Sharing my freelancing strategy

Hi again,

Launching my freelancing activity really struck a nerve with me… I feel revived, energized and inspired. For the first time in a very very long time, I enjoyed the undivided interest from a number of employers, and I could choose which work best suited me. Very motivating! In a couple of days, I delivered the first piece of work and received payment for it (I work through

Although I am far from being a freelancing guru, it would be useful for you if I shared my ideas and experiences as a starter. Obviously, the first source of information on how it works will be the help forum of the freelancer site itself. But there are some tips and tricks nobody tells you. Let me share mine here.

  1. Post a picture: sites like these feel pretty anonymous. There can be literally thousands of miles between you and your employer. It helps if they can get a picture of how you look because with most people, visual impulse is stronger than words. Now they can ‘look you in the eyes’ as if really hiring you live.
  2. Post a job as an employer. It is always interesting to look through the eyes of the other party, i.c. an employer. You learn how an candidate is perceived, how mails come in, how fast or late candidates reply, how pricing evolves. You can always withdraw the job if you really don’t have anything useful to get done!
  3. Get personal: A private message, a shared interest, common educational background, a countryman…there are a few tricks to stand out in the crowd. Be sure that an employer gets dazzled when 20-odd candidates claim exactly the same skills and professionalism. Having that little foot between the door more often than not makes a difference.
  4. A dirty trick to partially avoid commission. Most of these sites charge a commission, such as a %age, a fixed fee or both. On my first 30$ job, I lost 5$ in commission. That’s 17%! On bigger amounts, it is easy to incur up to 15% of ‘friction costs’: site commission, currency conversion, getting it paid out through PayPal etc. As an employee, you can choose NOT to accept the awarded job, still perform it and get paid through PayPal outside of the site. Simultaneously, ask the employer to post a much smaller job and award this to you. That you can accept and pay commission on. After all, you need to get the security and rating system the site offers.
  5. Don’t be picky at the beginning. My first job was something I don’t really love to do and for a very small amount. BUT now I got good ratings and some small money on the account (25$). I use that money to highlight my bids (cost is about 1$) or to sponsor them. That will in turn help me to win bigger deals. After 4-5 of these jobs, your rating is usually good enough to get more picky. Then the golden rule is: go for a lower bid when the job interests you or is big. If you are not very interested but could use the money increase the bid. Nothing wrong with winning it then.
  6. Hourly wage: this is the ultimate free market for white-collar workers. It is clear, when competing with skilled workers from third-world countries, I will not have the same hourly wage as I have in my day job. As a starter, I estimate to earn around 9$ per hour. Anything above that is a bonus.

Hope it helps and let me know if you have any comments or questions!


About curiousmanager

In life there are generalists and specialists. Although your job pushes you down towards a certain specialization, I feel it's important to keep your eyes and mind open for new stimuli. And I want to share my journey through arts, literature and sciences with other knowledge workers and managers. You don't have time to read. Let me do that for you and present only the best of the best in my blog!
This entry was posted in Freelancing, Thoughts for Curious Managers. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sharing my freelancing strategy

  1. Good read and you have been bookmarked on Digg under “Sharing my freelancing strategy | The Curious Manager”. So hopefully our friends can give you a visit. Keep up the good stuff.

  2. Pingback: My baby steps in freelancing | The Curious Manager

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