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How to Make Money in Odesk?

Updated on December 29, 2019

I have been a member of many freelancing sites such as oDesk, Elance,, PeoplePerHour and for years now. Out of these freelancing sites my favorite is oDesk. Maybe because I have been lucky to have landed many jobs in oDesk and have earned extra money to pay my bills. The money I earned in oDesk helps in augmenting my daily expenses. I have met kind and understanding clients and most of them right now are my regular clients. So for those people who do not know about oDesk or with little knowledge about oDesk and are afraid to try and are searching for ways to make money online, please allow me introduce it to you.

What is oDesk?

oDesk is one of the freelancing sites available online. There are more than 4.5 million registered freelancers and 900,000+ clients in oDesk. Signing up in oDesk is absolutely free. There are many jobs available in oDesk. As a matter of fact over 100,000 jobs are posted every month. There are 9 job categories in oDesk namely: Web Development, Software Development, Networking & Information Systems, Writing & Translation, Administrative Support, Design & Multimedia, Customer Service, Sales & Marketing and Business Services. Out of these 9 categories each categories is again divided into sub-categories. There are 2 job types in oDesk; the hourly jobs and the fixed price jobs. Hourly jobs are paid on a weekly basis. Fixed-price projects are paid according to a schedule agreed upon between you and your client. Out of these 2 job types, I prefer the hourly jobs and I always apply for an hourly job because I think it is safer to apply on this job type rather than in a fixed price job. But if you prefer fixed price jobs, be sure to ask for an upfront payment for you to be safe and be guaranteed a payment especially if you still didn’t know your client well. To be safe, you can ask for a half or 50% of the fixed price you quote on your client.

Is oDesk a scam?

Before I encountered oDesk, I was hesitant to believe that I can earn money by doing job at the comfort of my home or at my free time or that I can earn money more than the basic rate here in my country. oDesk have helped me a lot and I would say that oDesk is still helping me because of the jobs I am still having right now and the money I am earning from it.

In my 3 years working in oDesk, I have proven that oDesk is not a scam site. I have worked and been paid by my clients. Transferring money from my wallet in oDesk is easy. The money is transferred directly to my bank without issues, in one to two days at the maximum. And even before when I was still using Paypal as my payment processor, I haven’t encountered any issues too. The only reason I do not use Paypal anymore is to cut the withdrawal expenses. There are clients who scam their worker and there are workers who scam their client but oDesk has nothing to do with it. If you feel that you have been scammed by your client or your worker, you can file a dispute with oDesk. There are many ways to withdraw money from your oDesk account. Depending on your country, these include ACH, local funds transfers, PayPal, Moneybookers, pre-paid debit cards, and wire transfers.

What is my proof that oDesk is not a scam?

I think that I am one of the proof that oDesk is not a scam. For you to believe that oDesk is not a scam site and that I have been paid by oDesk, I posted some of my earnings in oDesk.

My earnings for one month dated January-February 2013
My earnings for one month dated January-February 2013
My earnings for one month dated March-April 2013
My earnings for one month dated March-April 2013

Some Tips in Working with oDesk

  1. Create a nice profile. It is one of the most important things you can do so that you can attract clients.
  2. Create a portfolio. Sometimes clients look at the works you have done before to know if you are qualified according to their job posts.
  3. Take oDesk tests. Taking an oDesk tests increases your chance of getting hired. Some clients prefer workers who have taken a skill test.
  4. When you are lucky to get hired, try to do a good job to impress your client. Be honest and efficient so that your client will give you a nice feedback and in the end you will gain from it. It will also reflect your profile. And if you are lucky, your client will rehire you for a long term job. I remember when I was working with one of my client doing an hourly job; I received a message from my co worker with the same client. And because an hourly job is a dedicated job, you must not do anything else aside from working on your job unlike in fixed rate job and by answering or chatting with other members is considered as cheating; I did not bother to answer. The next thing I knew is that they are not a member of my team anymore. Their contract was finished. The client hired other contractors. So be honest and work hard. Maybe clients will not see it in your Screensnap but I think the clients can feel if you are scamming them.

What does oDesk gain?

While joining and applying in oDesk is free unlike in other freelancing sites, once you get a job and get paid, oDesk charges a fee equivalent to 10% of the total amount charged to your client. So that keeps oDesk working. If you do not have work, you will not pay any amount but if you have work oDesk charges your client additional 10% of the amount you are paid. So it’s the client who shoulders it if it is in an hourly rate. It is different with the fixed rate, if the amount agreed between you and your client is 10$, oDesk takes a 10% of it so you’re earning will be 9$. The worker is the one who shoulders the oDesk fee.

PROS of oDesk

  • Guaranteed payment when it is an hourly job.
  • There are many jobs available according to your skills.
  • There are affiliate programs where you can earn extra cash.

CONS of oDesk

  • Most jobs available are low paying. It is okay to rate a $3 for an hourly rate or a $2 if you are a new worker but an hourly rate lower than these are not good for you and for your client. But some clients also post jobs that are lower than $1 and prefer workers who applied for less than a $1 which I think is not fair. oDesk must set an hourly rate that is not lower than $1 to protect the workers and the Client as well. I think that is the thing that sets Elance ahead of oDesk. In Elance you cannot apply for an hourly rate lower than $3 which I think is good.
  • There are too many available freelancers so you will have to compete with many workers.

What is My Experience in oDesk?

Working in oDesk is a gain for me. I have learned new things and met different kinds of Clients and I’m lucky that all of my clients are good to me. My first job is less than $3 an hour and I got a bonus there. And now I am averaging $5-$10 an hour mostly working as a Virtual Assistant and PDF to Word transcription which is my expertise. I am happy that they are satisfied with my work. So if you need any assistance or any PDF to Word Transcription, you can reach me there.

Some think oDesk is a freelancing site with low paying jobs. But for Third World Countries like us, earning a $3 per hour is already above the minimum wage especially if you work for 8 hours a day. Maybe that is the reason why oDesk became more popular than its competitors. Clients with the low budget who are looking for people to finish their work to be done found oDesk and workers who are looking for online jobs find jobs and assurance in oDesk. But there are also Clients who are willing to pay more than $10-$50 an hour according to your skills or expertise and your country of origin.

In working with oDesk, do not stick with just one client especially if it is not a full time work. Because sometimes they do not have regular work for you, so if you have at least 3 clients, you will have a fall back. But make sure if those 3 clients gave you jobs at the same time, you will be able to finish them all.


On my own experience, searching for job and making money in oDesk as a new worker is not easy. It is the same with applying for a regular job. The only difference is that you are doing it at the comfort of your own house; you do not have to travel, less expenses. You do not have to wear decent clothes and most especially you are with your family. You have to gain experience and be an excellent worker to increase your chances of being hired again and to increase your rate. Some members who have been working on oDesk for years and earning decent money have left their regular jobs. But I am not advising you to do that, unless you are sure that you have other source of income and confident that you can survive without your regular jobs.


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