Monthly Archives: July 2012

New freelance marketplace: PeoplePerHour

PeoplePerHour, an online freelance marketplace that started in 2007 in Europe, has now opened a U.S. "branch" called Hourlies. The idea is that freelancers would advertise their skills and post a per-hour rate; customers can then choose which freelancer they want to use and make an offer.

The CEO describes the service this way:

???Hourlies is our way of making it simple for every person to join the online working revolution,??? says PeoplePerHour founder and CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou. ???Everybody has free time and a skill or service that has value to someone. Hourlies connects people with others — even in their own area — who will pay for that skill or service. It helps people not only earn extra cash by ???moonlighting,??? but also take the first step in creating a full-fledged entrepreneurial business, an ambition many people harbor.???

On the one hand it looks like a straightforward strategy: You say what you can do and how much you are willing to do it for, and with any luck, somebody will take you up on it. On the other hand, I was a bit put off by the opening video which, rather than explain how the business works, shows photos of Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling and similar celebrities and proclaims that they laid the basis for their fortunes in under an hour.

I looked for reviews of the service, and found one interesting one dated 2009 from a blog called Freelance Unbound. The author, who tried out the European version of PeoplePerHour, states that, while the service is legitimate, it may not be quite right for an experienced freelancer — especially because many of the would-be clients have an unrealistic expectation of what they can pay for decent writing skills:

A mental health website asking for three blog posts a week, at 350-400 words each, accepted a bid of ??220 for the first 30 posts. That???s about ??18 per thousand words, or ten times less than I would think of an acceptable, if pretty low, rate. Yes ??? there???s probably minimal research involved, but still. ??220 is about a day and a half???s pay ??? which isn???t very long to write 12,000 words.

Of course, that was written about three years ago. Have things changed? Probably not. Is Hourlies a good place to check out? Why not — it will take an hour or two to set up, and any job you may pick up after that is icing on the cake. Just make sure the job is worth your time.

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The Best Way to Help People Understand What You Do for a Living – Business Insider

Business Insider offers some advice on how to deal with friends and family who simply don't understand that freelancing is a real, honest-to-goodness job, and that you can't simply walk away from it any time you want because your sibling/other friends/etc. have a "real" job and you don't.

A personal note: It does help to try to make family/friends understand, even though it can be frustrating at first. My mother took a while to understand that freelancing was a real job, and not something I was simply doing to keep in pin money while looking for a real job; when she finally did get it, she later was able to explain it to a friend who was frantic because her daughter was marrying a man who was a freelancer….

A short segment from the article:

…you can simply respond with the same confidence your sister displays when she tells people she???s a third-grade teacher. YOU know your choice of career is legitimate and normal, even if it???s not what everyone else is used to. Becoming defensive, altruistic, or preachy about it will only perpetuate the belief that it???s unusual. And you don???t want that.

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Why You’re Setting Your Own Deadlines Incorrectly | NBC Chicago

A useful blog entry from David Wolinsky at NBC Chicago recommends that, when setting deadlines, you ask for more time and give yourself less:

Something that surprises me, though, is that a lot of people I know, when given the opportunity to set their own deadlines, set themselves up for failure. How? By promising something too early and then waiting until the last minute to even start.

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A fine Readercon workshop

Thank you to everyone who attended the workshop How to Write for a Living When You Can't ??Live Off Your Fiction last Friday at Readercon, and a special thanks to the panelists Thomas A. Easton, James Patrick Kelly and Nick Mamatas.

Each time I give the workshop, it's a little different, and that all depends on the panelists and the folks who attend. If you were there and have any comments on what you liked or didn't like, or whether you'd like a different format — to do it as more of an audience discussion, for example, or even as a Kaffeeklatsch — please let me know by commenting here or emailing me at rfw (at) brooklynwriter (dot) com.

And of course, if you have word of any organizations or other resources that I can list here, please let me know.

Thanks again!

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A Q&A about freelancers and social media

Two freelance writers discuss the relationship of freelancing and social networking in this column from BizCommunity.com: How to do it, when to do it, and why they do it.

A sample:

TM: In terms of blogging, if you're trying to market yourself as a??freelance writer in particular, or a freelance creative in general, you have??to blog – or, at the very least, contribute free articles to popular sites.??How else is the world supposed to a) know you exist and b) get a taste of??what you can do?

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