oDesk and Freelance Work

odesk-work-is-no-longer-placeAs I mentioned in the About me section, I am a freelance marketing consultant. There are many freelance sites out there but I like the most oDesk (next best probably is Elance). Anyways! oDesk changed my life for good – i get my freelance work primarily there, so I decided to include it as recommended product.


I instantly fell in love with the platform three years ago for the following reasons:

The website has an excellent help section

You would have to dedicate significant amount of time to get acquainted with the HELP section of the site – good 2-3 days reading. But it is worth every single moment because I think I have never seen a better written help section. It explains in a comprehensive way how the website works, what the contractors’ and clients’ rights and duties are, who does what, who pays to whom and what, and so on. Once you finish with the help and support section, you will be ready to go and concur the world. Besides, there’s an oDesk readiness test which you will pass easily only after you do know your way around the site πŸ˜‰

There are no hidden fees

I’ve heard of other sites which charge you for membership or want more money with or without a reason, or at least – without giving a clear reason why. oDesk is not like that. The membership is free. For 3 years, I have not been asked even once for money by anyone on the site. There is a 10% fee which is being paid by the client and that’s it. When a contractor is bidding and/or a client is hiring, at the moment of action both have the opportunity to set a price and the system calculates it right there and then, showing both the contractors’ rate and the clients’ cost. As simple as that!

There are plenty of projects available for all kinds of contractors with various skillset

It’s not like the common myth that only designers and programmers can freelance their skills. No! There is plenty of work for all kind of experts – including but not limited to designers, programmers, marketing consultants (large or small scale), accountants, legal consultants, finance and tax experts, content writers, bloggers, and more. You name it – it’s there!

A great reviews and feedback system is in place

When a contractor and a client work together, naturally they develop opinions about each other. Well, once they decide to end the contract (e.g. because the work has been completed successfully), both parties have the opportunity to leave feedback for the other party. This way, the contractor can recommend (or not) the client to other freelancers and vise versa – the client can leave feedback and rating from 1 to 5 (1 being worst) to the contractor for other clients to see. This way oDesk has ensured somewhat credible system of feedbacks and ratings for all participants in the platform to help everyone make their decisions to enter a contract (or not!).

oDesk - The Best Freelance SiteMany high-quality tests available for free for self-assessment

When you are new and without any feedback, it can be hard to win a project. Therefore, contractors should take skill tests. Those are the only way to show your skills at least theoretically. Often clients can decide whether to get in touch with a contractor solely based on their test results. There are tests in every niche – design, programming, marketing, writing, language and translation, finance, and more. The tests are often hard and truly reflect the knowledge on a certain subject. And last but not least – all tests are free πŸ™‚

The hourly projects payment is guaranteed

This is something which I think is unique for oDesk. They have a tracking system in place called the team viewer. You install it on your computer and log in while working on a certain project. The system will then make screenshots of your screen once every 10 minutes and based on your work diary, the payment is automatically processed in the end of the work week. Sounds complicated but it really isn’t. This aspect is clearly explained in the help section I mentioned earlier.


A few cons started showing recently – maybe the platform has outgrown its functionality; maybe it is trying desperately to keep up with the demand of the community; but still, cons are worth mentioning:

Increased number of low quality contractors and clients

As everywhere, oDesk has plenty of spammers. If you are a client, be extra careful how you write your job post because it is VERY easy to waste your time in filtering spam applications and recycled cover letters. The situation is very similar with the clients who post jobs without verifying their payment method and thus – making it impossible for contractors to decide if it is a serious or a spam client who is just fishing for bids and options.

Very slow customer service and often with bad quality, too

No need to explain, I think – it’s been a disaster recently. If you can read your way to the solution of a problem you have, do that! There is a tremendous backlog of tickets, I guess, because it takes days, sometimes weeks for the reps to get back to me, usually with an apology for being late and still no answer or solution to my problem. In their defense, I have never had a high priority issue so… maybe that’s the reason for the delay in their service πŸ˜€

No escrow for fixed price projects the payment for which is not guaranteed

Unlike other sites, there’s no escrow set up on oDesk. Unlike the hourly paid projects on oDesk, the fixed priced ones are not guaranteed by the site and it is very easy for newbie freelancers to fall into the trap of working for free. Be aware!

oDesk IS worth the try, definitely!

Whether you are a contractor or a client, work is no longer a place and oDesk has changed the game forever. I highly recommend oDesk as a platform to outsource any and every aspect of your business.

Create your profile now and see if there’s something for you there, too πŸ˜‰


About Diana

I'm a freelance marketing consultant by day and a traveler by heart ツ I blog to help fellow marketers and small business owners achieve their goals within budget. Join my community of marketing enthusiasts and get a free copy of my first SEO ebook ;-)

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