Sunday, 21 February 2016

Make Money Online through oDesk and Elance

Make Money Online through oDesk and Elance

 

Make Money Online through oDesk and Elance

 

I know many people out there want to learn to invest, but may barely have enough money to pay off their debts and contribute to their retirement accounts, let alone have extra left over to put into the market. As a result, from time to time I will be going over different methods to making money online. This can go a long way towards supplementing your income.
In this particular article, we are going to focus on how to make money online through oDesk and Elance, two of my favorite sites to use. These are freelancing sites, where individuals (called “contractors”) can offer their skills and bid on jobs posted by “employers”. I put these terms in quotations because anyone can be a contractor and anyone can be an employer.
Elance and oDesk are moderated, safe places that serve to connect people looking to hire individuals to perform various tasks online with those that want to perform these tasks for compensation. Here are the most common fields where jobs are posted:
  • Writing of all sorts (articles, website content, blog posts, sales letters, technical pieces);
  • Graphic Design;
  • Software Development;
  • Web Programming (WordPress theme designs are huge business);
  • Information Technology;
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Administrative Support (customer service is big)
  • Business Skill Positions (accounting, legal, really anything financial)

 

Making Money Online through oDesk and Elance
If you do anything during your day job that requires any sort of specific skill such as programming, web design, or financials, you can make a decent supplemental income by freelancing online. This is as straight-forward as it gets; if you are a graphic designer by trade, you can hop on Elance or oDesk and make a bit of money by doing side-projects in the evenings and on the weekends for webmasters who want banners made (or a myriad of other tasks).
I know some people read the list above and are thinking that you may not have any marketable skills that you could charge for. If you are reading this article, nothing could be further from the truth.
Make Money By Writing Online
The fact is that unless you are very good at what you do, most people reading this article actually have the same most marketable (and profitable) skill for these types of freelancing sites: the ability to read and write in English. The realms of computer programming, graphic, IT, and even accounting are being quickly taken over by less expensive workers from India and other emerging markets. You will be bidding against these workers for jobs, so you have to have a marketable skill that these workers cannot reproduce if you want a decent wage.
This skill, of course, is writing in English. English is an extremely difficult language to learn, and non-native English speakers can never speak and write as well as native English speakers, at least not without moving to an English-speaking country for a long period of time.
I know what you are thinking – most developed nations teach English in school. However, there is a difference between being speak a language and actually being able to write fluently. When speaking with another person, grammatical errors are easily forgivable as body language and facial expressions help fill in any gaps. When reading, the reader does not have the benefit of body language and as such may have a hard time understanding a non-native writer.
This means that American, British, Australian, and Canadian-based websites are always looking for content writers from English speakers. They are willing to pay more for an article written by a native speaker because it would hurt the credibility of a website to run an article which does not make sense and comes off as poorly written.
Leverage Technical Strengths With Writing Ability
I have found actually that the most reliable way to charge a decent price is to bid on projects where authors are looking for writing specific to a certain skilled field. Imagine someone runs a debt website and is looking to run an article on their website about making the most out of their tax deductions. Saving money on taxes would be a big help to people looking to get out of debt, but the finance writer may not be an accountant or a tax-expert.
What does she do? Since she is a smart website owner, she will then post a job on oDesk or Elance looking for an actual accountant who can write in English well to create articles on taxes for her website. She pays a premium as compared to articles written on any generic topic because she wants a real accountant who knows the ins and outs of the tax code.
Accountants are not the only niche where this counts. It really works in practically every area. Even a nurse can charge more for a health article than someone outside of that profession.
When All Else Fails
If you are not very good at writing and have no marketable skills, there is always admin support. One of the easiest jobs is for people who need someone to answer customer emails for an hour or two a day. This is a common job posting and often pays 10$/hour to English speakers. This might not sound like a lot, but making an extra few hundred dollars a month to check and answer someone else’s e-mail while you drink your morning coffee and get ready for work is not a bad proposition.
oDesk vs Elance – Primary Differences
There is a big difference between oDesk and Elance, as I think these cover two very specific niches. oDesk seems to be home to many more individual contractors and seems to, in general, offer less money than Elance for similar tasks. However, getting jobs on oDesk is also easier and the process itself is more straight-forward.
Elance tends to be home to bigger and more profitable contracts. However, because of this, Elance has a lot of contracting companies. These companies are constantly putting in bids on big projects and then using their in-house staff to complete them. A contracting company of 20 programmers might have someone whose full time job is to bid on Elance jobs for the rest of the company. These freelance companies can be tough competition.
Which site should you pick? It really depends on your skill-level. If you are young and have no real technical expertise and are only an average writer, you might want to stick with oDesk. You will likely get paid less per job than Elance, but the work should be easier to come by. I tend to hire on oDesk for writers of any sort of website content as the prices tend to be much cheaper. However, if I wanted a more expensive project done, I would definitely look to Elance. To continue with the writing example, if I needed a sales letter written, I would go with Elance and expect to pay more. Sales letters are more important to a business’s success than an article which might be for informational purposes only.
You can try out both sites and see which one is for you. In general, Elance pays more than oDesk, but is also more competitive. Elance is very competitive when it comes to programming and design projects.
Using Elance and oDesk – Bidding on Jobs
If you decide that you want to try out these sites, you will have to create an account on Elance (www.elance.com) or oDesk (www.odesk.com). You should try to make your application as full as possible and you absolutely need to upload a professional-looking picture, especially in a technical position. No one is going to hire an accountant through Elance who posts a picture of himself in a white T-shirt. Worse yet, posts no picture at all. Be sure to upload a professional picture of yourself – a “shoulders and up” shot wearing nice work clothes.
However, by far the most important thing is your application. As someone who hires regularly from these sites, here are some tips to getting hired:
  • Read the entire job posting and be sure to address every point. A lot of job postings have a simple task in the posting, “put the letters ‘XYZ’ as the first part of your application”. These tests let job posters weed out people who did not read the application, which is very important.
  • Proofread your application! If I am posting for a writing job and the application has spelling and grammatical errors, there is no chance I am hiring this person for a job!
  • Bid on smaller projects to get established. Perhaps the most important criterion used to evaluate candidates is their past work history. Bid on short, easy jobs, and be sure to over-deliver with quick turn-around. For example, you might bid on writing 5 articles for $25 as your first project. Even if the pay is low, you want to get a few jobs done so employers know you are good. Too many people disappear after you hire them and do not complete the project, which wastes the employer’s time. I will never hire a first-time contractor for a big project.
  • Never bid under or over-budget. You are not doing yourself a favor by bidding under the employer’s proposed project. The employer has already decided what he is willing to pay for a job, so posting under budget will make the employer think that he is getting an inferior service. The employer has likely already estimated their return on investment on the job and wants it done well but also not willing to pay more, as the latter may make the investment unappealing in the first place.
  • Offer an estimated (speedy but realistic) delivery date. Most employers turn to oDesk or Elance as a back up, as they either need more staff immediately or an old contractor fell through and did not complete the project. When employers post jobs, they literally need the job done yesterday. If you promise (and can follow through) with a quick delivery date, you will be much more likely to get the job. If the job is ongoing, instead include your production capacity (i.e. articles per day) or your availability (number of hours a week) in place of a delivery date.
  • Always over-deliver and impress when working with new employers. Finding a job and actually getting hired on oDesk and Elance can be very time consuming. If you spend too much time looking for work instead of working, you quickly wear away the amount you will earn per hour. Your ultimate goal should be to have one (or a few) good employers who can give you regular work. This means you are working and making money all the time instead of looking for new jobs.
As an example, I have a few health-oriented websites for which I have the same writer. Whenever I have a new idea or new projects, I contact her first to do the writing. I also have a graphic designer who I regularly contact for graphic design. When I need something done, he is the first person I contact. If you do a good job and make yourself known (through good work, not talk), employers will come after you.
As another example of the benefits of over-delivering, I once had a contractor deliver exceptional work, far beyond the quality I was looking for with that particular writing project. I then immediately asked her if she would be interested in writing more content at three times the price of the original articles.
So let’s say you finally got a job. Here are some other things you should know about the process of making money online through oDesk or Elance:
Set Appropriate Expectations
Do not expect to make as much online as you would at your place of employment – odds are you will not if you have a professional job, at least when you factor in the time it takes to actually find and get a hired for a project. However, you need to remember one thing: you are working online and can work at any time. This means that you can be writing articles while sitting on your couch in the evening, on the weekends at the local coffee shop, or even at your real job on your lunch break!
Additionally, do not expect to get paid up-front for a job, especially as a new worker. You will not be able to demand a portion of your job’s fee up-front until you at least have some positive feedback. If you are worried about getting ripped off, only bid on jobs where the employer has hired people successfully before. You can check feedback ratings for employers on both oDesk and Elance for the jobs you are bidding on.
Making Things Enjoyable
If you want to be in this for the long-haul, I recommend finding things you honestly enjoy doing. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look for writing jobs in things that are specifically interesting to you. Are you a gardener? Sports fan? Home improvement Do-It-Yourselfer? Odds are there is a website on that topic that is looking for a knowledgeable writer on those topics. If you cannot find one through oDesk or Elance, you can always try a Google search with the terms “[hobby name] writing jobs”. You would be surprised at how many sites come up! I will be adding more articles on finding jobs outside of Elance and oDesk shortly.

 

 

 

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