In the morning, I got mail that I’d won two jobs on Elance. Yay! Then I went to the kiosk and came back to see that I’d won two more jobs on GAF. Oookkkaaaaaay. While I was fixing breakfast, a third GAF client sent me a ‘yes’ for my bid. Yikes! I now had five different gigs totalling $300 and just four days to get them done. This was a different kind of panic.
I managed to push two of the clients to give me some extra time. One was crabby about it, but he liked my work, so he said ok. The other seemed excited that he had to wait. Go figure. He actually gave me five exra days, which is awesome. I like Canadians.
So far, I’ve managed to finish three of the projects, but I still have two to complete before Tuesday, and they total 190 articles ranging between 350 and 600 words, for which I will be paid $140. Wow.
Sometimes I think it’s sad that people with talent and papers get stuck doing grunge work. On one job that I bid, a fellow freelancer explained that he had two Masters degrees and had edited a newspaper, yet his bid was lower than mine. Plus, he’s in the States, so I’m sure he needs to earn way more than I do. The cost of living there is higher. But I guess we do what we have to.
Elance is a touch more OCD than GAF is, which is why the clients there are willing to spend more. Once you win a job on Elance, you get a workroom where you have to issue status reports on the progress of your work. You have milestones, or targets, so that the client knows exactly how many articles you have written by a certain time. You can get jobs where you’re paid per hour, and there’s a stopwatch to calculate just how much time you’ve actually spent on the project. There’s a provision for having a freelance team, so you can bid on multiple projects and ‘outsource’ with more transparency.
I like Elance more than GAF because the jobs are at a higher level, so you’re more likely to work with professionals. Online professionals are generally nice. Sometimes the people I work with on GAF are bullies with zero customer care, and it’s enough to make you smash your monitor … on their heads! The things we do for love money.
So, between Elance and GAF, I’ve reached my August target of $500, which has me pretty excited. My target for next month is $2000. I’d eventually like to make $5000 dollars a month, so that I can own a penthouse by 2020. I still have clients offline who bring in another 10 to 20,000 Ksh some months, but they’re not consistent, so my online work does the bills. Any work from the ‘real world’ is an investment bonus.
I can’t withdraw my GAF money before 31st, but after that, I can access it through Moneybookers, and I hear Paypal finally styled up, so yay! My GAF debit card gets here in about a month, and it’s usable on Elance as well, so I can easily draw my money. But meanwhile, I’m paying my membership through Paypal via my KCB card, and now that it accepts cash receipts, I can divert my Elance cash there and figure out some other way to draw it.
I’m really liking this freelance gig. It’s virtually cost-free except for electricity, $30 for membership, and my Zuku subscription. There’s no market saturation because there’s enough work for all of us. And the best part is that unless the worldwide web collapses, I’ll never be retrenched or fired. How cool is that?
Crystal Ading’ is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through www.threeceebee.com.