Hiring a brand new unknown freelancer is always a pain. You have to deal with first finding one, then vetting them, then making sure they stay up to par and one schedule and even the whole problem of having part of your business done by someone you don’t know! It’s a scary process.
Ruthan Brodsky wrote a wonder article entitled “How To Hire Freelance Writers.” If you’re not hiring at the moment, read it. If you are in the process of hiring writers, read it. If your hiring someone who isn’t a freelance writer … read it anyway!
Outsourcing is the lifeblood of any outgoing business. No business how large or small can survive without some sort of outsourcing. If you think you’re hoofing it all alone, you’re not. Where do you get your electricity from? Your TV? Your internet? Your Webhosting? Your food? A lot of what we take for granted today is really outsourcing.
So, what is this magical mystical Mechanical Turk by Amazon? Think of it as a more data oriented version of Get A Freelancer, ODesk and Elance. MTurk allows you to post a job (they call it a ‘hit’), and this job will be done by X amount of people. Where X is the amount your specify. So, in reality Amazon Mechanical Turk is not mechanical, nor a turk. It’s just freelancers willing to do jobs for various prices.
BUT here is where Mturk differs from all other freelances sites: YOU set the price. And the lowest you can go is 5 cents. Yes, you read that right. $.05 USD, 5 American cents. You’re thinking, no one in their right MIND would do a job for 5 cents. Look at this (slightly cropped and reshaped to size) screenshot (click on it to see the full size version):
I put out hit at 5 cents per job, that will take less than 1 minute to do. What are the results?
Let’s be honest. Freelancing isn’t easy, especially when you’re a writer. Success, which comes as a slow ramp-up from usually humble beginnings, is defined only by the lengths of feasts between famines. Sometimes, work comes in faster than you can handle it. Other times, work comes in a trickle, if at all. To even get to this point, though, you need to jump the first big hurdle and land a client.
For some writers, finding a client seems like an impossible task. You might not know where to look or how to solicit business. For others, finding a client isn’t hard, but landing a job is. It’s the classical catch-22: you need a portfolio to get work, but you need to get work to have a portfolio.
Fortunately, the internet makes this catch-22 irrelevant. If you want to jump right into print-writing, for magazines or newspapers, you almost always need a portfolio of previously published work. For online content creation, you can write your own ticket by showcasing your work on free content repositories. (These repositories have the added benefit of “writer communities,” which we’ll discuss later.)
Want to start freelancing? Great! But are you ready? I mean, are you really ready to freelance? Do you know what you are going to do? What to do? Whom to work for? How about paying off current and immediate future’s bills?
Do you know the answers to each of those questions? If not, maybe freelancing isn’t the right step for you at the moment. But if you want to get a taste for freelancing without quitting your day job that is also very good. Either way, you don’t have to know all the answers right now, you can learn along the way.
Sorry for scarring your earlier, but it’s for your own good. Most people jump right into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. Sadly, it usually is not the case they by being in the deep end they learn how to swim … they give up saying that it’s not for them (or drown).
Freelancing for the first time is a scary experience. It’s something completely new for many of you, out in the world on your own. Only yourself to blame if something goes wrong … it is a big responsibility, but a good one. I hope to give you a good knowledge footing to get you started on the right path.
Hopefully after reading the tips, tricks and articles you will have a good know-how of freelancing. Also, at the bottom of the article I have a list for you for all kinds of great places to find freelance work. Some places you might already know of, some might come as a surprise and some will be new. So let’s get started…