Kyle asked me over email just the other day:
I am a web and graphic developer who works in Makati. My salary is not sufficient so I’m trying to look for ways to augment my income. I had created an account in oDesk but I am confused. Please help me.
The original wordings of these sentences are in Taglish (mixed Tagalog and English), but I had translated Kyle’s question for the benefit of the majority of the readers.
I usually get these kinds of emails but I had already grown tired of the typical responses I give. Usually I’d say they should visit this post about how oDesk works to get an overview of the entire system. Then I would give them this post on additional tips on how to land on that oDesk assignment. I would also mention the useful tips on how to collect their payment from the internet.
Too often many fulltime workers start their freelance career on the wrong mindset. These employees are often trained on how to perform well at their job. Freelancing is entirely different. Even the best tips on how to draft a good cover letter and write a very good freelancer profile is not simply enough. I realized that successful freelancers possess on vital ingredient for success: proper mindset and attitude for the job.
So my reply to Kyle went this way: before you go freelancing, ask yourself:
- Do you have time to commit to a job? Most freelance sites start out by bidding on projects. If a client is interested, he or she would initiate an interview, which is can be done over instant messaging, email and even voice calls. Even if the employee prefers to speak to clients outside of this work, he might find that arrangement difficult. Too often clients aren’t much sensitive to the preferred chat time of the freelancer. Freelancers lost their jobs to other available freelancers.
- Do you have entrepreneurial skills? Freelancing is more of a business rather than having an employer-employee relationship which is typical to any corporate workplace. The client is still the boss, because of the fact that he pays and he directs all the instructions needed to execute the project.
- Am I able to communicate well? Communication plays a big role in the success of a project. Even the best designer isnâ€™t able to satisfy a clientâ€™s expectation if the project expectations arenâ€™t relayed well. I believe freelancers are the ones who should get into the way of making clients comfortable to the task. Very good communicators know ways on how to determine a clientâ€™s needs before the client realizes that he needs that in the project.
- Are you able to market yourself? This is somehow related the second point, because this is a part of being business minded. An ideal provider to me is the one who know how much his services are worth and knows how to seal the deal. He would also need to walk out from any bad negotiation.
Everybody may want to be freelancers, but not everyone is fit enough to be successful freelancers. If you believe you have those four points, then you are not far to being a good freelancer. I would bet that with the right traits of a freelancer you might even consider to eventually quit your day job.