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.
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…)
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.
TechCrunch writer Colleen Taylor reported yesterday that Scripted, a company which pairs freelance writers with companies looking for written content, has raised funding in the area of $4.5 million. That’s not the kind of news I would normally cover, but I was struck by the following interview with Scripted CEO Sunil Rajamaran:
Many of the writers on Scripted’s platform aren’t actually professional journalists, Rajamaran said. Often, they’re people with day jobs in other fields who are passionate about sharing their expertise on either their professional vocations or their hobbies. “We had an audio hardware company looking for content, and the guy we matched him to has a day job of working as an engineer at Pixar,” he said. “We’re not a journalism company; we don’t pay professional journalist rates. We’re selling to businesses, and what businesses need are subject matter experts.”
Which means that the majority of Scripted’s reported 80,000 writers are most likely people looking to add to existing incomes rather than use writing as a full-time means of support. And there’s nothing wrong with that — but it is one of the reasons that full-time writers are having trouble making ends meet.
(And, as somebody who started her tech journalism career basically rewriting articles written by computer engineers who were experts in their field, but who couldn’t put two coherent English sentences together if their lives depended on it, I can’t help being just a bit doubtful about the quality of at least some of the content produced by these enthusiasts. But that’s being cynical..)
Writer Cassandra Leveille writes a short piece called 3 Pro Tips For Millennial Freelance Writers in which she talks about how millenials often choose to freelance rather than take a traditional job. She offers three specific pieces of advice: learn how to negotiate payments and contracts, save money so you have something to fall back on, and be political:
Our generation has to be political by necessity of the cultural moment we find ourselves in, one defined by transition. Moving forward, freelancers must advocate for a less convoluted tax code so they can see more of their income, and for benefits to carry over outside the confines of the traditional work place, which no longer offer them. Because traditional models don’t take freelancers into account, they often risk their financial security.
Good advice for any freelancer of any age.