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Archive for August 2011

Aug/11

17

3 Reasons to Never Compete Based on Price

Just like any other business, the first way that most freelancers think about competing is on price.  At GetACoder undercutting your competition on price alone will definitely land you some contracts, but that doesn’t mean that price is the best way to stand out.  If price was the only thing that mattered, you would see only extremely low prices being quoted, but that isn’t the case.  Why?  Price is often one of the worst ways to set yourself apart.  Here is a quick look at 3 reasons why a freelancer should never try to compete based on price alone.

It Lowers Your Perceived Value

The less you charge for your services, the low perceived value they will have.  If you are charging less than anyone else, why would the buyer expect you to be as good as anyone else?  Most people won’t view your service as inexpensive, but rather as cheap.  While they can mean essentially the same thing, the word “cheap” carries a negative connotation. If you plan on creating a long term income from freelancing then it is essential that you are always trying to increase your perceived value.

It Forces You to Work More Hours to Reach Your Financial Goals

It should be apparent that if your goal is to make $100 a day, then getting paid more per project means that you need to complete less projects to meet your goal.  In the beginning, it is easy to get so focused on this goal that you are willing to do a little more work, but that initial burst of adrenaline will eventually flame out.  Additionally, the more you are forced to work on specific projects, the less time that you will have to dedicate to growing your freelance business.  This includes tasks like generating new clients, maintaining current relationships, creating additional promotional assets such as blog or newsletter.  It makes expanding your freelancing business difficult as well because slim margins make it difficult to bring on additional people to your team.

Competing on Price Can Breed Complacency

Another common problem that most freelancers never see coming is complacency.  If you aren’t making much per project, why should you really care about quality?  If you are playing a volume game, then losing a single client doesn’t matter.  Over time, it becomes very easy to just quit caring about a lot of things.  The big problem is that this can happen so subtly that you wake up one day wondering what happened.

If you look around the online freelancing landscape, over time the freelancers who have staying power and ultimately succeed are those who are charging higher rates for quality work.  As a freelancer your time is valuable, both when at work and when you are taking time off.  It is essential that you reward yourself by ensuring that you are receiving that value during every project.  If you compete based upon price, then you are not only undervaluing yourself, but forcing others to undervalue you as well.

John Henderson has been a freelance writer for more than 3 years.  He specializes in creating content that is designed to provide various search optimization engine benefits while also engaging website visitors and boosting conversion rates.  He is continually expanding his portfolio with a variety of additional SEO services, while also cultivating an ever-growing stable of his own websites and blogs. John is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

16

Are You Passive or Aggressive?

Being a freelance writer can be difficult if you don’t have the right approach to getting work. Some people try to get a job through friends and social networks, while others join GetACoder where it’s easy to post a profile, show off portfolios and bid for different jobs.

One of the main problems that many freelancers face when bidding for jobs is that they have to compete with many other freelancers who want the job just as bad.  To get the job you want, it’s important to have confidence and the personality to compete with everyone else.

If do you happen to get an interview with a potential employer, don’t get too excited because you still have to be on the ball to actually get the contract with them. This means knowing what you want and making sure you get it, or at the very least, find a happy middle.

Know Your Worth

When bidding for a job, many freelancers think offering lower rates than everyone else will get them noticed, but this can certainly backfire. While it’s true that some employers want to cut costs and hire freelancers online for a fraction of what they would pay for someone closer to home , it’s also important to get someone who can do the job well.

Some employers will see a low bid and immediately skip it because they think no one offering such a low fee will do a good job. If you know you have the skills needed for a job, bid fairly to show your worth but remember not to get greedy either.

Don’t Be a Pushover

Being a freelancer can be a bit scary for some people since they are the boss and there’s no one out there to look out for their well-being. Look at employer job descriptions and ask questions regarding what’s expected for the job or other things like contracts.

If something doesn’t seem right or could potentially cause problems with the employer, make sure to get it out in the open before signing a contract or making a deal. The same goes for due dates, payments and fees. If you feel you’re getting the shorter end of the deal, negotiate and show the employers why you’re worth more than they offered. Don’t just shrug it off and accept a bad deal because in the end, it’s you who loses.

Be Fair

Being a freelancer in a competitive market has its ups and downs.  Sometimes you’ll get a great job offer while other times it may not be as great as you would like. Although at times, you’ll have to be more aggressive to get noticed for a job or to get paid on time, it’s also important to be fair.

Some freelancers will immediately ask for payment upfront while others are fine with getting paid once the job is done. Both methods work in different cases but it’s also important to know when you can do it. Asking for full payment upfront is always a risky move because the employer doesn’t know who you are, if you deliver the same quality work as your portfolio shows or if you’ll be able to deliver on time. Also note that asking for payment upfront will sometimes seem unprofessional and will have the employer look for someone else.

When you leave the full payment until the end of the job, it’s more risky for you to trust an employer you don’t know. While GetACoder do have resolution help, it’s still good to find a common agreement for pay.

Stay focused and assertive when it comes to freelance work because that’s what will land you the good employers and long-term work.

Eva has been a freelance writer for over 4 years and has experienced the different struggles associated with working as a freelancer and hiring freelancers for different jobs online. She writes and illustrates children’s books in her free time and enjoys learning new trades from her travels abroad. Eva was an English teacher in Japan for over 3 years and has recently returned to her home in Toronto where she works for an online SEO company and continues her freelance writing part time.Eva is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

15

Your House, Your Rules

When it comes to negotiating, a large number of freelancers are still distinctly amateur. It is different to a regular job where the terms of employment are usually  clearly mapped out. Negotiating can be a nightmare, particularly at the beginning of your freelance career when you are desperate for new gigs. This desperation means that you don’t want to upset the apple cart. Unfortunately, it usually also means that you undervalue yourself and end up working for peanuts. When negotiating, clearly state how much you want to receive. You should also negotiate when it comes to the nature of the assignment as well as discussing any concessions that can be made in lieu of your ideal requested wage.

Step One: Cash

GetACoder is filled with decent business people but you have to remember, their bottom line is the same as yours: making as much profit as possible. Negotiating with a client over money can be a tricky business and one that decides if you’ll be hired or not. It may even decide whether or not you’ll be asked for future assignments. If you’re asked to name a fee, choose a figure about 20% above what you really want. Negotiate downwards as appropriate. If the client makes an offer and you want more, say so. Don’t accept less as you’ll only be resentful which harms the quality of your work. Name a price, tell them that’s your upper limit and take a few bucks off at the end if you spent less time on the project than anticipated. This will help you get repeat business.

Step Two: The Job

If you’re unhappy with the price, perhaps you can alter the job slightly to reduce the workload. For example, maybe you could ask to write a 750 word article instead of a 1,000 one? Naturally, you should always revise your work but ask for extra if more than one revision is required. There is always the possibility of extending the deadline so that you can meet your weekly or monthly financial targets. Most clients are happy to move a deadline once you explain why you need extra time. Expect to receive a higher rate of pay for tight deadlines.

Step Two: Other Compensation

If you can’t get satisfaction over the fee or work, you could still make the job worth your while by asking to have your name on the work or else you can ask to receive a company product for free. With so much ghostwriting on the internet, having your name on a particularly high quality article is a major boost when looking for extra payment in the future. Being able to show verified published work causes your stock to rise.

If you’re locked in tough negotiations with a client who won’t budge an inch, ask yourself if the job’s worth it. After all, if they’re this unreasonable during negotiations, it’s likely that they will be difficult to work for. Save yourself the heartache and walk away from clients who want it all but are unwilling to pay for it.

An excellent writer, proficient in a variety of topics, Patrick Lynch has four years creative writing experience, which began in the National University of Ireland, Galway where he received a grade in the top 10 of his writing seminar.He is an editor for the University journal, ROPES, and is also a content writer for venusdatingmagazine.com, thirdage.com and kenetixcreativecontent.com. His fluent writing style has received high praise from several quarters. This, coupled with his attention to detail and propensity to complete a project well within any deadlines set, ensures that whomever hires him will be an extremely satisfied customer. Patrick is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

12

Bidding Wars

Winning bids for outsourcing projects is definitely very competitive. If you put some thought into it and have a plan you shouldn’t have any problem building up a great pipeline of work through GetACoder which will keep you busy and your bank account full.

If you have just been throwing out bids on projects and have been losing out a little too often or do not have as much work as you would like or need then perhaps you need to apply a little strategy and improve your system.

Of course you should look at what other providers are bidding before placing yours but don’t just look at price and always try to be the lowest. Price is not always the most important factor and consistently submitting extremely low bids will only drive down the value of your services over time, reducing your ability to make a great living as a freelancer. Even if you win all projects because you bid the lowest you are going to get burnt out working for next to nothing and you won’t perform well, which in turn results in poor feedback and less work.

When analyzing other bids also look at the estimated delivery time, what your competition is saying in their bids and be sure to carefully read the job description to that you can better tailor your bid and use the right language.

Though if you want to get and stay ahead of your competition you have to go a step further. Big companies spend millions every year finding out what their competition is doing. Fortunately for you all it takes is a click and a couple of seconds reading. Look at your competitors profiles. What do they say about them? What can you say in your bid to position yourself as the better choice?

If you keep losing out on projects to the same providers take a closer look, see why they are getting the jobs and how you can better position your own profile and bids to out manoeuvre them.

Have a plan and schedule for consistently updating your portfolio and profile with your latest accomplishments. Highlight real results you have achieved for others on your profile and consider targeting your services description a little better. Those who are seen as specialists and have specific industry knowledge and experience will stand out as being more valuable and are often chosen despite bidding higher.

Finally know how many jobs you realistically need to be bidding on everyday to keep your work week full in advance and make sure that you are bidding on the right jobs to increase your success rate.

Tim picked up the travel bug at a young age from his missionary parents. After building several million dollar enterprises he is now a freelancer, business consultant and professional writer who has adventured through much of Europe as well as North and South America. Thanks to outsourcing Tim has now joined the ranks of those living the jet set lifestyle as an international nomad on the constant exploration of new sights, sounds and tastes. Tim is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

11

Why Skype is a Must Have

If you are a freelancer or a buyer, then you might already know about Skype. If you are new to GetACoder, you might not have heard of this useful tool yet. Either way, it is something that you should be using. Skype is a program that allows you to make phone calls from your computer. You can also voice chat, video chat, or simply text chat with anyone who also has the program.

Benefits for the Buyer

If you employee freelancers, you will find that Skype is a very useful thing to have. First, it’s free to download and to use. Second, it makes international calls to phones affordable. Third, it is a great way to keep in touch with your employees. If the person you are calling has Internet and Skype, you can call them for free. They do charge a fee per minute to call telephones, but it is very reasonable when you compare it to international roaming plans offered by most phone companies. The fee per minute changes depending on the country you are calling. You can even set up a voice mailbox so that people can leave you messages. You can also purchase a Skype number so that people on telephones can call your computer.

Skype gives you an easy, inexpensive way to conduct interviews, have meetings, or get updates from your employees. When you talk with someone before you hire them, you can get a much better feel for their personality and skills. If you have an employee who is working on a project, you can use Skype’s chat feature to see where he or she is on the project. You can also use the chat feature to give instructions or details about a project. Also, many people use virtual assistants and video chats are a great way to communicate on a regular basis.

Benefits for the Freelancer

Just like a buyer, you can use Skype to communicate with others. You will be able to talk to your employers with ease. This is especially convenient if you live in different countries. If you can offer this availability to an employer, it makes you more attractive to the employer because contacting you is easy. When you are talking to a potential employer, you can tell him that you have Skype if he wants to call you or chat with you about your skills, availability, and so on. If you can offer your Skype ID to them from the beginning, you look like a professional, well-prepared freelancer.

If you don’t have Skype, you should check out www.skype.com and download the program today.

Caitlin Clarke graduated from the University of Mississippi in May of 2010 where she attained one bachelor’s degree in International Studies and another in Spanish. She began working as freelance writer shortly before graduating. SEO articles and blog writing are her specialty, and she claims to have written just about everything. Caitlin is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

10

From Down Turn to Opportunity

No one is getting away from hard times these days. Folks are being crushed by the credit crunch, marginalized by an anaemic economy and sluggish job market or forced to watch their assets dry up as property values slack and recede. But for the enterprising freelancer times like these can mean an opportunity at increasing their income, taking part in new business ventures, and expanding their skill set while others scramble day and day out to get back to fiscal normality. In tough times the free part of freelancing can prove to be your most valuable and useful asset and the key to new ways to earn on your own terms.

One of the first things that you can do as a freelancer is to look for opportunity with start-up companies. While conventional wisdom in a booming economy tells you to stay away from companies that are just on the rise, during an economic down turn small business offer good money and the chance to build a lasting relationship with a business on the ground floor. Essentially, you are setting yourself up with employment opportunities in the future, both permanent positions and future contract work, while earning a decent wage. Make sure to keep an eye out for promising new companies as they will be need for freelancers to help them with things like developing their website and other essential components for a modern business.

Also, remember that as businesses downsize during they are creating a strong pool of older people with business savvy but no clue how to create a proper web presence and for you this means an opportunity to expand your reputation and make some key connections. You can find a lot of opportunities like these by searching for jobs and projects on GetACoder and develop some substantial connections.

But remember larger companies are also on the look out to hire freelancers. After a round of downsizing mostcorporations recognize that their workloads have not changed and they will often turn to pools of freelancers to cover the work. Primarily this is due to the fact that freelancers typically do not receive benefits, health care, or vacation time hiring them for a project is cost effective. This means that you can work for several large companies and lay down a solid foundation to work with them in the future and offer rates that reflect your dependability in the future.

As the economy works to right itself, freelancers are put in a unique position to both supplement an unstable work force and increase their earning potential at the same time. Your first step to ensuring your survival in a bad economy is to look to thrive and not simply figure out how to survive.

James Thomas has been a professional blogger for three years and an add writer for two years. He has won several awards for creative and journalistic writing including the equivocality.net Writers Travel Scholarship. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in English and will be attending Oxford Brookes University to complete a Masters degree in publishing in th fall of 2011. James is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

9

When to Call it Quits?

Being an online freelancer can have many ups and downs with workflow, employers and other potential problems than can come along in a job but one thing that many people choose to do is ditch the job before resolving a simple problem or sticking to a job until the bitter and sometimes painful end.

If you are planning to keep a steady freelance job online through GetACoder, it’s important to know when you should stick it through and when you should cut your losses with a job.

Communication

Sometimes a simple lack of communication or miscommunication can make a job difficult and lead to frustration between employees and their employers. Most of the time it can be resolved quickly with the right steps or else it will make a working relationship very strained.

A lack of communication would include missing information from an employer or employees not giving enough information about what’s happening in their work. This situation can lead to assumptions between the two and in turn end up with either missed work or incomplete tasks.

Miscommunication generally comes from an employer and employee who do not have the same first language. At times, one or the other will not be able to clearly express what the job is or problems that arise during a task. This also leads to assumptions or a missed mark with what’s actually going on in a job.

In the end, making assumptions is risky in jobs, especially those online, so always ask questions, express things clearly by including all of the information needed and never assume everyone will understand everything as you do. Remember that everyone’s thinking patterns are different.

Even if there is a little doubt about a job, make sure to double check with everyone to make sure it is clear. Also, have work sent in for review in intervals to make sure everything is on the right track at all times.

If all of these measures have been taken and there is still a problem between you and the employer, cut your losses and find someone else who you can communicate with better, otherwise work will always be a struggle and something that causes you a great amount of stress.

Contracts

Sometimes the contract between an employer and employee may not be very clear or an employer might include extra tasks that are not written up for a particular job. If you don’t mind doing extra tasks, that’s entirely up to you but always make sure you are fairly compensated for it.

While there are many great employers who are fair and transparent with their expectations, there are also some whotry to take advantage of their employees to get more than what they pay for.  Keeping a sharp eye on the work and hours put in is very important. If you feel something is not fair or has not been expressed in a contract, make sure to address it with the employer immediately. If they are happy to write up a new contract or offer incentives to finish the new jobs, stick around to see how things work out because they could actually work out very well for you.

If an employer becomes defensive, is not willing to write a new contract or even discuss the extra work they’ve added, perhaps you should consider finding a new employer and avoid any headaches.

Eva has been a freelance writer for over 4 years and has experienced the different struggles associated with working as a freelancer and hiring freelancers for different jobs online. She writes and illustrates children’s books in her free time and enjoys learning new trades from her travels abroad. Eva was an English teacher in Japan for over 3 years and has recently returned to her home in Toronto where she works for an online SEO company and continues her freelance writing part time.Eva is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

8

Little or Large?

“Sorry, but I’ve got bigger fish to fry.” This is a phrase that most freelancers would love to be able to use on a client who was offering them a low level of pay on GetACoder. However, besides being rude, it may also be a terrible mistake to completely cut off clients who do not pay through the nose for your services. Freelancing is an occupation fraught with danger. You can never assume that the good times will continue to roll. One by one, your higher paid clients could all start falling by the wayside leaving you with few backup options. This is especially the case if you insulted old clients who treated you well.

Staying in the Big Time

So, what are the advantages of sticking with big-time clients only? Despite the fact that virtually all online businesses are at risk, a client that pays well is likely to have a profitable venture on their hands. This means they are less likely to fold than a small business that can only afford to pay you a pittance. A handful of high paid jobs a week may be all you need to enjoy a 4 or even 3 day work week. For example, 25 hours @ $30 an hour is better than 50 hours @ $15 per hour any way you slice it despite paying the same. Big clients allow you to earn more in less time. This gives you the opportunity to hunt for more big fish, supplement your income with smaller fry or simply relax or work on a passion project.

Being Loyal to the Little Guy

Yet do these advantages outweigh those of having smaller clients? First of all, it is much easier to replace a low-paying client with another one should the worst happen and your big client ditches you. Also, a smaller client is more likely to give you creative license than a giant corporation who already have their own vision. With smaller clients, you are probably going to be dealing directly with the owner. This is in stark contrast to larger corporations where you may be conversing with someone 6 degrees of separation away from the head honchos.

In reality, there is no doubt that higher paid clients are the best option. However, freelancing is not an occupationwhere major opportunities fall into your lap. What you need to do is keep a healthy mixture of medium and high paid clients if you can. If you’re really fortunate, you may come across a company that pays exceptionally well for a few hours work a week. This will keep your hourly wage up, improve your spirits and get you psyched up for a hard week’s work. Freelancing is all about searching for opportunities, working hard to keep good clients happy and always maintaining a balance.

An excellent writer, proficient in a variety of topics, Patrick Lynch has four years creative writing experience, which began in the National University of Ireland, Galway where he received a grade in the top 10 of his writing seminar.He is an editor for the University journal, ROPES, and is also a content writer for venusdatingmagazine.com, thirdage.com and kenetixcreativecontent.com. His fluent writing style has received high praise from several quarters. This, coupled with his attention to detail and propensity to complete a project well within any deadlines set, ensures that whomever hires him will be an extremely satisfied customer. Patrick is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

5

How to Double Your Income this Year

Without a plan for increasing your income as a freelancer don’t expect major changes to happen all on their own. If you don’t have a strategy to double your income and put it into practice you probably won’t see as great a change as you hope for. Though, with a little thought and discipline you could easily be making double what you are now in the next 12 months.

Assuming you are already working at your most efficient and putting in as many hours as you want to the only other way to increase your income is by raising the amount of income you earn during the time you work. Though you should constantly keep an eye out for opportunities to invest in software or training so that you can enhance your services and get more done in less time.

Of course the simplest solution to doubling your income ought to be just charging twice as much per hour or per project. You may get away with it, though the problem that most encounter when doing this at one time is that all of their previous history on GetACoder shows half of the amount, which just makes employers want to to haggle with you.

So at first you may have to justify your higher rate by doing more for your clients in order to get projects at higher rates. What if you guaranteed twice the output on hourly jobs than your nearest competitor or bundled in more extra services or value on project based work? Then your profile and feedback would reflect higher hourly rates and you could then begin charging more in future.

Make a plan to steadily increase your profile and bidding rate over the next 12 months. At the minimum you ought to be able to raise your rate by 25% every 3 months. In a year you will be making double what you are now.

What else can you do to increase your income even further without putting in more hours every week? Why notputtogether your own team and company to provide outsourcing services through GetACoder? If you are a Virtual Assistant or data entry professional it could be a small group of you who could provide higher volume and attract bigger contracts. Or if you are a web developer or marketer you could bring together several related providers to offer a more comprehensive service while you make a little extra on everything that everyone else on your team earns.

If you have a blog or a website or even just a good sized social network perhaps you want to take advantage of the GetACoder affiliate program and earn commissions on those you refer.

Tim picked up the travel bug at a young age from his missionary parents. After building several million dollar enterprises he is now a freelancer, business consultant and professional writer who has adventured through much of Europe as well as North and South America. Thanks to outsourcing Tim has now joined the ranks of those living the jet set lifestyle as an international nomad on the constant exploration of new sights, sounds and tastes. Tim is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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Aug/11

4

The Test Project: Should You Do it?

Many of you have encountered the test project before, and some of you have had good experiences and some of you have not. In the past, I have rolled my eyes when a potential employer asked for a test article, but since then I have realized that the test project can be a valuable tool for the employer and for you, the freelancer.

The big question that a freelancer asks is “is it worth my time to complete this test project?” The buyers on GetACoder, should consider this question when deciding how to make their test projects. The freelancer should consider that by choosing to complete the test project, you have a chance to showcase your skills, and even if you are not hired to do the final project, you will walk away with a good sample of your work. You can use this sample when you apply to future jobs.

If a buyer is unwilling to pay for a test project, then a freelancer should think carefully before attempting the project. Some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to do a test project for free include do you really want to give away your work for free? Second, can you afford to spend time working on something that will not make you any money? If you answered yes to these two questions, then you should consider going ahead with the test project. Third, you should ask yourself how long it will take to complete this test project. Does it look like the employer wants you to spend three hours on a test project? If so, then it probably isn’t worth your time.

Good test projects will have a few things in common. The employer will be willing to hire you for a test project or a trial run and pay you even if they do not want to continue a long term relationship. The test project will not take long to complete, and it will not be overly complex. Again, if you are a buyer then you need to keep these things in mind when you create a test project.

If you are a freelancer, you shouldn’t be afraid of trying out the test project. You might even want to try a few thataren’t paid just to get some experience or make a good impression on a potential employer. Still, it is best to make sure that any test projects you attempt don’t detract from your other projects and that the test project helps you in some way whether it’s money, experience, or networking.

Caitlin Clarke graduated from the University of Mississippi in May of 2010 where she attained one bachelor’s degree in International Studies and another in Spanish. She began working as freelance writer shortly before graduating. SEO articles and blog writing are her specialty, and she claims to have written just about everything. Caitlin is one of several freelance writers on the GetACoder Blog team.

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