What is Freelancer?
If you have never used freelancer before, then you may be a little confused about what it is used for. To put it simply, freelancer.com is a website that allows users to either buy or sell services. For example, if you are a web designer you could respond to other users’ requests for such work.
Why is it so popular?
In the current economic climate, there are more people out of work than ever before. This means that they are having to think of new ways to earn money, and using the internet seems to be the obvious option. In fact, on freelancer, there are thousands of jobs that you can choose from, meaning that you have more choice than you would probably have in the current job market.
How do I get the jobs?
If freelancers want jobs, they have to submit a bid. You have a certain number of bid “credits” each month (the amount of which depends on your membership level) and in your bid you will include your price, your estimated timescale, and a paragraph about why the employer should hire you.
Freelancer works on a ratings system. Each time you complete a job, your employer will be able to give you a rating and leave you a comment. You will be able to do the same for them. The better your rating, the higher you appear on the list of freelancers when you place your bid. For this reason, it is important that you do all work to the best of your ability.
If it’s all about ratings, how do I get my first job?
This is actually quite a hard question to answer, and it comes down to luck as much as anything else at the end of the day. When I got my first job, I actually had to work for free. It took me around a week to complete the job, something that I would earn at least £200 for if I advertised today, but I got an excellent rating for it and that started my freelance career. A lot of employers will be willing to give you the chance to work for free, because it makes financial sense for them. They also know that they have the chance to hire another freelancer who had bid if your work wasn’t up to scratch.
How much could I earn here?
Believe it or not, earnings are pretty much unlimited on freelancer. The jobs will vary, and it depends on your bid with regards to whether they are actually awarded to you or not.
If you are a writer, the jobs will start at anything from 50p per 1,000 words (and many are actually willing to work for that) to hundreds of pounds per project. Obviously the higher paying projects are more sought after, and this means that you really have to prove yourself if you want to get some of those.
The best thing, in my past experience, is to bid for a range of pricings. If you manage to win a job that could earn you £50 in a day, then perhaps you could afford to bid for something that only earned £10 the next day. It is all about the balance, and you’re more likely to make money this way than you would be if you only bid on the high paying work.
I’m worried about my CV. Does this count?
Of course! If you’re working, it counts. You will probably need to say that you were self employed, and outline the jobs that you carried out. If you have worked on websites such as freelancer then the great thing is that you have instant references that potential employers can look at. You may need to prove that the account belongs to you, but once you have done that then they have the chance to read a lot about you.
Are there any catches?
I wouldn’t say that there were “catches” as such, but there are things that you should keep an eye open for. The first thing is the fact that there are some fees. This is usually 10% of the project fee, so you should remember this when bidding on the work. In addition to this, you may find that there is a fee to withdraw, which is normally £1 if you get paid via PayPal. If you bank with a bank that supports bank transfers, then your withdrawals will be free.
If you do not wish to pay for membership, then you do not have to. You have the chance of using the website for free. However, if you pay as little as £2 per month you get many more bids, discounts on fees are a better experience. If you use the website regularly, this will almost certainly be worth it for you.
The final thing that you should be aware of is the work that you accept. You should always check the reviews of any employer with whom you are placing a bid, as this gives you the best chance of finding someone who is legitimate. If you find that they have negative reviews, avoid them.
When you have accepted a project, you should never start work until the employer has made a “milestone” payment. This is effectively a deposit, which is made in advance and released when the work is complete. This shows that the employer does have money and that they are likely to pay you in full at the end of the project. Never work for somebody who refuses to make a deposit, and be wary of those who claim to be short of cash “right now”. A reputable employer will ALWAYS make a deposit.