“Going from Unemployed to Freelancer and becoming Entrepreneur”
Kjetil Olsen is the vice-president of Elance Europe writes for TheEmployable on how to use online freelancer platforms like Elance if unemployed and looking for work.
“If you are in the unfortunate situation that the financial crisis have left you redundant in your company due to decreasing turnover, there is maybe a solution available online that might lead you to the next step in your career.
Elance.com, the world’s leading platform for online work, is with more than 100.000 jobs posted every month pioneering a new job market. It is a job market that enables people all over the world to escape their local economies, so if you are unable to find a job in Ireland, there might be somewhere else in the world, where your skills are in demand.
To quickly get started and be successful working online, there are five simple steps you need to take:
Create a profile
Go to Elance.com and press Register now. This leads you to signup page where you insert traditional information about who you are, what you do, what is your education and set your expected hourly salary. But your options do not stop there.
On Elance you can upload portfolio examples of work you have done earlier. You can take skill tests eg. English to Spanish translation, and then be compared to all the others who have taken the same test on the site (It is not mandatory to show result of the test, but a great way to get an objective picture of your skills). An advice here is to be specific and niche oriented in your profile, as nobody will believe you to be an expert in everything.
When you get started on Elance, you will furthermore get a review every time you perform a job on the site, from the client from whom you performed the task (And you will give the client a review as well). This ensures that it does not matter who you are or where you live, but you will be judged on the quality of the work you do. Doing quality work is what will lead to your future success working Online.
The next step, when your profile is done, is to start finding the right job for you. A job that offers the hourly rate you are looking for, has a challenge that fits your abilities and is due on a deadline that you can deliver within.
One thing, on the job list to look especially out for, can be the amount of proposals that the job you are applying for, have received. Naturally, if there are only a few proposals for the client to choose between, the chance of you being hired is higher.
Bid for Jobs
Having found the jobs, that you want to bid for, there a handful of tips to follow, that can increase your chance of being hired. The challenge at hand is to catch the attention of the hiring client. You do this by writing a good and tailored proposal that seems unique. As there are some Freelancers who use the copy/paste approach they are often rejected on the spot by the client. We do not want that to be you.
Another way to seem unique is to suggest specific milestones along with estimated delivery dates for the job/project you are bidding for, as it demonstrates that you have an overview and you able to solve the job on hand.
Do these things, while bidding for a job you are highly skilled to perform and you will be successful. But, be patient, as it takes a few projects to build your reputation as a stellar freelancer.
Job is Awarded
When you win the job, a good habit is to send a thank you note upon acceptance, before moving to discussing project scope and milestones. Of course you already talked about scope, milestones and price during the bidding phase, but now is the time to get specific.
Be sure to be vigilant, so you do not accept terms that you cannot deliver on, just to please the client. This will only lead to dissatisfaction for both of you. Be realistic, honest and professional, expect the client to be likewise, ask for escrow funding of the first milestone and get started!
Collaborate with Client
The mantra on Elance really is that clients pay for results. What is agreed is what is being delivered. Online, as offline, good habits of work is always to produce high quality work, to respond quickly to messages, deliver according to agreed schedule and milestones, communicate professionally in everything you do, and make sure to have a tight contact to your client to feel whether both of you and the client are satisfied about how the job is progressing.
Eventhough, this might seem like a lot of demands that are being put on you, it is strictly for your own sake, as this will ensure a job well done. And the good thing about Elance is that jobs well done gets rewarded, as every time you perform a job, you will get a review from the client. This means as your profile grows with each successful job you perform the more and more sought after you will be.
Keys to success
So, to round it all up here are a few key Takeaways on how to be successful on Elance and go from being unemployed, to being a freelancer and in the end becoming an Entrepreneur on your own:
- Time: Invest time in your Elance profile. Don’t just register and think you will get a job immediately. That’s not the case. There is competition. So the clients look for freelancers who spend time in creating a great profile, understanding the client’s needs and submitting a good proposal.
- Match: Scout for the right jobs. Look for jobs that are a match between what you are looking for, your skills and what the client is looking for.
- Tailored: Always make Right-to-the-point, tailored proposals. Don’t copy/paste from the last proposal you submitted. Try to understand the clients’ needs and customize your proposal.
- Escrow: Ensure Escrow funding. Before you begin a project for a client, be sure to ask for the escrow funding to be made before the project starts. It is your guarantee that the client can pay you when the job is completed.
- Pro: Always work and keep a Professional tone in the collaboration with your clients.
- Patient: Be patient. It take’s time to win the first job. But when you have gotten your first job, then the ball starts rolling – you will have a rating and earnings on your profile, the client will see that you have worked for other clients – and then it is much easier to get the next job.