A beginner’s guide to working on freelance marketplace

In these tough times, everybody needs a source of income. Unemployment rates are still high in different countries of the world. However, the advent of the Internet has somehow eased the financial troubles of many people. Almost anyone who has access to the worldwide web has the opportunity to find an amicable inflow of cash. From simple data entry jobs to complex software development tasks, one can always find his or her niche in the Internet world.

An important aspect that you should first consider is the skills that you have. Freelance marketplaces like oDesk and Freelancer can let you choose as many as different categories where you think your competencies fit in. Elance, however, will only let you pick one category if you have signed up as a basic freelancer. In sites where you are free to browse and apply for jobs in any category, you have to present all your skills that you think you possess so you can cover many different areas. The more job postings you apply to, the more chance you have of getting employed by a well-paying buyer.

Some freelance marketplaces, particularly Elance and oDesk, offer free tests that can measure your skills. Passing these tests gives you the chance to verify the skills that you have to potential employers. Guru offers similar tests but for a fee.

As a starter, you always want to get off from an easy start, which means that you need to find freelance marketplaces that can help you land a job without having to spend a lot of money.

Most of the leading freelance marketplaces allow freelancers to sign up for free, but there are some, such as GoFreelance and DirectFreelance, which will charge you a fee if you use their services. You also need to bear in mind that even the free freelance marketplaces have limitations on how far you can go in using their services without being charged. Elance will only allow you to submit up to ten proposals every month if you are a non-paying provider.

Freelancer will charge you ten percent of the agreed amount the minute the buyer will accept your bid. Guru, on the other hand, will collect the fee from what you have been paid if the buyer uses Paypal or a credit card in issuing the payment.

After successfully signing up, it is now time for you to build up your profile. As much as possible, use your real name and a profile picture that is a likeness of you. This way, you would give a trustworthy impression to buyers. Using an alias or an unidentifiable logo can cause doubt in anyone viewing your profile. List all your relevant experiences, projects and employments that you have had in the past. Having a portfolio containing previous works that you have done can also greatly help. Always remember that your profile posted in a freelance marketplace is almost as good as your r?sum?. Having a good provider profile can sometimes even land you a job without having to apply for it.

Bidding for an assignment or a job should equate to what you can offer to the buyer. Most often, buyers would post their estimated budget. In general, you can bid higher or lower than the amount buyers can pay. If you believe you have the skills required for the project, you have the freedom to negotiate in your cover letter or during an interview. If you think the probability of you acquiring a project is greater when you bid with a lower price, then you may do so. Also, write a cover letter related to the job opening so that you can prove that you have read the job description. Your application can be easily marked as spam if you use a recycled cover letter, especially if it has nothing to do with the posting.

Lastly, as a provider, you would use a freelance site for a single purpose and that is to earn money. It is important then that you set up a withdrawal option that would make it easier for you to take the money you have been paid. A verified Paypal or Moneybookers account is almost always in use. However, the leading freelance marketplaces can send you a debit card (through Payoneer), which you can use to withdraw that hard-earned income.

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