Freelancing 101

The new (not so new anymore) online marketplace is supposed to be a boon for anyone who’s doing freelance work as a full-time endeavor or a sideline. The voice-work realm is probably like any other aspect of creative work in this regard. There’s a bit of wheat and a whole lot of chaff. I’ve been making the rounds for several months and find them mostly wanting. Fiverr is what the name implies: jobs that pay five bucks. I’ve hired a couple of people there for book promotion but I wouldn’t offer my services. I can’t think of a thing I’d do for five bucks. Perhaps if you’re doing something that’s in high demand and it didn’t cost you much and you got five bucks every time you sent that thing to someone alongside another job that paid a decent rate… no, even then, I don’t think five bucks is enough. If you can’t afford to pay a decent rate then you shouldn’t be able to get that service, in my opinion. The only person who’s making $5 work is comic Louis CK who sells his stand-up specials for that much through his website and has a million sales in about a week.

Upwork is a brilliant concept for those who don’t need a full-time employee but have occasion to hire out for a certain skill. From video makers to blog writers to voice-over artists, Upwork features the gamut of creative talents and scads of jobs to match their skills. Once again, though, cheapness is the rule of the day. Derek gets a lot of good work via Upwork but he’s also a full-time voice artist. He has the time to search for better jobs and he’s not afraid to ask for more than the posted rate, or say no thanks when someone tries to low-ball him. I took a couple of small jobs via Upwork for less than I’d normally charge, just to look legitimate there. The site recently warned me that my profile would be made invisible at the end of the month if I didn’t book more work. Discouraged by the number of ultra-cheap jobs available to female VO artists I recently searched instead for freelance writing jobs and was appalled by the pitches. Example: 1,000 word articles for $10 each. “Must be completely original (we will check!) and you must give up all rights to the work.” Another one offered $25 for ten separate articles! With offers like that, they will attract only the least experienced writers who are desperate to say they’ve been published.

Flexjobs looks great and I do know someone who got work through them. Many of the listings are for telecommuters which make them appealing to stay-at-home parents and others who want to work from home. They don’t offer much for me, as a freelancer, but if I was going to venture out on my own, they would become part of my roster.

Outsourcely is a newer kid on the block but it’s closing in on a million remote workers. Its competitive edge is allowing employer and employee to talk in real time via its website. Private chat and video interviewing are available. They’ll also verify an applicant’s work history and their jobs are more stable and/or full-time. Outsourcely will being the two parties together and let them work out the job’s details. There are some really good opportunities on the site. If you’re an employer, they’re offering a 30% discount on services with the promo code: staff30.

There are many other job-seeking sites out there geared to freelancing and self-employment. Some say it depends on how much time you’re willing to invest in searching and applying but I truly think people are just getting cheaper. Many are not willing to pay what it takes to get top talent and what they’re offering is insulting. It cheapens the whole industry. It’s part of the reason why is on a buying spree right now. They took on a major partner and with that investment, have started to eat up smaller companies. This way, they’ll increase their client base and retain their position as market leaders who demand a certain standard in quality and compensation. I might just sign up with them again. That will make it my second-shortest boycott after the three weeks I spent ignoring Sears. When I recently decided to make an online purchase of a personal item, I found that it was $10 cheaper at Sears. Ten dollars is enough to make a difference. And after the outcry over executive compensation the company did create a fund for Sears employees who were let go without severance. Boy, can I ever digress! What was this post about again? Squirrel!



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