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Tips & Insights Into Online Freelancing

What Is Online Freelancing?
Freelancing is one of the very best ways to make a bit of money if you are a college or university student. Likewise, any other young people who are out of work but have access to the internet can make decent money doing online freelancing using skills they already have – or skills that they can improve over the internet.

Online freelancing is carrying out tasks that other people don’t have the time, inclination or skills to carry out themselves. If you have spare time and access to the internet at home or elsewhere then you can use your skills to make money freelancing online.
How Does Online Freelancing Work?
Freelance work from home Typically, someone will post a job or project on an online freelance website and interested freelancers will bid on the job. They say how much they would charge to complete the task and why they are the best person to carry it out. Often, these proposals are ‘sealed’ so that only the hirer can see the full details of all of the proposals – the aim being to prevent providers trying to undercut the bids that other freelancers have already been placed.

The person who posted the task then chooses from all of the proposals that they’ve received and awards the job to the cheapest provider or the freelancer they consider to be the best-qualified for the task.

The freelancer then carries out the work and sends the completed project back to the hirer. If both parties are agreed that the project has been carried out in a suitable manner then payment will be facilitated.
What Sort Of Work Is Available?
There is a wide variety of work available that can be carried out online so you should be able to find at least a few things that you could perform as a freelancer.

Just some of the projects you could bid on include:
  • Article Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Proofreading
  • Editing
  • Online Research
  • Programming
  • Copywriting
  • Transcription
  • Translation
  • Data Entry
  • Spreadsheet Work
  • Virtual Personal Assistant
  • Data Analysis
Basically, the list is endless. If you have a skill that is in demand, then there’s a good chance that someone out there will be posting tasks looking for someone just like you.
How Much Do Freelancers Earn?
The amount you earn depends on the rates you set. You could pick up small projects for anywhere between £20 and £50, right up to earring well over £100 per project. Much of it will be down to your skillset and how quickly you can turn projects around, but typically as you become more experienced you can charge higher prices for your work.
Can I Freelance In My Spare Time?
One of the best things about freelancing is that you can choose when and where you work, so you can easily do it in your spare time! As long as you are meeting your deadlines, you are free to work whenever suits you. This means you can work in the evenings or around your studies if you’re a student as you are effectively your own boss and are in control.
How Do Online Freelancers Get Paid?
Often, as soon as the task is completed and both parties are agreed that everything is okay, the job is marked as complete and the hirer will pay over the agreed amount to the freelancer.

Some freelance websites or particular tasks involve an ‘Escrow’ system which aims to guarantee upfront that both parties will be happy with how the job is completed. Usually, the hirer pays the money to the freelance website as soon as the job is awarded and they hold the funds until the job is marked as complete and everyone is happy. In the event of any dispute, the freelance website will arbitrate before the money is either paid over to the provider or refunded to the hirer.
Yet other tasks can be carried out on an hourly basis where you ‘clock in’ to the freelance website while you are working and invoices are produced based on the number of hours you’ve actually been working on the project.

The money builds up in your online freelance account until it reaches a minimum payout level, at which point the freelance site will either send the money over to your bank account, send out a cheque, or pay you via PayPal etc.

Some of the freelance sites also produce credit card style cards which they will send to you and which can subsequently be ‘loaded’ with your freelance earnings.
What Are The Best Freelance Websites?
There are loads of freelance websites to choose from – and all of them have their plus points and minus points. Some are better for beginners who are looking to get their first freelance job online. Others are better for students or young people who have more advanced skills or who already have a few online freelance projects under their belt.

On balance, some of the best websites for online freelance work that we have found include: If you’ve never done any online freelance work before then it’s worth taking a bit of time to browse through all of these websites to see what sort of jobs or projects are available and which sites have the sort of work that best matches your particular skill set or strong points.

Also, try to work out the fee structures for the different websites. It’s best to know exactly how much of the amount you bid for the job is actually going to hit your account.
How To Stand Out From The Crowd As A Freelancer
Complete Your Profile

One of the most important things you can do if you want to be successful as an online freelancer is to fill your profile out properly and make it stand out from the crowd.

All too often you see freelance websites littered with freelancer profiles containing nothing more than a name and a tiny bit of education background. Would you hire someone based on a profile like that?

No – so don’t leave your own online profile incomplete or nobody is going to award a job to you.

Highlight Your Skills

As you would with a real-world CV, spend a bit of time filling out something about yourself in every single profile field that you can, and give reasons why you should be hired for the freelance contract rather than someone else.

What are your unique selling points? Are you simply the best programmer around? Is your spelling and grammar much better than the average user of the website? If so, then let potential employers know that on your profile – and back it up with evidence.

Add a Photo

Always make the effort to add a profile photo of yourself. Most contractors won’t even notice a profile with the bog standard default profile image, so upload a good photo of yourself looking friendly, professional – and very hireable!

Get Good Feedback

Whenever you manage to secure a freelance job and successfully complete it, make sure you try to get the hirer to leave some good feedback on your profile about you. Getting strong testimonies from previous job awarders is one of the best ways to make sure your freelancer profile looks impressive to potential future job awarders.

Take Free Skills Tests

Some of the online freelance sites allow you to carry out free skills tests to display your proficiency at certain tasks on your profile. For example, you might see a free skill test about spelling and grammar. If you are hoping to get freelance work writing articles or proofreading then make sure you carry out those sorts of free tests to give potential hirers one more reason to pick you rather than someone else.
Some Pitfalls Of Freelancing – And How To Avoid Them
Bidding On Jobs You Can’t Actually Do

If you don’t think you could carry out a task in a way that is going to satisfy the hirer, then it’s probably best not to even make a bid proposal in the first place. If the hirer isn’t happy with the work you send back to them, then it’s only going to lead to disputed payments and negative feedback. You don’t need that sort of things at any stage of your freelancing career.

Bidding Too High At The Start

With online freelancing you often need to start out with very low bid prices just to get yourself noticed. Too many people over-value their skills at the beginning and are left disappointed because they are never awarded any jobs.

Once you’ve get a few cheap jobs behind you, and have built up your profile with great feedback from previous hirers, then you can start to raise your prices. Some hirers will be prepared to pay more for jobs when they can see that you’ve already managed to complete tasks to the satisfaction of other hirers.

Not Checking Out The Hirer’s Profile

The majority of people who post jobs on freelance websites are honest hirers who just want to get a task completed to the standard they require.

As you would expect, though, unfortunately there are a few unscrupulous hirers who try to take advantage of the system to get work completed for free by freelancers. They either just refuse to pay the freelancer or they create enough of a dispute and the threat of negative feedback that the freelancer would rather just walk away.

Asking these questions will help you decide whether a hirer has genuine intentions about the jobs they are posting. And the good news is that the vast majority of hirers do have genuine intentions.
How Can I Be A Successful Freelancer? – Some Takeaways
  • Have a look over the freelance websites we picked out above or try to find some niche freelance websites if you have a particular skill that might be much in demand
  • Sign up for an account with all of the freelance websites that you feel most suit you and give you the best chance of finding work
  • Fill out your profile as much as possible
  • Start bidding on jobs
  • Start earning money as an online freelancer!
  • Find the latest freelance jobs for students and graduates below
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