Sunday, May 20, 2012

How to Earn as a Freelancer

Freelancing today has become one of the most reputed and prominent industry to earn money for IT Talents.............While majority of the "Earn from Home","Online Data Entry" etc. are scams,Freelancing connects real talent to the buyer's world.................
It's a great success in countries like India..........solely because of the huge currency difference between Western Countries and Indian rupee...Employers get a good benefit and cost is reduced to a substantial amount in freelancing compared to their local equivalents without compromising the quality.

So,where to start?

There are many freelancing sites today............and the number goes on increasing............but I list here the top 4 Sites...

1) Elance.com

Elance is best available Freelancing Site...........Many serious employers and contractors recommend and use this site....I also share a very good experience here and recommend it fully....


a) Requires Freelancers to complete a One time Compulsory Test .thus ensuring only serious talented persons...

b) It supports both fixed jobs and hourly jobs..

Has Time Tracker for hourly jobs - but flexibility in Payment stand out.........You can anytime submit the timesheet and ask the employer to pay immediately.......He can decide to approve and pay immediately or can wait for 5 days to check all work and then approve or reject.......
 

c) Supports many withdrawal options for Payment..

 Supports Bank Withdrawal,Paypal,Skrill,Payoneer and I've used them all with ease....
 
 d) Free Skills Test to show your abilities..

 Improved Testing of Skills - Time based
 
e) Good Scoring & Level system .......to differentiate contractors..

 They have inbuilt Level System - Algorithm is not made public but it depends on your 6 months earnings,feedback (review) , Invite Response Rate,Repeat Rate,Skills (Tests) etc...
 Freelancers with higher Level have higher chances of getting any job..

Its commission rate is 8.75% for all Projects - all Memberships..

The best point of Elance is that  serious employers prefer it the most and it has better per job scale than other sites...

2) Peopleperhour.com

This is a newer site but gaining popularity very quickly.........and its second on my list of recommended sites...

It has very novel ideas and innovative concepts
Mostly was for UK market but we can also see US,Australian and Canadian employers posting Projects.......

To join here,you've to apply for it - submit your best profile,portfolio and if its good,you'll be approved by 2-3 days....

Ask for endorsements from your friends and existing clients...

Bring your existing clients here and work with 0% commission...

Its commission rate is initially high ,but if you have good work each month,its among the lowest..

i.e. Upto 175 GBP - its 15% and after that 3% ...

so if you earn 500 GBP in a month,Net earnings will be 462 GBP and commission 38 GBP........which is lower than other Freelancing sites...

Every member has 15 proposal credits per month - they can buy more anytime.............

Also if you perform well any month,they will add 85 bonus connects to boost you...

Initially you wont be able to apply for all jobs - they will invite you to apply based on your skills..So select your skills carefully............They have a 2 hour window for some jobs before others can apply.........While on some jobs - you cannot apply altogether.............
All these restrictions are removed once you reach CERT 2...and perform well...


A unique Level System here measured by CERT ..

Cert 1 - Cert 5 and then Top Cert is the highest...........It too depends on various things like Earnings,Feedback,Response Speed (how fast you respond to queries),endorsements and recommendations and Social Sharing of PPH...


Finally,they have Hourlies  - A hourly is a service,offer or task set for a fixed price ....A Freelancer promises that task for a set amount similar to 5$ gig of Fiverr.........but this is much better as there is no restriction on price here.........


3) Freelancer.com

Formerly known as GAF (GetaFreelancer) ,this site is very popular site for Freelancing today.........

The high popularity,more no.of employers,rich interface and UI,milestone System for Payments,Low Dispute Arbitration fees etc.........are some of its major advantages....

It has highest no.of freelancers - around 15 million

The highlight feature is the Chat System - quickly enables employers to start discussing the Project..

It has recently introduced "Hourly Jobs"...........but most of the jobs are Fixed jobs.........






It has a selling Place Freemarket where you can list services or gigs for a fixed price....similar to hourlies of PPH or gigs of Fiverr.com .........but this section isn't properly developed by them - doesn't even have Search Box ........only has a Sort Feature - by Price,Newest etc...........
Your Freelancer.com Balance can be used to purchase things here....





Good no.of withdrawal options - Paypal,Skrill,Bank Transfer and more...

 Good Membership Plans - and reduced commission rates for higher Memberships......


It has already eaten up (merged) vworker.com and scriptlance.com........

 4) Odesk.com

It is best for starting and for hourly Projects......

It has good Payment Protection System for hourly Projects and
also supports Fixed Projects,but without any Payment Protection....
(After its merge with Elance,it has started Escrow now)


Has very good Payment Withdrawal Options and affiliate scheme

It has all types of Employers - ones paying very good to others wanting everything cheaply....The high no.of cheap jobs (even below 5$) have polluted Odesk,but nonetheless it will remain as one of the very Good Freelancing sites - and those earning well there will recommend it over and above others...







There are other sites too

Guru.com
99designs.com
ifreelance.com

and many more................but these are the front runners...........

What's the Process?

So till now,I suupose you must have registered in the above sites................Now comes the second step.........
First you need to define your Skills or your area............where you're experts..............for eg, PHP/ASP/JAVA/HTML/CSS/Flash etc.............and select maximum you're allowed..............For eg,in Freelancer.com ,Free members are allowed to select upto 20 skills............so select the best 20 which suits you...........

The next step is to search the Project..............Either Browse the Project,Search their feeds or Search through the Search box................find a Project which you think you'll be able to do.................
Analyze your Chances of Completing the Project Successfully............if you think Yes,then place a Bid.......

All users who think that they can complete the Project places a bid and employers have a chance to select any one..........It depends on bid Quality..........

Normally,an employer selects the freelancer based on
1) Price
2) Portfolio and Reviews or Feedback
3) Presentation and Bid Description

So,all three factors play an equally important role.............for you to get a chance of getting considered........
If you are shortlisted,employer may first send you a message with relevant details and you're ONE STEP ahead of other fellow bidders.........
Its the best stage where you can WIN the Project...............

After you WIN the project,a good communication is required...............
I strongly recommend you to insist employer on creating milestones for different steps........
Milestone is a process where employer deposits funds to the sites...............but you don't get it unlss you finish the Project............If you finish as expected,then he release the milestone and funds are transferred to your account.........................otherwise it can be a dispute...........where the Site Admin is arbitrator and decide it in either's favour.............
This system is on Freelancer.com where you can create milestone of any amount - partial or FULL............other sites mostly use FULL milestone (called Escrow)....

So,after you complete the Project successfully,employer releases the milestone..........the funds are transferred to your account...............and both freelancer and employer can write review for each other......
according to your experience................Reviews are important..........for you to win further Projects.......

Now,the last step...............how to get the money.............You can withdraw the funds in your account.........
Every site has its own minimum limit (Freelancer.com has 30$)
Limit to no.of withdrawals (Freelancer.com - withdrawals are processed twice a week except for the first time...............it takes 15 days)
Select the Best Available Method.............Express Withdrawal,Paypal,Moneybookers etc............


This way,you can keep working on your favorite projects and keep earning..............

Few Points to Keep in Mind

  1. Never share your Contact Information in Bid as this can lead to suspension of your Account......
  2. Create only one account on each site..............[more than one account can lead to suspension]
  3. Try to search your most suitable and favorite Projects......
  4. Describe yourself the best in the Bid............and try to show relevant work or demo
  5. Only accept Projects which you think you'll be able to complete......Otherwise it can lead to negative feedback..
  6. Communicate Very well throughout the project............

That's it for now......Have a nice Day!

Vijeet Deliwala
http://vijarp.com

Disclaimer : Everything above is my personal opinion and is only for information......Things and information on the site may change anytime .Viewers are requested to check site rules and terms before making any decision...........No Direct or Indirect Claims or any kind will be entertained...