Tuesday, December 6, 2011

5 Sites Every Freelancer Should Know about

As a freelancer, there are certain sites you are going to come across many many times throughout your career. I actually didn't start making money until I came across a few of these sites, so I thought I would save you the trial and error by revealing them here. The five websites listed below may help you jump start your career in freelance writing. At the very least, they may prove to be vital bookmarks in your web browser. Here are five sites that every freelancer should know about.

1 - oDesk

oDesk is a free website that allows you to bid on freelance work and potentially pick up new clients for steady employment. My very first writing job came from oDesk, and that led to literally thousands of others from my past and present. While I don't exclusively use Desk to find work anymore, I do still use it as a starting ground for finding new employers. My three main clients right now actually came from oDesk at one point in time. I didn't even have to apply for work with them. They came to me asking for my services. If you build up a good reputation on there, you can easily find enough work to pay the bills.

Note that you can find more than just writing jobs on there. There are tons of customer service and administrative assistant jobs that you may like as well. You just have to look around at the job postings and see what you may qualify for.

2 - Copyscape

Copyscape is a site that you can go to when you need to check an article for plagiarism. This may seem silly to use if you know you don't plagiarize your work, but it is still nice to know about. Most likely all of your clients are going to use Copyscape on your work, so you may as well be familiar with how it works. I actually use Copyscape to check my own work if I am asked to rewire an article because it helps me see if I have accidentally used the same wording that someone else has. If something comes back copied, I can fix it before my clients see it.

You will have to pay $.05 per run on Copyscape, but that is money you can write off your taxes at the end of the year. It is a business expense after all. You will have to buy 100 runs to start, so just plan to have $5.00 if you want to use the site.

3 - PayPal

PayPal is the safest way to manage money on the web, and it is a place you will definitely need to know about if you work online. If you work on oDesk, you can use PayPal to transfer your oDesk money from your account to your bank. You could also get paid directly through PayPal if you wanted to. That is what I do with all of my clients because it's fast, convenient, and even free in some cases. It just depends on the way a client sends me money. It won't cost you anything to setup a PayPal account, and you won't regret it the second you do so. I guarantee it.

4 - Dropbox

Dropbox is a file transfer program that you can use to send large files to your clients. I use to have a client that I made a ton of YouTube videos for, and they were simply too large for me to send to him in an email. We just passed everything through Dropbox, and it saved everyone a lot of stress in the end. All you have to do is download the Dropbox on your computer, and then you can drop and drag files to it whenever you need to transfer them. You can share different folders with different people, but you can manage it all from one giant folder. There are free and paid versions of this, so just look at your different options to see what works for you.

5 - Skype

Skype is a free internet communication platform that allows you to call people directly on the web as opposed to using the phone. Skype also has instant messaging and video chat built in, so you can speak to people however you need to. Every client I have ever had used Skype to speak with people in one way or another. In fact, one of my primary clients at the moment manages all of his writers on there. Since it is free to use, you might as well have it on your computer.

I actually don't like using Skype, just because it distracts me from work. Nevertheless, I can't deny the convenience of it. Check this out, along with the other sites above, and you should be on your way to a successful career as a freelance writer.

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