Disadvantages of freelance job posting and project websites

I regularly get comments and emails regarding the best ways to generate business for your freelance writing service. This is one of the most important aspects for freelancers, whether you’re brand new to the field or well established. Generating business is something that you should always be doing in advance rather then waiting until you’ve completed all your current projects because there’s no guarantees the work will be there when you need it.

As a regular reader of various freelance tip blogs, I have come across those that preach job posting websites such as oDesk and Scriptlance as one of the best ways to generate new business. Unfortunately, I have found websites of this nature to be rather frustrating to deal with and tend to only help you locate lower paying jobs that may not be worth your time. Here’s a couple of disadvantages that I have found using this kind of service.

One of the biggest issues you’ll face is the fees associated with these job posting and placement services. In some way or another, they extract fees from yourself or the buyer. Some services even extract fees from both sides of the equation. If the buyer is paying money to find you, he’s naturally going to expect to pay less in order to get the work completed. Alternatively, you’ll be earning less if you have to pay project fees, either a flat rate or a commission based on the jobs you accept. This cuts into your earning potential and can be dramatic, especially if you’re only picking up the lower paying jobs.

Another disadvantage to these websites is the fact that they tend to be littered with lower paying jobs, especially based on the fact there is so much oversea talent bidding on the projects. I’ve written about this in the past where I recommended you not compete with oversea talent on pricing as sometimes you’d be in a better position to simply find a job paying minimum wage then pumping out quality content at rock bottom pricing. Make sure you set your pricing according to what you want to earn, not what someone is looking to pay.

Finally, the selling cycle on these job postings tends to be quite long with the average project taking 20 days from the time it is originally posted to the final selection of a freelancer. This can potentially cause you issues down the road, especially if you bid on several projects at once only to find out you’ve been selected to do more work then you can handle once the project closes.

Be wary of spending too much time and effort on these project based websites unless you’re faced with no other alternative for tracking down work. If you’ve had positive or negative experiences with these boards or have some tips on sourcing quality projects using them, I’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Disadvantages of freelance job posting and project websites

  1. Michael

    Great post Chris! I definitely agree that these sites usually cause low quality content… overseas, etc. But you gotta start somewhere right?

    I end to use sites that let me quickly look for high quality projects by their bid amount especially for writing gigs since if they are willing to pay higher than the quality of projects on there tend to be higher.

    At the moment I’ve been using http://www.webfreelancing.com which seems to be good. Any other suggestions let me know!

  2. Chris Post author

    Thanks for the suggestion Michael and I will definitely take a look at it.

    As for suggestions for other sites, I’m right out of ideas at the moment. I am starting to take a look at other sites based on some feedback I received and will pass these along if I find any of value.

    Thanks for reading!
    Chris

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