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Back to the future- a tale of an Odesk freelancer
Drowning... drowning... no land to put my feets on
It was already a few years since the day we had lost 'Koinx', our brainchild, the website to promote local musicians and music bands in a global scale. My college fees were mounting up, yet there was not any chance that I could get any money to pay the fees. My parents were already overwhelmed with the family necessities, and I could not even think of asking them for any money. It was a pretty critical moment, I was frustrated and tensed... yet I somehow got involved into an "open ended relationship" with an old friend of mine. It was quite embarrassing for me to go on dates with hardly any money in my pocket and I was also worried that I would not probably be sitting in the third year professional examination as I had to pay almost a year's fees in the college along with the exam registration fees. And I could not even think of any future together for us as I had no way to foresee the future.
Freelancing - the only ray of hope
Me and my girlfriend had been thinking hard what we can do. It is Bangladesh, and after the three hours of daily travel to and from my college and spending six more hours for studying there, it was not truly possible for me to go and find a part time work somewhere. And you need to mind it that, the part time options here are not at all any good. A year back, one of my close friend told me about Freelance jobs at a site named Odesk and one day I told my girlfriend about this website. She told me that she also had an account in this website, but she did not try much as she was already doing a full time job. Somehow both of us had been trying hard and searching for ways in the Internet. She managed a few writing tasks from a few friend of hers. We both joined Odesk with simple profiles as we did not have much to write on our profile. And the first month on Odesk was quite confusing and frustrating. There were some money in the beginning, but we could not think that we could manage our needs with that trivial amount.
How did I prepare myself as a freelancer?
My start up as a freelancer was not at all a smooth one. I used to write occasionally, but never thought that it could be my profession someday. Besides, I had not been writing at all for years.
The first few tasks were very confusing. But we had each other to discuss with. Whenever we bid for a project, we used to discuss together and try to figure out if we should carry on with the task or not. My girl friend also used to give me tips and sometimes I helped her too.
It was kind of fortunate that we got a few tasks on the first month. But some of the experience was quite painful. In some cases, we did not realize the requirements of the clients as being new to the profession. In some cases, the clients themselves were not quite sure what they wanted from us. But after the first month was over, we found it is relatively easy to get jobs. And the payment also had started to increase. From a rate only 10 cents per 150 words article, we managed to achieve a rate of 2 dollar per 150 words. Even though, this rate is not constant, it is okay for us. But this development had been a really difficult one. Both of us had to study really hard, learn how to do research on Google, and we also learned the ways of natural inclusion of keywords as all of the clients wanted Google SEO implemented in the articles. And it was a good learning curve for both us on article writing along with SEO.
My perfromance so far as a freelancer
As I have already mentioned earlier about my rates, I will not go back in to that again. Even though we are not yet self sufficient, yet this writing tasks have made our life much easier than before. With a situation, where I had no money to pay my tuition fees in the month of October of 2011, within a period of five months we have managed to earn enough to pay the fees, save up for the cost of my dental instrument, cover my girl friend's medical treatment and also some of our daily expenses.
In the last 5 months, we have earned about 4000+ USD together, which is not probably too much. But considering our situation and the facts that we are newbies, had no prior experience, both of us had their other stuffs to do (I have my studies, and she has her job), we were kind of satisfied with the progress. And now, we have some future plans that we want to execute. We in fact can think of a future just because we now have a platform now. We just want to make it stable.
Freelancing tips that might help you on Odesk
It has been my story so far. However, I think even in this short experience phase I have managed to attain a few milestones from where I can share a few tips that can help you to succeed if you really want to start a freelancing writing career.
* While approaching the client with your cover letter is brief yet descriptive.
* Clients would not like to read a long list of stuff that you have done in the past. It is better if you can provide some related example of your prior work. If you do not have any, simple show any sample and talk to him about your capacity.
* It is better starting at a comparatively cheaper rate with a client. After you have started to work for him, you can always convince the client about the rate; and after you have worked for a while most of them do not mind.
* Always be punctual about your deadlines.
* While taking the task be sure that you understand all the requirements and also make sure that the client also understands what you are going to deliver. It is difficult to solve disputes on these once you have already started to work.
* Before applying for a job check the employer's profile to see how many jobs he had posted so far and what feedback he had received. An employer with good payment history and feedback will usually be patient, helpful and is also likely to pay you on time.
* For writing tasks, you will not easily find the hourly jobs that are secured by the Odesk system, however; you can work for both fixed and hourly rate and develop your profile gradually.
* Once you are already confident on writing certain topics, you can use that experience to get tasks on the similar tasks from other buyers.
* There are many clients on Odesk that look for long term workers. If you are reliable enough and deliver good quality content within the time, it is more likely that you will get further chances to work with the same buyer.
This is what I have learned so far. I wish to come back to you with more tips after my feet are on more stable ground. Till then adios and I also hope that those who work with Odesk will help me with their tips as well.