In the past 6 years, my freelancing work day (on the weekends, when I was working fulltime) has always gone something like this:

  • Wake up at noon
  • Goof off for an hour or so
  • Play eenie meenie miney mo to pick a client project to start working on for the day
  • Goof off for another hour
  • Actually get started on the job picked earlier
  • Get tired of staring at the that project
  • Decide to start working on another client project
  • Goof off for another hour or so
  • Finally get started on the project
  • Get sick of looking at it
  • Go back to the first project
  • Lather, rinse, repeat for a few hours
  • Go to bed at 6am

That’s hardly productive. Looking at that list, I’m amazed I can even tie my own shoe laces! So starting today, I’m trying a different method.


The topic of rates often turns into a heated discussion, whether it’s in the oDesk Community Forums or any other freelance outlet. I think it was summed up best by Rebecca in this post:

You know, I think the people who start the threads don’t realize that this topic has come up repeatedly, and searching first doesn’t occur to them – I never do that, to tell you the truth. So then they get the accumulated disgust of all the people who have been reading these things for months or years. And since they’re always new people, it seems inhospitable.

In-person, people often don’t think before they speak. On the internet, people don’t search before they post. Either way, misunderstandings can occur and it will lead to resentment on both sides.

With all this hostility, pent up or otherwise, sometimes it’s hard to get a straight answer. But in the words of Kenny Rogers, “There’ll be time enough for counting talking when the dealing’s done”…so let’s talk rates, shall we?

Like eBay, feedback on oDesk is an extremely important part of ensuring your success. Having great feedback lets potential buyers know that your previous buyers were happy with your performance – in other words: you did an excellent job for someone else, you’ll probably do an excellent job for me.

However, you can’t always please everyone. When this happens, oDesk makes it possible for you to hide your feedback comments (not the score itself).

But the question remains: should you hide comments?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the oDesk Community Forums is there to help you. Whether you have a general question or need basic (non-account-specific) technical support, the buyers and providers on the forums are there to offer help, guidance, advice, and support.

However, as with all social situations, there are certain things you can do to get the most out of your experience – especially when dealing with technical issues.

In a recent interview I gave1, one of the questions asked was:

Any tips on developing trust with new buyers?

This is what I had to say about it:

Just do the job and do it well – that’s the best way to build trust and credibility.

Because I had to keep my answers relatively succinct, I going to elaborate on that answer a bit here…

Continue reading ‘Building trust: Recipe for success’

How many times have you been in this situation?

[adsense]You’re out to dinner with family or friends and someone asks, “So, what are you doing for a living now?”

For some reason, people love to talk about what they do for work. Everything we do and are is externally identified by what we do for a living.

So you answer with, “I’m freelancing now. I work from home on the internet.”

And that’s where it all starts to go downhill…
Continue reading ‘Freelancing misnomers and assumptions’

Every so often, whether it’s in the oDesk Community Forums or via email, I get asked how much time I spend searching for and applying to jobs.

Truth be told, I don’t spend much time searching at all – buyers find me, and they do the inviting.

Does this mean I’m just that good?

While sometimes I’d like to delude myself into thinking so, I’m really not.

It all comes down optimizing your profile to grab a buyer’s attention and, more importantly, show up in buyers’ search results when they’re actively looking for providers.

Continue reading ‘Getting buyers to approach you on oDesk’