Start your own business – Freelancing through the Internet…is it possible? (and profitable)?
By Lisa Cumes
Is it really possible to find jobs and make money off the Internet? YES! I have been working from home part time as a Virtual Assistant for the past 4 years as my very young children are growing up. I find it is the perfect balance between being a mum, and keeping in touch with the real world and my career. Since discovering fantastic opportunities online, I have turned my back on the ‘corporate world’ and aspiring for a corner cubicle in some high-rise office building in the city. I have realised that I am the type of person who likes at home, while choosing my own clients and projects, in other words, an Entrepreneur!
Freelancing is a great opportunity for mothers who may only have 5-10 hours per week, and do not want sign contracts or commit to long periods of work. It’s also a great option for mothers who want to be able to work odd hours, like early in the morning, or after the kids are in bed. You can work in 5 minute increments if you like, it’s up to you!
The top websites for finding freelance work on the Internet are:
- Elance.com http://www.elance.com
- oDesk.com http://www.odesk.com
- guru.com http://www.guru.com
- freelancer.com.au http://www.freelancer.com.au
There are lots of options when it comes to the type of work you can do ‘virtually’. The easiest and fastest way to pick up work is through web research, data entry and simple tasks that let clients check out the quality of your work and communication style before awarding you more work. Initially, clients pay fairly low to start, but as they develop a relationship with you, and build confidence in your work, you can negotiate an increase in your hourly rate.
Finding work online, is in fact, starting your own business, without the formalities of printing business cards and advertising online. Within days of bidding for a job you could be working with a client on the other side of the world, or in your own backyard. The best part is that you choose the projects and decide how much you’ll be paid. And to answer the first question….yes, it’s possible AND profitable!
I started my adventure with Google. I typed in freelance work and the first listing was Elance.com. There are several websites that allow employers to search for freelance contractors in areas such as web design and programming, writing and translation, design and multi-media, admin support, sales & marketing, finance etc. Within each category there are sub categories that help you concentrate on jobs that are suited for your exact skill set. For example, my skill is in Virtual Assistance, which is a sub category within admin support.
When you find a job or project you are interested in ‘applying for’, you place a bid, which is an hourly rate or one time fee you are willing to accept in exchange for your time and skill. Employers will choose a contractor based on skill set, experience and ultimately how much it will cost them.
About the author, Lisa Cumes
Lisa is founder of CleverMyx a site committed to empowering highly skilled Australian women to work as freelance professionals and re-enter the workforce by providing training on small business tools such as Dropbox, Basecamp, Evernote and many more.