Note from Sean: This is a guest post from Lise Carter. She’s is the author of “The Definitive Guide to Getting Freelance Writing Work on oDesk”, a comprehensive guide to making money via outsourcing sites utilizing your freelance writing skills. She’s also the founder of AnneliseCarter.co.
Read to the bottom for a special gift from her.
Take it away Lise!
This has always confused me! Mainly because it has not been my experience!
And I was glad to hear that it is not other’s either. Dan Andrews from Tropical MBA, in his recent podcast, interviewed Damian Thompson from Linchpin who talks about how he first got started out and you guessed it, it was on oDesk!
He initially started out selling his copywriting services and then created an oDesk agency, making $10,000 per month.
Not bad for apparently not being able to make money from outsourcing websites! I’m pretty sure Damian wasn’t complaining!
Who is Lise Carter?
I myself started out freelance writing in 2010 when I started becoming bored with my job, stifled by working in the corporate world and sick of not being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted.
I couldn’t just nip off to do a bit of shopping at 10am in the morning, nor could I go and grab lunch with friends visiting from New Zealand because I always had some meeting or my boss ‘needed’ me over the lunch period.
I literally woke up one day and thought “Enough is enough.”
So, as an intelligent, motivated individual, I started poking around online, looking for something I could do. Freelance writing seemed like a good fit for me, because I’ve always found it far easier to express myself in words than any other medium.
Enter Location Rebel
Fast forward to August 2011 where I came across Sean’s ‘Location Rebel‘ and the answer to what I’d been looking for – a way to seriously replace my 9-5 job and income.
Within 3 months of joining Location Rebel, I’d landed my first client. And where did that first client come from? oDesk – that’s right!
My very first client on oDesk paid me $1,000 for a project to create some mini WordPress sites and the copy to go along with those sites.
I’d hit the gold mine! Or so I thought…
I quickly found that there were A LOT of low paying gigs on oDesk; it was a little disheartening at first.
But then, I figured out a way to actually find the jobs that paid well, the clients I wanted to work with and how I could convert those clients into long term, recurring clients.
Once I figured this out, my business started making some serious money. So serious in fact, that 10 months after joining Location Rebel, I quit my 9-5 to become a full-time freelance writer.
And because Sean has made such a huge difference in my life (thanks so much Sean!) I’ve offered to share with his readers (that’s you!) what I do to find high paying jobs, including local work, what to include in your profile to attract clients and how to convert those clients into ongoing clients.
Let’s jump straight into the juicy details!
How to Find The Jobs You Want (aka – how to find the jobs that pay well!)
I should mention here – not only did I complete the SEO writing blueprint in LR, I also completed the Search Engine Optimization blueprint too – which gave me a very sound base from which to work with.
oDesk can seem a little overwhelming at first, there is a lot to learn.
To help bring the overwhelming sensation down, there are definitely a few things you can do to make your life easier. Things that helped me get the successes I see today.
So, here’s what you should do to find high paying clients or local work:
Log into oDesk
Make sure you are on the “Find Work” tab
In the search box, enter a fixed price amount that you want to be paid for. For example, maybe you want to find clients that are paying $500, simply enter “$500” into the search box and hit enter.
oDesk will then present you with a list of all the jobs that are paying $500 – you will have to search through to find the ones you can do, but it’s a great way to instantly not waste your time on low paying jobs!
Let’s try something else. Go back to the search bar and type in “Texas”. This will bring up all jobs and clients that list Texas in either the job content or the client information.
This is how you find local people to work with
You can put any keyword you want into the search box to find the jobs you want to do. You can even enter company names to locate larger companies to work with.1
Thinking outside the norm here is to your advantage. Think about utilizing keyword research (from SEO best practices) and applying those same rules to searching for gigs on oDesk.
What to Include in Your Profile
There are other things you can do to ensure that clients find you. Not only are you able to search for jobs and clients you want to work with, clients can also search for relevant freelancers that match their own keywords.
So, to make the most of this, you should include in your profile’s overview your top 3 keywords. These keywords should be in the first sentence.
When you submit a proposal for a job on oDesk, the client get’s a summary of everyone that has applied. That summary only shows the first few lines of your cover letter and the first few lines of your profile – that’s all they see UNLESS they choose to view your full profile.
If you want to land clients in a specific niche, or you want to pick up clients because of a specific skill set you have, make sure it’s in your profile overview right at the start.
As I alluded to above, you should do the same in your initial cover letter. oDesk allows you to write straight into their free form area when applying for a gig, or you can also attach a document – do both.
In the document, include a link to your website (maybe to a specific landing page for oDesk clients) and include your Skype details – this is so they can contact you outside of oDesk to interview you (or work with you directly!).
A word of caution when working with clients directly – avoid doing this if you are new to oDesk.
Build up your profile, your rating and your hours on oDesk first before working with clients directly.
Once you have good ratings and some hours behind you on oDesk, oDesk will start promoting your profile to clients who are looking for the skills you’ve listed in your profile! I love oDesk for doing that 🙂
Also, there are some clients out there that are just not legit, and unless you have a good business foundation with proper contracts in place, working with a client directly can be fraught with some issues, namely payment.
I learned this the hard way when I worked with my first client directly outside of oDesk. I didn’t put a contract in place and the client didn’t pay me the $1,000 or so they owed me.
NEVER work with a client without a contract in place. It’s not worth the risk.
How to Convert Clients to Long Term, Recurring Income
As you grow your business on oDesk (or any outsourcing site), there comes a time when you want to have recurring income from the clients you have.
You can choose to work with them long term on oDesk, or you can negotiate with them to work directly with you.
There are a couple of things I do to ‘setup’ the client for converting into ongoing work:
I always complete the job ahead of schedule.
I aim to provide something extra, like an additional article on the same topic. At no extra charge.
Depending on the client, I may also offer some suggestions on how they could improve some area of their business, such as their blog, social media etc – again, free of charge.
The aim here is to over deliver. Every. Single. Time.
Once the work is complete, send your client a quick message letting them know you are available for ongoing work and how much you enjoyed working with them.
In my experience, 8 out of 10 clients will either offer you more work or commit to ongoing work outside of oDesk.
And if they don’t have any work, don’t forget to ask for referrals!
I hope you found this information beneficial and I look forward to hearing how your journey is going as a freelance writer or as a freelancer in general!
As a special gift to all Sean’s readers, head over to my site to receive your free gift “10 Brutal Mistakes New Freelancers Make (And How YOU Can Avoid Them)”.
Lise Carter is the author of “The Definitive Guide to Getting Freelance Writing Work on oDesk”, a comprehensive guide to making money via outsourcing sites utilizing your freelance writing skills. She is also the founder of AnneliseCarter.co.