These days more and more people are deciding to work from home by setting up Internet businesses. Most popular of all, people are providing website design and development services right from their own home offices. While these can be a good source of revenue on their own, many people are supplementing their income by joining up to Freelancer websites.
Freelancer websites are a great way of earning a little extra cash for the web savvy. There is always an interesting array of projects, no matter what your field may be. These websites also offer numerous opportunities to enter into long term business ventures with clients, once you have proved your worth as a provider.
A number of large, well known firms have acquired work from freelance providers who sit at home and complete some rather complex projects. Also, a number of freelance providers have landed dream jobs just by starting out as basic providers on these websites.
With all the hype about freelance websites, it is easy to see why many stay at home workers are turning to them to provide a little extra cash flow. More work is obtained via good reports and reputation scores. By putting in a few hours a week working with project buyers, it is easy to achieve good ratings in a very short time.
However, as with all things, there can be some issues when entering into freelance work with these online websites.
Firstly, obtaining payment for completed work can sometimes be problematic. Being a freelancer myself, I know how frustrating it can be to work on a project for days on end and then find that the client has vanished into the night when it comes time to release the payment. To try and combat this, many freelancer websites suggest using their Escrow payment systems as a form of protection, rather than to indulge in direct payment transfers. While this is good in theory, the practice is often not such a good thing. In dispute situations, these websites often side with project buyers, even after the freelancer submits evidence of completion. This is mainly because the freelancer websites make most money off people buying projects than from the freelancers.
Also, there is always the prospect of getting a bad review. You might have done every thing asked to perfection, but if there is a clash of personality with the project buyer you might end up with a bad review. This can be problematic, especially if you are a new freelancer as future clients will read your reviews in order to see whether you are a good service provider. While you can ask that negative review comments are removed, often your ratings will still suffer. It’s hard to explain that all work might have been completed, and that the previous buyer might just harbor a dislike for you personally rather than your work.
One major problem I have found to be most irritating is that of a “problem buyer”. You can spot them easily one you enter into a contract with them. They are always the ones who want more work done than was specified in the original agreement and who refuses to pay until all his new demands are met. Unfortunately I have had to deal with a number of these people in my time, and it never gets any easier to tell them no. My advice is to strongly state all you intend to do prior to accepting a project. If the buyer still expects more, refuse the project. In all honesty, no matter how much you do for such buyer, the likelihood you will ever get paid is pretty much zero.
Another problem is that many freelance buyers often try and “knock down” the price for your services significantly. One client I encountered asked for an initial homepage design for a website at a reasonable price, then requested I complete the rest of the website (over 50 pages) for $10. Stick to your guns when dealing with people like this. They are in need of your services, and not the other way around. Charge a fair price and stick to it, no matter what sob story them may come up with.
In saying that, the majority of clients I have met through working as a freelance provider have been very honest and decent people. I now have a good client base of regular customers I first encountered on freelancer websites and have also had opportunities to obtain permanent positions with some big companies.
Freelancing is a great way for obtaining good contacts and that little bit of extra cash every month. Just be aware of the potential problems before you choose to make freelancing your primary career.