The Online Freelancing Folly

by A.D Paterson on 07/11/2010

Online freelancing has become very popular over the last few years, but it has also caused a lot of people more problems than it’s worth.

In this article we’re going to have a look at some of the problems associated with doing online freelancing. We’ll have a quick look at why some folks are doing it, and then we’ll look at a few of the things to bear in mind if you decide to have a go at trying a bit of online freelancing.

Why are so many taking to the internet to make money?

Everyday there are more people taking to the internet to find a way to supplement their incomes. Some only need a small amount of money to keep paying the bills on time, but others have found that they are suddenly in a large financial hole that they can’t see any way of clawing themselves out of.

There are a large number of reasons, and each one is just as good as the other.

If you’ve been online for any length of time you’ll have seen that every man and his dog is (allegedly) making money online, and it’ll lead you to believe that it’s going to be an easy fix for your financial problems – but it isn’t. Yes, people are making money online, but most will have struggled to get to that stage, it isn’t an easy fix, it takes time and effort.
It’s usually at this stage that the majority will give up, and most of the rest will suddenly stumble on the idea of online freelancing.

What’s wrong with online freelancing?

Well, generally, there’s nothing wrong with doing this. You can start to live your dreams of making money online, but there are a few things that you’re going to need to take into account when you’re doing it.

First, was it really your intention to get a second job working for someone else? Most folks when deciding to work online do it because it gives them a sense of freedom that they don’t get from working for someone else, but, that’s exactly what you will be doing.

When you take on an online freelancing job you’ll be committing yourself to completing that task over a certain number of days, with status reports filed regularly, and for a pre agreed amount of money for doing the task.

If there are delays it could cost you financially. If your work isn’t up to scratch they may have the option to refuse it and not pay you. Then there are the other costs involved. There will be a fixed fee to go to the company that you found the job through, and you may decide to pay extra to apply for more than x number of jobs per month.

All of these costs need to be noted so that you can work out if the amount of money your willing to receive to do the job is actually a profitable way to spend your time.

How could it not be a profitable way if you’ve got money coming in from it?

An advertised job, put up recently on an online freelancing site, had job seekers willing to write for US$30. Not too shabby you might think, but, and this is where many of these job seekers go wrong – they don’t read the advert thoroughly, the person was only paying US$1 every 400-500 words.

Now, most article writers will write articles of around 500 words, meaning, if your bid of writing for US$30 is accepted, you’ll have to write about 30 articles to get that money. To make a reasonable hourly wage of say US$15 per hour you’ll have to write 15 articles, which is one 500 word article every 4 minutes.

Another wanted someone to write 35 articles in 3 days and most bids were coming in at around US$30 to get the job. If you were the lucky person chosen to do it you’d be working for US$10 per day and writing between 11 and 12 500 word articles per day.

Then you have to take the fees that you worked out earlier off of the amount you’re getting.

Over the years two things seem to have happened to get online freelancing to the stage where the job seekers are doing a lot of work for very little in return.

The first is that the expectation of the person posting the job has risen. That doesn’t mean that they used to accept any old rubbish, and now they want reasonable quality work. It means that they expect to get more for their money. It wasn’t unreasonable for people to pay upwards of US$10 for a good quality article in the past, but now, they want at least 3 top notch articles for that same US$10.

Why the change in online freelancing? There are so many people out there trying to get the same jobs. Out sourcing work has become a buyer’s market, and the folks bidding for the work aren’t doing themselves any favours by going in with extremely low bids. Sure, it might secure you the work, but at what cost when it comes to the time taken to do it verses the money you’ll get?

With the number of job seekers willing to bid ridiculously low to get the work, the people offering the work feel that they can ask for more to be done. And why shouldn’t they demand more? If you don’t do it, someone else will, won’t they?
So, what have we learnt from this article about online freelancing?

People aren’t finding that they can make money from some of the other ideas being taught, so they go for the online freelancing option.

Because there are so many job seekers trying that method to make money they undercut each other’s bids, which drives down the money they can make, but still means they have a lot to do to make it.

A lot of people aren’t fully reading what they have to do as part of the job, and find that they are doing more than they bargained for.

Even when they do think they have a good deal, they aren’t always subtracting other costs to find out the amount of money they’re really working for.

And finally, the people advertising the jobs are asking for more and more to be done, and know that they will still get it done at a rock bottom price because job seekers will undercut unrealistically just to be making money online.

Having said all of that, some people really are doing well from online freelancing.

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