Freelancing on Upwork.com

Writers Notepad
I’ve recently started freelancing on Upwork.com, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you why.
In case you don’t know, freelancing means doing work for other people on a job by job basis. Unlike contracting, where you commit to working for an employer for a set amount of time (3 months, 6 months, 1 year), freelancing could be as short a job as writing one article for a particular employer. Freelancers also have the freedom to work for more than one employer at a time, dedicating their time to each one as the jobs comes up.

Why I’m freelancing

One of the good things about freelancing, is that it offers me the freedom to be more selective about the work that I do. Since I have my own projects to work on, such as developing games, and even writing blog posts like this one, it’s often nice to have a change of tack for a while. If I’ve just spent a couple of months finishing a game, it’s nice to spend a little bit of time doing some writing work, whilst I decide on what the next game will be.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, indie mobile games development doesn’t bring in huge amounts of money for me, so I can’t afford to finish a game and then sit on a beach for 6 months, watching the money roll in. It just doesn’t work like that. Earning money from mobile games is a very slow process, so I still need to be doing other work on the side, and freelancing is the ideal way to do it.

The days of cheap labour

I first started freelancing back in 2006, through a, now-defunct, site called Rent-a-coder. It worked in a similar way to how Upwork.com works today, by allowing employers to post details of jobs they want doing, and then allowing freelancers to bid on the work.

The problem back then was that the majority of businesses still hadn’t fully embraced the internet as a legitimate business tool. Facebook hadn’t yet made online interaction mainstream, and Skype hadn’t yet made online instant messaging and conference calling an acceptable way to do business. Therefore, much of the work offered on Rent-a-coder was from “online marketers” who just wanted articles written in order to boost the presence of their websites in search engines, in order to attract traffic to their sites.

Because these articles were more of a tool to get people to the site, rather than really engaging with the content, quality didn’t matter. Therefore, employers didn’t really care whether or not English was the first language of the person they got to write articles. While there was nothing inherently wrong with them doing this if the results served their purpose, it did make it very hard for somebody in the UK, like me, to compete for work with somebody in a country where the cost of living (and the typical wage) was so much lower.

Quality is worth the cost!

Luckily, times have changed, and while there are still people on Upwork who only want cheap, low-quality “SEO articles” written, there are also many who are prepared to pay for quality work, such as proof-reading and editing novels, translating documents, creating websites, video editing, programming mobile games and applications, and even being a “virtual assistant”.

It takes a little bit of work and skill to pick the good jobs from the bad, but it’s a skill that any freelancer on Upwork needs to perfect, if they’re going to be successful. Carefully selection of jobs ensures that the financial reward for the time put into the job will be worthwhile, and that your reputation as a freelancer on the site will be good.

Personally, I’m happy just to use Upwork for finding some simple, quality writing work to do. If I were going to write another novel, or program another game, I’d be much happier to do it for myself, to my own specification, rather than doing it for somebody else. That’s the freedom of freelancing.

HIRE ME: If you are interested in hiring me for your job on Upwork.com, please visit my profile.