Freelancing: How did I start freelancing online?

So I do have a full time job at an actual office about 10 minutes from our apartment as an IT Supervisor for the past 5 years. But being a single mom (without financial support from Xavier’s dad) is financially a feat! So I had to find ways to keep the roof over our heads and our stomachs filled. So when I tell people that I part time online, the question I get asked all the time is “HOW?”. The answer to that is about 5 years in the making.

Now before you get discouraged, let me motivate you by saying as a part time freelancer, my hourly rate online is 3 times what I get paid as an IT Supervisor. Now don’t get intimated with my skills, you might think “duh, she’s got that rate because of her geek skills, I don’t have the same skills set as her“. Yes you’re right, we don’t have the same skills set, BUT before you go concluding that my online is probably some fancy programming kind’a thing, let me rain on your parade by confessing that this rate is actually as a “Virtual Assistant”. Honestly, with the things I have to handle at the office, I need no-brainer online jobs, I can’t risk overworking my brain. I’m sure you’ve probably heard that there’s a thin line between geeks and the crazy. LOL

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Anyhow, here’s how I did it; 

1. I created an account in one of those online freelancing platforms. There’s more than a dozen out there now – People per Hour and oDesk Elance (just naming the two I’ve tried).  I don’t mean to discourage you but I started oDesk roughly 5 years ago. Online freelancing was not that big back then. And so I created my oDesk account in March 9, 2010.

2. Then I started applying on those no-brainer job posts, to be specific – data entry that involves copy + paste only. Btw, if you’re not familiar with the platform, there’s thousands of job posts waiting for you to apply and bid. So with oDesk back then, there’s a job quota, you have a limit on how many jobs you can apply. Now, oDesk has implemented the Connects (click here to read more about oDesk Connects).

3. I took every single freaking oDesk test I thought I’d do well, (of course you’re required to pass the oDesk Readiness Test first) and retook them if I wasn’t satified with the results. Some posts will require you certain tests too.

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4. I started low – I mean $1/hour low. Data entry is not exactly high paying but $$$ was not exactly what I was after (please note that I was a carefree, happy go lucky, young pro back then), I was just curious about online freelancing.

5. After countless declined applications and more applications sent, I landed my first hourly job. Another FYI, oDesk has 2 types of job post, one that pays you hourly and fixed projects which you get paid twice – upfront payment and once the job has been completed. My first online gig was not that great at all as you can see below.

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6. I kept going. Some job posts will require the freelancer to have high ratings (feedback stars) and certain number of oDesk hours worked too. So that was my next goal, to keep a 5 star rating and increase my oDesk hours worked. I was not so much into my hourly rate, earning a reputation was the main thing. And so more data entry jobs came after that.

7. I had to level-up my skills set. Data entry was becoming boring and making me sleepy. I needed more interesting jobs. So I had to explore other job posts that I know I can deliver what the client needed. I turned into graphics designing, website designing and email marketing. Okay, now I sounded geeky – haha! Don’t give up just yet, although I already know graphics and web designing, I was completely clueless with email marketing. In fact, the client was the one who trained me how to do it. Which brings me to my point number 8.

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8. Build a good profile (this should have been number 2-3, but I’m speaking from experience and honestly, I only revised my profile sometime in 2012). Make sure that your profile and your application will give the client the impression that you might not have the skills required for his job post BUT you’re willing to move mountains just to learn what needs to be done and excel at it too.

9. I made friends with my clients. Always have that personal but not too personal conversation with them. When you become friends with your clients, you talk about how Christmas is like here, talk about Game of Thrones or your pets, then you build relationship with them. I’ve shared photos of Xavier and Shepherd with a few of my clients and I’ve also seen them celebrate St. Patricks and how they dressed up for Halloween. It’s basically just like how it works at your workplace (office), when you make “chicka” with your boss and colleagues about your date or why you have a hangover.

So that’s about how I got into freelancing online. I got a lot more to share about my freelancing experience but I would not want you to get discouraged from reading this post just because it’s too long. So TTYL then.

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