Book of the day - Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini

Top 3 Reasons Why Freelancing Is Cool

[Disclaimer: This scenario is common in Malaysia and this article is based on my life in Malaysia.]

If you live in a community where getting a 9-5 job is the perfect job for everyone, you might want to show off your bit by telling them you earn more money by working from home. At least this is what I am doing at the moment and people around me are puzzled at how I do this.

Some don’t even believe me when I mention that I am a freelancer in writing. The next thing they ask me, how I earn a living by writing because the most typical stereotype when it comes to writing,

You write novels?

The reason they ask me this is because in their little brain, a writer means a person who writes novels.

Then, I replied,

No, I am not writing novels.

Surprisingly, they replied,

There is no such thing as earning a living by writing. We go to work in the morning and come back in the evening for 5 days a week and get our pay at the end of the month.

I continued my debate,

I get paid sometimes by week, sometimes by month.

With this as a reply, they get even more puzzled.

The point is when you try to explain, they either accept it as it is or question your credibility.

Why freelancing is cool?

1. You are different from most people.

Face it, not many people are into freelancing. In fact, in Malaysia, I hardly find anyone who is freelancing (there are a few but not many).

2. You distinguish yourself from the 9-5 life.

Imagine other people having a 9-5 job that requires them to be in the office all the time, when you can go out anytime you want and work anytime you need to. Time is not restricted to 9-5. You can work from 11-2, then continue from 4-8 or depending on how you manage your time.

(Personally, I like to work at night until past midnight – sometimes up to 3-4am but not everyone can achieve this. The reason I do this: I am more active at night and my brain works better in terms of creativity. Warning: Do not try this, if you cannot resist yourself from falling asleep at the desk.)

3. You get to control your own life rather than having your work control you.

It is well explained, no further explanation is required.

Freelance Writing Jobs – Where To Find Them, How To Get Jobs That Pay

You have taken the first step into freelance writing. Now, where do you find freelance writing jobs on the internet?

You can try classifieds on the newspapers but I doubt that there would be more choices than online sites.

It is not difficult to find jobs online. However, it takes time to search for the right job.

Here is a list of freelancing job sites to begin:

  1. Upwork (previously known as Odesk & aka Elance)
  2. SoloGig – good for IT & Engineering jobs
  3. Freelancers.net
  4. Programmer meet Designer
  5. SimplyHired
  6. Guru
  7. FreelanceWriting – this is like a feed for all freelance writing jobs from many freelancing sites
  8. AboutFreelanceWriting
  9. SunOasis Freelance Writing
  10. Burryman
  11. CraigsListselect your area > jobs > writing / editing (alternatively you can post your service in services > write/ed/tr8)

You can also use Indeed to help you narrow down your search for jobs. All you need to do is type in “freelance” or “freelance writing” into the search box.

When you bid for a job, make sure you don’t sell out yourself. Place a bid with a rate that is reasonable. Don’t bid as if you are dying to get the job (this will only benefit the clients and NOT you). Remember there are many other jobs and if you are being offered a low paying job, try to find others before you accept it.

Now that you know where to get the jobs you want, how do you make sure you get the job?

  • When you apply for a job, make sure you submit your resume that covers your expertise and mention your experience (if applicable). You don’t need a long resume, a short one will do as long as you have all the important facts in it.
  • If you are bidding for a job, mention briefly how you are going to get the job done and of course, don’t forget to put in your rate for the whole project and perhaps explain why you set such a rate.
  • If you are being asked for a sample through the bidding sites, ask the client if your sample work will be paid. (Usually, some clients won’t pay and when you submit your work, they use it freely for their own advantage – you are at the losing end)

So, how do YOU get your freelance jobs. Feel free to share with us!

This article is updated on 20th August 2015.

The Right Rate To Charge

Q: How do you determine the rate for the freelancing work you are applying?

This is a really important question you need to ask yourself as a freelance writer (or any freelancers in general). Setting the right rate might influence your clients to stick with you for a long time.

“Go with the flow.”

While this mindset is correct at certain times, you need to set your own rules and regulations as well including your own rates for different types of jobs.

Why you need to set the rates?

1. You have something to compare to when a client make an offer to you. Remember different clients make different offer. To know whether the offer is worth taking or not, you need to have a guideline.

2. You know where you are standing at when you receive a client’s offer. For example, you might start off offering low rates. As the time goes, if your clients are making better offer, you are actually progressing to a whole new level. Congratulations if you have managed to reach a higher level from where you have started.

3. You can make changes to the rates you set according to what the clients offer to you. Yes, it is flexible. You decide how much you want to charge for which client you want according to the work load.

4. You know when you can charge higher and when to charge lower.

*If there is some other advantages you can think of, feel free to share with us.

Guidelines on setting the rates (for freelance writers):

a. $0.05 – $0.10 / word : depending on your experience. Can go higher if you are exceptionally good at what you do.

b. If your client is offering bulk work, perhaps you can come up with a bulk rate / discount rate or anything you like to call it. Don’t feel too intimidated to reduce the fee, do what is right for you. You have the right NOT to lower your fee.

c. Go with what you think suits you best.

Be sure to prepare invoices to get paid on time and to keep track of your income.

Freelancing Scams – Equipped Yourself With These Tips

When you start out as a freelancer, there are many unexpected things that would happen but if you read this, I am sure you can avoid some of the bumps (specifically freelancing scams) along the way and have a smooth ride in freelancing.

This is based on my experience so I would be able to tell you what happened to me along the way but if you encountered something new, feel free to share with us.

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I had registered as a member at GAF (GetAFreelancer, edit: now known as Freelancer.com) and it was time to place some bids on the projects suitable with my abilities.

I got 15 bids a month and if I needed more bids, I would have to upgrade my account ($12 a month). However, it was my first time looking for jobs through GAF so I didn’t upgrade.

I placed a few bids in a day hoping that someone would actually hire me but I waited and waited for days, weeks and finally one day someone did answered me.

It was a content writing task for a website but the pay would be $24 for the whole project.

Still, this was the very first project I got. Hoping for better projects to come along later, I accepted the task and completed it within 2 days. Then, happily I got payment from my first client.

Feeling good about myself and my performance, I continued to bid for more projects and definitely high pay projects.

My second project came along but it wasn’t as lucky as the first project. This was a scam.

At first, I didn’t noticed the signs. I had no experience, what would I expect?

Here are a few guidelines on how to detect scams in the first place… so that you can avoid.

1. The buyer always insist on paying through PayPal or other payment methods but never use Escrow. While this doesn’t seems like a problem, actually this is also the biggest problem. Before you get to know your buyer, request for Escrow to ensure that you get paid when you have completed the work. Many scam cases are buyers refuse to pay when the freelancers have completed the work. There is no way to ‘force’ the buyers to pay except through Escrow because only freelancers have the right to deny a payment when the payment is in Escrow.

2. The job description is brief. You should get more details before you bid on any projects (no matter which sites you are using).

3. The buyer will ask for samples. Usually when a buyer request for a sample or two, the buyer will give a few topics and request you (the provider) to complete all the topics (or maybe one – depending on the buyer). This is also a sign of scam. You write the sample and hand it in to the buyer. The buyer gets the article for free and you are not being hired for the job. The buyer wins and you lose.

4. Follow your heart. If you are suspecting something is not right, don’t bid on that project.

5. Check out forums like FreelanceAIR.org for information on scams especially the list of scammers to prevent falling into traps. This forum is specially created to raise awareness about the scams happening in most freelancing sites.

6. Con man usually offers rates that are too good to be true. Something similar as in work less, earn more. In reality, money doesn’t fall from the sky.  Don’t be a fool!

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While these are guidelines on identifying freelancing scams, they are not necessary true for all projects. As a prevention, you need to be cautious all the time. Otherwise, you will end up doing work without getting paid.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Quit Your Job and Start Freelancing

 

“My job is boring.”

“I need a break from work but I cannot get holidays.”

“I am stressed with my job.”

These are common phrases we often hear (and maybe even thought about it ourselves!).

Stress is common but without proper management, stress can turn into a serious health issue.

What are you thinking at this point of your life?

Have you ever think of leaving your job so you can do whatever you want at your own pace with no one to tell you what you should do, give you datelines and decide your monthly wage?Have you ever think of leaving your job so you can do whatever you want at your own pace with no one to tell you what you should do, give you datelines and decide your monthly wage?

Yes, there is a way you can do so. Quit your job and start freelancing.

It might be easy as it seems but the truth is there is more than just quitting your day job and join in the freelance world.

As much as you want to work at home, set your own working hours and the most important, set your own fee for your job, you need to be prepared for all the unforeseen changes in your life – after you join the freelance bandwagon.

Why?

First of all, before you even start to think about freelancing, make sure you have enough $$$ in your bank to support your expenses for the next 6 months (or more – if possible).

Secondly, make sure that you have the knowledge of what you want to do.

If you are a web designer and you want to be a freelance designer, make sure you know about web design in and out – HTML, CSS and all those related stuff should be in your portfolio.

If you want to be a writer and you want to be a freelance writer, be prepared to write a variety of topics at the beginning of your freelancing career before you move on to specialise in certain topics.

Again, why?

Having sufficient funds in your bank for at least 6 months will give you the peace you need when you will be busy searching for jobs. It is also important because freelancing is exactly as the name suggests – you work freelance so you might be hired… or not.

When you have enough funds to last for a minimum of 6 months, at least you don’t have to worry when you take at least a month or two to secure your very first freelance task.

It took me a month to get a job on GetAFreelancer or GAF.

The worst thing is it was a very low paying job but I had to take the job as I had been jobless for a month (I quit my day job before I secure a freelance task).

When you get hired, your client expects you to deliver excellent work before they pay you. If you cannot complete a certain job, don’t bid on it. Find jobs that you are confident of doing.

What should you do if you are serious about freelancing?

First, never quit your job before you get any experience on freelancing.

It is best to try it out during weekends just to get a taste of what it’s like being a freelancer.

Bid on simple jobs within your expertise/interests from sites like Elance (update: it is known as Upwork now) and if you are successful, complete the work and get paid.

If you like the way freelancing works, get started on saving money for your window period. Your window period would be from day 1 you become a freelancer until you get a freelance job.

You might want to upgrade yourself in terms of knowledge. You can learn on your own with the help of the WWW or go for a short course.

Again, I want to stress that it might take a long time for you to get a freelance job so be prepared for the window-period (no job period).

Happy freelancing!