Being a freelancer means doing a little bit of everything. Accounts before breakfast, emails in the morning, quotes in the afternoon and, if you are lucky, you will have time left to do the actual work in the evening that you pay for! As all of you wear different hats, it is surprisingly difficult to make time for new work. Cold calling businesses, sending mailers and attending networking events take significant time that most freelancers cannot afford to lose!
People provide an hourly solution that makes it quick and easy to get in touch with new customers who are actively seeking your services. Stating itself as a ‘cri global market’, the website has played a key role in my success as a freelance copywriter, and – following some guidelines – can do the same for you.
What is the people per hour?
In 2006, graduate Xenios Thrasyvoulou had a great idea for a website that required skilled individuals associated with the business to provide their services. PA-Per-Hour.com, the website, then allowed companies to list job descriptions on which virtual assistants could ‘bid’. In just six months, PA-Per-Hour.com was redirected per hour per person, covering 30 different services per hour.
Since its launch, People hourly has become one of the most popular places on the web for freelancers to find new work. The site has more than 200,000 freelancers and 79,390 subscribers according to the People Hourly Economy page. The jobs posted to date are estimated at £ 52,922,681 – a figure that is rising all the time.
In part, People Hourly is successful because it is easy to use for freelancers and customers.
Here’s how it works:
- Customers list projects with an estimated budget.
- Details of freelancers’ bid, their skills and fees on the project.
- The client selects an applicant and awards the job.
- Once the work is completed, people send an automated invoice to the customer for a small fee from the freelancer’s overall salary per hour.
People hourly and me
My own experience with People Hourly began in 2010, once the website was already well established. As an English graduate and part-time writer for magazines and websites, it was natural to reduce my income by joining copy writing. Certainly, I faced the same problem as every other freelancer – getting that all-important first job.
There was no editor here, no one turned around and told me that the work was nonsense. Being independent meant that the responsibility was mine. Customers needed complete confidence that I could deliver what I wanted and, as of now, I had no proof that I could supply.
So how did I overcome that uncomfortable hurdle? I got People Hourly and with a little effort, some of my early clients got freelance copywriters.
3 ways to work on people per hour
When I first visited People Hourly, it all seemed so easy. Bid, win and pay! Of course, there are thousands of other freelancers with the same idea, dying for the same work. As a novice young copywriter, how did I make myself a candidate for those first few positions?
I built a good profile, carefully selected the bids I placed and spent time writing the bids that fit the question for the client.
1. Create an attractive profile
I was once asked to appear on a local radio station as part of an interview about People Hour and why more and more people are going to freedom. As part of this interview, I was asked what was the most useful feature of the website. After some consideration, I decided that the profile page is where it all happens.
People hourly profile pages allow you to summarize the work you do, complete a skills test and upload work samples. Make sure you have all these things in place before you start bidding for work. Most clients see this profile page as a first measurement of how fit you are for the position, and the gaps on your profile are comparable to gaps in your employment history – a bad sign for any employer!
2. Find jobs that are right for your skills
Since the website was set up, People Hourly has worked on a free model, where freelancers receive a fixed number of ‘bid credits’ per month. Once these bids are used, you can buy more for a small fee, or wait until they are refreshed.
More recently, People Hourly introduced the ability to see which other freelancers have placed bids on a certain job. Out of professional curiosity, I often check through these to get a feel for other people’s skills and profiles. More than anything, I think people bid for work that doesn’t fit their skills. If the number of bids per month is limited, then why would the self-proclaimed accounting expert bid for a copywriter’s job? Doesn’t this mean that he is struggling to win bids in his chosen field?
If you aim to choose with the bids you have to put in, you will have the best chances of winning. Consider the nature of the task and how it fits with your skills and experience and how relevant your profile page is at hand.
3. Write a great quote
Once you find the right job, it’s time to write the bid! This is the part that comes with practice, but there are some things you should start writing.
Despite the nature of the word ‘bid’, People Hourly is not really about offering the lowest possible price. Most educated customers understand that if you pay peanuts, you get inexperienced freelancers! As per People Hour, about 89% of the winning bids are in the mid price range.
I once bid for some work where the customer’s maximum budget was £ 200. I explained, politely but clearly, how I could do this for £ 300 and do it ten times better. I won that job, assuring me that Peepal Hour is not all about bargaining basement work.
Instead of going for a low bid, focus your attention on who you are and what you do. Whether you are an IT developer, an administrative assistant or a writer, bid with your skills and not at your fee. Most people find it difficult to sing their own praises, but the reality is that your competitive freelancers will work hard to sound great.
If you are quite inexperienced, honesty can sometimes be the best policy. Explain what you can do as an opportunity to start work for less money, or be happy to go the extra mile to convince a client of your talent. The bigger the freelancer, the longer things get. If you can’t compete on experience then why not compete on speed?
4. Win the work, do the work
At a time when my current customers keep me away from people at large every hour, it is interesting to look back at those early days and how important the website was to land my business. In preparation for this article, I was asked if there was any advice I would give to a new freelancer, starting with a website like People Per Hour.
My answer was ‘Win the work, do the work’. But just don’t work. Do it well do time. Hurry up. Do it with such diligence, such enthusiasm and such commitment that once you have your first project, they just never stop.
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