In his blog for Contently’s Freelancer site (Airtasker and TaskRabbit Are Set to Battle for Your Freelance Work), Charlie Kasov compares the services of two freelancer job sites: TaskRabbit, a popular site which has recently moved to an curated agency model, and Airtasker, an Australian site that still works on the more free-for-all open marketplace.
He also offers some advice to freelancers who try to sell their services via these online marketplaces. For example:
Since July, I’ve successfully been able to command higher rates because I try to give each client the best possible experience and make sure they write the most florid possible review of my abilities. I also take precautions to never work with crazy people, which has helped me avoid bad reviews.
As reviews editor for Computerworld, I don’t usually complain about queries I get from freelancers — they usually veer from “Hmmm, maybe I should give this one a try” to “Sorry, but not right for us.” But I recently got one that was so useless — and at the same time, seemed so inappropriately confident — that I thought I’d quickly offer a “Don’t let this be you” message.
The email I got was short and to the point. The subject was “query from journalist” and the message read:
“Would you care for a review of the new Seagate Wireless Plus? Thanks.”
With the person’s name and a link to his website. And that was it.
There was no introduction telling me who he was, why he was qualified to do a review for us, or what it was about that particular product that deserved reviewing. The website that he linked to featured a description of an apparently self-published book that had nothing whatsoever to do with technology.
He had also apparently send a similar query to at least one other staff member.
I checked my past email, and he had sent a similarly worded query a few months ago for a different product. That time, I was a bit amused, and simply sent an equally terse answer of: “No, thank you.”
This time, he doesn’t get an answer. If he happens to be reading this, a quick word of advice: If you want to work for a new publication, make sure you introduce yourself properly. If you can’t take the time to offer a well-composed query, I won’t take the time to answer it.
The Freelancers Union, in an effort to show how it can help freelancers get ahead, is offering a sampling of some of its articles on establishing your rates — always something that freelancers, especially new ones, worry about.
The page, entitled “Everything you need to know about freelance rates, pricing, and fees,” offers links to article on how to get paid what you’re worth, why freelancers undercharge for their work, and whether you should charge by the hour or by the project, among others. Certainly worth a look.
Some very funny (and useful) advice — such as:
Did you see that video where the little baby goat goes nuts and back-flips off his pal’s butt? No, you didn’t. Because even though you’re working from home, you’re a professional and you do not let the Wild West of the Internet get in the way of your productivity.
via The Ten Commandments for Freelancers | The Freelancer, by Contently.
In an article written for Contently’s Freelancer section, Charlie Kasov critiques a freelancer service called TaskRabbit. According to Kasov, the site has radically redesigned itself in a number of ways that are detrimental to the freelancers who use it to find jobs:
In the old app, people posting jobs described what they needed done and either set a price—”Quick Assign” tasks in TaskRabbit jargon—or opened the task up to bidding. In the new app, however, TaskRabbit has done away with bidding completely, replacing it with a requirement that users set hourly rates for each type of gig they’re willing to do. Now, I have to wait for Task Posters to choose me.
Having experienced my share of “improved” online services, I sympathize. I’ve never used TaskRabbit myself, but I have used services or written for companies that managed to make things harder, or impossible, for one set of clients (and yes, the freelancers who use TaskRabbit are clients) in order to cater to a different set. Or it could simply be that somebody higher up had a bright idea and thought it would make things better — and it didn’t.
While Kasov’s obviously angry about the changes, he describes them clearly and well, in a way that could help others using the service. And this is apparently making waves elsewhere; Salon has also run a piece called “TaskRabbit workers receive a useful lesson in capitalist exploitation.” The article adds that TaskRabbit workers are so angry, they may be organizing. Hmmmm.
(P.S., a word to Charlie: Whatever your poetry professor said about sexual mores between 1967 and 1973, don’t believe it — there were still STDs and accidental pregnancies off in them old-timey days…)
Yahoo, which bought up the content farm Associated Content in 2005 and created its own Yahoo Voices, is finally turning the farm into condos. According to The Freelancer, Yahoo is not only dropping its low-paying content, but shutting it completely down as well, so contributors should copy and re-post their contributions (or make screenshots, at the very least) to prove their articles existed.
From The Freelancer:
Yahoo will give final performance payments in August, but Contributors should act quickly to make sure they have evidence of their writing online. Freedom With Writing suggests a number of alternative websites to self-publish articles, including HubPages, which similarly offers traffic-based payments to writers.
So Yahoo Voices contributors — take heed.
Greetings! As you can tell from the last blog entry before this, this was a site about freelancing that I let lapse a year ago. However, although the blog entries are out of date, I have (as of today) checked and updated the listings in Books and Publications, Markets, and Organizations, so if you want to check them to see if any of the links can be helpful, please do.
In addition, I’ll be adding more resources after the workshop on finding work as a freelancer that I’ll be leading at Readercon on Saturday, July 12th at 11 a.m. (although I probably won’t update it until I get back).
Thanks to Esther Schindler, Sharon Fisher and Pam Baker from the Internet Press Guide for offering suggestions on new places to find jobs.
And of course, if you have any suggestions for resources to include, let me know via comments.