Lately, I’ve been trying to come up with some original advice to help ya’ll in your freelance writing endeavors. It’s harder than it looks. There are countless sites out there on the Internet that cover everything from pitch letters to site reviews and any obscure idea in between. I want to actually help. Regurgitating the same old blah blah blah ain’t gonna cut it. So, I thought I’d start a new Let’s Series about how to find success workingon a freelance writing site. Introductions made, let’s do work.
The first year or so of my freelance writing career was spent bidding day after day on projects at Freelancer. For those who do not know, Freelancer is a bid-for site like Elance, ODesk and others. I spent countless hours composing targeted bids for projects that paid pennies. I ended up getting a lot of jobs from these types of freelance writing sites over the years, and I’ve met clients that I still work with. However, you’ll spend a lot of time bidding on worthless projects. But there are a few simple things you can do as a freelance writer to cut down on the wasted time.
1. Compose a Generic Bid – Don’t make it too generic. A large percentage of projects I’ve won have been from a targeted, specific bid. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time bidding. Write up an easily adapted opening bid and change it so that it is relevant to the project. Regardless of your opening, you’ll find your bread and butter in private messages to the client.
2. Make Your Bid Immaculate – With the above said, make sure your opening proposal outshines everyone else. Ensure your grammar and spelling is spot on and your bid is relevant to what the buyer wants.
3. Give Samples And Examples – Give reasons why you’re right for the job. Copy and paste your opening bid, but then follow up with a private message containing your writing samples and examples of your published work. This is where a personal website pays dividends.
4. Find That Middle Ground – Price yourself in the mid-range. Over-pricing will get overlooked while under-pricing will get took for granted.
5. Know When To Walk Away – Look at the buyer’s stats. If they have a horrible payment or complaint record, walk away. If their pay is low, walk away. If their instructions are obscure, walk away. The last thing you need is to get entangled with a client who won’t pay, pays too low or can’t decide on what they want.
6. Find The Right Project – With these bid-for sites you got to be selective. You’re going to get countless emails and notifications about freelance writing projects. Most of them will be worthless compared to the time it takes to bid. Learn the trends and be choosy. Time is money.
7. Get That Rating Right – All bid-for sites give ratings for both the buyer and the producer. No matter how shitty your first or fifth project may be, get it done to the best of your ability. A good rating will net you higher paying jobs in the future.
8. Learn How To Work The System – These bid-for sites take a good chunk of cash in fees from both the buyer and producer. After you’ve built some trust with the project creator, suggest going independent to save money on both sides.
9. Stay Positive – You’re not going to get accepted for every project. Some clients will turn out to be total dicks. That’s life. Don’t let it ruin your dream.
10. Other Sites Pay Upfront – For some reason, I didn’t figure this out for years. There are sites, such as Textbroker and MyAms, which pay per article. If you get fed up with bidding, these freelance writing sites are your fallback and a sure-fire way to earn a steady income.
Hopefully, you don’t make the same mistakes that I did. If you’re going to work on bid-for freelance sites, know what you’re looking for, and don’t undersell yourself. With that said, there is a huge potential to make money on these types of sites. Just follow these guidelines, and you should be good to go.