What is oDesk and How Does it Work ?
oDesk is an online platform where freelancers and clients join forces to get a job done. Freelancers look for work, clients have the work. Posting their job into one of 75 categories, small companies and individuals use oDesk to hire home-based workers to perform specific jobs from blogging to web design to data entry, and everything in between. Why ? It is cheaper for them than hiring in-house personnel.
With oDesk, you – the freelancer – have the opportunity to bid on any job you feel qualified for. In a nutshell: you create a profile and set your desired hourly pay rate (see How Much Will I Get Paid below), and take skill tests. You can then search the available “jobs” in the categories that interest you and apply for the ones that look good to you. Companies post hourly as well as fixed rate jobs, with the hourly jobs typically being longer-term.
How Do I Get A Job With ODesk ?
First let me say this: you will not be working for oDesk. You are a contractor (freelancer, 1099′er) and you perform work for a client that has posted a gig on oDesk.
It is important to create a compelling profile on oDesk. As the first job is the hardest one to get, your profile is what sells you. Use proper grammar and spelling, be specific in your accomplishments, and get straight to the point of how you can help them. It’s within the setting-up of your profile that you indicate your skills.
Skill tests are as important as a well designed profile – they set your skill level. This enables a client to determine if you are the right person for their job. After setting up your profile, click the TEST tab to see which tests you can take. Take as many tests as you think are appropriate. The tests that I have completed were fairly simple; they were related to my specific talents and took about 30 minutes to complete. Of course, this depends on your personal skills and the related tests, but I believe oDesk claims the tests take about 30 – 40 minutes to complete. After completing the test and learning your score, you may re-take it in 30 days.
You begin to build a reputation as you complete more jobs, which increases based on feedback from clients for whom you performed work. Your reputation plays a role in getting the next jobs.
For new freelancers with no reputation you are only allowed to apply for two to five jobs at a time. This may not sound like much if you are serious about working at a full time capacity, but you may be pleasantly surprised at how much work you can accumulate with just a few gigs. As your reputation builds, you can apply to more jobs.
Will I Really Be My Own Boss ?
Although the work is done virtually, and you do not have a boss breathing down your neck watching your every move. you are free to work when you want. That being said, many companies who utilize freelance services are weary of being ripped-off by excessive-charging contractors. If you are working an hourly gig, oDesk logs your hours worked via Team application. This ensures accurate record keeping of hours for both you and your client. ODesk also offers communication tools so you can effectively relay information to the hiring client.
How Much Will I Get Paid ?
The tricky part is determining what you are worth. If you are new to freelancing, you may not know how much to charge for your type of work and skill level.
Tip: peruse oDesk and see what contractors in your field, at a similar skill level, charge. If you are like me when I started out, you may sell yourself a bit cheaper than you really are worth. Don’t worry, as you gain confidence and reputation, you can – and probably should – price yourself a bit higher.
How Do I Get Paid ?
Getting paid from oDesk is a simple process. That’s right, you are paid from oDesk, not the client. The client pays to oDesk 100% of your pay rate; you get 90% and oDesk retains the remaining 10%. Through your oDesk dashboard, you may withdraw your accumulated funds after payment is processed.