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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Elance Complaints – Are They Warranted?

If you’ve researched Elance at all, you’ve probably found blog posts or comments from individuals complaining about Elance. Some state that they’ve never received their money, etc. Are those complaints warranted, or is something else going on?

Elance vs. Project Posters – One thing you have to consider is that Elance makes regular, faithful payments to its freelancers (writers, programmers, designers, administrative assistants, etc). In fact, once you receive your money from the project poster, you can transfer it to PayPal, or you can utilize your Elance debit card, or even transfer the money to your personal bank account. If an individual hasn’t been paid, they’re more likely speaking of payment from the actual project poster, not Elance. This is an issue, but it’s not Elance’s fault if a project provider refuses to pay. They do have a conflict resolution system, but a company as large as Elance can’t force their clients to pay a freelancer if the project poster doesn’t put the money in the provider’s account. Using Elance escrow can help solve this problem. With Elance’s escrow system, clients put the contracted funds directly into their Escrow account and once the provider has successfully completed the project, they release the funds to the provider.

Angry Freelancers – If a freelancer turns in a project and the client isn’t happy with the project, he or she may refuse to pay. Of course, the freelancer is going to be very angry and upset, and maybe some of that anger will be directed at Elance, since the company can’t actually make the project poster pay. This may in turn lead to complaints against Elance that aren’t actually warranted.

If you come across complaints about Elance, it might naturally make you want to avoid the freelancing site, but in truth, it’s a great place to find honest work. As a matter of fact, most freelancers are quite happy with their accounts and the work they have. So, look rather closely at any complaints before making your decision about Elance. You may be passing up a great opportunity because of a simple misunderstanding.

Photo: Penywise

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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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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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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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Tips for Getting Freelance Jobs on Elance

If you want to find great work on Elance, there are several things you can do to make that happen.  For starters, make sure your profile is filled out completely and that you’ve included your best samples in the portfolio.  Potential clients looking for a certain kind of freelancer will most likely browse your portfolio before they make the decision to invite you to submit a proposal on a project or before they hire you.  You want that portfolio to be quite impressive, so taking the time to set it all up is an investment in your success.

The next thing you need to do to be successful at Elance is to submit numerous proposals. Many individuals only bid sporadically, but by scheduling a certain amount of time each day and bidding often, you can increase your chances of getting the great jobs.  I personally spend an hour a day looking for projects and submitting proposals. Simply log in, check out the recently added projects, and create specific proposals for the projects you’re interested in.  Make sure your proposals aren’t the generic kind and that you actually address the problem the buyer is having and explain how you may be able to fix that problem for him or her.

Keep your price competitive so that the project poster is more likely to hire you.  Even if you want to submit a proposal that is slightly higher than the other providers, keep the price within a close distance of the prices they submitting.  Sometimes, you’re unable to see what the other providers have listed, but you can always use the average proposal and the high/low proposals to guide you.  This will help ensure that you’re staying competitive.

Lastly, it’s important to turn in your best work.  This will help ensure that you receive good feedback from the individuals that you’re working with, and in turn, will help you get gigs in the future.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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