Work At Home: oDesk (now Upwork)

A year ago, I accidentally discovered oDesk while I was surfing the net. I wasn't particularly keen on finding work at that time, but out of curiosity I checked the site anyway. The website looked promising, no payment or fee required, hmm. The first thing I did was to check if it was a scam, found nothing out of place, I registered.

It wasn't easy for me that time, being new and no one to ask for some advice. I always read forums to get some ideas. I almost gave up after a month with no possible contracts or clients to hire me. Competitions were so great and I admit I am no expert in web designs, multimedia, software development and other categories listed there. So, I chose the one I am really familiar with, administrative jobs. After hundreds of applications I made,  I got my first job... and the rest is history.

So, what is oDesk and how it works? oDesk is freelance website and the largest online workplace as of todate. I will just summarize it to give you basic ideas. Assuming that you already registered on the site, what to do next?:

1. Profile Building 

Personally, I think this is one of the most important aspects of freelancing in oDesk. You have to build an impressive profile for possible buyers' reference. Buyers will not contact you right away out of the blue, they will check your profile first to see if you are worth interviewing first, and hiring you eventually. Be sure to put facts, don't lie just to get buyers' attention.

Take oDesk Readiness Tests first. After that, you may take oDesk Skills Test, they are a good measure of your skills and will make good impression on potential buyers. 

2. Job Application

The maximum job application quota is 25, use it wisely. There are hundreds of job postings everyday, so be wary of the red flags. If you think a job posting is too good to be true, then  it probably is. Keep in mind that not all job postings are real or even worth applying for. 

Prepare good cover letters. Note that it is useless using same standard cover letter for all job applications, buyers are aware of it. Make sure you fully read and understand a job advert, considering your qualifications to do task described before applying.

There are two job types: hourly, which is guaranteed and fixed-price, a risky one.

3. Work
Congratulations! By now, you already downloaded the oDesk Team application. That is our oDesk workplace, where buyers examine your work to ensure you do the job right. 

oDesk team has a time tracker and records four things. One, it checks your screenshot six time per hour, so anything you have on the screen will be visible. Second, it determines your activity levels such as mouse clicks and keystrokes. Third, the name of the active window and application. And the fourth, memos or task codes. It is the description of what you are currently working on. There is a camera snapshot, which is optional. 

For a fixed-price job, you don't usually use oDesk Team application unless specified by the employer. How you work and how you submit output for fixed price jobs depends on the agreement of both parties.

4. Payment

The one week you worked will be reviewed by the employer for the next four days. After that, it will go through a security period for another five days. Therefore, you will get a pending status on your wallet until next Wednesday for the money to be available for withdrawal.

For fixed-price, clients decide when to pay their contractors. You will have to contact your client to find out when they plan to issue the payment. Fixed-price payment still go through standard security period.

Lastly, be patient. There is a huge competition from people across the globe, just think of the ways to help you standout in the freelance market. Remember, this is only a short summary of how oDesk works. You still have to check the website thoroughly and read manuals and forums to familiarize yourself. You may check my  oDesk Profile for your reference.

You may ask me any questions regarding oDesk via comment here or message me on my contact page.

PS: There is a slight difference when you look at my profile outside oDesk website.  My current rate as of todate is $7.78/hr and all confidential contracts are not enumerated in the list. This will be proven by the total number of jobs and hours worked.

PPS: oDesk changed its name to Upwork.


  1. ive read reviews that odesk's customer service sucks and they are more on the side of the contractor instead of the employer since they are more interested in the 10% that they earn.

    i am looking to hire a telemarketer and am afraid the telemarketer may suck and i'll still be forced to pay even though the work was crap and odesk will stand up for the contractor instead. what are your reviews for employers that are thinking of using them to hire someone?

    1. oDesk cliche: you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

      Usually a dispute arises from clients and low baller contractors. You pay cheap, you get cheap. Most of low bidder contractors aren't even professional or trained to do the job required.The expectations are not met, hence, the dispute.

      If you are looking to hire, make a private job posting and invite ONLY those who have good feedbacks and charge PROFESSIONAL rate. Interview them and be clear with your job descriptions. If hourly contract, you decide to put an hour or two on their limit and review the work to see if they are complying with your instructions. The work diary serves that purpose. If fixed contract, offer a paid test to contractor you like.

      There are a few buyers who pay decent and professional rates, and eventually made an established relationship with their contractors.

  2. Ang tyaga mo sis, after hundreds of applications, you were able to land your first project. Seems like you're already earning a decent amount of money. How lucky!

    Pag may tyaga, may nilaga talaga...

  3. My husband and I have oDesk accounts but we haven't accessed it for years. Firstly, the competition with Pinoys and Indians is so tough (graphic designs) because the Indians can lower their rates even to just $1 just so they can get the job. But we had good clients there too, who paid well and even gave bonuses if you get the job done asap.

  4. I found some great information and tips on work at home in your blog. This blog is very useful and helpful to me. Thank you for sharing this information with us informative .
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    1. I'm glad you find this article informative and helpful. Thanks for dropping by :)

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