified payment method or not.

 

Average rates:

On the job description page, you’ll see this section “Client Activity on this Job”. Check if there are average rates showing already. If it doesn’t show yet, it means the system is still processing the job posted by the client, or it means that the job is newly posted. This section will basically show you the average rate of the applicants, you can also see the average rate of the applicants that are already interviewed by the client. The interviewed applicants can be your basis for your rating when you apply.

 

Your cover letter:

This is the most crucial part in applying to a job, so make sure you do your best in making your cover letter. The first paragraph of the cover letter should be very catchy and can interest the client. This first paragraph is usually what the client only sees if he has a lot of applicants. Make sure that your cover letter stands out from others. But please avoid copy and pasting your cover letters, the client can sense that and will just trash your cover letter! Make your cover letter personalized and really shows that you’ve read the entire job description. Make sure that your cover letter can really solve the client’s problems, answers his questions and what he’s looking for.

Check these pages to make cover letters that stand out:

How do I write a cover letter?

5 Key Elements to a Stellar Cover Letter

 

The right job for you:

Make sure that what you applied for is really the right job for you. This means that you really HAVE the skills the client is looking for or else you are just wasting your application quota! Read carefully and understand the description completely!

 

About the job: Hourly or Fixed?

It can be confusing which one’s better, but if you are looking for a more secure work in terms of money, hourly job is what I can recommend. Hourly jobs automatically charge the clients as long as you used the tracker that can be downloaded on odesk. This tracker takes screenshots every 10 minutes while you are working, this helps the client see what you’re doing too. Hourly job is also good if you are looking for long term clients/projects. You’ll receive the automatic payment (ready for withdrawal) after about 1-2 weeks from the last day of work.

Make sure to check the details of the job. If it is hourly, you can see (less than 10 hours a week, part time 10-30 hours a week, or full time 40+ hours a week). You can see that at the top of the job description, or sometimes it does not show because the client did not set that one. You can also check more details on the right side of the job post. It has information about how many weeks, or months will the job require, and if the job needs you to start immediately.

Download the odesk tracker here!

Here’s a good place to understand when you’ll receive your funds: What is the work week schedule?

Fixed price jobs are also fine, although I don’t recommend it especially if the client doesn’t have feedbacks, or doesn’t have a verified payment method on file, that is a complete NO NO! But I think you can go with the fixed job if they have good feedbacks, anyway you can still leave feedback to them if you did not receive the pay after working, and you can post the work to your portfolio without their permission since you did not receive payment from them, right? 🙂

 

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How much should be my rate for a specific job?

That depends on the clients preferred rate, which as I mentioned above can be based on the average rates of applicants interviewed. You can just set a little lower rate from the average to compete. It’s like auction, but take note that not all clients are looking for very low rates, they also look for high quality workers. High quality workers need higher rates too. So just play with the average rates, if you think it’s too low for you, then don’t apply and don’t waste the application quota.

 

Withdrawing your funds:

Withdrawing funds take time. If you withdraw using LFT, it takes 3-5 business days to get to your ATM/bank. If you use paypal, just a few seconds it will appear to your paypal account. But from paypal account to your bank account, it also takes 4-5 business days. Take note that there are deductions when withdrawing funds too. Please read this:

What fees and other costs are associated with getting paid?

 

How long should I wait to get my FIRST JOB?

Actually, it took me 1 month to land my first online job at the same time understand the process by reading blogs, and experimenting. It took me awhile to make personalized cover letters too. It was a trial and error for me. I tried different formats of cover letters, different style of introduction, different effects, and actually it was all worth it. At least I know something about how hiring works.

I suggest that you complete your profile to get higher application quota so that you can have higher chances of getting a job. But don’t forget to think that in every application, you really put your heart and soul to it. Don’t just play around and waste the application quota, don’t expect that clients respond to a dumb and useless cover letter either. You need to show EFFORT in your cover letter.

Take note, you can only send a private message to a client if he first sends you a message already after you sent your job application. This means that your very first chance to be noticed is when you send your job application, your cover letter is very important.

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I think I’ve covered pretty much the entire stuff about becoming an online freelancer. But if I still have more stuff to share, I’ll add them here to update you guys. Feel free to ask, I am happy to answer your questions!

Never forget to check other blogs to continue your career as a freelancer. I learned freelancing by reading other blogs too. I recommend Stef Gonzaga’s blog, it’s complete and easy to understand. Also check odesk forums, and even istorya.net! You can ask questions, or even share your profile to them and ask them if it’s already great! 🙂

The Freelance Pinoy

Odesk Forums

Istorya

 

From here you can explore working online, to elance, ebay, freelancer.com, and a lot more online freelancing sites. You can also build your own online portfolio for other external clients that may request work from you. Just remember to manage your time wisely, and don’t forget to have a life outside the online world too.

It’s essential that you manage your time properly, you might get addicted to online working that you forget to talk to real people. Keep on reading blogs, and books to widen your mind. Don’t stop here, keep on updating your portfolio.

Invest in your mind, your skills and talent, and your rates increase. Keep on learning, and never stop dreaming!

And happy online freelancing freelancers!

Credits to the featured image: CLICK ME

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