When you are starting up as a freelance copywriter and SEO expert, you might simply think that the best place to look for assignments is a global network. This statement is true and false at the same time. If I was at the same crossroad I had to face over two years ago, I might do things differently. Setting up a business after taking a redundancy payment from a large bank was hard, challenging and the chances of success were weak. I started on freelance sites, getting paid most of the time, just to keep me going. Below you will find a review of some of the most commonly used sites that offer freelance work.
This site has been criticized by employees and employers alike. The main problem with it is that there are no adequate checks in place to verify the country of residence of freelancers. Therefore, you will find many from Asia offering their services as Americans. Obviously, there are ways to go around systems, I have actually been offered good money before to do an online English test for someone who was from Bangladesh. Of course I refused. Most employers are looking for the lowest price here and want to believe that the freelancer is a native speaker and will deliver articles that are written in proper English. Another type of employer is the one who disappears, and there is no protection offered by the site for this case. You need to make sure that you are getting an escrow put down or you can run after your money.
Haven’t used this service a lot but got a few assignments at surprisingly good conditions. The prices are not driven down as much as on Freelancer, but you are limited to three applications a month, which gives you little or no chance of winning contracts, unless you upgrade. There is an orientation test on the site, and upon passing, you can get more proposals each month. I have seen some quality projects and honest ratings on this site, financially it is more secure. You can get paid per hour or per project, and oDesk offers freelancer protection.
Elance has a good communication system, a secure verification process, therefore, fraudsters are filtered out in the beginning. There are still some, though, as on all sites. You have to use your judgement and make sure that you are dealing with a professional client, not an agency that is located in Kuala Lumpur. I have had some bad experience with some of these clients, scamming freelancers and had to use blackmailing tactics to get the money out of them.
And the Big News: Elance and Odesk are Merging.
Overall, this can be something that can beat Freelancer.com. Personally, I would not mind if Freelancer was used by low quality providers and employers, while the new site would employer and freelancer screening, protection implemented in the system. I hope the merger of Odesk and Elance will result in a reliable, quality and user-friendly site where genuine employers and freelancers can connect.