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People Per Hour: A getting started guide for freelancers
People Per Hour is, in my opinion, a pretty awesome website for both freelancers and buyers alike; it is through this web site that I have established full time work which has been the case right from my graduating from my Web Development course.
It maintains one of the fairest price points in the industry which is becoming ever more important as the freelancing industry becomes known more and more for underpaying clients who then receive sub standard services, which presents a lose lose situation. As well as this it has a rather unique features known as ‘Hourlies’ where freelancers can effectively create a service page stating what they can do for a client for a set fee. This could be the creation of a website, the writing of a 500 word piece or some design service. This is also complemented by rather a busy jobs board where freelancers can send through quotes and even add a video to provide an edge to their proposal.
With that all said I must point out that like any other freelancing website this offering has it’s downsides, with the most common one being that some find the website’s workflow a little confusing. I, myself, haven't come across this however and in any instance I provide an overview of how the site works right here in this article.
People Per Hour: How It Works
As a freelancer upon People Per Hour you’ll be able to create your own profile page with your photo, description of your choice and, most importantly, a place to display your portfolio be this full of images, word documents or just about any other files that you can imagine.
You can win work in one of three ways: through the Jobs board, via a buyer contacting you directly or through a buyer purchasing an Hourlie of yours.
How the Workflow Works
Hourlies are different to Jobs and Proposals sent to buyers after they’ve sent you a message, as they are not subject to the same 7 day maximum time interval. This is because Hourlies are designed to be relatively quick services, although in reality this is sometimes a bit of a sticking point as web design services are difficult if not impossible to achieve within the set deadline. If you do go over your deadline then your CERT score (which I talk about later in this hub) may be slightly affected (although even where projects have unavoidably run over for me I’ve never noticed a tangible difference in my CERT).
Beyond time frames
Beyond the time frame (which for a job or proposal following a message is unlimited) you’ll be working within a simple screen of messages back and forth where you’re able to add files as you go.
As an initial first step the buyer accepts your proposal and places a deposit of your choice (which needs to be 30% minimum of the final project price); I usually ask for a 100% payment upfront and the funds are held in escrow (in between the buyer and the freelancer) so that both people are protected.
At the very end of the process you then invoice and the funds are released. And that’s it, simple hey?
What if the buyer isn’t happy?
One question you may have is what if something goes wrong? Which, lets face it, can happen for a variety of reasons and needn’t be any one person’s fault. Well in the first instance you should try to negotiate with the buyer and try your best to find a resolution. It may be that it’s worthwhile offering some form of discount for the sake of customer satisfaction (as the old adage of the customer always being right is as true within the freelancer world as it is anywhere else). Other than this however and if you still can’t find a resolution you should either provide refund (which may end up leaving you with a damaging one star automatic review) or you can invoice and the buyer can reject it. In this latter instance the PPH team would review the situation and mediate between you. In some instances they may refund the buyer and in others they may side with the freelancer and push the invoice through.
After the job is done
Following the job’s completion your buyer will be asked to leave feedback, along with a star review out of five. This is really what builds a freelancer’s reputation and each of your reviews will be displayed upon your profile for all to see.
You’ll also have the opportunity to do the same for the buyer, although these are really of less importance as few freelancers are put off from working with someone unless they have consistently poor reviews.
Which other freelance websites have you tried previously?
PeoplePerHour - The Smarter Way of Working
Hourlies: Create the perfect Hourlie in five steps
Make the title catchy and consider targeting a niche: Rather than “I will write you an article for £9” why not use “I will write you an awesome IT blog article”.
Write with the buyer in mind: Always remember that selling golden rule of explicitly stating “What’s In It For Me?” (Or them, rather). So instead of saying that you can provide a web design analysis, say that you can improve their website’s conversion rates.
Choose an image that sells your work or that catches buyers’ eyes.
Write concise copy that uses bulleted points to make it an easier read.
Create a message that is unique to you and that avoids complicated language that may confuse the buyer (even where you may be describing a complicated service!)
CERT Score: A marker of your Freelancer abilities
One point of controversy has been the introduction of so called CERT scores, which stands for Community, Engagement, Repeat and Trust. Here’s a quick overview of how each works:
Community: Community involves promoting the interests of the website, such as sharing your profile on social media.
Engagement: Engagement involves freelancers answering messages from potential buyers in a timely manner and services that are also delivered within the agreed timeframes.
Repeat: There’s no better a mark of quality than having a buyer use your services again and again, which is what repeat represents.
Trust: Trust is defined as the ways in which People Per Hour can effectively verify your identity. As a starting step you may want to link your profiles to your Facebook or LinkedIn profile, beyond this however you can also gain endorsements from past buyers (which work like testimonials and are left upon your profile page).
These measures, and each freelancer’s attainment of each, then went to provide them with a CERT Score, with levels running from 1 to 5 (with 1 being the starting point and 5 being the top score) with a set percentage of users awarded the ‘Top’ cert, which signifies the highest level that you can climb to.
Some of the criticisms of this systems included the fact that the Community part should really be null and void given that freelancers pay a percentage of their income to People Per Hour, and that it should be People Per Hour staff who market the website. I myself think that perhaps there is a point here, although I also believe that if every freelancer provided a share every now and then that the pool of buyers would grow further, which should ultimately benefit everyone.
Another issue that arose was also the fact that the Engagement point was forcing the hand of freelancers in their replying (and moreover quickly replying) to unsolicited and sometimes unwanted buyer messages. This is a criticism that I personally disagree with as it’s arguably good manners to ensure that you reply to a buyer, whether you wish to go ahead with them on a project or not.
Make an Hourlie - Legitimate Ways to Make Money Online
Despite the perceived issue with the site that I've mentioned here I genuinely feel that People Per Hour offers up an awesome freelance experience and having built up a full time work stream on there I can’t imagine that I would ever use any other freelancer website.
I’d love to know about how you’ve gotten on at People Per Hour and on other sites, so tell me about your thoughts in the comments.