These days more and more people are turning to freelance work as a way to improve their work/life balance, or to earn a little extra income in retirement. With the appearance of online freelance sites like ELance, ozLance and oDesk, finding freelance work is easier than ever before.
For many people the prospect of becoming a freelancer is a dream come true, giving them the freedom to set their own work hours, work from anywhere and take control of their own career.
For workers, freelancing represents a lifestyle choice – an opportunity to say goodbye to bosses, traffic jams and long nights at the office. While for retirees it’s an opportunity to pick-up some extra income, keep an active mind and maintain a sense of purpose in retirement.
how do you get involved?
In the past freelancers have mostly relied on their personal and professional networks to build up an initial client base. However with the emergence of a number of online freelance sites both globally and locally, it’s now possible to market your skills to people across the globe, and pick-up jobs quickly and easily.
Using an online freelance site has a number of benefits:
low cost marketing: Unlike marketing costs for building your own business, setting-up a profile on online freelance sites is generally low cost or even free and gives you access to thousands of clients everyday.
building a reputation: Online freelance sites allow you to build a strong reputation via skills tests, client feedback and testimonials. As your reputation grows, you can increase your hourly pay rate as you please.
billing: Most freelance sites automatically bill your clients, saving you the hassle of sending invoices and chasing payment, and giving you more security to get paid on time.
job flexibility: As you only apply and accept jobs you want, you have the freedom to choose the type and volume of work you want to do each week.
choosing employers: One of the best things about online freelance sites is your ability to check-up on your employer by reading feedback from past employees. This gives you more control over which jobs to apply for.
If you are thinking of starting a career as a freelancer, signing-up to an online freelance site is a great way to find clients, build your skills and test the waters before leaving your current employment.
are there any drawbacks?
Well there are a few. With more and more people gaining access to online material and device’s such as the iphone and blackberry it’s become easy to both write and publish articles at the click of a button.
Because of this pay rates can sometimes be quite competitive, however this will quickly improve as you build your network of contacts and reputation. So remember to assess each job before applying to ensure it’s worth your time.
Of course when you’re starting out, it may be necessary to work for below market rate. But as your experience increases, you can increase your pay rate of pay and become more selective with the jobs you apply for.
If you’re interested in freelancing online, here are some popular sites to look at:
ELance is one of the oldest freelance sites on the web, with a wide variety mostly fixed-price contracts.
oDesk focusses on by-the-hour contracting rather than fixed-project pricing. Their offer includes screening software that allows employers to watch contractors work.
Ozlance connects Australian freelancers with employers.