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Best 'freelance' website to find projects
where do I find them?

 1:15 am on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I know we are not supposed to post outside links, but I want to know if any of you guys use some of those 'freelance' websites to find jobs (especially Flash related).
If you guys do use these websites, which ones are the best? which ones give the best, honest results?
(I am in the US and I do mostly Flash, but also JavaScript, CSS and HTML)

Thank you



 5:56 am on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

Honestly JP, the best way for you to find freelance work is to contact local design agencies, marketing agencies, web shops, ISPs; businesses who may have their own staff of developers but who may occasionally need extra hands on a freelance basis. Use your social network, contact local businesses, and make your prowess known to the industry via networking events & social opportunities.

Get to know industry people in your area; the entrepreneurs, the affiliate marketing players.

When you solicit yourself on those hire-a-freelancer sites, you're competing internationally against people who can live for months on rupees that would barely pay your rent. And, the kinds of employers you'll find are those that are also vying for the cheapest, fastest turnaround they can get in that market. I don't have anything against these sites, but I doubt you can rely on them for a reliable income.

You could try WebmasterWorld's Commercial Exchange [webmasterworld.com] forum, too.


 6:09 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

local design agencies, marketing agencies, web shops, ISPs;

In cities, I agree, but I live in a rural area covering three towns, approximately 200 mi. X 200 mi., everyone knows everyone, and getting local work is never what you know, it's who you . . . . err . . . . know. :-) It's a wash. Since I'm not related to any of the good ol' boys, it's a waste of time for me.

I use those freelance sites. All of them (that I've found, so far; there are a lot of clones that are totally bunk.)

I won't venture an opinion on which one is "best", but I will say this: people are the same everywhere. Over the years, I've proven to myself, and hopefully can demonstrate to others, the fallacy in this statement:

you're competing internationally against people who can live for months on rupees that would barely pay your rent.

This statement is absolutely 100% true, yes, poorer economies - well, let's say it, since you used rupees - like India and Pakistan - CAN feed their family for a week on $50. Often they DO "underbid" or drive down pricing. But when you think about it, low pricing through outsourcing is a problem created by the large industries of the West, and now we have no place to complain about a problem that *we* created. But that's another story.

My only reason for raising this point is that most of the "underbidding" is done not by providers in poorer economies, but by Western providers who absolutely misunderstand the problem, and drop THEIR prices thinking this is what they have to do to compete.

This is completely false.

There are two serious problems with the way freelancers work online:

1. Thinking "it's all about price." I've been flamed to the roof by making this statement, but it's absolutely true, and I survive by living by it. With a quality client, it is SELDOM about price.

2. Internet "marketing" gurus and their eBooks that tell you how to get quality work for real cheap. These guys are the scum that have truly driven freelancing to the ground. Clients who are using their principles are easy to spot, easy to avoid, and their money is no loss to me. It is these guys, and the clients who have bought into their scams, that are the real problem in underbidding. This is no joke: I have seen people seriously asking for 500 word articles for $1 each, with a twist of the knife: "should be an easy job for someone who knows what they are doing."

So which freelance sites? All of them. Any of them. You'll find sharks and vultures everywhere, but in between, maybe one in 1000, you will find *real* clients, quality clients, who value your work and are willing to pay for it. It always gives my heart a light skip to see a list of 25 $50 proposals, and "awarded" next to the professional who bid $700 -$2000. Good for you, here is someone who "gets it." It's not always me, but sometimes it is. And I do this because my proposals address the problem best (another story that will spin wildly off topic, "what's a good proposal?")

You have to dig through a lot of sand to find the gold nugget. There is no magic bullet, there is no secret, just solve people's problems, solve them well, and you will find them.

Never worry about price or what anyone else is doing. It's a hard rule to follow, price is the only thing people seem to understand, and that **is** the problem. If your prospective client is all about price, you don't need that work.

Charge what the project is worth, justify your costs in your proposal, and absolutely positively never drop your price if asked. Not even $10. This is the first test you will be given: if I can chip away at your price, I can change scope too . . . because you proved you'll let me.

There are great clients out here. They are hard to find, but they are here.


 8:49 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not relying on freelance jobs right now, but I was recently, I have in the past, and I've learned some lessons the hard way. The other lessons, I learned from people like rocknbil. :)

One of those lessons was NEVER to lower your prices to compete. Instead, compete by offering impeccable quality work to elevate your reputation.

Freelancer bidding sites have never worked for me. I've probably written a half dozen brief proposals for projects that never materialized. If the ratio is really 1:1000, then it's no wonder I never got work that way.

All the freelance jobs worth my time have been found by word of mouth, by meeting business owners, by making sure people who hire people are in my facebook friend list, in my LinkedIn contacts, in my phone book, that I stay in touch with them all a few times a year even if it's just a birthday greeting on their wall or an emailed Purim card or Yule greeting.

Good to hear that there is gold among the gravel. But how do you manage all that sifting!


 8:39 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

But how do you manage all that sifting!

Hitting this one first . . . first you have to have an ability to "read between the lines" of an RFP, know if this client is earnest or a cheapskate, and "see" the questions they don't know how to ask. The turkeys are easy to spot:

"I could do this myself but don't have the time"
"Easy job for someone who knows what they're doing"
"There's more work if you do this one well" (There's NEVER more work)
"you MUST show me x and y and z" (when x and y and z are poor indicators of a good resolution)
Job history, a long history of $50 awards for $500 jobs, yer' outta there buddy . . .
10 projects posted, zero awarded - always a red flag.

There are many more . . . but it comes with time. Often I'll see a lone RFP, zero bids, poor description . . . but my crystal ball says "this one. I can help this person, they just don't know it."

I've probably written a half dozen brief proposals for projects that never materialized.

This is the second thing many providers don't get, and I've proven this to myself via sites with "open bidding." You have to see the teaser in quote #1, this can tell you a lot about their degree of seriousness. Then the proposal has to be just like I said: about them, about the project.

There's more to it, and no, I don't **always** get it right, but in the cases where I don't, I consider it a dodged bullet. Usually I wind up feeling sorry for the poor sap who got the $500 job for $50. :-)


 7:19 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi JP, Register with freelancer.com and Elance.com

Best communication make a freelancer to succeed in any of the freelance site...

- Srihari


 1:10 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

As a (western) supplier this order:
RAC - last resort

Ignore the others.

Pay the premiums on the first 2 as with any marketing you need visibility or it wont work at all.

When you solicit yourself on those hire-a-freelancer sites, you're competing internationally against people who can live for months on rupees that would barely pay your rent.

Not so - I often hire onshore using these, much easier/lower cost than agencies or ISVs and for non-programming (like the OP offers) there is more talent onshore, its easier to display work, and theres more requirement to communicate in pre sales.

Dont try and compete with offshore on cost.


 3:48 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

From the buyer perspective - I recently posted a job on Elance for a graphic cartoon character. In my head I was willing to pay up to $200 for the character, which I described using a couple paragraphs and attaching four images to show style and form desired. I received about 20 responses and about half of the responders seemed qualified with bids ranging from $50-$250. So how to choose?

I ended up accepting bids from 2 suppliers and one of them did a great job, and the other was so bad as to not be believable. The bad one's work was NOTHING like the samples in his portfolio, the work was simply terrible. Even with detailed feedback (like: You spelled the name wrong) the supplier could not get it straight. The good one was great and easy to work with and I am pleased with the result. I have asked for 4 more designs.

The moral of the story? Buyers can have pretty bad experiences pretty quickly, and this can make them shy away from inexpensive choices. So the cheap prices and shoddy work of others can be to your advantage if your buyer has been burned in the past. Do good work, communicate well and let the poor quality players make you look good.


 5:45 pm on Jun 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

That . . . is an awesome take from a freelance site buyer, thank you.

So how to choose?

Some thoughts in this thread, few lines down [webmasterworld.com]. There's a lot to be gleaned from **how** a provider arranges a proposal. Bottom line: "don't tell me, show me." :-)

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