Recently I did a post on how I was going to dip my toe into the water in the world of online freelancing. Well, I’ve really been enjoying it so far and I’ve already learned a couple of things that I thought I would share with you all.
There is a lot of work
The first thing that’s shocked me is the huge amount of work available on these sites. I’ve only signed up for a couple, but each day there are hundreds of jobs that I am more than capable of doing – so that’s been a really pleasant surprise.
There is a lot of competition
With lot’s of employment opportunity comes a lot of competition. This comes in multiple forms too, firstly there is just a massive amount of people, some jobs have hundreds of people applying for them.
Second there is a disproportionate number of people happy to work for tiny wages vs. people like me who couldn’t possibly survive on something like $3-$4 an hour. It’s been pretty eye opening actually. I’d say that for every westerner that applies for a job, there is at least 40 people from places like India, Bangladesh or the Philippines.
At first I thought I would have no chance competing with people willing to work for such a small amount of money, but after thinking about it for a while, I determined that I was a different value proposition, particularly for jobs that required a good understanding of what the client wanted.
This led me to target only specific jobs and to show off the value I could provide over and above the cheap foreign labor.
Cover Letters Matter
When you have no work experience to draw on (or ratings on the freelance site), it’s difficult for potential employers to gauge how good of an employment prospect you might be – this is where having an exceptional cover letter can help you stand out.
I’ve decided that for most of my cover letters I will put in a good 30 minutes of time and really show the client that I am a good candidate for the role and that I know my stuff and warrant the rate of pay I am asking for.
It’ also important to read the clients job descriptions as sometimes they will ask you to mention a certain word in your response, or they won’t hire you. This is smart, as it shows they want to hire someone who will follow instructions and it will allow them to filter out those users who send in the stock standard template response.
Is freelancing working?
In a word – yes.
UPDATE 27th November 2015:
I’ve found this cool stats section, which shows how I’m going. Check it out below:
I’m loving it. So far I have applied for about 10 jobs, have landed 2 and am in negotiations for another 2. I’ve had one or two people get back to me and tell me they would like to hire me, but I’m too expensive, and that’s fine, I’m not on these sites to work for chickens feed. If the client can get the same level of quality from someone less expensive, then that’s great for them, but I’m not going to lower my rates too far. Note: I have accepted at least 1 job at a slightly lower rate to ensure I get some jobs under my belt, but this isn’t something I plan to do in the long run.
I’ve also found one of the freelance sites to be significantly better than the others when it comes to finding work in my field of interest. If you’re interested in knowing which one, signup to my newsletter on the right side of my page and then contact me and I will be happy to share.