There is great potential for success as an independent contractor on oDesk. That is, when you know what to do to become successful. For the oDesk newbie, it can be hard at first to get started gaining clients and to obtain a good grasp on how things should be approached and executed for the best chance for success.
I know quite a lot about oDesk, let me tell you! From obtaining my very first client as a freelancer while I was still in design school almost four years ago, then building my repeat client base to maintain a good financial standing to now beginning to move forward and actually hire a team of hand-picked, brilliant freelancers on the site to push me forward as I take my graphic design studio to the next level while overseeing and being the creative director of it all.
http://www.slccolorado.org/storage/proscar/ What is oDesk?
oDesk.com is an online website where clients and contractors meet. Essentially, clients post jobs that they need help with and contractors apply to these jobs and are then interviewed for the position. There are many categories of jobs available on oDesk including: Web Development, Software Development, Networking & Information Systems, Writing & Translation, Administrative Support, Design & Multimedia, Customer Service, Sales & Marketing, Business Services. In this post, I will be focusing on what works for the category that I engage with on a daily basis which is subcategories under both Web Development and Design & Multimedia. Many of the tips I give transcends across the different categories, however I know them to be especially effective for the category I target.
When you want the flexibility of working online and still maintain the ability to choose specific jobs that are of interest to you, then oDesk is a great choice to explore. There are literally thousands of new job postings across the site daily from businesses eagerly looking to find that perfect freelancer for the job they have at hand. Read this great interview with the CEO of oDesk to learn more about the company!
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I have been working as a contractor on oDesk for close to four years now. Over that time period, I have gleaned through trial and error what works and what doesn’t work so well when it comes to actually getting your potential client to see your application and hire you for the position. Let me walk you through the three-fold process of what you need to do to get started on oDesk to increase your chances of success as an independent contractor.
acquistare vardenafil originale garanzia Part 1: Set up your oDesk Profile
go site Choose a professional and friendly image for your oDesk profile pic
It’s important to select a clean, clear, professional and friendly image for your chosen profile picture. This image is the first visual association your potential clients see so make sure your image is making a good first impression. Your clients don’t get to call you in for an in-person interview, so this photo is the closest first impact you’re going to make on your client. Select a high quality image, upload and oDesk will give you the option to crop the image as you see fit.
http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquistare-vardenafil-20-mg-online Select an hourly rate in proportion to your level of expertise
Choosing your own hourly rate can be either liberating or send shivers down your spine. How do you know how much you should charge for your service? This is a good question and should be based directly on your level of expertise. It’s all too easy to sell yourself short to compete with others who will do work for $3.33/hr. Don’t worry about these contractors, as I can assure you that as long as your portfolio is strong, you will get work at a higher rate! I would recommend to start at no less than $25/hr and go up from there as you gain more and more experience. You’ll be surprised that the higher your hourly rate – the more you are perceived as an expert in your field (as long as your portfolio can back this up!) and high quality clients will be excited to work with you!
http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=viagra-generico-in-farmacia-senza-ricetta-pagamento-online-a-Bologna Write a catchy, related headline to describe what you do best
This headline should describe in an instant what it is you do. It should be focused and to the point. Example: Professional Designer | Top Quality Branding for Print & Web
follow link Write an effective paragraph outlining exactly what you do and your value
This paragraph should be well thought out and written so that it is both clear and concise. Example: In this suffering economy, I believe that it is now more important than ever to have a strong image for your company. I pride myself in helping individuals, non-profits, small business’s and larger corporations reach a higher level of success. Visual branding is my specialty, having the most up-to-date design tools, creativity, and branding know-how to successfully and professionally execute the perfect logo identity for your company.
follow url Take as many related oDesk skills tests as you can
oDesk has many skills tests that you can take to test your knowledge on your specific area of expertise. If you are a designer, like myself, you would for example take their tests that cover the Adobe creative cloud programs. Once the test is done, your score can then be shown on your profile by the click of a button for your potential clients to see. Many clients look for proof of experience and trust these skills tests. I recommend having at least four tests displayed on your profile in addition to the basic oDesk readiness test. If you don’t get a score within the top percentile the first time, then keep retaking the test over time until you do!
http://www.slccolorado.org/storage/proscar/ Showcase your BEST work samples in your portfolio
Perhaps the most important thing you can have on your oDesk profile is the PORTFOLIO. When in the creative field, it is absolutely critical to have a portfolio loaded with your highest quality work examples for your potential clients to see. The work you showcase should speak for you and encourage the client to WANT YOU for the job at hand. Tailor your portfolio to focus on the area of work that you want to focus on for the highest success rate. If you want to design logos for your clients and apply for these jobs, then don’t showcase a writing sample. Keep your portfolio simple and strong! I recommend including at least 4-6 portfolio samples of your highest quality work. This alone can be the determining factor for getting the interview!
Part 2: Create Your Outside Web Presence
I have found that having a web presence outside of my oDesk portfolio has been extremely helpful during the interview process to give the potential client the “trust” factor that I am a professional in the field and take my work seriously. You may give the potential client a link to your website during the interview process, but you must continue working within oDesk for every client you find on the site and is interested in hiring you.
Purchase your domain name and hosting for your outside web presence
I use godaddy.com for my domain and hosting and haven’t ever had a problem! Choose a professional domain that is informative, yet simple. I highly recommend purchasing a “.com” vs. “.net”, “.com”, etc. Get a free 35% off your GoDaddy order by using this coupon promo code at checkout WOWLUTZ35.
Set up your email address with your website
Once you purchase both your domain and hosting, I recommend setting up your email address with your website for a professional image when conversing with your clients.
Design your simple 1 page to 5 page website and launch
Whether you decide you want a 5 page, 3 page, or even 1 page website, the most important thing to do is make sure your website looks clean and professional. If web design is not in your area of expertise, you may want to outsource somebody for this project. If interested, my company, LUTZstudio can certainly help you out! We design beautiful, professional websites on a daily basis. If you mention this blog article when requesting a quote, we will give you a $200 off discount towards your 1 page – 5 page informational website!
Set up & Design your social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, Google+
Another good idea is to create and design social media pages for your freelancing service. This can include: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, BeHance, Dribbble, etc. Don’t forget to customize each page professionally (LUTZstudio can help with this too!) and to post regularly to engage with your fans.
Set up your Skype account and select an easy to remember ID
Having a Skype account is extremely important as many clients will want to use this free tool during the interview process. Set up your Skype account with an ID that is both easy to remember and professional in nature.
Link all of your social media pages to your oDesk profile
Once you have all of your social media pages set up, you should link them to your oDesk profile so that your clients will have the opportunity to connect with you and your work outside of oDesk to enhance the business relationship.
Part 3: Apply for Jobs and Get Hired!
Write an awesome workable cover letter template that you will tailor to each job
It is helpful to write a cover letter that captures the attention of your potential client in one glance. This starts with the opening line. Write something that will stand out in a sea of other applicants. This could be “I AM YOUR DESIGNER” or “I WILL MAKE YOUR LOGO SHINE”. Think about how to solve the client’s challenge and speak directly to that problem in the first line. The next paragraph should outline everything you will do for them (this part is customized to each job posting). The following paragraph should be a brief description of your design process and your work ethic. Close the cover letter with “I look forward to your interview, Your Name and then Your Title”.
Begin applying for jobs! Start by applying to 3 jobs that interest you each day
Every contractor is allowed to apply to 25 job postings a week. In the beginning when you are just starting out, you will want to take advantage of the full amount of postings. Not everyone wants to hire an oDesk newbie without any previous oDesk work experience, so just hang in there and keep applying and you will eventually get your foot in the door!
When applying, tailor each cover letter to specifically address the needs of the job
It is important to customize your cover letter to directly address the needs of your potential client’s job posting and clearly outline what you will do for them to provide them the value they are looking for. Make sure to read the client’s posting all the way through and clearly address each point they make. (lists are good!) If the client includes their name in their job posting – always use their name as the first word in your cover letter. On a couple of occasions this has been the REASON why I got hired for the job. You want to stand out so that they look at your application. Then surprise them by being refreshingly confident and to the point throughout the letter.
If applying for an hourly rate job, submit your cover letter at your hourly rate
Hourly rate jobs are guaranteed payment for the time you login to your oDesk work diary.
If applying for a fixed-price job, submit your cover letter for at least 50% upfront
The one downside to oDesk currently is that they do not offer guaranteed payment for fixed price job contracts. This means that a client could hire you, then you could do the work and send it to them, and then the client could just go ahead and cancel the job leaving you with no payment for a job well done. This can be extremely frustrating as there are those clients out there…
A good rule of thumb that I like to follow is to make sure that whatever amount you request upfront on fixed price jobs is an amount that you can live with if for some reason the client never gets around to closing out the contract and paying you the remanding balance owed. Always ask for a percentage upfront and start it out 50% (at least) for all NEW clients. After you’ve worked with a client once and have a good business relationship with them, then this rule no longer applies. However, if you are going to work for a new client for the first time, make sure you ask for a percentage (between 50%-100%) upfront or you may wish you did later.
Be available and respond immediately and professionally to all interviewers
After you begin gaining clients, receiving excellent feedback, and growing your portfolio, you will begin to find that clients start coming to you! Whether you apply for the job, or the client comes to you – make sure you respond within 24 hours time to every job interview or interview request you receive. oDesk tracks how quickly you respond to interview requests and it’s shown on your profile to all potential clients who may be interested in hiring you for your services. Keep up a good profile and you will do well!
Be ready to talk to your potential client via Skype
It is a good idea to be ready to communicate via Skype if the client or yourself should want to. Not every client needs a personal Skype call, but some clients like to have that option. Be personable and professional, just like you would be in any other job interview.
Once hired, begin work and keep all of your promises.
Once the client hires you (and only after the client hires you) begin work and keep all of the promises you made for deliverables, progress reports, etc. Work to exceed their expectations if at all possible and your client will surely refer or use you again for their next project task.
Want to Learn More?
I am currently in the process of putting together an online class and writing a book for individuals who would like to step out into working on oDesk for themselves as an independent contractor. Sign up to stay updated throughout the year on news regarding this class and book and you’ll receive a special discount! You will also receive a FREE printable checklist when you sign up!