Benefits of Being Your Own Boss

If you’ve ever considered doing freelance work, starting a small business, etc, you’ve probably thought about the massive benefits of being your own boss. There are many, and they extend far beyond being able to take a day off when you want. Let’s take a look at some of those great benefits.

Flexible Hours – If you’re your own boss, you have much more flexible hours, because you can set them. So, you want to be there to take your kids to soccer practice, catch your son’s football games, or even have dinner with your family. All of these things can be done when you’re your own boss. You can schedule your work time for when it’s convenient for you. Most people with ‘normal’ jobs can’t say this.

Make Your Own Salary – As your own boss, you can easily create goals for the amount of money you want to make, and take actionable steps to achieve those goals. With a normal job, you’re often limited to how much you can make because of salary restrictions and company heads being stingy with overtime. It’s also a lot easier to make more money per hour or week than with a normal job. You can basically write a paycheck to yourself for whatever you want if you’re willing to put in the extra work.

You Get the Credit – If you build a company or a practice up to high levels of success, you’re the one who’s going to get the credit for it – not your manager, your boss, the owner of the place you work. Because you’re all of those things! When you are your own boss, your accomplishments belong to you!

Being your own boss is exhilarating, fun and challenging and it can be extremely rewarding if you have the drive and dedication to make it happen. I became a freelance writer over 10 years ago and I can honestly say that it is the best thing that I have ever done for my family and I – won’t you join me into the wonderful world of freelancing?

photo: cohdra

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Tips for Choosing an Elance Provider to Help You With Your Project – Outsourcing 101

When you’re in need of assistance with a project because you’ve either taken on too much or you simply can’t finish it, you should consider hiring another Elance provider to assist. This way, you’ll save face with the client and won’t succumb to negative feedback because you didn’t exceed your client’s expectations. In this article, I’ll teach you how to take on the role of the employer so that you can choose the best provider for you.

Check the Provider’s Feedback – As you know, a provider’s feedback covers the quality of the work, their timeliness, communication strategies and professionalism. By checking the provider’s past feedback, you can determine past project posters’ levels of satisfaction with that particular provider. If they have a high score – in the 90’s preferably – you can be fairly sure that you’re getting a great provider.

Check the Provider’s Samples – While involved in the selection process, providers are likely to send you samples of their past work so that you can see their style and ability. It’s important that you check the samples of the providers that you’re considering. You can determine whether their style is close to the style you need, what level of skill they have, and whether they meet your standards or not. By checking their samples, you can probably narrow down your choices a good bit.

Communicate with the Providers – For the providers you’ve shortlisted, it’s important to communicate with them via the site’s private message board. Let them know a little more about your project, what you need and what you’re trying to accomplish. Good providers will get back to you in a timely manner and will let you know what they can do to help you achieve your end goals.

Pay Attention to Price – You get what you pay for – that’s what they say, isn’t it? This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to choose the highest provider, but you have to wonder about the individuals who are offering to do the work for the absolute rock-bottom prices. Although you do want to make a profit on the outsourced work, you also want to make sure that the provider can get it done. So, ask yourself these questions: Will they truly deliver quality projects? Will you have to fix any errors? Will you have to spend additional time on the project. In most instances, you will likely get further choosing a mid-level price or even one that is a bit higher than the average. These are usually providers who know what they’re worth and who want to be paid fairly for quality projects.

As you probably know, there are many other aspects of choosing a great provider, but the ones above are the most common and should be looked at first. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll get precisely what you want, taking the steps above will help ensure that you choose the best provider for you!

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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What to do When You’ve Taken On Too Much

As a freelancer, there are times when the projects may come in too quickly, or you’ve submitted too many proposals but didn’t expect to win so many – and now you’re stuck with a ton of work that you’re not sure you can do. Below you’ll find tips on what to do when you’ve taken on too much. Trust me, it happens to the best of us but if you take action now and don’t bury your head in the sand, you can get it all done and satisfy your clients’ needs too!

Learn to Prioritize – Which are the most important/urgent projects? Which ones pay the highest and are most likely to bring in more work? These are the ones you should focus on first. However, this doesn’t mean that you can simply leave your other clients hanging. If you want to keep a great reputation as a freelancer, it’s important that you care for all clients equally.

Get Help – If there’s simply too much for you to handle on your own, you may have to get help. Do you have other freelancer friends who could use a project or two? The cool thing about Elance is that they make it easy for you to collaborate with other freelancers and set up groups/teams so that they can assist you with your clients’ needs.

If this sound excited, contact some of your freelance buddies and ask them about handling a few of the projects you’re unable to take at the moment. Let them know they’d be working as a ghost freelancer, meaning that you would own the rights to the work so that you could turn it into the client as your own. It’s not dishonest, and people do it all the time. It should be about satisfying the client at this point. You can then use Elance’s tools to make the process easier.

Maintain Communication – Most clients won’t be upset if their work is a slight bit late. It’s important to maintain communication, though. Avoiding the clients because you don’t want to tell them that you’re going to be late is not an option and will only serve to agitate them, especially when they’re excited and expecting to receive a first draft of a project.

By using the tips above, you can manage when you’ve taken on too much work.

Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Elance.com or Sologig.com?

As a freelancer, you have several options, including using Elance.com for all of your business or applying for short projects on Sologig.com. Which one is better? Are there advantages or disadvantages for either that would help you make your decision? Below, we’ll explore whether Elance or a Sologig is the better platform to use.

Commission: The first thing you have to consider is that Elance does take a part of the profits as their commission for helping you find the job. The rate is about 6% of the total project cost. As a freelancer, with solo gig you wouldn’t have to worry about this commission however, you would have to find time sorting through the projects on sologig , applying for them, interviewing and then waiting to see if you get hired. With Elance, the process is much easier – project posters post projects, you submit proposals, you win the project and you get paid. Easy peasy, right?

Security: With Elance, there is the option to use the Elance escrow, so you can be sure your money is waiting for you after the project is finished. However, there’s no 100% guarantee that the client will pay you when you use sologig. With solo gig, you take a huge risk that the company hiring you is legitimate and that they will pay you when you complete the work. With sologig, there are no safeguards like Elance escrow or feedback verification to verify whether the person is reputable. Therefore, when it comes to security and peace of mind, Elance outranks Sologig by a landslide.

Finding Work: It’s obviously going to be much easier to find work through Elance, who actually lines up the clients and projects for you to submit proposals on. As a solo freelancer applying for projects on solo gig, it can be very difficult to sort through the garbage projects to find the gold. Drumming up legitimate work isn’t easy and can take a tremendous amount of time and there is a great risk that the person who hires you is a scam artist. With this aspect, Elance certainly gets the upper hand.

Ease: All around, it’s easier to get clients through Elance because all of your accomplishments are documented in your profile – your feedback, the amount of money you’ve made, your certifications and testimonials. On your own, you’d need a website to display all of these things and even then, clients may not trust them. Elance is definitely an easy platform to utilize in order to get freelance work.

So – with all of the details above, it’s up to you to decide whether you’d rather use Elance or do solo gig however I vote for Elance.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Warning Signs that Project Poster is Bad News

As a freelancer, it’s important that you’re able to determine a potentially great client from a potentially bad one.  Using your instinct and common warning signs can help you avoid headaches in the future, as well as being scammed out of your work and pay.  Below are some common warning signs that a project poster is bad news.

  • Bad Feedback – If there is a consistent record of bad feedback, you should automatically feel wary of the individual.  One bad feedback may not mean much more than a disgruntled freelancer – but 3, 4 or more…that’s when you know there’s a problem with the project poster.  Be sure to look at the feedback in-depth.
  • Asks for Custom Samples – Project posters should be able to get all the information they need regarding the quality of your work and talents from past samples.  If they’re asking for custom samples from every freelancer, and state that the samples will be owned by them upon completion, you need to be wary.  This means that they’re getting free projects from every person who bids on their project, so why would they need to pay?  Never create a free custom sample for a potential client – give them excerpts from past projects.
  • Illegal Activity – The project poster asks you to engage in illegal activity of some sort, such as plagiarism, taking advantage of a system when it’s clearly against the rules or something similar.  This is a very bad warning sign and you should take it as such – and avoid the project poster.  This also goes for project posters that want you to write about unethical, cruel or illegal activity.  These guys and gals should all be avoided.

Using the warning signs above and your own instincts should help you weed out the bad project posters and stick to those that really want to do an honest business with you and pay you fairly for your work.

photo link: kevinrosseel

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Good or Bad Elance Proposals?

In order to be successful with proposals on Elance, one needs to know the difference between good and bad proposals.  Utilize the examples below to help you understand good and bad bid proposals.

Bad:

“Hi there – I’m interested in working on your project with you. I’m a freelance writer with more than 12 years of experience and can guarantee your sales letters/press releases/articles/blog posts are all 100% original. Let’s make a deal today!”

Why is it bad? It’s a very generic bid. Notice how the copywriter has not addressed the needs of the poster, but looks as if he or she is trying to apply to all writing jobs at once. They even mention several different types of projects, but not the project poster’s project specifically. Also, the end looks way too much like a sales pitch, which will naturally turn off a potential client.

Bad:

“Pick me if you really want to increse your sales and brand yourself in your target market.  Your not going to regret it – please see your PM for details ans samples.”

The one above is riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, and still does not address the needs of the project poster.  No project poster in their right mind who is searching for quality work would hire this bidder.  Even if the samples are fabulous and the freelancer was just pressed for time, this is most definitely a no-go.

Good:

“Hi projectposter325. I see you’re in need of 3 blog posts on hair care by the end of the week.  I have extensive experience in this topic and can provide 100% original posts that are informative and easy to read.  I’d like to suggest a few topics, since you are giving creative license to the freelancer. I immediately thought of the following topics as great ones for your blog, as they match the tone and style of the existing posts:

–          5 Ways to Boost Your Hair’s Moisture

–          Kitchen Ingredients You Already Have That Can Work Hair Miracles

–          3 Minute Hair Mask: No More Split Ends for You!

Whether or not you like the topics above, I’d love to work something out with you and possibly work with you on a permanent basis. I’m available on the computer for 10 hours a day and by Skype as well.  Thank you for your consideration.”

Why is it good?  It addresses the project poster right away by user name, so the project poster knows the freelancer was paying attention.  It repeats the need of the project poster, and also lets him or her know that the freelancer has actually visited the blog in question and looked around.  The freelancer has specifically addressed the needs, even adding in his or her own ideas that would be helpful for the project poster.  This is a great proposal and one that a project poster would remember among more generic ones.  Specific, targeted proposals work best – always!

Photo: mconnors

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Do You Need a Freelance Contract?

As a freelancer, you have to be sure that your rights are protected, including your right to get paid what you deserve for work that you do.  Many freelancers utilize contracts to ensure that this happens, but there are times when a contract is really unnecessary. Which are those times and how do you know if you need a contract or not?

Creating a Contract – Every freelancer should have a pre-written contract ready to send to a potential client if they should have need of it.  The contract should state important information, such as the type of project to be done, exactly what is involved with the creation of the project, the agreed price of the project as well as the beginning date and the deadline.

This helps protect both the project poster and the freelancer, as everything is very clear and it’s legally binding.  There are a number of resources online that can help freelancers create quick contracts that are legally binding.  A few places to look include All Freelance Directory, and Elance.  These contracts are standard ones that will have all the necessary information included.

When is a Contract Not Needed?

So, how do you know when you don’t really need one?  Below are some situations in which a contract is probably not needed.

–          You’re working for a client you’ve worked for many, many times in the past and the job is very small.

–          The job is through a bidding site and is extremely small – less than $30.

–          The client is paying in advance for the services to be rendered.

You may still feel safer by having the client sign a contract, but in some cases, clients will be reluctant to sign contracts for such small amounts of work and will consider it a waste of time. Use your own best judgment to determine whether a contract is necessary for a particular job, but remember, jobs that will take a long time or that are worth a lot of money should probably have one.

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5 Tips for Finding Great Elance Projects

No matter what kind of freelancer you are, Elance is a great source of work, and can really be a steady stream of income if you can get the great projects being offered there.  However, to many, this seems impossible with so many other providers to compete against. How do you find the great Elance projects? We’ll discuss below how to do just that.

  1. Email Alerts – Sign up for the email alerts through Elance so that you receive the top budgeted projects in your category every day.  This is a very helpful reminder to bid on projects, and can highlight which projects are most worth submitting proposals on.  You can see in your own inbox whether there is something you’d like to apply for or not.
  2. Profile – Ensure that your profile is filled out and that you have plenty of great samples in the portfolio.  Project posters can invite you to vote on their projects if they think you would be a good match for them.  By creating an inviting and impressive profile, you’ll encourage project posters to invite you.
  3. Repeat Work – Do your absolute best on every job that you turn in.  There is a huge percentage of Elance project posters that need more than just one project completed.  Project posters that have used you successfully in the past will most likely want to work with you again if the experience was great and the work was quality.
  4. Set a Schedule – Set a schedule of btime each day so you’re able to submit proposals on several projects.  Set a timer and then go through your category searching for the highest budgeted projects or the auctions ending soonest.  Then, apply for the ones you think would be great for you.
  5. Set Your Budget Amount – In your profile, Elance gives you the option to set your budget amount, or what you seek to get paid hourly.  Set this amount to what you feel you’re worth, so that you can be sure clients see exactly what you want to make.  The ones willing to pay will be the ones who approach you, and you’ll attract the kinds of jobs that pay what you want to make.

By utilizing these 5 tips, you can really find great Elance projects and create a steady stream of freelance work coming your way.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Freelance Writers Wanted – Where to Find Legitimate Writing Gigs

If you would like to expand your efforts besides online marketplaces, like Elance.com, there are many opportunities for qualified individuals like you. In fact, there are many sites that hire writers to create articles, press releases, sales letters and other written projects.  Below, we’ll discuss the most popular and legitimate places where you can find other paying writing gigs.

Demand Studios

This website pays from $5 to $15 an article, and sometimes $20 for intensively-researched articles.  The guidelines are very strict and it can be difficult to get an article through without having to make corrections.  They’re also particular about what kinds of resources you cite and use, but they do pay on time twice a week.  The topics are varied, anything from how to change a tire to parenting a special needs child.  It can be fun and interesting, and there’s a real potential to make money.

Need an Article

This website is more intimate than Demand Studios, and writers can maintain contact with the administration.  The pay is less than average – $5 for a 500 word article, however writers are paid every week.  Clients are promised their articles back within 24 hours, so if you write here, you should be prepared to write pretty fast.  They also have a weekly requirement for their writers, so a certain number of articles should be written each week to keep your position.  There is a forum where writers can interact and have discussions so it can really feel like you’re working at a job where there is support from your co-workers.

Constant Content

This website allows you to post pre-written articles and charge a price for them or to create custom content for customers who need certain things. Basically, if you have an article, you post a portion of it on the site and customers are able to see what is available.  If they like the writing or want it, they will pay for it and it becomes their property. Constant Content keeps a portion of the payment, which is how they make their money.

While there are many other opportunities out there or places that will pretend to be a great opportunity, the three above are absolutely legitimate.  While the pay may not be as wonderful as a freelance writer would like, there are jobs available and the pay is steady. It’s a great way to work towards getting your own clients and making the prices you set.

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Is Elance a Scam?

If you’ve never tried Elance, you may wonder whether it’s legitimate or not. In fact, there are certain reports sitting here and there on the web that accuse Elance of being a scam.  Whether those individuals that have lodged those complaints were scammed by a project creator or not is unknown, but you can rest assured that Elance is completely legitimate.  They’re a great freelancing site that welcomes freelancers of all types, as well as those needing projects of all types completed.

Elance tries hard to ensure the quality of both freelancers and project creators, although there are no guarantees.  For this reason, they recommend that freelancers and project creators use the escrow system. This system allows project creators to place the payment for the project in an account and keep it there until the freelancer has turned in the work.  When the project creator is satisfied, he or she can release the payment to the freelance writer. This system helps prevent conflicts or problems from arising.

Elance has a feedback system that also helps to protect honest freelancers and project creators.  They have the ability to check the past feedback of individuals they’re interested in working with – to determine how past clients or project creators were satisfied with that individual.  The feedback system takes into account the professionalism, speed, expertise, and communication.  Individuals can also leave comments when they leave their ratings, so that others can read exactly how they felt about how the project turned out.

Elance has several methods for allowing individuals to remove their money – including transfers to a personal bank account or a PayPal account, so it’s easy to access your money.  With the new debit card, individuals can access their money instantly.  Elance is not a scam and is a great site for individuals to find work and to find experts to handle their projects.

Image: djcodrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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