If you have a particular skill that is marketable on a freelancing platform like Elance or oDesk, freelancing can be a great way to make some extra money. I had a known freelancer review the difference between the top platforms and give her opinion on them. I have used many freelancers on these these platforms as well as Fiverr. I do think freelancing it is a viable option for those with a specialized skill and some SERIOUS discipline and work ethic.
Here are her thoughts about the different freelancing platforms available to you.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing is the newest, scariest way to make a living. There are no guarantees for continuous employment and every progress you make only depends on your abilities and professionalism.
However, here is its very compelling upside:
Being a freelancer can be extremely advantageous mainly due to the flexibility it provides. You are your own boss and you can choose your own projects, when and where to work.
Today, there are quite a few online outsourcing platforms, with three leading the way: Odesk, Elance and Freelancer.
It is the oldest and the most popular and trustworthy freelance website. It was launched in the year 1999 and since then it has done a total freelance transaction of more than 700 million dollars. With a massive user base Elance offers to freelancers 8 job categories like Admin Support, Design & Multimedia, Engineering & Manufacturing, Finance & Management, IT & Programming, Legal, Sales & Marketing, Writing & Translation
Elance has a very intuitive user interface. It offers all the necessary tools and technical support to assist you in communicating with your clients as well as to ensure that the project flows smoothly.
There are paid accounts and there is also a free account for freelancers who would just want to try it out.
On the Elance platform you’ll be able to find hourly jobs as well as project based jobs. All fixed price projects use escrow, making it safe for both the buyer and the provider; However Elance guarantees their hourly projects as well.
Overall Elance is a well-constructed platform and makes you feel most comfortable whilst using it.
Elance deducts an 8.75% service fee from all invoices submitted by freelancers on the site.
Freelancer is definitely one of the biggest freelance sites and also one of the oldest player out there. After the launch in year 2003 millions of members joined over the years becoming the biggest outsourcing destination. It has recently acquired other two big freelancing websites: vWorker and Scriptlance becoming bigger than ever.
Freelancer claims to have a database of more than 7 million users, however having so many users has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages would be that there is a large number of spam posts and spam applicants without being able to control it.
The Freelancer platform offers 12 job categories: Websites, IT & Software, Mobile Phones & Computing, Writing & Content, Design, Media & Architecture, Data Entry & Admin, Engineering & Science, Product Sourcing & Manufacturing, Sales & Marketing, Business, Accounting, Human Resources & Legal, Translation and Languages, Local Jobs and Trades and Other
Freelancer’s navigation might seem a little bit more complicated for a first-time user, but once you get used to it gets more intuitive.
You can register and submit 8 bids per month for free. When it comes to withdraw your money there are various methods you can use: your verified credit card, PayPal or a SkrillMoneybookers account. You will be charged for each transaction you make through the site.
The Freelancer Project Fee is 10% for both hourly jobs and project based jobs for the Free, Basic, Intro and Plus memberships, however if you choose the Standard membership their fee is going to be 5% and just 3% for the Premium membership plan.
Founded in 2002, oDesk offers 9 job categories: Web Development, Writing and Translation, Customer Service, Software Development, Administrative Support, Sales & Marketing, Networking & Information Systems, Design & Multimedia and Business Services.
The navigation is pretty intuitive even for new comers, the registration process requires nothing more but your e-mail, password and a desired username
ODesk does guarantees payment for hourly work, however the project based work is not guaranteed as they don’t have an escrow system.
ODesk, just like Elance, offers a work tracking program, the Work Diary, which tracks the amount of time you spend working on a project.
The fee charged by ODesk is 10% of the total amount paid by the client for hourly jobs as well as for project based jobs.
This article only presents you three of the most notorious freelancing platforms as my personal opinion is that the other smaller platforms just do not offer sufficient protection and continuity in order to turn freelancing into your most significant, sole income source. These three presented websites also cover an astounding 40% of this specific online market and, from my personal experience, offer great returns.
Another good advice I may provide is that you should use your skills, may they be article writing, SEO, programming, marketing and so on, be consistent and treat this way of making money online just like you would treat a desirable job. Anything you decide to passionately put on the table, will be returned to you in the form of a steady income.
Have you tried freelancing? If so, I would love to hear your experience and what platform you think is best!