Your Favorite and Least Favorite Part of Freelancing

Advocate ,
Jun 14, 2016

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We all have parts of self-employment we love and parts we abhor. What is your favorite and least favorite part of freelancing?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 14, 2016

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In my experience most clients take the 'free' part of 'freelance' literally.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 14, 2016

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The worst part - As a portrait photographer all these 35 plus years, Brad's comment is rather too accurate. How often have we had people making combined incomes in excess of $100g USD sit at our conference table and suggest that maybe the job they want us to do would be good "exposure" or something. Right. We've gotten to be rather polite as we move towards the front door at that point.

The best part - ... when clients sob as we show them their work. We know then we have created something that will be a treasure for their lifetime.

Another near best part - teaching, when students & colleagues suddenly have a light go on from something we've taught them. Always satisfying.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2016

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My profession:  Freelance Web Developer/Designer (HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, jQuery, etc...)

Least favorite part: 

Project scope creep.  I usually have a fairly good idea of what the project will entail & cost when I put together the plan.   But some web projects take on a life of their own when client suddenly wants to add much more to the mix.  This eats into available time and sets back other scheduled projects.  I have no problem doing extra work & billing for it accordingly.  However, I'd prefer that they stick to the original plan so I can keep my commitments with other clients.

Best part:

Seeing the completed project and receiving positive feedback.   It makes it all worthwhile.

Nancy O.

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Engaged ,
Jun 16, 2016

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The least part:

  • Some people think your work is a combination of multi roles with a cheaper rate in comparison with an agency.

The best part:

  • You can use the job in your profile.
  • Every new job is a new open door to new experiences, meet people and learn some thing new.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 24, 2016

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Once you hit a time in your life... and want kids...  Then you have to reconsider if freelancing is secure. 

Seen industries go up an down... see work coming in nonstop... also seen it dry up due to things such as 911.  You can not control the industry and if something happens then your work may slow down.

I like security!  Now I want to work full time..... benefits... all that fun stuff!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 25, 2016

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Owning a small business is in many ways SO much like freelancing. All work coming in is dependent on our chasing it down, there's not the benes that say, our friends who work for government or large companies get around here ... but the ability to choose what we chase after, well ... we've enjoyed that.

In your 60's, those nice retirement accounts some of our friends have acquired in teaching for 30 years (we met in college in teaching programs) look awfully sweet, but ... we've had more freedom in what we've done.

It's trade-offs, isn't it?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 25, 2016

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For me there is an issue of momentum. When I'm being creative, I don't have time to be looking for the next job and vice versa.

I also use my YouTube channel to support my community and promote my brand for future business. I don't mind answering small questions for free but I have difficulty when a question becomes four or five questions and it looks like that might continue. It's a hard conversation to have but I do try to transition the freebies over to paying clients.

Paul Wilson, CTDP

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Participant ,
Jul 27, 2016

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Worst Part Of Freelance Work:  Not knowing how to do exactly what the client wants and still keep it manageable.  Hate asking questions in some forums when the members all think and say bad things to you because you don't know what they know  (drawbacks of being self taught include HUGE gaps in knowledge, including some basic stuff).

Best Part of Freelance Work:  Getting paid!  I just got the CS6 Master Collection for making a website.  Not bad considering I did everything in Notepad and Arcsoft PhotoStudio 5 up to this point 

One day I'll have a stable enough income for the CC stuff, but I would hate to need money and have a subscription run out in the middle of a job, so until I get a bit more savings, CS6 still beats the heck out of my previous "Suite" of programs!

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Explorer ,
Aug 03, 2016

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Has anyone ever used Freelancer.com to get work?

Seems like there are mixed messages on its legitamacy online...

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Advocate ,
Aug 04, 2016

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Good question! I think you should start a whole new thread asking that

question. I've heard similar mixed messages about Upwork (formerly ODesk).

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try67 LATEST
Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 07, 2016

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I have experience with both sites (Freelancer and Upwork), and am happy to share my two cents on them.

In both sites there's a huge advantage to experience and the amount of work you've previously done (and the reviews you've gotten for it). So if you didn't start using them early on you're at a serious disadvantage because you don't have any track record and therefore are less likely to get jobs. Also, both sites suffer from people who just apply to everything, regardless of whether or not they're even capable of doing the job. They also bid very low, hoping to get the project and then figure it out or sub-hire someone else to do it for them, for a slightly lower price, I'm guessing (you'll see many times that a project is posted by one person, and then an exact copy of it is posted by another, with a lower budget. The websites do little to fight this, and why would they? They get a cut from each project, after all). It's very difficult to stand above the crowd in such an environment.

Both sites also have various membership programs that cost different amounts and in exchange charge you different percentages from your earnings, or provide you with different amounts of "tokens" that allow you to bid on projects. At some point I calculated what's the optimal plan for me, based on the amount of projects I get and how much I earn on average per month. You can usually switch between programs quite easily, though.

One thing I really hated in oDesk (which was later on merged into Upwork) was that you had to select a category of expertise and could only apply to jobs posted under that category. So if someone created a job for developing a PDF form with scripts, for example, but put it under "Office Work" (or whatever it was called) instead of under "Programming and software development" and you were registered under the latter then you couldn't bid on it, unless you paid extra. There are a lot of these kinds of up-sell tricks in those sites, so you have to be careful when bidding. When you bid on a project in Freelancer you can "sponsor" your bid for $25, so that you bid appears at the top of the list, or you can "highlight" your bid for $1 (so it's more visible in the list of bids the employer sees), etc. I tend to avoid all of that as much as I can. Let your work and professionalism talk for you, not the cash in your pocket.

Freelancer has one really good feature which is the Milestones system. This is basically an escrow system for the project: The employer deposits the agreed-upon amount, in advance, under one or more milestones and you agree with them on what each milestone represents. For example, let's say you're developing a piece of software that extracts data from a site. You can agree that the first proof-of-concept output is the first milestone, the GUI is the second milestone and the third is the full application. That way you know the money is available and can get at least some of it while the project is on-going. Unfortunately, not all employers are aware of this system or know how to use it, and you often need to explain it to them.

I'm not aware of other websites having this system (at least not as advanced) which leaves the freelancer quite exposed in case things go wrong.

When things do go wrong then you have a Disputes system. I didn't have to use it yet (thankfully) in Upwork, but I did in Freelancer, several times.

I have to say that in my opinion they tend to side with the employer, unless you can provide really cut and clear proof of wrong-doing on their side.

It's very important to have a CLEAR and FULL description of the project BEFORE YOU ACCEPT IT. I can't stress this enough. Once you agreed to the project you're basically bound to it, and you usually pay a non-refundable fee (usually around 10%), so you have to make sure that both you and the employer know what the project entails, and what it doesn't.

One last, but not least, point is withdrawing money. Both sites have their own quirks about this, but in Freelancer they recently (about half a year ago, I would say) really made it very very difficult to withdraw your payments to a bank account or to PayPal. You basically have to provide multiple forms of identification, including a picture of a national ID card or passport, a recent utility bill with your name and address on it and a picture of yourself holding a code they send you (!). But once you do that then it's back to normal and I withdraw my earnings from there without a problem so far.

With Upwork it's less difficult, but they have all kinds of weird rules about when you can withdraw your money (above a certain amount only, IIRC), and they also started charging a pretty hefty fee recently for the projects you get.

Hopefully that's not too much info. And just to clarify this is only from my own experience with these two sites. Others might have experienced it differently, of course.

TL;DR: I use both sites. Both of them work fine for me, but you need to know how to use them, what to expect and what to be careful of.

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Guide ,
Aug 07, 2016

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Pariah Burke wrote:

We all have parts of self-employment we love and parts we abhor. What is your favorite and least favorite part of freelancing?

Favourite part is the joy of making most of the rules. Least favourite part: the day job gets in the way of being a proper freelancer

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