I'd like to think that I can write fiction, but I tend to be a very non-fiction oriented writer. I'm slightly jealous of those who can just whip off a story that keeps me up until 2 am, but I know my own strengths. I write articles, press releases, blurbs, app reviews: You name it, I've done it. I haven't even updated my portfolio with as much as I could, but it is safe to say that I write something new every single day.
I started freelancing on Odesk, and because people ask me about it so often, I'd like to share a few things about working on there.
First of all, for those who aren't familiar with Odesk.com, it is a website that allows freelancers (like myself) to search for jobs (that people post). I had some history with freelancing websites (I was the employer, and it was NOT a good experience), so I was a touch leery of Odesk in the beginning. Fortunately, I was just being paranoid, and I have enjoyed over 2 successful years freelance writing on there. I have a spotless, 5 star profile, and I really work to keep it that way.
I've learned a lot along the way, but here are 3 of the most important lessons I've learned on Odesk:
- Start Small: I cannot emphasize this enough. I don't know how many profiles that I've seen with people who say they are freelance writers, yet have no feedback, have not taken an Odesk test, and have nothing in their portfolio. Oh yes, and these are the people who are asking for $25 -$30 per hour. Unfortunately, you just can't do that. I started freelancing at $9.00 per hour, and I did this because I knew that I had to work at it, get experience, and slowly up my rate as my portfolio grew. Yes, you may be the best writer out there, but why should an employer simply trust that. You need to prove yourself, just like in any other job.
- Act like a professional: I have a background in customer service. I know how to treat people, and it never mattered to me that they were 'virtual' people that I had never met. If someone contracts me for a job, I bend over backward to ensure that they have the best writing and that I meet the deadline. If they aren't happy, I will rewrite over and over again until its right. I never take on a job that I can't complete, and I will often offer up ideas or thoughts on their posting. Sometimes an extra pair of eyes really helps complete a project, so I never feel like I'm overstepping when I go the extra mile.
- Know that you can say No: When I first started freelancing, I never said no to a single project. I took on everything and anything, including editing a video that honestly made me want to tear my hair out. I spent Christmas one year editing a website for a client and I ended up making about $5 per hour when all was said and done. Once I had built a portfolio, I decided not to take on any projects that I didn't want to do, no matter what they offered. Instead, I focus on my strengths. I write excellent press releases, can whip off a non-fiction ebook with ease, and enjoy researching and writing articles. I also focus on those areas that I am trying to grow, like query letters and honing a pitch.
If you have any questions, comments, feel free to ask! For an idea of what its like to write on Odesk, take a peek at my profile: http://www.odesk.com/users/~~da6a26f678fa354e