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.
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.
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.