You might have seen some outsourcing websites where freelancers can register, bid, and apply for jobs posted up by companies and individuals around the world. People Per Hour, 3desk, Fiverr, Guru, oDesk and Elance are just a few of those sites but there are a ton out there if you look. But do these types of websites actually lead to paid work?
My experience of freelancing job sites
Personally I’ve never found a Virtual Assistant who has secured decent work from a freelancing job site but that’s not to say that some people don’t or won’t. I know a Digital Animator who gets clients from a specialist niche job site, but I think the problem with the more mainstream sites is there’s so many generalists competing against each other and you’d have to spend so much time writing proposals and bidding, you’d never get any other work done.
I once registered on a few sites but didn’t get any work from them. I also felt a bit like I was at a cattle market trying to prove my worth to someone and it felt not unlike a “pick me, pick me!!” situation if I’m honest.
Cheap as chips and paying peanuts
Frankly I think a lot of people who post jobs on freelancing job sites are looking for someone cheap. They know they can hire someone willing to undercut everyone else or someone living in a country with a lower cost of living who can afford to do the job for half the price of everyone else – and this leaves you out of the running unless you’re willing to undervalue and underprice what you do.
And you’re not about to do that are you?
I’m not against offshore outsourcing (everyone needs to make a living) but if a business hires a freelancer in their own country they’re contributing to the economy and paying the going rate for expert assistance. Plus they can potentially build a stronger working relationship with that person as they’re in the same time zone and can even meet.
I think it’s much better to pitch yourself above the plethora of humdrum freelancers, set yourself up as a specialist and go after clients you want to work with rather than sitting around hoping to get picked and taking part in a demeaning race to the bottom.
Conclusion and resources
My advice is to give freelancing job sites a go as you’ve got nothing to lose but, like all your marketing efforts, if they don’t work for you then stop wasting your time and try something else.
- There’s a good article called The Dangers of Elance, oDesk and Other Freelancer Marketplaces over on the Freelance Advisor website.
- Here’s the other side of the story; an article by someone who makes a load of money on Elance.