Is Odesk Worth Your Time as a Freelance Writer?
In my experience, Odesk is one of the better places to find freelance writing jobs. I know a lot of people who got frustrated with the system and prevalence of low paying jobs. There are a lot of workers from countries with lower pay scales competing for jobs, but there are also a lot of employers who only want to employ western writers who speak English as a first language, and those employers are willing to pay for that skill level.
Finding the better jobs, comes down to learning how to use the system. I have had both long-term freelance contracts and quick requests for jobs which were fairly easy to do and paid quickly. And this comes from me – a writer who really cannot afford to take less than $20 an hour for my time!At first, you may spend most of your time just searching and applying for jobs on Odesk, but once you learn the system, get some positive feedback, and have some repeat clients, it gets much easier.
- Fixed Price Jobs: You get paid a set amount for each task in the project. For example, you might ask for $30 to complete a detailed article.
- Hourly Jobs: You have to use the Odesk Team Software, and this monitors you while you work.
Using the Team Software on hourly jobs is the only way to get guaranteed payment, but I have always been paid on fixed priced jobs. I’ll talk about some ways to spot good employers on fixed priced jobs later.
Protecting Yourself on Fixed Price Jobs:
- Have large projects broken up into chunks so you can get paid daily or weekly. Before you start working, find out when you get paid. This is reasonable.
- Make sure you communicate with your hiring manager so you do not go off on the wrong track. Ask for private feedback on your deliverable to make sure you do not end up doing a lot of work over.
- Only apply to jobs where the employer already has a verified payment method. You can see that on the right side of the job posting. Also, you will have more confidence if the employer has already paid out some money to other freelancers.
Set Up Your Odesk Profile
After you use the system for awhile, you should get some direct requests. These are the best because you already have a good chance to get hired. Also, since the hiring manager has already found you, he or she is likely to make you a decent offer for your time. The manager already knows how much you are likely to need for a job. When you do apply for a job, a hiring authority is also likely to look at your profile.
- The company has some very good instructions about profile best practices. Use them.
- How much should you set up for an hourly wage. You might look around the site for other contractors who work frequently. I tend to do fixed price jobs, and not hourly jobs anyway, but I set my hourly rate to what I want that to work out to.
- If you set your hourly rate too low, you are bound to get what you ask for.
Signs of a Good Employer on Fixed Price Jobs
Reputable employers may ask for a test article, but they will also offer to pay you for that article if they hire you or not. Even if they don’t choose to hire you, good employers will leave you positive feedback for your test article if you really tried to follow their instructions.
Also, browse the forums and the help pages so you can avoid Odesk scammers. Yes, they are out there. Some good ways to avoid getting scammed are to keep your communication and especially your payment details within the system. Never, ever give payment details, passwords, etc. to potential employers because they could be frauds. Sometimes legitimate employers will want you to work outside of the system. For example i have an employer that ants me too upload articles on Google Drive. This is fine, but just give them the information they need – which should not include your password!
- Apply for jobs
- Build up feedback
- Try to get repeat customers and direct hires
You might want steady employers who have lots of good ongoing freelance writing projects. You actually can find them. I have had projects that lasted for several months! However, you might also just take some short jobs to start in order to build up your past feedback. You get the same feedback for a one-time article as you do for a steady job which requires you to complete hundreds of articles.
Don’t just apply for one job. In my experience, you have to apply for 5 – 10 jobs to get one. Yes, the place is competitive. But many hiring managers want more than one writer too. Sometimes you may not get the posted job, but will then get asked to apply for another contract they have open.
Is Odesk Worth It?
In my opinion, Odesk is worth your time. It is free to sign up, and it takes some time to get the ball rolling. But if you are persistent and produce quality work you can make a reasonable amount of money.