Freelancing platforms like Odesk are heaven on earth for so many freelancers from all parts of the world. They provide some amazing opportunities but looking for jobs there can also be a tremendous disappointment. Some Odesk jobs are simply a scam, others pay pennies for the completion of highly specialized tasks. What does it take to become a successful Odesk freelancer and to get access to the best jobs made available through the platform?
Your Profile Matters
Are you serious about making a great first impression? If your answer is negative, how do you expect to be taken seriously by prospective employers?
Start with the selection of the right Odesk profile picture. It should look professional. Anything that is taken at the beach, at your prom or during a night out has no place in your Odesk profile.
List all of your relevant qualifications. You probably have a lot of information to include in your profile but how does it contribute to painting a picture of your professionalism and experience? Keep it short, focused and relevant.
Odesk tests are another excellent option for improving your profile. These tests are created by the platform itself and they give you a score that all of the employers can review. In addition, your score is compared to those of other test-takers. If your performance is outstanding (top 10 or top 20 percent), you will get an additional note about it in your profile.
Finally, you get a chance to upload your portfolio or some work samples that potential employers will examine to learn a little bit more about your style and experience. You can create a portfolio, regardless of the industry that you want to work in. Freelance writers, graphic designers, translators, website developers and even tutors can use this section of the profile to provide highly specific examples.
Pricing is Even More Important
The question of setting your Odesk price is probably the most controversial topic and the one that troubles most of the newbie freelancers.
How much should you charge customers, especially if you are just getting started? Many freelancers commit a grave mistake when looking for Odesk jobs – they set a very low price. This strategy attracts the wrong kind of buyer and it will result in a vicious cycle. Once customers get used to lower prices, it will be very difficult to increase the amount you charge.
Odesk gives you an opportunity to set your price on a per-hour basis. The sum should depend on your experience and on how specialized your knowledge is.
In the beginning, you might have to make a compromise in order to score your first project. Still, make sure that the amount is not ridiculously low. There are SEO writing projects that pay a dollar or two for writing all of the content for a particular website. Needless to say, this kind of pricing is a joke and it exploits the knowledge and the effort of freelancers.
Applying for Odesk Jobs: Why Personalization is So Crucial?
In the beginning of my career, I used to send potential Odesk employers the same message. It was a lot easier to simply copy and paste the same text with all of my applications. The problem was that I heard from clients very infrequently.
Potential employers will notice a motivation letter that is too general and copy/pasted with all of the freelancer’s applications. This mistake becomes especially noticeable if the employer has asked particular questions that the freelancer has failed answering in the letter of motivation.
Go through the project description and try to get a good understanding of what the customer is looking for. Always personalize your message and try to address all of the questions and the concerns that the customer has.
Applying for an Odesk job is similar to applying for any kind of job. Be serious, if you want to be taken seriously. Let your professionalism shine through. Something as simple, as paying attention to the details can set you apart from the competition.
Communication and Feedback
Sooner or later, you will get access to that very first Odesk job. Your performance will be determining for the establishment of your reputation. Communicate with the client on a regular basis. Update them about progress being made and ask questions. Make sure that you understand the project specifications before getting started.
Once the project gets completed, you will reach the point of writing feedback and getting your rating from the customer.
This is a process that many Odesk freelancers worry about. A poor rating will result in fewer job opportunities in the future. Proper communication with the client and understanding all of their requirements will often be sufficient to get the five-star rating. If you notice that the client is difficult to work with, too demanding or even arrogant, you should consider breaking it off before getting paid and having your rating ruined.
Making Sure You will Get Paid
The final issue I want to touch upon is making sure that you will get paid for the work you’ve done for a particular client.
For a start, choose projects that pay on a per-hour rather than per-project basis. Odesk guarantees these kinds of payments. Though such projects are more difficult to score, they will be worth the wait.
If you choose projects that feature payment upon the completion of all the work, you should always check the client’s rating and demand advance payment. Customers that have poor rating will either be difficult to work with or they will try to decrease the payment upon the completion of the project. The advance payment is a good option to check how serious the client is. Ask for approximately 20 percent of the sum in the beginning of the project. Such an amount will let you know whether the client has actual intentions of making the full payment upon the completion of the project.
The final tip I have for you is to never give up. Many Odesk jobs are not worth your time and effort but you can actually find a couple of great clients through it. I am still working with one of my Odesk clients that I cam across three years ago. Take your time and remember that quality is much more important than quantity. Be patient, act professionally and you will be rewarded soon!
Learn More about Odesk Jobs
Do you want to learn more about building your Odesk career? I have provided a lot of information about using freelance platforms in my book How to Make Money Online: The Secrets of Starting Your Own Web-Based Business. To learn more about the book, please click here.