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Where do you hunt for your clients online?

Freelancer looking for places to find new clients

     
2:03 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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So, i’m a rookie freelancer developer and teleworking on one small Europe based web developing company.
Now i’m looking for good outsource portal were I can bid for a project so I really can work on myself and earn more money.
I’ve looked a bunch of freelancers site and decided that elance.com and guru.com are the best one…..
So the question is have anybody used this services to find clients and what do you think of them.
I found that there is a lot of very cheap India based and Pakistan based developers providing Wal-Mart quality for Wal-Mart price. But if I can provide really high design and developing quality will i find well paid work here?
Sincerely, Dmitry.
9:16 am on Jan 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just because these developers are providing Wal-Mart prices doesn't necessarily mean that the quality is inferior. $400 may be a month's wages in one of these counties, so to the person who's developing a full-blown database-driven, eCommerce website at that price, that may represent a lot of money. What's more likely to suffer is service. Dealing with someone in another time zone and possibly with a language/cultural barrier may prove a greater obstacle.

My experience has been this: you cannot compete on price, quality and service. You must pick the two that are most important to you, and forget about the third -- then find clients who feel the same. The problem with these freelance sites (for me, at least) is twofold: [1]it's a buyer's market, and [2]all of the buyers are price-driven. I've tried to differentiate myself my emphasizing a certain aspect of service that I know isn't being provided by these other developer, in the hopes that there might be buyers who value something other than the lowest cost. I've yet to land a single project, so I have to assume that these buyers don't shop in these online marketplaces. I've had much better success finding them offline than online.

Maybe others have had better luck than I, but that's my .02 cents.

6:46 am on Jan 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just because these developers are providing Wal-Mart prices doesn't necessarily mean that the quality is inferior. $400 may be a month's wages in one of these counties, so to the person who's developing a full-blown database-driven, eCommerce website at that price, that may represent a lot of money.

I live in such country…. The average salary here is $200 and $400 is good salary

But I saw a Indian based firm providing web development services on Elance with earning $100 000 for last year portfolio full of templates from templatemonster.com. So how can they earn such sum with out making at list good design …… Just low price?

One more question: Can one found some permanent partners on Elance.com such as design firm outsourcing here excessive work?

10:29 am on Jan 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Could I possibly ask where you are located Red Gorilla?

The main reason my design/marketing company who outsources some programming and tech dev hesitates to work with 'overseas' professionals is quite literally that they are so far away.

We like to develop 'face to face' relationships (or the equivalent close working relationship with UK based freelancers whom we can't meet every week), simply because the weakest link in a chain is where you outsource.

Because our business is based on quality of work, but also building a close working relationship based on reliability with the end client, I would panic if we were working with a professional based in another continent.

I would be interested, in general terms, how you would convince someone like me to work with you and allay these fears. The quality of work is a key issue, but for us the reliability is of equal importance.

12:04 pm on Jan 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would be interested, in general terms, how you would convince someone like me to work with you and allay these fears. The quality of work is a key issue, but for us the reliability is of equal importance.

Ok, evrything in this world has two sides good and bad.... Outsourcing your work or renting for example indian developer you can safe a lot of money but you have no one proof thet the job will be done in time and with good qaulity. The single way is to use reference of your friends and colleagues about developer's work.
1:23 pm on Jan 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hmmmm, but if the relationship with the developer is 'new', I think we would be looking for commitment and reliability and building a good working relationship - as well as just proof of past projects.

Past projects just show the end result, rather than how that end result was arrived at.

I think that good people who know their stuff are hard to find, finding good people who know their stuff and you can trust to deliver is even harder.

Perhaps that's why we have never outsourced on an 'inter-continental' basis....?

Dimitri - as a company who does outsource, I would concentrate on 'reassurance' in your own marketing. We do look on the freelance sites, but all they do is provide a 'listing' and they don't tell me how experienced or reliable the freelancer is. It is no good to me having someone who has an expert skill in every programming language ever invented, but would be so hard to work with as a personality that it would put my own sanity (and the relationship with our end clients) at risk. I would concentrate on providing references, targeted at your prime market (designers, marketing agencies) which prove not only your undoubted skills, but that they can count on you and you are a good guy to work with.

If you do this, you will have a lot of competitive advantage over people offering similar services and you will be paid a (relative) premium for your services.

As with most things, there is so much more to a 'complete product' or service than just the product or service itself.

2:24 pm on Jan 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As with most things, there is so much more to a 'complete product' or service than just the product or service itself.

Very well said, Mark. I personally have been very successfull in freelancing in such sites and now expanded to a small business. I am sure there are tons of better developers than me, but i have gained the most trust and clients thru providing personal service and care. People want to know that you will care about their project as you own and ever better.

While i am still using these sites from time to time, i have found the best source of leads are the happy customers. They come back again and again and they are coming with their friends and collegues.

Another good source of clients is (obviously) your website. Promote it and you will get leads. If they will turn at your customers is up to you and your communication skills.

1:55 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to try subscription at Elance. First, maybe, I'll buy basic subscription. It cost something like 175$ per quarter for web design projects.
I also wondering what is better to represent yourself as single professional or as a small business?
Because, I like most of freelancer developers have experience both in graphics and programming and cam provide clients with full range solutions starting from logo design and ending with small and medium business site.
12:35 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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For me, as a partner in a small business, I would always go for the freelancer.

Another 'small business' can introduce confidentiality issues (we have a standard contract for small businesses and freelancers) and conflicts of interest.

A freelancer is usually better for us to develop a close relationship with, treat well and pay regularly.

It all depends on what your own target market is for clients.

Would be interested to know how you get on with Elance etc. Good luck!

12:02 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm a copywriter, not a web developer, but my experience with sites such as elance and guru has not been good. Perhaps it's different for web developers, but most people looking to buy writing on elance, etc., are willing to pay literally just $5 for what I normally charge $500 for. Some writers can get some reasonable work on elance, but even then they cut their prices significantly compared to the bricks and mortar world. I wasted money on three month subscriptions at these sites and got nothing for my efforts. In the real world, I end up getting about half of all the projects I send proposals on. In a three month period, I probably bid on at least 50 projects. After spending wasted hours and efforts on custom proposals for each job, I had nothing to show for it. Many, if not most, buyers on these sites are looking for dirt-cheap labor and nothing more. That's not the kind of client I'm looking for.