How do I start freelance work?

Hi,

I wish to start some freelance work. I'm interested in development side. I'm proficient in Articulate Storyline, Captivate, Photoshop, Flash, and Audio editing. I've done some mLearning development.

I've ten plus year experience in eLearning in design and development. I'm doing a job. 

Side by side I want to do some freelance work. So eventually, I can start working for myself.

Every time I apply for any freelance work, people asks for sample work. I provide some clips and images. But I guess that's not enough.

I want to create a new sample work.

I'm looking for any ideas for sample work. 

Sample topics?

How long a sample should be? How many samples required?

I want to reflect my skills in my sample work.

Actually what clients expect in a sample work?

How to impress in a sample work?

I've some ideas from my work experience but I don't want use any of them. 

I want to do something different.

Thanks.

20 Replies
Bruce Graham

Hi,

Here's the best advice I know:

http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/heres-why-you-need-an-e-learning-portfolio/

If you want to get into this business as a part-time freelancer, you are competing with those of us who do it as a living, so you will need to put a fair degree of commitment and hard-work into this.

Also, if you have not already done so, I recommend reading this thread end-to-end, several times. It will help prepare you for the realities of freelancing as a fulltime career.

Good luck!

Bruce

Bruce Graham

One other point - and I do not want this to come over as overly negative, I want it to be helpful.

This forum is one of the best places, in the World (IMHO), not only to find work but be noticed  by potential clients and collaborators. I have been offered many £000's of work from clients looking here.

It helps (IMHO) to have a real name/avatar on the forum unless there's a very good reason not to - it helps people find you in other places you may inhabit online, and it helps people connect.

Just something to think about.

Best of luck.

Bruce

Vasily Ingogly

In addition to Freelancer, posted by Arsen, there's also Guru and Elance. My experience with these boards for website design has not been good, because a majority of people there are looking for the cheapest possible bids and these jobs usually go to folks in Asia or Eastern Europe who can afford to bid at a much lower rate because of the cost of living differential. I don't know if that's the case with e-learning, however. These boards have premium accounts, which give you more bids per month and/or more cred when you bid. Elance has a set of tests you can take to verify your expertise in certain areas (don't know about the others, I haven't bid on anything on any of them for several years) as well as places to post a profile including a portfolio.

If you haven't already done so, you might want to develop a business plan: a good resource for this is the book "One Page Business Plan for the Professional Consultant", by Jim Horan, available on Amazon.

Mary Dinampo

Let me give you an idea:

Guru, Elance, and Odesk involves small fixed price projects where employers usually posts a project description and accepts bids from workers who are willing complete the project.

Rather than the company posting a project description, the worker posts the project on sites like Fiverr, TaskArmy and PeoplePerHour.

For Full time online jobs, on the other hand, I would suggest Staff.com.

Andrew Sellon

Hello,  "eLearning/mLearning":  I'm coming to this thread late, I apologize, but in case this is still helpful:

  • I second Bruce's comment that it's best to be a real "person" (complete with avatar) on this forum, so that you have an identity.  You don't want to be seen as hiding behind a façade when presenting yourself to peers and potential clients.
  • You should definitely pursue the idea of creating a portfolio of samples, preferably online.  I have started a modest one, for example, and I add to it when time allows:  http://www.sellonsolutions.com/elearning-samples/
  • As to topics, one of the things clients will be looking for is your ability to be creative.  So give that some thought.  Perhaps create samples that speak to you.  Consider who is likely to be your target audience, and consider what topics might speak to them.  If you have a sample that already resonates with their needs, you're that much more likely to have a chance at landing some work.
  • Creativity impresses.  And that has to come from your own unique perspective.  Samples are a great opportunity to give your creativity free reign!

I hope this helps.

Andrew

Bruce Graham

Sexy front-end, however...on the basis that there are no eLearning jobs coming up on search, might be better to look at sites such as eLance and peopleperhour.com.

Looking forward to more useful posts on freelancing Franko, hope to see you around the Boards. Are you a freelancer?

Commission is never in my experience an issue. We all just factor it into our costs and quotes.

Vasily Ingogly

Mary Dinampo said:

Let me give you an idea:

Guru, Elance, and Odesk involves small fixed price projects where employers usually posts a project description and accepts bids from workers who are willing complete the project.

Rather than the company posting a project description, the worker posts the project on sites like Fiverr, TaskArmy and PeoplePerHour.

For Full time online jobs, on the other hand, I would suggest Staff.com.


I'm looking at a SharePoint 2010 development project on guru.com, hourly rate open, 6 months' duration, 10-30hrs/week.  And a fixed price project I found on freelancer .com for a video streaming website is listed in the range $10,000 to $25,000 USD (average bid so far is over $16,000). I'm also seeing long-range development jobs on Odesk for Drupal.  So these sites are not restricted to small fixed price projects. It depends on the kind of job you're looking for ... but when I searched for "elearning" on Odesk, the second item that popped up was an elearning content creation gig, 1 to 3 months, 30+ hours per week.

Andy Bowyer

This advice may seem pedestrian compared to what others have already offered, and it certainly comes from a different perspective, but here it is:

A very wise person once said "You have to fish where the fish are."

So in addition to cultivating relationships in forums like this (which is an awesome place to be, by the way), you need to also start scoping out industry-specific forums where you feel confident you can ply your trade effectively.  In other words, if you're just starting out: play to your strengths.

If, for example, you're an antique car enthusiast, and know many things about automobile restoration, (bad example, I'm sure, but stick with me...) you might want to find forums (and they're out there, I'm sure) that deal with that subject matter. Join one. Poke around. Get to know people. Make no pretense about who you are, or what you do (your profile is great for this--you don't even have to mention it "in public"), but don't beat people over the head with it. Talk to people in the language they understand. Watch the forum for "hot button topics". If one strikes your fancy, and you're confident in your knowledge, make a quick eLearning module for it, and present it as a "freebie" to the group as a whole. You'll be sure to impress people, be seen as an "expert", and certainly be appreciated for passing on what you've learned.

Even if no one "bites" on the implied offer, you will have made an impression. And you never know. These things can lead to other things down the road.

Social media isn't just about "HIRE ME HIRE ME HIRE ME". It's about cultivating relationships, building trust, and at the same time offering the experience, knowledge, and skills you bring to the party without ever making it seem like that's the only reason you're there. The best part: "win" or "lose", your takeaways are going to far exceed your investment, financial or not.

Best of luck!

Andy

rohan dizon

Vasily Ingogly said:

In addition to Freelancer, posted by Arsen, there's also Guru and Elance. My experience with these boards for website design has not been good, because a majority of people there are looking for the cheapest possible bids and these jobs usually go to folks in Asia or Eastern Europe who can afford to bid at a much lower rate because of the cost of living differential.

I agree with Vasily. Most freelancing sites need you to bid on their projects and most freelancers who'll get the job are the ones who bid the lowest. Another thing you can do is to create a site where you can post some of your work in order to get clients. I've tried Staff.com and all you need to do is sign up and wait for clients to conduct an interview, test or get hired instantly. You get full time jobs there.

Arsen Mkrtchyan

Hi,

Vasily is right, there are a lot of chip projects in freelancer, Elance, ODesk platforms but good freelancers can make a relations and career in this platforms. There are a lot of clients, that want to realize theirs project ideas there. I have a friend who meet an outsourcer in freelancer, and founded a good shaped company that are working in a project that is used for highly rated companies like Ford.

I am agree, it is very difficult to get the first project there, project owners usually give projects to more rated users. And I didn't expect to earn more money for my first few projects.

Here are a brief road-map on freelancer

I was ready to finish my first few project even for free. I look for projects that took 2-3 hours for me to finish, and sent a bid with 80% done project demo. The most important part here is to finish in time, and to get valuable review from clients. After finishing few of this projects, I start to pretend higher projects. Currently I have few clients, and don't even enter the portal to bid. They come back to me when they want something to be done.

Vasily Ingogly

Arsen Mkrtchyan said:

 I am agree, it is very difficult to get the first project there, project owners usually give projects to more rated users. And I didn't expect to earn more money for my first few projects

Elance has some good tutorials and guidelines that will help the newbie land the first project, and there's a community forum where people exchange tips and ask questions. Don't know if Freelancer or ODesk have similar help for the newcomer.

Philip Ferrone

As a start-up e-learning development company, we decided to check out Elance to see if we could increase our client base. Despite having a good deal of experience and, what I consider, a decent portfolio, we have yet to land that "first" Elance job. I did some research on the jobs I submitted proposals to and found that only about 15 percent are filled. Many of those to "Elancers" with rates we just cannot compete with.

We have yet to try marketing via LinkedIn and other social sites but are certainly looking into that option. There are some valuable ideas shared in this thread and we will certainly investigate some of them.

Good discussion!